Note to recruiters

Note to recruiters: We are quite aware that recruiters, interviewers, VCs and other professionals generally perform a Google Search before they interview someone, take a pitch from someone, et cetera. Please keep in mind that not everything put on the Internet must align directly to one's future career and/or one's future product portfolio. Sometimes, people do put things on the Internet just because. Just because. It may be out of their personal interests, which may have nothing to do with their professional interests. Or it may be for some other reason. Recruiters seem to have this wrong-headed notion that if somebody is not signalling their interests in a certain area online, then that means that they are not interested in that area at all. It is worth pointing out that economics pretty much underlies the areas of marketing, strategy, operations and finance. And this blog is about economics. With metta, let us. by all means, be reflective about this whole business of business. Also, see our post on "The Multi-faceted Identity Problem".

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Coursera Hits 1 Million Students, With Udacity Close Behind

An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about Coursera, a company co-founded by Stanford's Andrew Ng :

Coursera, an upstart company working with selective universities to offer free online courses, announced this week that it had reached one million registered students. A rival company, Udacity, which also offers what have become known as Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOC’s, says it has more than 739,000 students.

The numbers, however, are more symbolic of interest in free online courses than indicative of the amount of learning taking place. For instance, a co-founder of Coursera, Andrew Ng, noted in an e-mail interview that the number of active students is significantly lower because many registrations are for courses that have not yet begun. And many people sign up for the free courses but don’t end up following through by doing the coursework.

Students in MOOC’s typically watch short video lectures, complete automatically graded tests or assignments, and use online communities to work through concepts they don’t understand. In most cases, no official university credit is given, but providers of the programs plan to make money by offering students who finish the courses a certificate if they pay a small fee.

Coursera has signed up some of the world’s best-known universities, including Princeton University and the University of Virginia. Udacity, which works with individual professors rather than with institutions, has attracted a range of well-known scholars. Both companies started with a focus on courses in computer science, but Coursera is now expanding into a variety of disciplines.