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MOOCs: Worth a Look for Free Higher Education

Date: 
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

With the rising cost of higher education, my husband and I joke that we’re going to homeschool our children for college. With the advent and rise in popularity of Massive Open Online Courses —MOOCs— we might not have to.

ABOUT MOOCs
MOOCs are free, typically non-credit classes offered by universities and online-education providers to thousands of students who attend class online. Some courses have upward of 100,000 students. One of the largest online-education providers is Coursera. Coursera bills itself as “a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.” Their courses consist of lectures and interactive exercises in a “learn at your own pace” environment — so long as you complete the course in the time allotted. Course topics span “the Humanities, Medicine, Biology, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Business, Computer Science, and many others.” Potential “Courserians” can search for courses based on start date, duration, name, newest offerings, or what’s upcoming. Course listings include the name and educational home of each professor: a look at upcoming February and March courses include professors from Stanford University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Columbia University.

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