Free Online College Courses: Deep Impact

The free online courses available from Coursera [Stanford, Princeton, University of California at Berkley, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvannia] have broken the ice on online college courses. Now MIT has had a program for the past 5 years called OpenCourseWare which made course materials from more than 2,000 classes available free online.

Typical MIT Courseware offering

But the Coursera program has had an immediate impact on other college course offerings. For example, in December of 2011, MIT announced it also would begin offering a special credential, known as MITx, for people who complete the online version of certain courses. This was folowed by the May announcement that Harvard and MIT through edX would be co-operating to offer free online courses that promised to go beyond course video, slides, and pdf material and would offer interactive sessions for students.

As in all the other major free online courses, the courses would be tested and graded and a certificate of accomplishment would be awarded. Signifuicantly, edX responded to the following FAQ “Will MIT and Harvard standards apply here?” The reach changes exponentially, but the rigor remains the same.
 See the complete FAQ for all details on Fall offerings from  Harvard and MIT.

Economic Impact

There is a DVD courses service called The Great Courses and it is have an 80% off pricing for its DVD or video online courses.  These are  for top notch course material like Building Great Sentences : Exploring the Writers Craft taught by University of Texas professor Brooks Landon plunging from $254 to $40 in price. Also there are more offerings for more of the courses DVD, Audio CDs, online video download and online audio.

What will be equally  interesting to see this fall is whether the not-free online universities like Pheonix are effected and what the enrollments at college and universites will be like. Prospective students must be concerned about the stories of trillion dollar total Student Loan Debt, onerous fees and charges for late payments. Equally troubling is the fact  that the job market may  stall given the economic crisis in Europe and US Businesses continued outsourcing of domestic jobs.

Stay tuned because Secondary education has been “Disrupted” profoundly. Of even more impact – international students will be welcomed and accepted at CourserA, edX and other online course services.

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