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If you've never heard of a MOOC, don't worry. Massive Open Online Courses are only a year old. But Stanford, Harvard and other prestigious schools are now using them to reach millions of students worldwide. On this archived edition of To the Point, we hear about the benefits — and the limits — of higher education on the Internet. Also, Greeks face a harsh winter at the end of a year of European austerity, and the new generation of leaders in both North and South Korea. Will they make a difference?

Banner image: University of Maryland/flickr

Making News Greeks Face Harsh Winter at End of Year of European Austerity 7 MIN, 39 SEC

In Greece, three years of austerity and a weak economy are straining not just political stability but family unity. In a country of 11 million people, only 3.7 million have jobs, and now, the country is facing a harsh winter. That's according to Marcus Walker, Berlin correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

Marcus Walker, Wall Street Journal (@MMQWalker)

Main Topic Can Higher Education Be Democratized on the Internet? 33 MIN, 57 SEC

Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOC's, began last year when Stanford Professor Sebastian Thrun put a class on line. He quickly enrolled 160,000 students — in more than 190 countries.  Now Harvard, Princeton and other prestigious schools are offering MOOC's that reach millions of students worldwide, leading to visions of broader access to higher education at vastly reduced cost. We hear what it's like to take a college course from a computer and what it's like to teach to a machine instead of a classroom. Will MOOC's count for college credit?  Will they still be free?  Will rich elites still dominate higher education?


Kayla Webley, Time Magazine (@kaylawebley)
Andrew Ng, Stanford University
Noliwe Rooks, Cornell University (@nrookie)
Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University

No Exit

Jonathan D. Pollack

Reporter's Notebook What Next for North and South Korea? 9 MIN, 11 SEC

After a year in office, North Korea's young president has proven himself to be a different man from his father. Kim Jong Un has been outgoing, making public appearances with his pregnant wife. He's also claimed a great victory with the controversial rocket launch. Now South Korea has elected its first woman president, one who also comes from a political family. Park Geun-hye is the daughter of that country's longest-ruling dictator, Park Chung-hee, whose legacy still divides the nation. Dr. Jonathan Pollack is acting director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution and author of No Exit: North Korea, Nuclear Weapons and International Security.

Jonathan Pollack, Brookings Institution (@BrookingsInst)

No Exit

Jonathan D. Pollack


Warren Olney

Anna Scott
Frances Anderton

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