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Did you ever want to attend a course at Standford University? This fall, the Stanford University School of Engineering will offer three online course to anyone interested worldwide for free as a unique experiment in distributed education.

The professors aspire to teach the same material and testing in the free, online classes as offered on campus at Stanford University. It will be the first experiment of its kind to test the effectiveness and possibility of distributed education worldwide. This innovative experiment may help us understand how to better provide personalized, online learning on a global scale.

The three courses, which include “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence,” “Introduction to Databases,” and “Machine Learning,” will be taught by Sebastian Thrun, Peter Norvig, Professor Jennifer Widom and Professor Andrew Ng. The courses, which run from October 10, 2011 to December 16, 2011, will use a new evaluation tool that allows students to work at his or her own pace to learn and test on new material.

Information and news about the courses began with an email that spread by word-of-mouth quickly. Now, more than 215,589 people have signed up for all of the courses combined. Here’s how it works:

To learn more about the courses and sign up, go to


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