Can you get an MIT education for $2,000? | Scott Young | TEDxEastsidePrep

Can you get an MIT education for $2,000? |  Scott Young | TEDxEastsidePrep

Translator: Israel Fernandez Martin
Reviewer: Helena Bedalli If you’ve been watching the news lately,
have probably seen photographs like this. Students are protesting because their government is cutting
subsidies to education. And the big part of the reason for this, both the government cutting subsidies and student now cry is that getting a college education
doesn’t cost what it used to. If you graduated more than 2 decades ago, you might be surprised to know that it now costs students
over two and a half times as much as it did for you, and that’s in real dollars
for any economists in the audience here. It’s not an easy problem. On one hand
the cost is becoming harder for both, students and government to bare. But in the other hand
employers are demanding an educated workforce. They want employees
with complex analytical skills. The world now runs
oot of what we dig out of people brains not just what we dig out of the ground. So, that’s the problem. Now what’s the fix? Let me be completely honest with you. I have no idea. But what I want to suggest is that maybe
we’ve been looking in the wrong place. We’ve been expecting change
to come from schools and governments, but what if the change came from us. I’d like to share my story
and suggest that maybe an education doesn’t need to be expensive and what’s more, maybe we can learn better without it. So in my case I was lucky. When I was accepted to college, I managed to narrow down
my choice in major to two choices: Business and computer science. I was really interested in both. With one you get to build companies, with the other
you get to build technologies. And these two are not mutually exclusive. After all Bill Gates was a hacker
before he built an empire. (Laughter) But in my school
I could only major in one. So I did what any freshman would do, and did a careful rational
cost-benefit analysis. [Gender Ratio]
(Laughter) So business it was, and after graduating I have no regrets. I learned a lot and I had a great time. But after finishing my education, I had this longing for the path not taken. I really wanted to learn computer science. But going back to school
didn’t appeal to me four more years of my life, acceptance boards, tuition bills, I didn’t want to postpone my life
and rack up debt, just to pursue a curiosity. I wanted the education, not the school. Then I remembered that
Universities like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, had a habit of putting up classes
online for free. I’ve done a few of these before
and then a thought occurred to me. If you could learn a class,
why not an entire degree. That was the beginning of an experiment. Would it be possible to get
an MIT education in computer science without ever going to MIT? So it’s an intriguing idea, but already you could probably notice the complexities and objections
that may raise so going to the MIT is a lot more
than just what you learn in the classroom. So how can you possibly hope
to replicate something which is such a multifaceted experience. So I like to think college is a lot like eating at a five star restaurant. You’re never paying for just the food. You get the wait staff, elegant decor,
the fancy french wines. You’re paying for a complex
and multifaceted experience. And the same is true at college. You get networking
with your intellectual peers, research opportunities
and credentials from elite institutions. And like the fancy restaurant you get a big bill at the end. And you know what,
sometimes this system works, but just as you probably don’t want
to go to a five star restaurant, every time you get hungry, you probably also
don’t want to go back to school every time you want to learn something. I didn’t want the five course meal. I wanted my education “a la carte”. So what mattered most to me,
was being able to understand the big ideas of computer science; like algorithms, artificial intelligence, encryption, and the Internet. And being able to implement those ideas
in computer programs. So I decided to make my challenge simple. My goal will be to try to pass the exams
an MIT student would do and to do the programming projects. I admit it is a simplification. It omits a lot of the MIT experiences. But for what I wanted to get out of it, it was a pretty good simplification. And what mattered more, it was a simplification that worked. So I was able
to build a curriculum of 33 classes, that with one or two minor exceptions was identical to the course list
an MIT student would use. And I was able to build this using only
MIT’s free online available information. The only cost was for a few text books which meant I could follow
this entire program for under $2000. So I had my goal
and now I have the material. Now for the hard part:
actually learning MIT classes. I’m not kidding myself,
MIT is a really hard school it’s notoriously difficult
even for bright students and what is more, I’m not going to have
the help of faculty, and professors, and classmates
that I can easily get help from. In theory the project’s doable
but it was too difficult in practice. When I told my friends about this, that I was planning on doing
an MIT degree on my own, they reinforced those doubts. They told me they could not imagine trying to learn a MIT degree on your own. It’d be too difficult without constant
guidance and support of faculty members. But that last point
didn’t ring true for me, because when I went to college,
I was in lecture halls like this one, where the professor would give a talk to an auditorium full of 300 students. Yeah, sure that if I had a question
I could rise my hand, but if really didn’t understand something it was up to me to learn it so perhaps the doubts and worries
over do-it-yourself degree, had more to do
with it being unconventional, than it being genuinely more difficult
than a formal program. As I started doing the first few classes, my results were even more surprising. I found I was able to learn faster
