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Free Stanford CS Classes Attract Thousands

Stanford University’s Computer Science department is offering three, free online courses this fall that are attracting thousands of students worldwide. The most popular thus far – with more than 120,000 students enrolled as of 22 August -- is an introductory class on artificial intelligence to be taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, two leading experts on the topic. Those students not enrolled at Stanford won’t receive grades or academic credit, but they will reportedly be ranked against their fellow students and will get a “statement of accomplishment.” The professors said they were inspired to offer the online courses after seeing the success of the Khan Academy, which offers online courses aimed at high school and middle school students. The other free Stanford courses will be an introduction to database software and introduction to machine learning. Thrun told The New York Times he didn’t think that offering free courses would pose a threat to the university. “I’m much more interested in bringing Stanford to the world. … I see the developing world having colossal educational needs.” (The New York Times)(i-programmer)(Stanford University – Introduction to Artificial Intelligence)

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