“Sabermetrics Comes to the Classroom”

Standford University Professor, Daphne Koller in this video introduces her startup, Coursera.  Coursera is an innovative approach to on line learning. On the site are on line courses from top universities, but with quizzes and assignments added to each lesson. They are all free and anyone can go through the course, submit the work, and earn a certificate at the end. There are no credits, but everything is graded and you can interact with others taking the course. There are courses starting throughout the year.

The most exciting part for me, not only do I get to go back to university, but also, they Dr. Koller and her colleagues are collecting data on how people process knowledge. Every correct or incorrect answer given on a quiz is analyzed and millions of data point help them understand how students perceive lectures, examples, etc.

In a traditional classroom, a teacher grades a set of exams of say, at ISB, a maximum of 30 papers. Often, trends appear that makes a teacher think about how they presented information. For example, when I was teaching science, a student once misinterpreted percentage error as percentage of air. 

Now with Coursera, instead of a class of 30, there are thousands of sample answers. Also, with on line learning, every question and answer can be entered into a database. What an amazing opportunity for educators to learn more about how students think and interpret or misinterpret lectures, presentations, and examples.

Technology is changing how we can do things. In one of my favorite sports, baseball, the video analysis of every single pitch and swing of the bat, has changed how much evidence coaches and managers can collect on player performance. These new statistics derived from the new technology are called “sabermetrics.” With Coursera, sabermetrics are now coming to education.

The list of courses  is long and I hope I can find the time to take a course or two.


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