Massive open online courses (MOOCs) represent an even broader disruption, said Metcalfe, who teaches about innovation at the University of Texas at Austin. He noted that MIT has graduated 85,000 students to date, but more than 112,000 students have signed up for just one of its free online courses in programming—including Metcalfe, who aims to learn Python.
“I've got to get experience doing this because I want to teach my own online course,” he said.
“We watched iTunes disrupt music, Amazon disrupt books and now the MOOCs are about to disrupt Harvard and Stanford and MIT--and it will be a bloodbath,” he said. “If you believe as I do that ignorance is the real problem with the human race, we are about to solve it."
Turning to other issues, Metcalfe said the U.S. has “exactly the wrong immigration policy [because] the ones who burden us are flooding in and the ones who can benefit us we are keeping out."
He also opined on the U.S. military’s decision to bolster its cybersecurity ranks from 900 to 5,000 people. “Cybersecurity is a very real problem [but] I am generally aghast at all big government [personnel] increases,” he said.
Metcalfe will preside over the Ethernet Innovation Summit May 22-23 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., to mark the 40th anniversary of Ethernet. The event includes an innovation awards competition and a fundraiser for STEM education.
Metcalfe greets a PARC researcher (standing) who supplied the typewriter on which Metcalfe wrote his 1973 memo about Ethernet. A reporter (seated) looks on.