A friend of mine mentioned casually that he was spending lots of time at coursera. Even though I listen to a lot of NPR and even heard an interview with some college provost about free online courses, I didnt know what he was talking about.
What do you do these days when someone mentions something you know nothing about? I googled coursera. It is pretty cool. You can get a free college education, on line from all sorts of colleges. these colleges offer online courses for credit and the tuition is thousands of dollars, but someone or someones had the great idea to offer a lot of classes on line for FREE!!!! There is a serious discussion about whether giving away the courses is good for higher education in general and for the institutions involved in specific.
Does a free class devalue the degree that another student pays for? What does a free class completion mean? You cant get a Free Degree this way, but you can get a free education. How much of what an institution has to offer is the value of the piece of paper? How much is the actual learning?
By the way, if you are poor enough, and most of us are, you can get an Ivy League degree for free. Several of the schools offer a free ride to students who are accepted and come from families making less than $200,000. Does that devalue the paid degrees? Doe it improve their value? Does the free on line class improve the value of the paid class?
I dont know, but I will be taking a course in constitutional Law at Yale next month.
I am currently enrolled in a class at University of Illinois Urbana for learning how to build Android aps.
Will these classes improve my commercial skill set? Will they improve the quality of my life? Maybe I could take a bunch of writing classes and finally learn how to write. Seriously. Maybe I will become even more unsufferable by “Institution dropping.” You know, standing at an office party or a Democratic Fundraiser or in the lobby at my kids Elementary String Concert and saying, “Well, my professor at Yale says…..” Is it possible for me to become more insufferable?
Will I end up like I did 30 yrs ago at Auburn University Montgomery, leaving because i decide i am too smart for Duke or Princeton? I dont know. I hope I can learn and find it more fulfilling than playing Spades against the computer late into the night.
Speaking of late into the night, My son and I are planning to get up at 430am to watch the Meteor shower, I wonder if he should start college classes, already? Will he become unbearable even faster, or will he discover the cure for everything by his 19th birthday?