Online learning is becoming an area of focus for higher education institutions and the tech community. Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, recently announced that it is adding five courses to its free, Web-based curriculum after the successful results of an online learning pilot project it launched in 2011. Khan Academy's major donors include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Google.
Khan also offered the inspirational prose typical of commencement speakers, advising MIT's 2,400 graduates that "When you're stressed, look up at the night sky and think of the scale of the universe and think of the shared experiences of civilizations that have come by."
They should also contemplate their problems by taking a walk in the woods and realizing that they are "another mammal not sure why it is here."
Graduates need to stay centered to reach their true potential, Kahn said, and to combat a cynical world by being "as incredibly, delusionally positive as possible."
"Smile with your mouth, eyes, your body, at every living and nonliving thing you see," he said. "Recognize that the grass is greener on your side of the fence."
Material loss and gain should be kept in perspective and is "all silly relative to things that matter: your health and your relationships," Khan said.
Kahn's speech did include some references to the supernatural world when he spoke about his alma mater's scientific research efforts. He joked that "MIT is the closest thing on the planet Earth to Hogwarts," referencing the school where students learn magic in the fictional Harry Potter book series.
"These are the leading wizards of our time" he said, referring to MIT's faculty.