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Future Fiji Swims & the Shane Gould Swimming Project in Fiji

Bula (hello) everyone,

For the foreseeable future we will be focusing our energies in Fiji on the community drowning prevention program run by Shane Gould and Milt Nelms.  This means that until we secure a major sponsor to cover the costs of staging the Fiji Swims we are unable to hold the annual open water swimming races between Denarau, Beachcomber and Treasure islands.  While this is disappointing, it is a matter of dollars and I’m afraid I can’t keep subsidising the Fiji Swims … at the same time we are excited to be increasing the work we are doing for the Shane Gould Swimming Project in Fiji, especially on the Coral Coast of the main island of Viti Levu with the Outrigger Resort and the nearby villages of Malevu and Korotogo.

To keep in touch with the work of Shane and Milt and to learn how you can get involved with the Fiji community drowning prevention program ‘like’ the Facebook page for the Shane Gould Swimming Project in Fiji or email

Vinaka vaka levu (thank you very much),

David Handley

How MOOCs Are Taking Local Knowledge Global

Coursera co founder Andrew Ng is widely considered a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence. Along with Daphne Koller, he is the co founder of Coursera, the massive open online course (MOOC) platform, in April 2012. In just a little more than three years, Coursera has over 12 million users enrolled in more than 1,000 courses from more than a hundred institutions worldwide. Ng taught at Stanford University and is the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab. He works on deep learning algorithms, which Ng says are loosely inspired by how the brain learns. He worked on one of the most ambitious artificial intelligence systems at Google called Google Brain. The system analyzed millions of photos taken from YouTube videos and learned to recognize objects, including human and cat faces, without additional human guidance.

Last year, Ng announced he would be stepping away from his day to day responsibilities at Coursera to become chief scientist and head of Baidu Research, and lead a new five year, $300 million research initiative based in Silicon Valley. Chinese language search engine Baidu, sometimes known as Google, is the world fifth most popular website with a $55 billion market capitalization.

In an interview about MOOCs and their impact, Ng says they allow universities to take their great content and project it onto a larger audience than they ever did before. Emanuel on the impact of MOOCs on traditional business education, also found that rather than poaching students, MOOCs complement, enrich and help business schools reach new diverse audiences. I think this knowledge is so radical in everyday society and most people on the planet will never have access to an on campus walk in class. I kicked off a Coursera founders conference by telling the story of one of the students, a baker in Bangladesh. She took Coursera courses including a microeconomics class from the University of Pennsylvania and model thinking from the University of Michigan and learned how to run a business. I showed her statements of accomplishments using her verified certificates on the big screen at the Coursera founders conference. Here was a woman who could never attend classes in her city, but today she credits part of her success to Coursera courses. university. All over the developing world, people for whom English is not their first language are trying to use online education to not only better their own skills, but also to help catapult their companies goals as well. They are very eager to learn just so that they can make things better for themselves, whether it a career, or it just learning something new, just like the baker in Bangladesh. What do you think about the impact that Coursera has had, and how you think that might change in the next few years to come?

Ng: A lot of the students who come to Coursera today are from developing economies, and it true that India and China are just two pieces of it. I absolutely agree that the developing world is much more than just that. The debate on developing economies is an interesting one, because there is the hope for MOOCs to give access to the niches of society.

I actually heard two messages used. One sometimes will criticize that two thirds of the people we serve are not in developing economies and so we serving two thirds developed economies. However, in almost in the same breath, a different person encourages us to increase our learning platform for [that segment]. I think that all Coursera was doing was serving the call to the half million learners that all come from developing economies. I think everyone will agree that a fantastic thing. And that is actually what Coursera does today. It just that on top of that, we serve another five and a half million learners that come from developed economies. So I think that there will be a trickle down effect, as more people get Internet access. There are billions of people on this planet who don get good Internet access. university. I think the reach of MOOCs has a vastly greater representation in the less privileged members of our society.

I think the language issue is a very interesting one. Sometimes I go to a university, and I ask them, many of your professors speak English, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Spanish and Arabic? I think usually they find none of their professors speak that many languages. I hope that in the future, they will on Coursera. We don today and we not where we would like to be, but I think that the opportunity to translate content into lots of languages means that professors on Coursera will be able to speak English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Chinese or Arabic. And I think that having a community of learners and translating content will help, say, English speaking professors reach a lot of non English speaking learners. We definitely not where we like to be and there a lot of work to be done still, but I think the early initiations of having a translating community, of having student volunteers translating all the content, seems very promising to me.

Finally, just to relate a kind of personal story: One of the things we trying to do is remain connected with learners, and so when I travel to different cities, I will sometimes go to the local student meet up. There are thousands of student meet ups organized all over the world, and when I in some countries, sometimes I will reach out to the organizer of the meet up and request to join their group just to meet and chat with students. I do this partly because I enjoy meeting the students and partly because it helps me stay connected to learners all around the world. And when I do this in developing economies, one thing that struck me was the real hunger for knowledge. when I go to some meet ups, there is a certain hunger for knowledge. When we walk around our university campuses, we are used to information overload, there is just a buffet of great causes, and we just don have time to learn everything we could learn. In developing economies, these people really don have access. I very surprised when people would take a train for two hours to listen to people talk in some city because in the rural towns in which they live they just did not have access to knowledge. When I speak with all these learners about MOOCs, there is a certain gratitude and hunger that different than what there is in the developed world. Clearly there are examples like ignoring landlines and going straight to cellular phones. or China have relatively developed higher educational systems that are serving a reasonably large fraction of the population. India, in contrast, has a very small higher educational system relative to the size of the population. And their big challenge is to create more capacity. does not need to create a vastly larger higher educational system. I think we tend to worry more about issues of cost equality. I think it very good that we worry about how to make it better. cheap nhl jerseys china India just does not have enough seats.

