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A Passionate Educator

Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award winner Sebastian Thrun describes the origins and scope of Udacity, a free, online education resource.


Conversation Club

  1. Sebastian Thrun describes posting one of his Stanford University classes online and inviting anyone to sign up. He says it attracted an incredible number of students. Why was that number so high? Would you ever sign up for a course online?
  2. Thrun states that his company, Udacity, is a social venture. Based on what his company does, how would you define a social venture? Are there social ventures in your community?
  3. Thrun describes the online classes offered on Udacity as interactive, rather than just lectures. What do you think of hands-on learning? Can you give an example from your own personal experience?
  4. Thrun says that Udacity offers higher education classes for free online. How do you think Udacity earns enough money to continue to do this? He gives one example of financial support in his video.
  5. What do you think some of the obvious challenges would be to this type of education solution, especially for people who live around the world?
  6. If you could take any online class, what subject would you be interested in learning more about? What other American businesses or universities do you know about that offer courses online?
  7. Thrun says in his video that Udacity offers educational content that the contemporary work force needs. He lists several subjects that are examples of this. What educational knowledge or skills do you think the contemporary work force needs? What are some ways of seeking out this education, in either formal learning or informal learning environments?
  8. Thrun says that learning a new skill can make you feel empowered. What do you think of this statement? Can you think of an example of this?

Video Series

This video exists as part of a series gathered around the theme of Education. Other videos in this series are listed below.

Saumil Bandyopadhyay’s Nanoscale Infrared Detector
Saumil Bandyopadhyay’s Nanoscale Infrared Detector
Adam Steltzner Looks Beyond Mars
Adam Steltzner Looks Beyond Mars
Smithsonian's Climate Change Statement
Smithsonian's Climate Change Statement
Bill Morrison’s masterpiece of found footage
Bill Morrison’s masterpiece of found footage
Expanding College Opportunities
Expanding College Opportunities
Is Human Evolution Over?
Is Human Evolution Over?
Voice of Witness
Voice of Witness
A Passionate Educator
A Passionate Educator