Education

Universities Reshaping Education on the Web
Ramin Rahimian for The New York Times Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng of Stanford are adding 12 universities to Coursera, the online education venture they founded.   As part of a seismic shift in online learning that is reshaping higher education, Coursera, a year-old company founded by two Stanford University computer scientists, will announce on Tuesday that a dozen major research universities are joining the venture. In the fall, Coursera will offer 100 or more free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, that are expected to draw millions of students and adult learners globally.   Even before the expansion, Daphne...
Questioning the Mission of College
THE flagship campus of the University of Texas here has been in the national news often over the last year, mainly because of a legal challenge to its race-conscious, diversity-minded admissions policy.  The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case in October; its decision, not yet rendered, could affect affirmative action nationwide. But there’s another, equally weighty contest being waged at the school, and it concerns nothing less than the future of higher education itself. Do we want our marquee state universities to behave more like job-training centers, judged by the number of students they speed toward degrees, the percentage...
Lessons on education from Singapore
Michael Gove is rightly impressed with Pacific Asia’s education system. But he should remember they’re learning from us too. The teenagers anxiously opening their GCSE results on Thursday will be wondering whether they might be among the last to do so. The future of GCSEs is in doubt, as we wait to see how the government moves forward with exam reform and who prevails in the coalition struggle over education policy. Continue reading The Guardian (22/8/2012)
George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates
It’s long past graduation season, but we recently learned that George Saunders delivered the convocation speech at Syracuse University for the class of 2013, and George was kind enough to send it our way and allow us to reprint it here The speech touches on some of the moments in his life and larger themes (in his life and work) that George spoke about in the profile we ran back in January — the need for kindness and all the things working against our actually achieving it, the risk in focusing too much on “success,” the trouble with swimming in...
Education: Rethinking PhDs
“Most of them are not going to make it.” That was the thought that ran through Animesh Ray’s mind 15 years ago, as he watched excellent PhD students — including some at his own institution, the University of Rochester in New York — struggle to find faculty positions in academia, the only jobs they had ever been trained for. Some were destined for perpetual postdoctoral fellowships; others would leave science altogether. Within a few years, the associate professor was in a position to do something about it. A stint in a start-up company in California had convinced him that many...
The IIT Entrance Exam
The admissions test for the Indian Institutes of Technology, known as the Joint Entrance Examination or JEE, may be the most competitive test in the world. In 2012, half a million Indian high school students sat for the JEE. Over six grueling hours of chemistry, physics, and math questions, the students competed for one of ten thousand spots at India’s most prestigious engineering universities. When the students finish the exam, it is the end of a two plus year process. Nearly every student has spent four hours a day studying advanced science topics not taught at school, often waking up...
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