Roosemberth Palacios sports braces on his teeth and a curly mop of hair. At 16, he finds high school boring. So after school, he logs onto his computer and hunts for challenges, McClatchy reports.

He’s found them in difficult online courses offered by professors at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He says he’s aced a course called “Machine Learning” by hotshot Stanford professor Andrew Ng, scoring a perfect 100. And he took a sophomore-level course by MIT professor Anant Agarwal called “Circuits and Electronics,” tallying 91 percent.

To patch up some weakness he saw in his own math skills, he took a course, “Numerical Analysis,” offered online by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland. The class was in French.

The world of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, is roiling academia at universities in the United States, where they are labeled either the future or the downfall of higher education.

… Lost in the debate about online learning, however, is its impact in far-flung regions of the globe, places like the electrical engineering department at the University of El Salvador and the modest walk-up apartment of the Palacios family, above the medical clinic of Dr. Roberto Palacios Navarro, Roosemberth’s father.“At school, he hardly studies. He just shows up and takes the exams,” Palacios said of his son. But it isn’t for lack of ambition. “He wants to learn,” he said.

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eCampus News staff and wire reports


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