This post is somewhat an extension to yesterday’s “bitnote”, in which I was happy to announce free education as being a widely accessible reality. I have already emphasized enough on the 4 universities – ivy league I might add – that offer open courseware, so I am not going to repeat myself. However the story does not stop here. While universities started this movement individually, and that was and still is fine, other people came up with a pretty obvious next step: centralization of free education. That what Coursera is. A website, a platform, a hub of centralized data, where all the universities that choose to opt in, can offer their free courses. Coursera also turns this into a very real experience. You have to sign up for the course, and you also have to do tests that are graded. You have to try not to be late, and can also be enrolled into a class when it’s actually active. All in all, it does come with the responsibilities of a real-life school. Courses are of course taught by university professors and instructors, which ensures you get high quality education.
Just to try it out, I enrolled myself into the Stanford CS101 course, a World Music class and Machine Learning. I must say, it’s revolutionary, and I enjoyed it a great deal. Since I applied a bit late, I had to use my “late day cards” for the first 4 tests, but, it was fun and extremely educational. At this point in time Coursera.org offers 45 courses, offered by various well-known universities like Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, Uni of Michigan and Uni of Pennsylvania, topic-range being the following:
- Humanities and Social Sciences
- Computer Science
- Mathematics and Statistics
- Healthcare, Medicine, and Biology
- Economics, Finance, and Business
- Society, Networks, and Information