TED: Making business & computer science degrees available for all

August 17, 2014

At the online University of the People, anyone with a high school diploma can take classes toward a degree in business administration or computer science — without standard tuition fees. Founder Shai Reshef hopes that higher education is changing “from being a privilege for the few to a basic right, affordable and accessible for all.”

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an American set of conferences run by the private nonprofit organization Sapling Foundation, under the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading”.[4] TED was founded in February 1984[5] as a one-off event[citation needed] and the annual conference series began in 1990.[6] TED’s early emphasis was technology and design, consistent with its Silicon Valley origins, but it has since broadened its focus to include talks on many scientific, cultural, and academic topics.[7]

The main TED conference is held annually in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Its companion TEDActive is held in the City of Whistler, British Columbia, about 125 kilometers northeast of Vancouver.[8][9] Prior to 2014, the two conferences were held in Long Beach and Palm Springs, California, respectively.[10] TED events are also held throughout North America and in Europe and Asia, offering live streaming of the talks. They address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture, often through storytelling.[11] The speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can.[12] Past speakers include Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Billy Graham, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Bono, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners.[13] TED’s current curator is the British former computer journalist and magazine publisher Chris Anderson.[14]

Since June 2006,[2] the talks have been offered for free viewing online, under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives Creative Commons license, through TED.com.[17]As of March 2016, over 2,400 talks are freely available on the website.[18] In June 2011, the talks’ combined viewing figure stood at more than 500 million,[19] and by November 2012, TED talks had been watched over one billion times worldwide.[20] Not all TED talks are equally popular, however. Those given by academics tend to be watched more online, and art and design videos tend to be watched less than average.[21]



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