A few years ago I was contemplating starting my graduate degree. But how could I find the time, juggling multiple jobs and family needs? After some soul searching, I concluded that life is too short and that I should follow my dream, sooner not later. I moved next to the school I wanted to attend, prepared all the documents, updated my portfolio, and proceeded with my sails at full mast.
And then, a major family emergency sidelined my plans. Months passed, yet I continued to daydream about school. I began searching for an online graduate program to fit my needs but couldn’t find anything remotely interesting to me. Until one morning, browsing through my daily dose of TedTalks emails, I found what I was looking for: Coursera. Believe me when I say I came to tears as I read these words:
“Coursera is an education company that partners with the top universities and organizations in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.”
Yes, COURSERA is FREE, offering courses from universities like M.I.T., Duke University, Brown University, Wesleyan University, Princeton University, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and many many more. When I first discovered Coursera there were about 30 courses offered by U.S. Universities in English. Today, there are 421 courses in 7 Languages from top universities across the world. Options today even include coursework to earn a bachelors degree!
Coursera is not alone in the effort to provide affordable and accessible education for everyone. Others, like EdX.org, an offshoot of M.I.T., offers courses from M.I.T., Rice, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Georgetown University, Cornell University, ITT Bombay, The Honk Kong University of Science and Technology, Kyoto University, and others. EdX is more on the technical side with courses like Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computation, so great for the brain. And it’s all FREE.EdX.org
“Study, have fun, and uncover a new passion or learn skills that just may change your life.”
Creative and business professionals can continue their education through CreativeLive. CreativeLive is where I spend most of my online time, sharpening my skills in Abode Creative Suite applications, business strategy and marketing. But is this FREE? Yes and No. It’s free to watch the broadcasts LIVE. To “own” the course and have access to it after the live version ends, it costs between $29 to $299. Still inexpensive for the quality of information and education in these fields.
“creativeLIVE empowers you to unleash your potential by bringing the world’s greatest experts directly to you, live. Featuring workshops in photography, video, design, business, audio, music and software training, creativeLIVE unlocks previously closed doors by making dynamic education accessible to everyone.”
Going back to school has never been easier. Anytime of day you can be halfway around the globe, as I am in the picture below, with your computer or mobile device, watching course videos, reading course materials and earning a certificate of accomplishment. How cool is that?
I am and shall be, a student for life, no matter where my travels and work may take me around the world.
Oh, and did I mention eBooks? Stay tuned and sign up for our feed. There are more platforms out there for learning online than we can mention. Share your story with the community and tell us how you learn online – we’d love to hear from you.
by: Monica D. Antohi