Top Colleges to Offer Online Courses

With costs of attending college increasing every year, and the long term effects of student debt looking more and more troubling, many of the nation's leading colleges are beginning the process of offering some of their basic introduction courses for free online to anyone in the US.

Posted on 7/25/2012

First, Tuesday Wall Street Journal announced that twelve top universities will be joining startup company Coursera to provide a series of free online classes to anyone with an internet connection:

Twelve top universities Tuesday joined a venture that offers free Internet courses world-wide, in a bet by some of the most prestigious institutions globally on online education.

The schools agreed to join four others already working with Coursera, a for-profit company founded by two Stanford University computer-science professors. The schools will offer 111 mainly introductory courses this school year, including Galaxies and Cosmology, Equine Nutrition and Contraception: Choice, Cultures and Consequences.


Initially, the Coursera classes won't be offered for credit, though some schools might choose to award certificates for completion. Anyone with Internet access can register for a class.

In most cases, the courses consist of video recordings of lectures, which are paused about every 10 minutes for a quiz to measure understanding. Students have homework as well as midyear and final assessments, graded by their peers based on a rubric created by the professor. The courses also have online forums where students can chat.


Now EDX has officially launched with introductory classes, including Introduction to Solid State Chemistry through MIT and Introduction to Computer Science through Harvard, from some of the world's leading universities.


Currently, these free online courses are strictly educational and provide no credit to any university, this is a step in the right direction of reducing the overall cost of college by providing students a more affordable and efficient way to complete their core classes.


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