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Monday, May 7, 2012

Free Ivy League Education on-Line?

Funny student Bill Lee  cartoon from June 28, 2006

Education costs are at the forefront and they should be because if you think healthcare costs are out of control try paying for a university degree. Health Care costs have risen 250% in the past 25 years but education costs have skyrocketed by 450% in that same time period, according to the National Center for Public Policy. Everyone should know that we can't sustain that.

Along comes Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng who believe the Internet should allow millions of people to receive first class education at little or no cost. The two professors who teach competitive computer science at Stanford have launched Coursera which will makes courses from top tier universities available online, at no charge, to anyone.

So far they have signed up volunteer professors from Stanford, Princeton, University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania. Coursera will offer 35 courses in subjects ranging from computer science to world history and contemporary American poultry. They're not only videotaped courses because they will come complete with homework assignments, examination and grades.

Coursera was just an experiment but over 100,000 students have enrolled and 13,000 completed the course. Coursera does not pay its professors but that might not be a problem because a few venture capital firms have climbed on board and more will join when enrollment hits up into the millions. It's quite possible that Coursera will charge companies for helping them to find qualified job applicants.

Like so many new great ideas, they always start on the West Coast and mainly in California. Many from that state have been taking online courses for quite some time using products from companies like Udacity, Khan Academy and the Minerva Project. Can top universities continue to charge $250,000 for a college degree when online courses are available for free? Something has to give.

Universities will it need to reconsider their business model and figure out what is they're selling? It can't be their coursework because that's available online for free. Could it be a face -to- face with overpaid professors? Is it football programs and frat parties?

The government stepped in it took away the loan making, interest charging middleman and now free online courses!They are being put on notice.

Don't you love it when American entrepreneurs take the ball and run with it?

This is am article I copied from the current issue of NewsWeek.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

It looks like a quality education is free; it's the credits that cost money. ;)