Remote Education Final Project

What are the challenges and ethical implications of implementing large-scale distance education platforms?

Abstract

Distance learning provides a means for hundreds of thousands of people each year to learn valuable skills. Stanford’s SCPD program, MIT’s Opencourseware and Stanford’s recently released free suite of computer science classes, have proven very popular, allowing over 100 million people worldwide to access material from world-class universities . The popularity of online education raises questions as to whether the traditional university model will fade away to be replaced with cheap, scalable online education. With increased Information and Communication Technology (ICT), virtual presentations, automatic assessments and online learning communities become easier to implement. Will students forgo high-priced, elite universities in favor of a stay-at-home, affordable, world-class education?  Remote education does have many drawbacks. In order to provide an accurate assessment for the efficacy and utility of distance learning as a viable means of widespread education, it is important to address the following issues: feasibility (economic, social, technological, and feasibility of certification), the effect of distance (geographic and technological) on learning, importance of human interactions in the classroom versus online, and possible consequences of distance learning. Online education is here to stay, yet it is vital for educators and students to analyze potential pitfalls of the platform before widespread adoption.

About Us

This project was born out of CS 181 (Computers, Ethics and Public Policy) class at Stanford University in the Fall  of 2011. We have explored ethical, economic and logistical concerns that arise from remote education, which has spiked in popularity in recent years. Stanford University faculty have recently founded a number of startups relating to e-learning, offering courses such as ai-class.com, ml-class.com. anatomy-class.org, venture-class.org, ClassX and many more. Our project covers the significance of distance education, the consequences of distance learning, its feasibility and challenges that need to be addressed. Our team consists of:

Deniz Kahramaner: Studying Electrical Engineering at Stanford University.

Jon Rodriguez: Studying Computer Science at Stanford University.

Ben Kallman: Studying Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University.