Udacity’s Sebastian Thrun, Godfather Of Free Online Education, Changes Course

20131115-214336.jpgSuddenly, something that had been unthinkable–that the Internet might put a free, Ivy League–caliber education within reach of the world’s poor–seems tantalizingly close. “Imagine,” an investor in the Professor’s company says, “you can hand a kid in Africa a tablet and give him Harvard on a piece of glass!” The wonky term for the Professor’s work, massive open online course, goes into such wide use that a New York Times headline declares 2012 the “Year of the MOOC.” “Nothing has more potential to lift more people out of poverty,” its star columnist Thomas Friedman enthuses, terming the new category “a budding revolution in global online higher education.”

It is a good story, as well manicured as a college quad during homecoming weekend. But there’s a problem: The man who started this revolution no longer believes the hype. —Fast Company