Ever heard of the term freeducate? Well, you’re not alone because I hadn’t either. I just made it up to describe free education that is available online(or so I thought) but then as I felt a nudge in my gut to Google it, it’s a term that is actually already out there!
Needless to say, I’m specifically referring to free educational resources. Now I know there are a lot of free resources in places like YouTube, Vevo and other online channels but that’s not what I mean here. What if you want to learn in a more formal setting? Say, like an online class from a university? Well, if you didn’t already know,here’s some good news! There already are several well-known colleges and universities like University of Pennsylvania, Berkley College of Music, Tel Aviv University, and many more offering free online classes on both a domestic and international level in different languages through Coursera at Coursera.org since April 2012.
As Coursera states on their site,
‘Classes offered on Coursera are designed to help you master the material. When you take one of our classes, you will watch lectures taught by world-class professors, learn at your own pace, test your knowledge, and reinforce concepts through interactive exercises. When you join one of our classes, you’ll also join a global community of thousands of students learning along side you.’
If you didn’t find a course you were interested in on there, it gets even better! There are additional freeducate sites out there such as
Venture Lab – https://venture-lab.org/
Who: Stanford University’s Free Online Classes.
Udacity – https://www.udacity.com/
Who: Professors from various universities such as University of Virginia, MIT, etc.
edX – https://www.edx.org/
Who: A collaborative effort between MIT, Harvard, Berkley, and The University of Texas Systems
Mission: EdX is a non-profit created by founding partners Harvard and MIT whose mission is to bring the best of higher education to students of all ages anywhere in the world, wherever there is Internet access. EdX’s free online MOOCs are interactive and subjects include computer science, public health, and artificial intelligence.
Now, I know you might be asking some of the questions I asked, so here goes:
Why would they offer us free classes?
The higher education system was in need of change and this is one of the steps being taken to make that happen. I’m sure there are other reasons both politically and socially but this is the best answer I have at this time. Feel free to comment below if you have additional information.
Are these REAL classes that people would want to take?
Yes, these educational institutions are offering classes such as Introduction to Biology, College Algebra, Physics, World Geography, History, etc.
When are the classes offered?
Year round there are classes available for sign up but you will need to check the course schedule to find out when the class starts.
What if a class has already started that I wanted to take?
Usually, the professors will allow a grace period within the first week for you to sign on if you’re just finding out about the class but if you’ve miss the cutoff, you can add the class to a ‘Watchlist’ to where you’ll be notified by e-mail when the class is being offered again.
Can I get college credits for these classes?
There are some classes in which you can get college credits for however, you may have requirements such as being currently enrolled in that college or university so I would encourage you to read the course info prior to signing up for a class so that you know what to expect and won’t set yourself up for disappointment.
Will I get a certificate of completion when I finish the course?
Most of these classes offer a certificate of completion after you’ve completed the course.
If so, how do you go about getting the college credits?
Please check the course information prior to sign up for the answer to this question because the answer may vary.
How is this even being funded?
If you want to know about Coursera’s funding, this article written by the New York Times can answer that much better than I can.
edX is a non-profit and Udacity is for profit as for Venture Lab, I have not found the answer to which one it is. If you know, feel free to post in the comments section.
While I know that college isn’t for everyone, if you just want to take an online class for personal development or haven’t been able to go back to college because of time constraints, it just wasn’t in your budget, or the class you wanted wasn’t available. Trying freeducate is a great way to continue your education. For those that would like to go, there’s a saying that says “where there’s a will, there’s a way!” Cheers to free education!!!
On My Way,
Your Friend Mel :)