May 9th, 2012

Coursera - Free Higher Education

The latest hotness* in higher education is Coursera, a joint-venture to offer free MOOCs (that's Massively Open Online Courses) from Michigan, Penn, Princeton, and Stanford.

I was particularly impressed by some of the faculty they got to participate, including:

(well_lahdidah pointed out that, maybe the participants are all Big Deals because only a Big Deal with tenure can afford to spend time chasing after the wind.)

Upon successfully completing coursework, Coursera may or may not, according to the highly non-committal language in their terms, choose to send you a Letter of Completion. A Letter of Completion which you agree you will not look to Coursera or their participating professors or institutions if you try to convince anyone of its creditworthiness. But who cares? Sometimes there are just things that you want to know, and sometimes there are things that would be useful to you if you knew them, regardless of whether a framed diploma told anyone else you knew them.

It's a pretty exciting idea. I hope to check one out, but of course I do have 8 more Penn courses to finish.

* "hotness" is maybe an exaggeration.