No, this is not about online algorithms, nor about learning theory.
I have signed up for Tim Roughgarden's online course on Algorithms, http://www.algo-class.org
One might wonder why I need to learn about divide-and-conquer, searching, quicksort and shortest paths. In fact, I'll be teaching Algorithms myself at the same time. What's wrong with me? Do I plan to steal Tim's lectures and repeat them verbatim to my students, thus sparing myself the need to understand the material? Have I been secretly incompetent during all the years during which I pretended to teach the material, and is this a remedial course to finally patch my ignorance in my alleged area of expertise? Am I so stingy that I can't refuse something that is offered for free? Or have I so bought into the school system of grades and diplomas that I can't pass on the chance for an easy way to get one more certificate? In a few months I will be able to add it to my vita, and perhaps it'll help me get a raise. Or do I enjoy criticizing other people so much that I'm going be watching those videos of Tim and snickering, and then posting on my blog nasty comments about every slip that might occur? Am I secretly in love with Tim, or do I secretly bear a grudge against him?
None of those reasons. I am curious to see someone else teach the same material that I teach. I look forward to the ability of fast-forwarding the parts I have down pat, and paying careful attention to the material which I have trouble conveying to my students. Perhaps I can use some of it to improve my own teaching.
Additionally, I am curious to see how the Stanford online courses work in practice, with the thought, in the back of my mind, that perhaps I will also engage in online teaching in the future, if the technology is user-friendly enough. The idea of higher education freely available to all in that manner is fascinating, and experiencing how it plays out on a familiar subject might help me understand the strong points and the weaknesses of the approach.