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August 24, 2012 / Brent Sears

College of the Future…and It’s Free!

Coursera is changing education!  It is an online school where 16 universities have courses available for FREE!!!  It’s an incredible meld of great content taught by amazing faculty and brought together completely online.  At the time of this writing 1,145,752 students have enrolled/joined.

I wish this had been around when I was in college.  I probably would have never gone and saved an enormous amount of money – not to mention time, with all the general education courses.  In a decade we are going to look back at our education and say, “Really!  That was how we learned!?”

See the Ted Talk by Coursera’s co-founder, Dr. Daphne Koller here.  In it she outlines a couple of the main problems with education:

1. There are not enough classrooms to meet the new demand for learning in the world.

2. The cost of traditional education has exploded – 559% since 1985.

This is where Coursera steps into to make great courses available to anyone with self-direction and an Internet connection.  Course have start and end dates, homework assignments, quizzes, and access to community forums if you have questions.  The grading process is automated–every teacher should be rejoicing–and the data helps the instructors and back-end developers know where people get stuck and how to make it better.

Upon completion you receive a certificate which, according to Dr. Koller, people have used to get academic credit at colleges and even presented to employers to show competency.

This is what education should be.  Once it and similar programs take hold, traditional schools and universities are going to have to rethink their mission and purpose.  The important thing for now, with the speed at which the world is changing, is that we don’t get to stop learning.  But to me, that’s the fun of it!

Action: I am toying with the idea of starting a Facebook group for people who are interested in taking an upcoming Coursera course.  I am going to take one in the next 6 months, and I would like to connect with others who are trying our Coursera, as well.  I have some friends who are interested in learning, so if I can make some connections, then that’s cool too!  If you’re interested leave a comment below.

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One Comment

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  1. amerciagazette / Jan 3 2013 10:01

    Brent, I have recently been introduced to Coursea as well. It looks fantastic! I am sure I will be utilizing it over the summer. Great info!

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