Tim O'Shea, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of University of Edinburgh on Digital Distribution at #turingfest  

Prof Tim is also a computer scientist

In a few years from now we will see online delivery dominate higher education.

Attempts to do it are not new. Have been applying AI to learning back in 70s. Been lots of false starts. They haven't worked as result of being too early, the tech wasn't robust, they were perhaps to ambitious (even by todays standards), very platform dependent, some person dependent, funding was inadequate and assessment wasn't solved.

(It's nice to know that even computer scientist professors struggle with powerpoints sometimes)

Where is Edinburgh Uni at?

Almost all courses have elements of online learning.  Have online wiht free access with more than 300,000 students (10% main sudent body. (MOOCS)

Offer a series of online courses on advanced medical techniques.  Careful controls to ensure quality! Exams in Edinburgh at end of course.

MOOCs are Massively Open Online Courses.  Basic tech is not new. MIT got into it 10 years ago. First real breakthrough was at Stanford which made it more structured.  Open to anybody, free.  Tend to start as cohorts so will study according to a timetable, have a lot of peer to peer teaching. Typically get certificates of completion rather than accredited degrees.

The "Astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life" is one of 6 offered by Edinburgh. Has 35,000 students.  The Equine nutrition MOOC has the highest retention and completion rate.

MOOCs are not just a post graduate thing, they are seeing senior school students (even whole classes), used during University education too and also older non-graduates.

Introduction to Philosophy has near 100,000 students.

If you Google Astrobiology now number one on Google, pre-MOOC nowhere despite being a leading department.

Has got them to many more countries

Most successful students are those who already have a post grad degree - used to learning

95% found courses good or better - very high level of success for any education

So successful that doing a further 18 MOOCs.  Making them more collaborative too - aggregators starting to appear.  Prof Tim sees this as an exciting new dawn.

He's excited about learning analytics. If you've got 100,000 students you can split test, personalise.

Edinburgh are early adopters - will this cement their brand long into the future? I expect so.

Online will be dominant by 2020. 
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