Robert Ghrist: The Power of Online Learning



– Penn has taken the lead in
bringing courses to the world. We're really at the front
of this online revolution that we're seeing and
it is a revolution. It is a very different
way of thinking about our educational mission. I took on the
challenge of building a calculus course for the
world to see through Coursera. I built 16 hours of
video, all hand drawn and hand animated. It is what I see in my head. It's things moving,
planes slicing, spheres, balls, and all kinds
of mathematical
structures in motion because that's what
calculus is all about. One of the surprises
was the connection that I made with those students who were most active in
the discussion boards. One of the best students that
I encountered was Sankalp. He was from Mumbai, India. 17 years old and not
only did he take it, he aced it start to finish. I am so proud of him. Even better, when that was done, he went back and
started making videos for students in his high
school, in his area, videos explaining calculus,
explaining mathematics, motivating them to
take their education up to the next level. This is part of
the way that Penn impacts not only Philadelphia, not only the United
States, but the world.

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