Dirks, Udacity co-founder discuss online education at forum

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Karin Goh/Staff

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SAN FRANCISCO — Chancellor Nicholas Dirks stressed the importance of traditional learning in the face of an online education movement at a forum Thursday night.

Dirks and Sebastian Thrun, CEO and co-founder of the online course company Udacity, discussed at a World Affairs Council event how online education could coexist with the residential university model. Much of the forum’s debate revolved around the purpose of education and if technology could better serve modern vocational and educational needs.

“The issue is whether or not or to what extent online education will replace the residential learning experience,” Dirks said. “So far, from what we’ve observed, most students would rather have that traditional learning experience.”

He cited the annual rise in applications to UC Berkeley as an indicator that traditional education models are still valued. Thrun disagreed, however, saying the increasing cost of higher education will eventually slow growth in applications.

Thrun, a researcher at Stanford University who developed Google Glass and Google’s driverless car, founded Udacity in 2011 to offer nontraditional students technical certifications through massive open online courses. He described the modern education system as the most antiquated field in the 21st century other than the church.

“It essentially hasn’t changed for centuries, and everything else has with the explosion of technology,” he said. “When we were agricultural, it made sense to come to campus … but I think the university of the future should serve me for a lifetime and with technology that is possible.”

Thrun referenced performance differences between live-lecture students and online viewers of a class he taught at Stanford. Exam results were on average, he said, a whole letter grade higher for the online students.

Dirks responded by saying this was only true of students who “already knew how to learn.”

“There are clearly very clever, talented students who have the wherewithal to learn on their own and be successful without a residential college experience,” he said, adding that he hopes to continue seeing an “interplay between online and traditional” platforms.

In the forum, Dirks cited UC Berkeley Extension, which has an online learning program, as one of the campus’s main initiatives in increasing the reach and accessibility of campus resources.

The extension program offers certificates but not full degrees in fields from advanced biosciences to paralegal studies. Online program coordinator Lynnette Torres said there’s no application process for the programs in an intentional effort to allow anyone to participate.

“It’s especially advantageous for people trying to change careers,” she said. “They can work full time, spend time with their kids and log in at their convenience.”

By her estimate, at least 30 percent of those enrolled are from outside the United States. The majority of other students, according to Torres, are logging in from outside California.

Online education has increasingly garnered interest and scrutiny in recent years, markedly after the University of California received $10 million in state funding last year, which it used toward the Innovative Learning Technology Initiative.

Gov. Jerry Brown, a strong supporter of online instruction over the years, pressured the university to re-examine the structure of online courses, which often mix recorded lectures and online texts with face-to-face interaction through live video office hours.

“I believe education empowers people,” Thrun said. “We have amazing resources in this country and amazing paths for young people. If we use technology to share this with the world, the world will be a massively better place.”

Ultimately, Dirks said, UC Berkeley’s commitment to online education is about more than the technology itself.

“What we’ve discovered at Berkeley is that we can use the work that’s being done online to see how students learn,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity to develop new ways to deliver the kinds of education that students need.”

Contact Arielle Swedback at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @aswedback.

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  • Peter Cao

    Fascism may not exist everywhere, but could come from anywhere;

    — 希望大家 明辨是非; 在此案未澄清前,和那些法西斯份子没有认识到歧视谋害他人是有罪的之前,莫要为这个法西斯份子Sebastian Thrun 宣扬造势;

    — It is a common sense to all of us that protecting human lives and their basic rights of living supersedes teaching, doing business or doing research; Before this case clarified, and those fascists along with this criminal suspect Gabriele Scheler and Sebastian Thrun being concurred, I bet nobody would like to play up personnel associate with fascism crimes, the likes of Sebastian Thrun and Gabriele Scheler, nor cover up their fascism crimes and everybody has the obligation to fight against such fascism crimes;

    — Would anyone like to be educated by someone who’s mis-behaviors have brought into our lives fascism crimes which had endangered human lives? Would anyone like to be living in a society under the jurisdiction of some malicious and cowardice officers, namely ZZZ/YYY/VVV (they must have power of jurisdiction over people of Santa Clara County), who hided their identities from us while collateral with those fascism powers to cover up their fascism crimes and retaliate on victims? Could anyone help us find justice to such anti-humanity crimes associated with Udacity cofounder Sebastian Thrun?

