So what's the big draw? The two professors, Peter Norvig, a computer science genius who's written the definitive text on A.I. and is director of research at Google, and Sebastian Thrun, known for his trailblazing work in robotics and for running the Google driverless car project, are serious experts in the field. Eager learners across the globe are jumping at the chance to attend a virtual class taught by these two.
What also helps is that Norvig and Thrun are making a real effort to give virtual students the kind of education normally reserved for attendees of elite schools. Unlike other free courses offered by universities, the duo isn't just sticking a syllabus up on a website for people to follow on their own. They plan to make serious use of technology in order to give virtual lectures covering the "same level of material" as an in-person class. Also on deck are plans to give feedback on assignments and answer student questions.
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