using this approach than I ever had while in university. So far from being an obstacle, it turned out that not going to MIT had made my job a lot easier. Ok, so that last bit
deserves a little bit of explanation. After all, an MIT student has access
to everything I do, and much much more. How can I possibly have an advantage
over a student when I have a fewer resources? It defies common sense. So in order to explain this,
I need to do a little bit of a detour. I need to go into the geeky realm
of personal productivity. So there is a tool called the time log. And here is how the time log works. You jot down the starting
and the stopping times for every activity you do. And I mean every activity,
from when you wake up in the morning, to when you take out the garbage. My guess is that most of you here
have never done a time log before, because just imagine
how irritating that is to do. But if you do one,
the results can be eye-opening. Here’s a recent
Wall Street Journal article where the reporter did just that. She writes: “I soon realized I’d been lying to myself about where the time was going. What I thought was a 60-hour workweek
wasn’t even close. I would have guessed I spent hours
doing dishes when in fact I spent minutes. I spent long stretches of time
lost on the Internet or puttering around the house,
unsure exactly what I was doing.” Because I am huge geek
I’ve done time logs before and I can say
the situation is even worse for students. The vast majority of time students spend, isn’t spent learning,
it’s spent commuting to class, copying notes at Starbucks,
and trying to stay awake in lectures. If you could total up the amount of time that students spend forming new insight, and remembering facts which is of course what learning is, it would be tiny. And for the most part,
this is not even the student’s fault. After all, entrepreneurs often notice a startling difference
in their productivity, at a start-up versus a big firm. Big institutions mean bureaucracy. They mean paper work,
they mean doing what you’re told instead of what’s important. So being an educational entrepreneur
can offer some learning advantages over people in a formal system. So, take lectures as a perfect example So, when I would do MIT lectures,
when I started doing the classes, I would watch them
at one and a half times the speed. This may sound very difficult,
but the difference is barely audible in human speech, if it goes too fast, you just hit rewind. Students in a regular classroom
don’t have access to a fast-forward or rewind button, even though I’m guessing
most of them would like one. And the impact of this isn’t trivial. By being able to watch lectures
at a slightly faster pace, and watching them sequentially, I was able to take classes
that normally span four months, and watch them in two days of real time. Or take assignments. Students do assignments
because they have to. Yes, sometimes they facilitate learning, but sometimes they don’t. For example,
if you are struggling with a concept why wait weeks to get your answers back? When I would do a hard MIT assignment, I would do the questions
with the solution key in hand, one question at a time, because it’s tight feedback loops
like this that cognitive scientists recognize
as being critical to learning. And you don’t need to be a genius
to apply these ideas either. being able to replay
keys segments of lectures; being able to get
immediate feedback on your skills; these are structural advantages
that benefit slow learners as much as they benefit fast ones. So, where am I right now? As of this moment I’ve completed 20
of the 33 computer science courses in the MIT curriculum. And by completed I mean I’ve passed those final exams
and I did the programing projects associated with those classes. What’s more, because of speed-ups
like this that I have mentioned, I’m on track of finishing the program
in 12 months instead of 4 years. So today the big topic is about
how technology is going to change educational institutions and classrooms. I think this misses the point. The big upheavals in education
aren’t going to be about schools, They are going to be about students. And I am not alone in believing this. There is already grassroot organizations looking to rethink education,
not from the top-down but from the bottom-up. These are movements that
are not planned by schools or governments, but from students who are fed up
with the limited options the current system provides. Education hacking is the new trend. So billionaire investor Peter Thiel gives
100,000 dollar scholarship to students, not to go to school but to drop out,
and start something interesting. So when the best and brightest and
most motivated start singling their talent by not going to school,
the rest of the world will take notice. And it is not an “all or nothing”
proposition either. Jay Cross,
the founder of “Do-It-Yourself Degree” is putting together
a list of universities based on the number of transfers credits
they accept. That means you can go
to a real university, and get a real degree, but minimize the amount of time
you have to spend learning in the classroom. Look, I get it,
maybe you don’t want to go to MIT or try to learn an MIT degree on your own
just for fun, I get that. But even if you decide
to do your education the old fashion way, this still impacts you. The world is changing too fast
to believe that learning stops once you get your diploma. Being able to teach yourself
complex skills and big ideas is going to be essential to stay ahead. So, like it or not,
most education in the future is going to be self-education. Universities aren’t going away
anytime soon, they will always offer things
self-education will miss. They’re a great experience even if they’re sometimes
an expensive one. But that said,
I believe self-education is the future. If a person like me can learn
an MIT degree in one quarter of the time and 1/100 of the financial cost, what’s to stop you from doing it too? Thank you. (Applause)