  • Peter Cao

    The University of California Berkeley in my heart is already a great and big name, and he would be greater and bigger if not censor my comments;

    ==========================
    This is a decade long case with a lot of messy happenings starting from a simple campus atrocity case with clear evidence and serious police investigation; but how could a simple campus atrocity case turned into a series of fascism crimes of over a decade long? — Fascism prevails and miscarriage of justice is going on; — not all by my capability could handle;
    ……………………

    In regard to a more recent article http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/10/06/chancellor-dirks-and-sebastian-thrun-square-off-in-online-learning-debate/ , it seems Chancellor Dirks was entangled by those fascism powers behind Sebastian Thrun into a weird position to give this fascist Sebastian Thrun an unnaturally blatant boost in an effort to configure Thrun’s image as a world-class educator;

    Since I could not comment in that article, I come here to express my opinion:

    About the use of term — “moral and intellectual faculties” — by Chancellor Dirks in that talk as documented in that article, here is a handy quote about the moral issue of Sebastian Thrun from an insider’s (not mine) comment as listed above that:” … More examples from Academia could be listed. If there is one recurring theme in Thrun’s carreer, it’s his (more or less subtle) attempts at festooning himself with achievements of others.” — According to that insider’s revelation, Thrun was not godfather (‘godfather’? is he a mafia?) of self-driving car, not godfather of Online Learning, and definitely not the inventor of Google Glass — Would such a personnel be up to the moral standard as a role model in the world of education? — in light of such findings, Would Chancellor Dirks added again that “we agree entirely” with what Sebastian Thrun had done?

    Would anyone like to gamble the credibility and reputation of Berkeley Society on such a personnel as Sebastian Thrun is who had involved into a series of fascism crimes? Would “The University of California be an interesting amalgam” to the extent to accommodate such of Thrun’s behaviors as a ‘moral and intellectual faculty’ up to the Berkeley Standard?

    I can’t believe I typed down all of the above comments; But I am just a bit nervous to see such a show could be put up on stage in Berkeley Society;

    Even so, I’d still say, thank you Berkeley for allowing my public challenge stay in this comments part up to present; I still highly esteem the name of Berkeley and Chancellor Nicolas Dirks; please allow me to say it again right here on this Berkeley board — Viva Berkeley !

    • Peter Cao

      I’ve met several people from Berkeley in the past; they are friendly, bright and with fine rectitude, except this criminal suspect Gabriele Scheler who happened to be a visiting scholar at Berkeley International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) over a decade ago; I once asked Gabriele Scheler on site of her crime: ‘Where did you get your education? It’s so different from mine” — though, I definitely did not mean the sadistic part of this lady is coming out of the education from Berkeley — don’t get confused :)

      I wish people of Berkeley would also agree with us all that protecting human lives and their basic rights of living supersedes teaching, doing business or doing research; And nowhere would like to advocate personnel associated with fascism crimes; and everyone has the responsibility to fight against such anti-humanity crimes; — Viva Berkeley !

  • Peter Cao

    Other than his involvement into a series of fascism crimes as indicated in my former comments, here is an additional comment — a list of facts, nothing personal:) — about Sebastian Thrun from an insider (not me); — Would such a personnel really be up to the moral standard as a role model to the world of education?

