Shimon Schocken is a former dean at Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, a new Israeli private university which he helped found in 1995. He's also taught at NYU, Harvard and Stanford. Together with Noam Nisan, he developed a freely available, open-source, self-paced program for learning applied computer science: The Elements of Computing Systems. Offered in 2005, this led to one of the first successful open online courses. Now, courses based on the approach are offered by traditional universities as well as in crowd-sourced settings and have been taken freely by thousands of self-learners over the web. Registration, lecture and project schedules are managed by volunteer course coordinators, and student questions are answered by the course alumni community.
His current project focuses on developing instructional materials for early-age math education, which he thinks can be transformed using low-cost tablet computers. He uses his other life passion, mountain biking, to teach adolescent boys in Israel's juvenile detention centres valuable life lessons through challenging bike rides in remote locations.