And so, some of the most innovative work I seen is transforming the higher ed system, especially in India, where they have incredible programs, creating tens of thousands, and hopefully soon, hundreds of thousands of teachers. They blend the learning fashion, combining MOOC content with closer instruction. I think that blended learning was a great idea. I think it will improve the quality of education and I think that the first few countries to implement this skill will really influence the way that really makes them appear valuable to the whole country. It will be developing economies, specifically India and China.

The challenge for blended learning will be in teaching. If you want to move your country to blended learning, this is something that requires working with hundreds of thousands of teachers to help them understand a better way for them to teach. And I think it clearly a better way for them, it would add more value for the teachers, more value for the learners. The completion model that a lot of people question about for the MOOCs really doesn apply to the developing economies, since people there are just using MOOCs to make themselves and their lives better. and maybe Europe, but have you seen any research coming from the developing world about completion rates for students there?

Ng: We have measured completion rates in different countries and yes, there are small differences in completion rates among different countries. Canadians, for example, have a slightly higher completion rate than Americans do. I don remember whether Indians complete courses at a higher or lower rate, but I think that the issues of completion are really global. And I think completion is becoming an increasing fear, [but] it the wrong way to think about what learners are getting out of MOOCs. You have 5,000 students that complete a course. There about an equal number that watches every single video, but doesn do the homework. So should we then say that the completion rates are actually almost double what they are? If they watching every single video, presumably they getting something out of it, but they just chose not to do the homework. That seems like a fine thing to me.

At Coursera, we are starting to experiment with more flexible models of education. Today we asking ourselves questions such as, this region or instruction, why do we need deadlines? It turns out that one of the reasons learners don complete the course is that, something happens at work, and they miss a deadline, after which it can be difficult for them to finish the class and earn their certificate. They become demoralized, so we asking ourselves, are deadlines necessary? Deadlines are a somewhat primitive way to motivate course completion if you don do the thing on time, you lose points. But in this era of auto grading and peer grading, is it possible to just learn with a small flexibility and let them complete courses at their own pace? And that a really good question; I really don know the answer to that. It possible that without deadlines, maybe no one will complete courses. My instinct is that won be the case, but these are the sorts of questions we wholesale jerseys asking ourselves.

you want to move your country to blended learning, this is something that requires working with hundreds of thousands of teachers to help them understand a better way for them to teach. Some Coursera competitors, edX for example, have adopted a non profit 501(c)(3) corporate structure, while Coursera is a for profit venture. Does choice of structure change the way decisions are made at Coursera? For example, edX maintains all data following the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulation (FERPA), which limits some uses of user data in subsequent marketing, while easing data access to researchers. Would Coursera meet resistance from investors if it chose to do that as well?

Ng: I can comment on edX since I not familiar with the details of their operations. But Coursera is extremely mission driven, and has always been. Even before founding the company, when the team was comprised of four students and me, our No. 1 rule was what best for students and this remains our touchstone for all of our decisions today (though it got rewritten to what best for learners later). We also take learner privacy very seriously. I personally very confident that MOOC certificates are helping many learners find better employment. Unfortunately, I don hard numbers to back that up yet. Your recent efforts in developing an on demand service seem designed to support individual study. Is Coursera changing course with regards to the value it places on cohort learning?

Ng: I think that cohort learning is valuable, and so are learner interactions. On demand is better in some ways for encouraging those interactions. First, in today peer grading system, after you submit your homework you might need to wait a week before it gets peer graded. In an on demand system, once you submit your homework, we could ask the next five students who submit to grade your homework. Depending on the number of active learners, this will usually mean that you get your homework graded more quickly. Also, in today cohort system, the forum answers are erased and we start from scratch each time a course re runs. In an on demand system, forum answers can be preserved permanently, and be an archival record (which new students can keep adding to), thus making answers easier to find.

this era of auto grading and peer grading, is it possible to cheap nba jerseys just learn with a small flexibility and let them complete courses at their own pace? Right now, most learners that are taking MOOCs are actually working adults. Coursera serves a very cheap jerseys china broad demographic, anything from high school students to retired adults. But the center of gravity for Coursera is working professionals, so median age is about 35, with a bachelor degree, and most in their 20s and 30s, also late 40s. The reason for this is that, just as a statistical fact, most of us spend most of our lives as working adults, only a relatively short period of our lives is spent in high school, college, and so that part of why most of the learners are working adults.

The second is, it turns out that most college and high school students already have convenient access to education; you just go to college every day. But working adults such as you and me don have continued access to education that we need in order to stay current. Even for professors or people who aren professors, it very inconvenient to hire a babysitter twice a week and go to a night class at a community college. So I think the biggest impact of MOOCs is bringing working adults back into the educational system.

It turns out that, having a room full of 100 people is a very inefficient way to learn. And we know from the data that the retention rate is shockingly low. You remember 20% of the lecture. Reading is another example. Maybe adults have learned to become efficient at using these modes of learning, but I think sitting in a lecture [is] very challenging for young people. I know more about reading, but it turns out that reading is hard for a lot of people, because there so much work, there so much text, and it challenging for people to learn how to process all that and to identify and focus on what important. I guess the same thing is true for lectures, that over time we have developed certain habits of processing the lecture, but I think overall, the modern lecture, where the professorjust talks in front of 200 people, is not a very efficient way for learners to learn.Articles Connexes:

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