    ======================

    Regarding to a recent article on BusinessInsider — “The Inventor Of Google Glass Says It Could Outsource Our Brains” — Sebastian Thrun is not the Google Glass Inventor; Here is a comment from an insider (not me) about Sebastian Thrun and the google glass technology which Thrun claimed to be its inventor

    ————————————–

    Thrun is shamelessly taking credit for work done by others. In Germany, his native country, prof. Dickmanns already had fully autonomous, fast, self-driving cars (160km/h) in traffic in 1995, long before anybody else, and 10 years before Thrun’s team joined the fray by participating in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge for self-driving cars. And the DARPA objectives were not that hard to achieve, as quite a few teams were able to reach the goal. One of them was a financial services company that had never dabbled in robotics before. All of this is easy to verify. Or take the online courses of Udacity. In Germany, prof. Loviscach started online university lectures back in 2009, and got millions of clicks long before Thrun jumped on the train 3 years later. The award-winning prof. Vornberger published his popular videos already in 2002, even before the Khan Academy, currently the most visible mass education outfit. (Germany has a long tradition of distance teaching – Univ. Hagen with over 80,000 remote students has specialized on this for decades.) Even at Stanford, Thrun was not the first. His colleague prof. Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera, got hundreds of thousands of viewers for his youtube machine learning course, long before Thrun followed suit and put his own lecture online. Or take Google Glass. No wonder that prof. Babak Parviz, its creator, got miffed when Thrun started taking credit for that as well. More examples from Academia could be listed. If there is one recurring theme in Thrun’s carreer, it’s his (more or less subtle) attempts at festooning himself with achievements of others.

    —————————–

    Thrun was not the primary contributor to the self driving car technology either; Thrun was privileged by some tycoons in science field to take credit for works done by others; e.g., the person who had made primary contribution to the self-driving car project, which built-up fame for Thrun, is a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, but his name disappeared later on while Thrun takes all the credit for the self-driving car project;

  • Peter Cao

    Why did some of my comments suddenly disappear?

  • Peter Cao

    This is a decade long case with a lot of messy happenings starting from a simple campus atrocity case with clear evidence and serious police investigation; but how could a simple campus atrocity case turned into a series of fascism crimes of over a decade long? — Facism prevails and miscarriage of justice is going on; — not all by my capability could handle;
    ……………………

    In regard to a more recent article http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/10/06/chancellor-dirks-and-sebastian-thrun-square-off-in-online-learning-debate/ , it seems Chancellor Dirks was entangled by those fascism powers behind Sebastian Thrun into a weird positoin to give this fascist Sebastian Thrun an unnaturally balatant boost to erect Thrun’s image as a world-class educator;

    Since I could not comment in that article, I come here to express my opinion:

    About the use of term — “moral and intellectual faculties” — by Chancellor Dirks in that talk as documented in that article, here is a handy quote about the moral issue of Sebastian Thrun from an insider’s (not mine) comment as listed above that:” … More examples from Academia could be listed. If there is one recurring theme in Thrun’s carreer, it’s his (more or less subtle) attempts at festooning himself with achievements of others.” — According to that insider’s revelation, Thrun was not godfather (‘godfather’? is he a mafia?) of self-driving car, not godfather of Online Learning, and definitely not the inventor of Google Glass — Would such a personnel be up to the moral standard as a role model in the world of education? — in light of such findings, Would Chancellor Dirks added again that “we agree entirely” with what Sebastian Thrun had done?

    Would anyone like to gamble the credibility and reputation of Berkeley Society on such a personnel as Sebastian Thrun is who had involved into a series of fascism crimes? Would “The University of California be an interesting amalgam” to the extent to accommodate such of Thrun’s behaviors as a ‘moral and intellectual faculty’ up to the Berkeley Standard?

    I can’t believe I typed down all of the above comments; But I am just a bit nervous to see such a show could be put up on stage in Berkeley Society;

    Thank you Berkeley for allowing my public challenge stay in this comments part up to present; I still highly esteem the name of Berkeley and Chancellor Nicolas Dirks; please allow me to say it again right here on this Berkeley board — Viva Berkeley !

