coursera is the beginning of new era!

In case you have not come across the Coursera website, I strongly suggest you to take a look at this wonderful initiative. You can simply explore the courses menu to locate possible courses you might be interested in. I have personally followed some of the courses, such as the Machine Learning course by Andrew Ng, and it was amazing. At first, it might seem similar to other online lectures! However, there are some subtle but essential differences. The main difference is that, each course is divided into several small lectures, where each lecture is very well designed with some follow-up questions (or quiz). It is very accessible and practical, and more importantly, it is not designed as A PART OF curriculum, but each course is a stand alone subject.

Since the beginning of blogging, I tend to believe the future hiring would change from the current passive process to something more interactive. For example, I thought employers can initiate a blog to post essential materials for applicants who want to undertake a particular position. Then, interact with those members who continuously contributes to the blog and in the end, hire one or some of them, instead of just trusting applicants resumes. Not to mention, not everybody is good in demonstrating their abilities in hypothetical situations introduced in the interviews.

Now that I know more about Coursera, I believe it is even better than blogging. Basically, an employer can post a course (or series of courses) to freely teach applicants about the subject and evaluate the ones have taken the course, at the end, the best possible candidates can be called up for an interview. This way, employers can make sure that the applicants are at least familiar with the subject and have been evaluated once. Additionally, applicants have this opportunity to learn something new throughout the hiring process. So, each job application can be a new experience and new lesson instead of a disappointing process.

I also believe that the future of graduate studies would change similarly. For example, one can design their own curricula through Coursera. After taking enough courses, the corresponding certificate can be added to their resume. For getting the certificate, applicants are asked to do a project. Then for pursuing higher degrees, they can apply for those professors who either posted a project or a course or both on Coursera. This way, both sides are certain about the common interest and background. At the same time, professors are encouraged to broadcast their knowledge, freely. University expenses for graduate courses would also drop down.

After Wikipedia this is the next internet product which I am really excited about. The cool thing about Coursera is that, with a little money one can earn certificates of the courses they have taken. Or they can choose to watch the course and learn something (without getting a certificate) for free.