College Is Dead. Long Live College!

Stories like this make me light up. I love how total strangers are willing to help others achieve their goals. There will always be obstacles everywhere, but there will also be people there to help when truly needed.

Otherwise, it is an interesting trend to witness: many classes are going online. Especially with the launch of iTunesU and the multiple lesson plans that can be found on streaming sites like youtube, people all around the world have education at their fingertips.

Caution: this is a LONG article.

U.S.

On Sept. 17, the Pakistani government shut down access to YouTube. The purported reason was to block the anti-Muslim film trailer that was inciting protests around the world.

One little-noticed consequence of this decision was that 215 people in Pakistan suddenly lost their seats in a massive, open online physics course. The free college-level class, created by a Silicon Valley start-up called Udacity, included hundreds of short YouTube videos embedded on its website. Some 23,000 students worldwide had enrolled, including Khadijah Niazi, a pigtailed 11-year-old in Lahore. She was on question six of the final exam when she encountered a curt message saying “this site is unavailable.”

(GOOGLE+ HANGOUT: Can Online Mega Courses Change Education?)

Niazi was devastated. She’d worked hard to master this physics class before her 12th birthday, just one week away. Now what? Niazi posted a lament on the class discussion board: “I am very angry…

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