Coursera Offers a Free World-Class EducationBy: Heather Campobello - April 18, 2012
Students across the world can now access online courses from five prestigious American universities (Stanford, Princeton, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan) thanks to an interactive platform called Coursera.
The site offers dozens of courses that run from 4-12 weeks in duration. The courses fall into the following categories: Humanities and Social Sciences; Computer Science; Mathematics and Statistics; Healthcare, Medicine, and Biology; Economics, Finance, and Business; and Society, Networks, and Information.
Each course has a YouTube video where the professor pitches a class to prospective students. It also gives a synopsis about the course, some background information about the instructor, a list of frequently asked questions, and sometimes they even post a syllabus.
I wish more colleges listed courses this way. It would be a great way to boost enrollment because students would be able to get a feel for the instructor and the material that would be covered.
In the following YouTube video, Michael Kearns, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, pitches his class titled, “Networked Life.”
According to the course profile, “Networked Life explores recent scientific efforts to explain social, economic and technological structures — and the way these structures interact — on many different scales, from the behavior of individuals or small groups to that of complex networks such as the Internet and the global economy.”
You can join his class by signing up here.
Several courses are starting on April 23 so you should register ASAP.
Completing a course on Coursera will not stand in the place of a course taken at an accredited institution and does not convey academic credit but there are occasions where instructors will grant students a letter of completion.
Students must be 18 years old to participate (with a few exceptions).