When first introduced to the ‘free’ online courses, they questioned the effectiveness of the learning experience. The questions ended after they completed their first online course. They reported learning as much and probably more than they did in typical college courses that they attended in person.
Now our grandchildren are also enrolled in online coursework as well. Several of them enjoy 80% or more of their total coursework online even though they are in middle and high schools. In many cases, the coursework isn’t associated with the typical educational curriculum that their school district purchased or developed but rather is from some of the top universities in the U.S., like Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, BYU, and others.
In November 2012, the New York Times declared 2012 as “The Year of the MOOC” (massive open online courses). Educators, legislators, employers, parents and students said, “Great, but is online coursework actually teaching people at an effective level?”
According to David L. Chandler in an article for MIT News, “Online classes really do work.”
Mr. Chandler notes research findings published in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning e-journal by Kimberly F. Colvin, John Champaign, Alwin Liu, Qian Zhou, Colin Fredericks and David E. Pritchard of MIT, Tsinghau University in China and Harvard University, that prove that students of online courses learn as well as students who physically attend courses for the same topic.
If you haven’t seen online courses, below are some sites listed in no particular order that show samplings of the breadth of topics and educational institutions who offer them.
- Brigham Young University
- KHAN Academy
- Open Culture
- Video Lectures
- UCal – Berkeley
- Tufts University
- Notre Dame
- Carnegie Mellon
- University of Washington
- Johns Hopkins
- Berklee College of Music
- Gresham College
- Open University
- Utah State University
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
Most of the coursework listed in the above institutional list are free although in most cases you can enroll in and receive college credits for an associated fee. Tens of thousands of online courses are available for enrolled students regardless of their physical location.
The world of education is available to almost all people now if they have access to a computer that has an Internet connection.
It’s never to late or too early to learn. Try a course or two to get started. You’ll be happy with the education you receive and will be inspired to continue learning for the rest of your life.
© Article Posted 25 Sep 2014 by Lee R. Drew on Lee Drew’s Views