viernes, 24 de agosto de 2012

Sink or swim

As part of his presentation, one of the co-founders of udacity, Sebastian Thrun, read to the audience three emails. The first two said very positive things about the impact Sebastian's lecturing had on them. The third one, on the contrary, was a complain.The email was written by a father. He complained that his effort of getting his daughter to study technology using Sebastian's lectures was failing.The frustrated father said: "I had hoped that the class would be structured to engage the interest of the student first, so that they would have a motivational context for mastering some statistics. I was surprised to see the class structured much more like a 'weeder' class from my own days of school."

At the beginning, Sebastian Thrun structured his web lectures as he did over, during two decades, at Carnegie Mellon and Stanford. He recognized himself as a tough teacher:  "I always gave students really hard questions, I always let them fail and I would come to the rescue. [It] made myself really smart", he said. 

The strategy to give students hard material it is called "sink or swim".  In the middle of his epiphany moment, Thrun said: "We really empower the professor to make him look smart and we don't help the students to become smart".

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