When last we met PandoDaily, the ever-conflicted crew was gushing about how great their benefactor's shoe company is. Today, Pando's Shill-in-chief Sarah Lacy thinks questionable, for-profit online courses are worth a shot. Can you guess what comes next?
Of course the online "school" in question here—Udacity—is backed by mega-VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, whose namesake partner also stuck money in PandoDaily. Lacy's writeup is expectedly generous: Udacity's mission is nothing less than "bringing free higher-education to the world," with the company's CEO, Sebastian Thrun, at the helm. Lacy urges readers to watch an earlier video interview explaining "what makes Thrun such a radical thinker."
It is poorly structured; it evidences an almost complete lack of planning for the lectures; it routinely fails to properly define or use standard terms or notation; it necessitates occasional massive gaps where “magic” happens; and it results in nonstandard computations that would not be accepted in normal statistical work. In surveying the course, some nights I personally got seriously depressed at the notion that this might be standard fare for the college lectures encountered by most students during their academic careers.
Nothing important. If you're at least going to issue a video press release, can't we at least get one of those panacea disclosures? You can even tuck it in at the end in slender italics, if you like—anything's better than silence, Sarah.