I was watching this incredible video by Daphne Kolher as part of a TEDx talk. For the uninitiated Daphne Koller is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free — not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. With Coursera (cofounded by Andrew Ng), each keystroke, quiz, peer-to-peer discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed. With Coursera, Daphne Koller and co-founder Andrew Ng are bringing courses from top colleges online, free, for anyone who wants to take them.

What was interesting observation to me is with a slew of online courses in technical education done mostly using video lectures, quizzes ( objective ) may not be sufficient enough for students to achieve all the required learning outcomes. For example, a lot of courses needs labs for doing hands-on experiments – like EE courses, or needs students to acquire cognitive skills like being able to design, apply, evaluate, etc. Soem courses may need the students to do projects. How do you grade and assess such skills in an online framework ? Clearly quizzes are only a tip of the iceberg. Are the learning outcomes being sufficiently addressed in such courses ? What are your views ?