Prominent USF Professor of Education and blogger Sherman Dorn reviews an online classical mechanics offering by Stanford University professor Leonard Susskind. Sound odd? Well, it turns out that Sherman is a physics insider, with a physics major daughter and some interest of his own. In fact, Sherman offers this, “I married a Bryn Mawr math major, so I know who Emmy Noether is and where she’s buried: Bryn Mawr College’s cloisters walkway.” I’ll bet you didn’t know that. I certainly didn’t.
Sherman’s bottom line:
On the other hand, online lectures, MOOCs, and similar efforts to broaden the reach of universities do serve a public purpose in the way that extension programs do, by providing access to university-based expertise. In that way, iTunes, Youtube, and MOOCs all have immediate utility and justification. I am delighted that anyone with an Internet connection can learn a little about poetry and physics online. We just shouldn’t expect these online opportunities to be more than what they are.