  • Peter Cao

    Viva Ber-Cal !!! Viva Berkeley !!! However,

    It is a tough task to fight against such anti-humanity crimes which are fascism by nature; As a victim of a series of fascism crimes associated with Gabriele Scheler, Sebastian Thrun and the likes, what I posted on the web are no more than facts, facts those fascists I challenged dare never publicly deny; I bet such of their fascism crimes would not be tolerated anywhere in human society; If anyone disagree, especially those I publicly challenged, please give us a candid answer right here on this board; — equal opportunity and freedom of speech :)

    • Peter Cao

      This is a decade long case with a lot of messy happenings starting from a simple campus atrocity case with clear evidence and serious police investigation; but how could a simple campus atrocity case turned into a series of fascism crimes of over a decade long? — Facism prevails and miscarriage of justice is going on;

      ……………………

      In regard to a more recent article http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/10/06/chancellor-dirks-and-sebastian-thrun-square-off-in-online-learning-debate/ , it seems Chancellor Dirks was trapped by those fascism powers behind Sebastian Thrun into a weird positoin to give this fascist Sebastian Thrun an unnaturally balatant boost to erect Thrun’s image as a world-class educator;

      Since I could not comment in that article, I come here to express my opinion:

      About the use of term — “moral and intellectual faculties” — by Chancellor Dirks in that talk as documented in that article, here is a handy quote about the moral issue of Sebastian Thrun from an insider’s (not mine) comment as listed above that:” … More examples from Academia could be listed. If there is one recurring theme in Thrun’s carreer, it’s his (more or less subtle) attempts at festooning himself with achievements of others.” — Would such a personnel be up to the moral standard as a role model in the world of education? — in light of such findings, Would Chancellor Dirks added again that “we agree entirely” with what Sebastian Thrun had done?

      Would anyone like to gamble the credibility and reputation of Berkeley Society on such a personnel Sebastian Thrun who had involved into a series of fascism crimes? Would “The University of California be an amalgam interesting” to the extent to accomodate such of Thrun’s moral behaviors as a ‘moral and intellectual facuty’?

      I can’t believe I typed down all of the above comments; But I am just a bit nervous to see such a show could be put up on stage of Berkeley Society;

      Thank you Berkeley for allowing my public challenge stay in this comments part up to present; I still highly esteem the name of Berkeley and Chancellor Nicolas Dirks; please allow me to say it again right here on this Berkeley board — Viva Berkeley !

  • Peter Cao

    Sebastian Thrun had collateralled with a criminal suspect named gabriele scheler in a series of fascism crimes starting from a Stanford campus atrocity case — [Stanford police case number: IR #04-111-0335;Victim: Peter Cao; Criminal Suspect: Gabriele Scheler]— http://t.cn/SXQ6Rj —, which induced a series of fascism crimes which had endangered human lives; From there, there comes a war between fascism and anti-fascism, at this stage, fascism still prevails in our lives; Sebastian Thrun and Gabriele Scheler are just front figures we could see in a fascism circle, there is a whole pack of fascists behind them to cover up their crimes and to retaliate on victims;— Miscarriage of justice is going on; — here is the link to this criminal suspect Gabriele Scheler’s website —- http://t.cn/RPbiq5G

    — Such fascism crimes have to be disciplined by laws and such fascists like Gabriele Scheler and Sebastian Thrun and the likes have to be brought to justice; they can’t escape from it;

    • Peter Cao

      — The point is, though I am a victim while Gabriele Scheler a criminal suspect, my life has been underhandedly cursed and systematically retaliated by fascism powers behind Sebastian Thrun for over 10 years without an end ever since Gabriele Scheler recanted her testimony and falsely accused me at somewhere unknown to me in the judicial system; Sebastian Thrun and Gabriele Scheler’s follow up retaliatory crimes had been collateralled by some officers (namely ZZZ/YYY/VVV) who’s handling Scheler’s recanted testimony in the judicial system, and who hided their identities from me during these many years till today; Neither did I ever see their materials to accuse me, nor did I get a chance to defend myself; i.e. their underhanded retaliatory fascism crimes are coming from the judicial system, as well; — Miscarriage of justice is going on;

      • Peter Cao

        Miscarriage of justice is one horrible horrible thing that could ever happen to human society; it could result in the victims being further victimized; it could produce retaliatory fascism crimes directly from the judicial system;

        That day, a man named JayJones argued in comments part of an article titled “Get schools out of the 1890s” by Mr. Newt Gingrich on cnn dot com, that — “Apparently they are tolerated in human society, since neither of them have been arrested or imprisoned. What is your definition of fascist?” —