100 Replies to “Can you get an MIT education for $2,000? | Scott Young | TEDxEastsidePrep”

  1. this what I've been saying since my first semester of college. I wish it didn't take me that long to realize formal education is a joke.

  2. Excellent talk, Scott! I also believe in self-education. College sounds to me like a place where you go because you "have to". And it is this have-to basis that always makes me think, "Why is it that you have to do things the way other people are doing it?"

    I think it's better to just listen to yourself and do what you think is right than doing something that others are doing.

  3. i find self educating is much quicker, much more effective, and especially when i can apply what i learned instantly to my work, much more profitable/satisfying.

    didnt go to uni years ago, took me some time to grasp concept of self learning, so some guidance would be welcome for newcomers.

    now i just feel limitless (well, time limited 😉 )

  4. And how would one "write" these courses in a fashion that provided a verified transcript? I'm aware of edX, but not all MIT courses are offered on edX… How are you doing it Scott?

  5. the internet is going to kill college the college buble is going to be worse due to the internet its gonna be sad once it pops ye?

  6. The only advantage a university provides is networking with peers and alumni, apart from that the education can be obtained from internet at far lesser cost and sometimes even better in quality

  7. me and my best friend wanted to become programmers, I dropped out of school from the 10th grade to teach my self programming, and I did it in less than 7 month !
    2 years later he graduate while I m doing business ! 😛

  8. I hope my school watches this! Not completely sold but he is bring up some good points. Traditional schools need to ask is this the best way and not be complacent.

  9. My question is whether you can put this self-education on your resume. I guess you could say "Self-taught, online learning".

  10. Were was Gates resume when he dropped out of Harvard. Great lecture and your right there are great courses on the internet.

  11. An attempt to implement this #idea in Data Science. Check Path to a free self-taught education in Data Science! here

  12. "Scott is a speed-reading, vegetarian, holistic learning, productivity hacking recent university graduate."

    Who cares about the nutrition he puts in his belly?

  13. I want to the same thing from a long time ago. But it is just too hard to find what textbook and curriculum that they are using. I wish he could tell us how to find out.

  14. this is honestly great.. i agree with the part where he says that coming to uni can be such a waste of time. i spend like 2~3 hours commuting every single day just to go to 3 lectures.. so much time wasted 🙁 and by the time i get home im tired from all the commuting etc so i dont do much work. but a class in my uni decided to just do audio recording for the lectures (they're trying to force us to go to lectures) thats why im forced to go. sigh.

  15. I totally agree remote study on line, these days people moving around every where in the world, it is hard for every one to just stuck in some where and go to school for 4 years

  16. Such an inspiring talk. Thank you very much, Scott, for this brilliant lecture. I am a big fan of self-learning. Learning new concepts is my passion. The more you learn, the more your brain is picking things quickly and connects it to your knowledge. Learning is the most amazing things ever!

  17. Im about to start my MIT CHALLENGE. I'm looking for people who wants to start with me. This way, we will be more productive and we can engourage each others. I made my own curriculum with 180 credits and have the books for free in pdf. Anyone wants to join?

  18. Yeah, I've not had a lot of luck with MIT's open courses. I usually can't afford the $200 text book, the last one I checked out involved buying a robot, too… and there often isn't all the material there.

  19. I have a question: How does somone apply to the exam after learning online? is it also online, or you have to go to the school HQ? if anyone can help me please.

  20. At first i thought he showed the gender chart comparing presence of the sexes in business and cs to show he was protesting the decline of women in cs……nope….just wanted to get laid.

  21. No, like in medicine, each student should have an individual education program with many teachers helping him. That's the future. Not all children can educate themselves. Most of them need guidance. But at the moment we are witnessing massive educational systems and students that have to fit into that system, while it should be the other way around. School systems should be unique and fit the needs of each individual. So individual school systems specifically designed for each learner, that's the future, which should be the present.

