A colleague recently turned me on to an intriguing concept called Coursera. The goal? Make top notch education available to the masses. Sound like a gimmick?
I thought so.
But it’s not – at least, it doesn’t seem that way. Professors from the best colleges and universities in the country sign up to offer courses in a number of disciplines to the general public free of charge, using Coursera’s online learning platform. The professors record lectures, create quizzes, assignments, and various other ways to get you to master the material. Did I say that it was free?
I couldn’t pass up free education, so I signed up for a statistics course and an operations management course, both of which would be useful in my day-to-day work. But there are some really neat courses I only wish I had time to take, such as Think Again: How to Reason and Argue by Duke University professors Walter Sinnot-Armstrong and Ram Neta. That course doesn’t begin until November, so if I successfully pass my other courses, I may sign up for that one as well.
I should clarify that not all of the institutions represented on Coursera are Ivy League (after all, that would be a pretty closed group) but the “non-Ivy League” schools include Stanford, Duke, Berkeley, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, Johns Hopkins, etc. Those are best of the best schools. A free education by any of their professors would be considered a gift for life.
The Ivy League schools represented include U Penn and Princeton. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll start to see courses offered by professors from Cornell and Yale and Brown as well. (Again – do you really need to be convinced to jump on this?)
No class size limit – so if you want your entire organization to take a course, great. The technology and course design can support any number of students. Coursera is a venture with a mission: by offering the best education in the world to the world, free, they can collect and analyze tons of useful data about education and learning. It’s a fabulous win-win situation. We get free education (read: information). They get information. And information is power once you know what to do with it.
Check out Coursera.org and let me know what you think? Are you in?
Trackback URL for this post: http://www.bizchickblogs.com/2012/08/ivy-league-education-free-try-coursera-org.html/trackback/