theodp writes "Forget about his self-driving cars. CNN reports that Sebastian Thrun's Udacity — where you and 159,999 fellow classmates can take a free, Stanford-caliber online course together at the same time — just might be the future of higher education. Interestingly, of all the students taking Thrun's AI class globally and at Stanford, the top 410 students were online; the 411th top performer was a Stanford student. 'We just found over 400 people in the world who outperformed the top Stanford student,' Thrun said. Well, that should put an end to those complaints about affirmative action from students at elite universities. Still time to enroll in Intro to Statistics, kids!"