  22. Before buying on gearbest, know that it's thieves.
    They do not repay,
    on google search for "Thieves Gearbest".

  23. I do this. Lifelong learner here. I take MOOCs, put at 2x speed while watching CC. Do some reading using Spritzlet app at 400 wpm. Watch some videos on smart TV.

  24. The big question is "Who evaluated you?", who proctored you to verify your learning? he probably thinks reading questions and posted exam solutions means he has completed the learning process!!!

  25. Sure, you can learn anything that doesn't require labs or expensive tools and equipment from the Internet. You may even be able to get a job. But you won't be able to compete with people with degrees in the long term. They will continue to rise thru the corporate ladder while you languish. You're just training yourself to be a worker not a boss. Add up the cost/benefit over a 30 year career.

  26. The problem isn’t necessarily the college institution itself but the business that require employees to have a degree, even if’ it’s not 100% necessary.

  27. Mit is the best school of hi tech. If you can invent a precision robotic articulation with more than a 3 degrees of liberty as a human articulation or as much then you will be admitted to MIT. Or develop a patchwork mathematical program for AI robotics or assisted robotics automation control, you are good to go for Mit. Mit like all hi tech universities need inventors not replicant engineers. They need Grey brains not white brains which is top notch inventors.

  28. This is great. I started about 4 years ago learning everything I can about programming and computer science. Computer science stuff was on an accident, just curious how things work as I was working on different projects(adding circuits, binary, micro-controllers). I have met CS graduates or students about to graduate and they are very limited in what they have learned. That is because you can pass assignments and classes without a full grasp on the topic. Also students need more guidance. Yes you can ask the professors questions, but the issue is, you are unlikely to know the right questions to ask. Your degree matters very little, it just keeps the employer from throwing your resume away and gets you the interview. You need to do research and use those years to make sure you know what you are doing. Classes are more supplementary(they help, but you need to do your research). Also if you can get an internship, that might be the best way to get guidance. Networking is the next thing, college gives you the advantage of collectively working together with like-minded people. There are things I am great with and then horrible at others but I have friends now that help me understand my weakness(discreet math), as I help them with their's(programming). Simply, use your resources and don't get tunnel vision where you only do classes, also expect lectures to not teach much(fell behind in discreet math because I focused to much on the lectures). Plan your own education and figure out were you need to get to and how. To reiterate, networking is the best thing you can do in college. Professors and other students can be more important then anything else to find work or opportunities. Who you know can mean more then what you know.

  29. I'm curious, does anyone know where to get the exams and assignments from? Does MIT publicly release their actual lesson plans?

  30. Sometimes i think studiyng education give us something to do… When we finish school education , we dont have something to do, and we only are looking for money (work)

  31. Its really fascinating,I always believe that you don't actually need a university or a degree,it's not that useful,and sometime we are too aggressive to get a diploma instead of really learning something.

  32. I totally appreciate this talk. It's up to students, not schools or gov, to disrupt the educational system. And learning is such a joy. We need to create ways to do it that suit us. Awesome inspiration! Thank you, Scott. Peace & Blessings!

  33. If you want to work for someone your whole life, get that degree. If you want to put the blood, sweat, and tears into entrepreneurship and build your own technology or business, then you probably shouldn't get a degree. Of course, there are exceptions like medical engineering since it is hard to set up a lab at your house to learn.

  34. No, you can't. MIT is not about reading books or listening to lectures. It is about collaboration, experimenting, etc. Mens et manus.

  35. But how we can do about applying The knowledge , the point of the case , especially the complex matters that requiring lot of practices . I think that the universities was built to offer an ideal platform to practicing what we learn and all of Mr Scott Young stuff is relatively correct like in philosophy or literature courses ….

  36. Book I saw Scott Yang Yang I think Scott can learning method is efficient to save time to save money but I think it is very different from a learning efficiency is is another must fulfill themselves special want to accomplish, of course, the final result will be different in the modern society more and more knowledge emerges people need to know so much after must be a way to change the status quo may elementary course is equivalent to high school, after all, human beings will be more and more clever to learn at their own speed will be faster and faster

  37. One thing Scott is missing is that elite schools are not necessarily for education but access. It opens up doors. That's why parents are willing to do anything to get their kids there. It is a legal pay to play system we have created.

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