Dr. Chuck has reached over a million learners from across the world with Coursera. He is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information, where he teaches various technology-oriented courses including programming, database design, and web development. He joined us at our headquarters in Mountain View to talk about his new course Web Applications for Everybody:
Tell us about your new course Web Applications for Everybody.
Web Applications for Everybody originated from a course I teach at the University of Michigan. My goal when creating it was to keep the material simple and easy to follow, only including information I think a student will need. Web Applications for Everybody teaches the things I believe every employer would want every web developer to know. Even though there’s a wide range of technology for building web applications, there are some concepts that are common to all those technologies. So I’m trying to teach the concepts that make you a better programmer whether you’re using Ruby on Rails, Java, or PHP, you still need to learn the basics of web applications and that’s what this course is. It should prepare you and lay the groundwork for everything you will learn as a web developer.
Why should learners take this course?
What’s unique about this Specialization is that it completes a 3-specialization sequence that is the first low cost and 100% online path that can take you from not knowing anything about computers to being employable with job-ready skills. From high school students to adult learners who want a career change, Python for Everybody, Web Design for Everybody, and Web Applications for Everybody will help learners become entry-level professionals. We wanted to create a guiding path for people to begin a career in technology with little to no experience. No matter what your background is, no matter how old or young you are, my goal is to help you get there with these courses. This 3-specialization sequence is very important to me because there’s almost no one in the world that couldn’t take this course and be successful. Colleen van Lent and I have been working since 2015 to create these courses to give people a complete and affordable path to a technical career on the Coursera platform.
What first sparked your interest in MOOCs?
It all goes back to 1996 when I graduated with a Ph.D. in Computer Science and spent all my research in high-performance computing. I quickly realized that the field I intended to be in was shrinking and research funding for high-performance computing was fading away so I made a decision to move on to a new topic: using the internet to teach. By 1997 I built my first piece of educational technology called Syncomatic and it synchronized slides to audio streams using a technology called Real Audio. Then I taught my first MOOC to people who had 14.4 modems and I was hooked. My first experiences were amazingly successful as I discovered that people have a desire to learn about the internet and learn beyond what’s available on campus.
Why did you create Web Applications for Everybody?
One of the main problems with higher education is that admissions criteria can be very strict, which can sometimes leave out many students. Universities reject students rather than figuring out what they actually need to learn and it turns out that the remedial topics are actually the most valuable because they’re the most practical. That’s why my courses have “for everybody” at the end. I will meet the student at the education level they’re at and teach them from there, hoping to change their lives in a positive way and inspire them to keep going.
Sign up for Web Applications for Everybody now: http://bit.ly/2z8SZaI