Massive Online Courses: Gutenberg in the 21st Century?

Umesh Vazirani (Berkeley Quantum Computation Center (BQIC) University of California at Berkeley, USA.)
Do Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) constitute a revolution in education that will flatten the World more than outsourcing ever could? Naysayers argue that once the novelty fades, MOOCS will prove to be no better than textbooks or videotaped courses as a conduit for self-study. Then there are those who worry that MOOCS portend the doom of Academia. Others hope that educational tools developed in the context of MOOCS will lead to much more effective classes at universities. In this lecture I will share my experience teaching a MOOC on "quantum mechanics and quantum computation," earlier this year. This advanced undergraduate course starts with a novel introduction to quantum mechanics and concludes with the basic principles of quantum computation. I will briefly describe the course as well as what the MOOC taught me about teaching.