        ======== My Answer =======

        Dear Mr. JayJones,

        — Miscarriage of justice is going on, and that’s why neither Sebastian Thrun nor Gabriele Scheler have been arrested or imprisoned so far, while I as a victim am further victimized by their retaliatory fascism crimes; the case remain mystified and incomplete so far; and at this stage, the real problems are coming from the judicial system; Justice has not been done;

        — The fact that Gabriele Scheler or Sebastian Thrun have not been arrested or imprisoned so far does not mean they are tolerated in human society; at least I know San Francisco State University fired Gabriele Scheler and Stanford partially fired Sebastian Thrun due to their involvement into such fascism crimes; and I am pretty sure both of them would be universally rejected as more and more people learn the fascism nature in their crimes;

        — As I said before: “We are all made of human beings; you have your judgement, and we all have our own; Anybody with normal intelligence could easily figure out that there is something seriously wrong going on in this case;” I wonder who’s the officer handling Gabriele Scheler and Sebastian Thrun’s case? How would they explain the brutality from Gabriele Scheler on my body as evidenced in those 7 photos, in the first place?—http://t.cn/SXQ6Rj —

        — What’s the real identities of judicial officers (namely ZZZ/YYY/VVV) handling Sebastian Thrun’s case and Gabriele Scheler’s recanted testimony? How can I see their materials to accuse me? Can you let us know? I have serious questions to ask them;

      • Peter Cao

        Miscarriage of justice is one horrible horrible thing that could ever happen to human society; it could result in the victims being further victimized; it could produce retaliatory fascism crimes directly from the judicial system;

        That day, a man named JayJones argued in comments part of an article titled “Get schools out of the 1890s” by Mr. Newt Gingrich on cnn dot com, that — “Apparently they are tolerated in human society, since neither of them have been arrested or imprisoned. What is your definition of fascist?” —

        ======== My Answer =======

        Dear Mr. JayJones,

        — Miscarriage of justice is going on, and that’s why neither Sebastian Thrun nor Gabriele Scheler have been arrested or imprisoned so far, while I as a victim am further victimized by their retaliatory fascism crimes; the case remain mystified and incomplete so far; and at this stage, the real problems are coming from the judicial system; Justice has not been done;

        — The fact that Gabriele Scheler or Sebastian Thrun have not been arrested or imprisoned so far does not mean they are tolerated in human society; at least I know San Francisco State University fired Gabriele Scheler and Stanford partially fired Sebastian Thrun due to their involvement into such fascism crimes; and I am pretty sure both of them would be universally rejected as more and more people learn the fascism nature in their crimes;

        — As I said before: “We are all made of human beings; you have your judgement, and we all have our own; Anybody with normal intelligence could easily figure out that there is something seriously wrong going on in this case;” I wonder who’s the officer handling Gabriele Scheler and Sebastian Thrun’s case? How would they explain the brutality from Gabriele Scheler on my body as evidenced in those 7 photos, in the first place?—http://t.cn/SXQ6Rj —

        — What are the real identities of judicial officers (namely ZZZ/YYY/VVV) handling Sebastian Thrun’s case and Gabriele Scheler’s recanted testimony? How can I see their materials to accuse/curse me? Can you or anybody let us know? I have serious questions to ask them;

    • Peter Cao

      — 希望大家 明辨是非; 在此案未澄清前,和那些法西斯份子没有认识到歧视谋害他人是有罪的之前,莫要为这个法西斯份子Sebastian Thrun 宣扬造势;

      — It is a common sense to all of us that protecting human lives and their basic rights of living supersedes teaching, doing business or doing research; Before this case clarified, and those fascists along with this criminal suspect Gabriele Scheler and Sebastian Thrun being concurred, I bet nobody would like to play up personnel associate with fascism crimes, the likes of Sebastian Thrun and Gabriele Scheler, nor cover up their fascism crimes and everybody has the obligation to fight against such fascism crimes;

      — Would anyone like to be educated by someone who’s mis-behaviors have brought into our lives fascism crimes which had endangered human lives? Would anyone like to be living in a society under the jurisdiction of some malicious and cowardice officers, namely ZZZ/YYY/VVV, who hided their identities from us while collateral with those fascism powers to cover up their fascism crimes and retaliate on victims? Could anyone who read this article help us find justice to such anti-humanity crimes associated with Udacity cofounder Sebastian Thrun?

