Niagara Gazette

Features

September 24, 2012

DELUCA: Free Ivy League eduction available to all online

Niagara Gazette — I got an email the other day from my oldest son.

I always enjoy getting emails from my sons but this one was particularly interesting to me.

“This is one of the coolest things I think I have ever seen ...,” he wrote. “It made me think of you for some reason.”

I was honored that he thought of me. There is nothing more soulfully satisfying to have someone you love really understand what sets your imagination into overdrive.

The link for a website offering free college classes from some of the top schools in the world, including several of the Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Princeton.

It’s an online webstite called Coursera.org and I think it is the most remarkable opportunity for anyone who has ever wanted to go back to take college classes but doesn’t have the cash. There’s two other such programs online, where anyone from around the world can enroll for free in college classes from major universities. These offerings are a revelation for me.

I am actually one of those people who wants to go back to school — just to learn new things. Even though I have a college degree, I’d love to take a class at Harvard or Yale. Having the chance to learn from some of the top teachers in the world would be amazing. And now I can. From Princeton to John Hopkins to the University of New Dehli, anyone can sign up and take legitimate classes in a wide range of topics from world music to statistics to the fundamentals of computer programming.

The concept began this year, right around springtime, when a couple of students from Stanford decided they wanted to make the best educations in the world available to anyone who wished to learn. About this same time, two other similar programs were launched, one called Udacity and the other called edX from MIT and Harvard.

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