I never imagined it would come to this but it brings me such delight to find out that the university where I earned my MBA degree, University of Pennsylvania, is one of several leading Ivy League schools in the U.S. that signed up with Coursera, a new venture that offers online classes for free. Yes…FREE!
So far, here is the list of top universities signed up with Coursera. Imagine, you can take a course from, let’s say, Stanford University, then take another course with John Hopkins or University of Michigan.
And here are the general course topics. Under each of these general categories are specific classes you can choose to take.
In their About Us page, the Coursera team describes themselves this way:
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. We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Our technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.
Through this, we hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.
The methodology being employed by Coursera is adapted to today’s busy lifestyle. Unlike a classroom approach where you need to be physically away from your work and devote time to class work, the Coursera approach, which by the way, is developed and taught by world-class professors, allows you to learn at your own pace, taking into consideration that you can only study in bits of time. The lessons are designed in such a way that you can read and reread till you master the course material. Interactive exercises will test your knowledge as well as reinforce concepts. And, you can monitor your own progress so you know exactly when you are considered to have mastered the subject.
With topnotch education now open to netizens, knowledge becomes available to anyone willing to invest some time to learn something new or improve on one’s base education.
Of course, since these are simply classes that can be taken individually, they do not add up to a bachelor’s degree or diploma. But who cares? One can pick and choose according to one’s interest and get reading materials and listen to videos from some of the best minds combined. And best of all, because all these are offered online, there is no class size limit!
I’m really excited. In fact, I’m all signed up for my 1st course, Securing Digital Democracy, which will come in handy as my advocacy group, Blog Watch, gears up once more for our coverage of the upcoming 2013 Philippine elections.
I’m a student all over again. And I am thrilled to bits! If anyone I know decides to take the same course as me, give me a heads-up and we can share our experience offline!
Here’s personal development at its best and free-est. Come on, jump in and pick a Coursera class…