After a horribly embarrassing introduction, this 25 minute talk yesterday by Sebastian Thrun gives Thrun's own candid and personal reflection on last Autumn's AI course, which had 160,000 sign-ups (nearly 100,000 of whom were on the advanced track), 46,000 submitters of the first homework, 23,000 submitters of the mid-term exam, and 20,000 who completed the final exam.
Highlights of the talk:
- the large drop-out rate from the lectures on the same course at Stanford, with students preferring to use the free video-based version;
- a volunteer army of ~2000 translators;
- individual feedback from students in terrible places in the world or under big social pressure who completed the course;
- Thrun's own epiphany concerning the wrongness of "weeder" classes;
- Thrun's decision not to teach by lecture at Stanford again and instead to concentrate his efforts on a private venture-capital funded initiative called Udacity, whose online courses will be free.
Udacity aims to enrol 500,000 students on its first two courses: CS101- Building a search engine; CS373 - Programming a robotic car.
My own and others' reports from the AI course.