Coursera – Free Online Education

Dale Stephens is from the small town in which I reside.  He first came to my attention when he tutored my son in math in the 2nd grade when he was about 14.  He himself dropped out of traditional school at age 12 and became a homeschooler.  He received a full scholarship to college and dropped out of there too.  It was too slow and wasn’t teaching him what he wanted to learn which was how to code and start a company.  He was one of the first winners of the Thiel Fellowship which gives $100,000 each to 20 people under 20 years old, in order to spur them to quit college and create their own ventures.  With this money, he started Uncollege, whose slogan is “Hacking your future.”  He has a book by the same name that was in the news this week.  It supports the notion that there are other successful paths besides college.  On his website he says, “Look at the rise of massive open online courses over the course of the past year. Stanford’s experiment in the Fall of 2011 gave birth to two companies: Udacity and Coursera. Not be outdone, Harvard and MIT created Edx. Other universities across the country and around the world are following suit.”  I would like to explore with you the Uncollege, Coursera.

Like Dale says, Coursera is a Stanford University product.  On their website, they proclaim:  “We are a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.”  There are over 300 courses in 20 categories created by 62 universities from 16 countries.  There are over 3 million Courserians.  The idea is to take the online courses, get feedback and experience, and then create your portfolio to show employers (or become an employer yourself).  Perusing the list of classes that span from language to physics, I find a topic that I am interested in:  Gamification.  This class begins on April 1 and is 6 weeks long.  I should plan on 4-8 hours of workload per week.  Students who successfully complete the course receive a Statement of Accomplishment which is signed by the instructor.  It is taught by an instructor from the University of Pennsylvania.

If employers will accept this type of instruction as valid, this could be the end of university education as we know it.  In my family, we are only 5 years away from the high cost of university for our sons.  Will it be necessary to spend $100,000 on their education?  I wonder how free access to education will change the world.

 

 

 

 

Dale Stephens is from the small town in which I reside.  He first came to my attention when he tutored my son in math in the 2nd grade when he was about 14.  He himself dropped out of traditional school at age 12 and became a homeschooler.  He received a full scholarship to college and dropped out of there too.  It was too slow and wasn’t teaching him what he wanted to learn which was how to code and start a company.  He was one of the first winners of the Thiel Fellowship which gives $100,000 each to 20 people under 20 years old, in order to spur them to quit college and create their own ventures.  With this money, he started Uncollege, whose slogan is “Hacking your future.”  He has a book by the same name that was in the news this week.  It supports the notion that there are other successful paths besides college.  On his website he says, “Look at the rise of massive open online courses over the course of the past year. Stanford’s experiment in the Fall of 2011 gave birth to two companies: Udacity and Coursera. Not be outdone, Harvard and MIT created Edx. Other universities across the country and around the world are following suit.”  I would like to explore with you the Uncollege, Coursera.

Like Dale says, Coursera is a Stanford University product.  On their website, they proclaim:  “We are a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.”  There are over 300 courses in 20 categories created by 62 universities from 16 countries.  There are over 3 million Courserians.  The idea is to take the online courses, get feedback and experience, and then create your portfolio to show employers (or become an employer yourself).  Perusing the list of classes that span from language to physics, I find a topic that I am interested in:  Gamification.  This class begins on April 1 and is 6 weeks long.  I should plan on 4-8 hours of workload per week.  Students who successfully complete the course receive a Statement of Accomplishment which is signed by the instructor.  It is taught by an instructor from the University of Pennsylvania.

If employers will accept this type of instruction as valid, this could be the end of university education as we know it.  In my family, we are only 5 years away from the high cost of university for our sons.  Will it be necessary to spend $100,000 on their education?  I wonder how free access to education will change the world.

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Coursera – Free Online Education

  1. tnixey

    Cheers to free college education! NPR aired a discussion a bit ago about free, college courses available online including Coursera. I did not think too much about it at the time, being already deep into this MLIS program, but more recently a friend, also working towards his MLIS, mentioned that he had taken and planned on taking more courses on the side through Coursera. He highly recommended that I do the same and noted that his experiences thus far with Coursera had been good. Although it seems like a great opportunity, there is no way I could fit it into my current schedule. However, after my MLIS I have considered looking into Coursera more because I have always enjoyed being a student and I will be done accruing debt in the pursuit of this particular enjoyment. In addition, not having to commit to a plan of study developed by someone else leaves me free to take courses I am interested in, even if the courses cover a variety of fields of study.

    I too wonder how free college courses or similar ventures such as open source software and free digital information will shape the future. It seems like these types of ventures would support a more egalitarian society. However, these types of ventures conflict with powerful organizations, institutions, and traditions that support a non-egalitarian society.

    Reply

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