The most popular class at Harvard last year was CS50, an introductory computer science course that is offered online. The course’s lectures, by Professor David Malan, are filmed and posted for students to watch remotely. Malan’s course is also offered at Yale, where it’s similarly popular.
“CS50 is a carefully crafted model of how to teach any subject in today’s technological and social environment,” Geoff Colvin reports in a recent Fortune article. “Dozens of teaching assistants are available for in-person assistance 10 hours a week, far more than in traditional courses.” Delving into the popularity of Malan’s course, Colvin points out that although it’s challenging, students find the online lecture incredibly immersive, and many describe it as a social experience — even a “lifestyle.”
How students learn in this class may not be traditional, but the tech-first approach to learning exemplifies the success of massive open online course providers, which have revolutionized education and opened up learning experiences to people of all ages. CS50 uses technology to invite minds into the conversation, instead of excluding those who cannot attend an Ivy League university’s class in person.
“Malan’s course is available for free on edX, the non-profit MOOC operated by Harvard and other top schools,” add Fortune writers Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky. “More than a million students have taken the introductory computer science course at edx. Now that’s revolutionary change.” There’s no question that making education more accessible is vital — and an important example of how technology can be used in a way that adds to the quality of our lives, instead of detracting from it.
For more information, read the full story on Fortune.
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