If you followed Gagan Biyani’s appearances on different news shows lately, you might have noticed a new mantra for udemy’s mission. “We believe that in three to five years the best education will come from the web.”
This is, of course, an adapted quote of Bill Gates from his appearance at Techonomy in August 2010 that made some waves in the online education community. I also wrote about it, of course. In return udemy is also mentioned in the annual letter of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But today’s launch of The Faculty Project is a more precise implementation of Bill Gate’s vision
“Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world.”
The Faculty Project which is built on top of udemy’s infrastructure delivers college courses from leading U.S. professors for free. Other than the already freely available courses that were the basis for curation projects like Academic Earth or udemy Academic, the courses of The Faculty Project are all newly created for this project and uploaded during the spring semester 2012.
The participating professors come from leading universities such as Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Vassar, Duke, Northwestern or the University of Virginia. All teaching members of The Faculty Project have received awards for teaching excellence or have garnered “Outstanding Professor of the Year” awards at their institutions and participate in the project without pay.
The list of courses reaches from Business Strategy to Ancient Greek Religion and The Cognitive Science of Mindfulness. All courses are on demand and feature video lectures, downloadable PDFs, presentations and other material. Each course also has a discussion board to ask questions and to interact with other learners and the professor.
For the participating professors the most important part of the project seems to be the potential reach of their courses, enabling a bigger audience to learn.
“I’m eager to tailor and extend essential management lessons through this online teaching platform, bringing knowledge to a global, diverse audience.” Gad Allon, Kellogg School of Management
“This project creates an incredible and unprecedented opportunity to share lessons that empower and inspire people to improve their lives and change their worlds.” Glenn Katz, Stanford University
“I am looking forward to taking the next step in open digital learning, bringing together the best possibilities of the classroom with the best possibilities of digital resources, and making the latest results available to the greatest number.” Pamela Crossley, Dartmouth College