September 23rd, 2012
10:42 PM ET

NYC settles with teacher who claimed students harassed her

From Sonia Kennebeck, for CNN

New York (CNN) - A former teacher at a Brooklyn high school who claimed she was sexually harassed and verbally assaulted by her students has agreed to a $450,000 settlement from the city of New York, her attorney and school officials told CNN.

As part of the settlement, Theresa Reel, 52, resigned from the School for Legal Studies in Brooklyn in exchange for having poor ratings on her employment record cleared, her attorney said.

The settlement was reached ahead of a trial that was scheduled to begin earlier this month.

"I think we had a very strong case," said attorney Joshua Parkhurst, "but this way my client can go on with her life."

Reel told CNN she was subjected to continuous verbal assaults and sexual harassment by students, who she claimed touched her breasts and wrote insults against her on a desk, shortly after she began working at the school in 2005.

The educator said she reported the students' behavior to the school multiple times, but the principal's response was worse than inadequate.

"I was told I wanted to make the school look bad, I was called a troublemaker," she said. "That was the worst for me: that my employer reacted this way. I felt so worthless."

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Filed under: Issues • Practice • Teachers
September 23rd, 2012
12:32 PM ET

Top college courses, for free?

By Daphne Koller, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Daphne Koller is Rajeev Motwani Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University and co-founder and co-CEO of Coursera. She is the recipient of awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Koller spoke at the TED Global conference in June in Edinburgh. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to "Ideas worth spreading" which it makes available through talks posted on its website.

(CNN) - Almost exactly a year ago, Stanford University took a bold step. It opened up an online version of three of its most popular Computer Science classes to everyone around the world, for free.

Within weeks, close to 100,000 students or more were enrolled in each of these courses. Cumulatively, tens of thousands of students completed these courses and received a statement of accomplishment from the instructor. This was a real course experience. It started on a given day, and the students would watch videos weekly and do homework assignments. These were real homework assignments for a real grade, with a real deadline.

One of those classes was taught by my co-founder, Andrew Ng. In his on-campus Stanford class, he reaches 400 students a year. It would have taken him 250 years to reach the number of students he reached through that one online course.

The Stanford endeavor showed what is possible. It showed that it is possible to produce a high quality learning experience from some of the top instructors in the world at a very low cost.

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Filed under: College • Practice • TEDTalk • video • Voices