A funny thing happened to me on my way to hear Sebastian Thrun speak in October. Thrun, you’ll remember is the (former) Stanford Artificial Intelligence professor, whose free online course went viral last year, starting the frenzy over Massive Open Online Courses, known by the acronym MOOCs. These are super-large enrollment non-credit courses offered for free. Thrun’s AI course attracted around 160,000 enrollments. What is seldom added to that fact is that around 133,000 dropped out of the course. Nonetheless, 28,000 students are more than Thrun would ever reach with his in-person lectures during his lifetime.
This September over 40 Oregon State faculty members (many brand new to the OSU community) participated in the first Roads Scholar Tour. The tour, sponsored by the Division of University Outreach and Engagement, College of Agricultural Sciences and the Center for Latino/a Studies and Engagement, made five stops between Corvallis and Portland, and in between an engaging conversation was led by our tour hosts Barbara Holland and Judith Ramaley, both internationally renowned leaders in the area of community engagement.