By Steven Salzberg
If you could visit a college classroom a hundred years from now, would you expect it to look just like one of today’s classrooms?
I suspect not.
Yet if you walked into almost any college classroom today, you’d see a scene right out of the 19th century: students sitting in a classroom listening to a professor talk. Perhaps the professor is using a laptop to project slides, rather than writing on a chalkboard, but other signs of the 21st century can be hard to find.
Of course the content today is different, particularly in the sciences–no one even knew what DNA was 200 years ago–but the way we teach has barely changed in the past two centuries.
Well, it’s changing now. The advent of massive, online open courses (MOOCs) is making high-quality content available to millions of people for the first time, and much of it is free. These online courses, even in their infancy, have generated a huge response, revealing the hunger out there for learning.
Professors too are discovering something: how rewarding it is to reach thousands of students rather than just a handful. And capturing lectures on video allows us to mix and match material, updating just the parts that need changing and re-using the good stuff with relatively little effort.
Hopkins joined the MOOC revolution last year, with a Data Science series of courses led by Brian Caffo, Jeff Leek, and Roger Peng. This June we’re launching a new specialization on genomic data science, that five of my colleagues and I are teaching. Coursera announced our 6-course specialization just a few days ago; Jeff Leek and Roger Peng produced a teaser video that you can watch here:
[ Full article available at Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2015/04/13/how-disruptive-are-moocs-hopkins-genomics-mooc-launches-in-june/ ]