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FROM THIS EPISODE

Massive open online courses -- MOOC's -- held the promise of higher education for millions who can't now afford it. But, despite big investment from Stanford, Harvard, MIT and Silicon Valley, MOOC's have not lived up to their billing. We hear about new ways of using the Internet to meet the worldwide demand for focused learning. Also, is the NSA considering amnesty for Edward Snowden? On today's Talking Point, North Korea's young, new leader has executed his uncle by marriage — his former mentor, now denounced as a traitor and "human scum." We talk with an expert on the Hermit Kingdom.

Banner image: Duncan Hull

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Jenny Hamel
Benjamin Gottlieb

Making News Is the NSA Considering Amnesty for Edward Snowden? 8 MIN, 22 SEC

The White House today says it's not considering amnesty for Edward Snowden, despite comments last night by the NSA's top official in charge of assessing the damage of the fugitive leaker's revelations. Richard Ledgett told CBS' 60 Minutes, "(M)y personal point of view is yes, it's worth having a conversation about. I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high." Josh Meyer is former terrorism correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, now a professor of journalism at the Medill School of Journalism in Washington.

Guests:
Josh Meyer, Northwestern University (@JoshMeyerDC)

The Hunt for KSM

Terry McDermott

Main Topic Online Learning: Past, Present and Future 33 MIN, 59 SEC

Two years ago at Stanford, a Massive Open Online Course attracted 160,000 students. MOOC's looked like the future of higher education. The Internet would make college available to millions now going without it. Traditional college professors began to fear for their jobs. New research shows that MOOC's have not lived up to their promise, with very few students completing their courses. But, with millions invested, online learning is not going away. We hear how it's changing.

Guests:
Tamar Lewin, New York Times (@tamarnyt)
Laura Perna, University of Pennsylvania (@lauraperna1)
Robert Lue, Harvard University (@edXOnline)
Julia Stiglitz, Coursera (@coursera)
Jonathan Rees, Colorado State University, Pueblo (@jhrees)

Today's Talking Point Public Execution of North Korea's Second in Command 9 MIN, 17 SEC

Last week's sudden execution of North Korea's second most powerful official has led to conflicting interpretations. Jang Song-thaek was Kim Jong-un's uncle by marriage and North Korea's closest friend of China. The public accusation that he was organizing the overthrow of the Kim dynasty includes the words, "if the living of the people and service personnel further deteriorate in the future." That language is an unusual admission that the country is not doing well. Is 30-year-old leader Kim Jong-un showing who's really in charge or revealing weakness? What are the consequences for other top cadres, relations with China and the US? Professor David Kang is Director of the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California.

Guests:
David Kang, University of Southern California (@DaveCKang)

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