    • Peter Cao

      Viva Ber-Cal !!! However,

      Sebastian Thrun 一方法西斯势力在美国司法系统中极具势力,使得这个本来是非分明,证据明确,并经警察严肃调查过的校园暴力案[斯坦福警察档案号: IR 04-111-0335;受害人: Peter Cao; 犯罪嫌疑人: Gabriele Scheler] 后来在美国司法系统中颠倒黑白,制造冤案以掩盖 Sebastian Thrun, Gabriele Scheler 一方所犯法西斯罪行;而至今那些后来制造冤案的司法官员(namely ZZZ/YYY/VVV)对受害人隐匿他们真实身份黑心办案,并对当事人掩盖案件材料,侵犯隐私,威胁恐吓,阴谋陷害,以阻止澄清案情;从而达到袒护 Sebastian Thrun 与 Gabriele Scheler一方法西斯犯罪的目的;

      — 有人能让大家知道那些后来处理本案司法官员(namely ZZZ/YYY/VVV) 的真实身份么?我有严肃的问题要问他们;

  • Peter Cao

    I’ve met several people from Berkeley in the past; They are friendly, bright and with fine rectitude; I wish people of Berkeley would also agree with us all that protecting human lives and their basic rights of living supersedes teaching, doing business or doing research; And nowhere would like to advocate personnel associated with fascism crimes; and everyone has the responsibility to fight against such anti-humanity crimes;

    • Peter Cao

      Other than his involvement into a series of fascism crimes as indicated in my former comments, here is an additional comment — a list of facts, nothing personal:) — about Sebastian Thrun from an insider (not me); — Would such a personnel really be up to the moral standard as a role model to the world of education?

      ======================

      Regarding to a recent article on BusinessInsider — “The Inventor Of Google Glass Says It Could Outsource Our Brains” — Sebastian Thrun is not the Google Glass Inventor; Here is a comment from an insider (not me) about Sebastian Thrun and the google glass technology which Thrun claimed to be its inventor

      ————————————–

      Thrun is shamelessly taking credit for work done by others. In Germany, his native country, prof. Dickmanns already had fully autonomous, fast, self-driving cars (160km/h) in traffic in 1995, long before anybody else, and 10 years before Thrun’s team joined the fray by participating in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge for self-driving cars. And the DARPA objectives were not that hard to achieve, as quite a few teams were able to reach the goal. One of them was a financial services company that had never dabbled in robotics before. All of this is easy to verify. Or take the online courses of Udacity. In Germany, prof. Loviscach started online university lectures back in 2009, and got millions of clicks long before Thrun jumped on the train 3 years later. The award-winning prof. Vornberger published his popular videos already in 2002, even before the Khan Academy, currently the most visible mass education outfit. (Germany has a long tradition of distance teaching – Univ. Hagen with over 80,000 remote students has specialized on this for decades.) Even at Stanford, Thrun was not the first. His colleague prof. Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera, got hundreds of thousands of viewers for his youtube machine learning course, long before Thrun followed suit and put his own lecture online. Or take Google Glass. No wonder that prof. Babak Parviz, its creator, got miffed when Thrun started taking credit for that as well. More examples from Academia could be listed. If there is one recurring theme in Thrun’s carreer, it’s his (more or less subtle) attempts at festooning himself with achievements of others.

      ——————————————-

      Thrun was not the primary contributor to the self driving car technology either; Thrun was privileged by some tycoons in science field to take credit for works done by others; e.g., the person who had made primary contribution to the self-driving car project, which built-up fame for Thrun, is a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, but his name disappeared later on while Thrun takes all the credit for the self-driving car project;