Higher education isn’t being taught in just schools and campuses anymore. What about online colleges? Like traditional universities, online courses bring content, instructors and students together for the purpose of learning. It’s no surprise that more and more universities are offering online education programs to students; with everyone seeming to get all their information on the web as opposed to in the library, it only makes sense.
Top universities like Harvard and Stanford have offered free online courses, or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS), over the past year with great success. But it didn’t carry credit. Now, dozens of public universities will offer an introductory online course for free and for credit to anyone, anywhere worldwide, New York Times reported. But why would universities be allowing people to take courses for free? In the hopes that those who pass the class will pay tuition to complete the specific program.
Chairman of Academic Partnerships Randy Best is helping universities move its public courses online.
“We’re taking the MOOC idea, but now it will be part of a degree program,” Best said in a recent interview with New York Times. This new program, MOOC2 will hopefully bring in a new revenue stream. If it succeeds, thousands of degree students could be the new lifeline for public universities, which have recently been hit hard by declining financial support from the states.
So, what type of courses could the public expect?
The American Council on Education, which represents U.S. institutions, recently announced five new Coursera classes that will be offered through University of California and University of Pennsylvania.
- Calculus: Single-Variable will be offered at University of Pennsylvania.
- University of California at Irvine will offer precalculus and algebra.
How will this help?
There are many working adults who’ve not yet obtained a college degree but wish to go back to school. But taking courses on campus could be a problem; thus the best solution would be online courses, and what’s better than that? Free online courses. If a stay-at-home mom wants to attend a school on the East Coast, but there’s no option for relocating or temporary move then the best route is taking courses online. Bottom line, the hope for these working adults is that by taking a free, credit online course, they’ll be taking their first step towards earning a degree.
According to the Huff Post, Coursera, which now offers more than 200 open courses from 33 institutions, plans to seek the council’s credit recommendations for more classes in the future. There’s another course in the works, which will be offered by Georgia Institute of Technology.
Interested in taking some free online courses by some of the top universities in the nation? Here’s a list of some of the universities participating, according to Coursera.org (If you would like to see the complete list, visit the site):
- Ohio State University
- Stanford University
- Berklee College of Music
- University of Florida
- University of Washington
- Princeton University
- Brown University
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