Open Culture has created a timely list of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) that grant certificates of completion. The courses on this list begin in January and are presented on seven different learning platforms. The list of MOOCs, with certification, is growing rapidly. Most of these courses are of top quality and present a real opportunity for all. Open Culture also presents many other free learning resources.
The goal is to move ourselves to a place where we can get the job done. This involves gaining the skills, discipline, and character that the job requires. The internet offers us a vast array of resources to make this growth possible. For example, the internet is playing a pivotal role in determining the future of the world economy, and our political and social institutions. Resources to help us understand this process, and to gain the skills and vision to enable our participation are readily available.
Udacity.com. University offers a first class computer science program, with wonderful online courses taught by top instructors. These courses are free, and of top quality. I have taken three of these courses and have been deeply impressed by the incredible instructors, the dedicated support environment, including teaching assistants and peer-to-peer help. For me, the learning experience was equal to what I experienced at a number of quality institutions. Continue reading
Badges awarded for mastery of online courses, often free, are popping up all over the internet. For example, Stanford University, People to People University, and The Khan Academy offer a range of similar forms of certification, free so far. MIT has announced that it will begin such a program this Spring. The Chronicle of Higher Education has just published a great article, ‘Badges’ Earned Online Pose Challenge to Traditional College Diplomas, indicating the seriousness of these efforts.
MIT revolutionized Open Education by putting all of its courses online, free for anyone seeking the knowledge offered. Today they initiated the second wave by announcing the intention to offer certification of mastery of their courses to anyone completing the requirements, for a small fee: MIT launches online learning initiative. Continue reading
The rapid rise of textbook prices has helped make education costs prohibitive for most of us. The Open Textbook Movement has come to our rescue, through the incredibly generous efforts of many individuals. I have been able to find many free, and downloadable textbooks for my tutoring efforts at AccesstoLearn.com at the following sites. A wonderful list of quality textbooks is available at CK-12.org, focused on high school, remedial, and SAT prepartion books. At the college level, The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources has come up with an equally high quality list of books at OER Consortium. These books are focused on formal education. However, for those interested in self-education, the opportunities for access to free knowledge are great, especially when combined with the other resources discussed in the blog below.
We are blessed with an abundance of free educational resources. For Self-Education the goal is to select the learning materials and books that will meet your specific needs. In the right column of most pages on this website we have included a custom Google search engine. This search engine, with your entry in the box, combs through many pages of websites, mostly provided by edtech. The results of this search will provide you with a vast array of courses and other materials. Many of the courses include video lectures, reading and written assignments and examinations, often with answers. If somehow, these materials do not meet your specific needs, then, also in the right column we have included a link More OER Search Engines to a page, provided by Curriki, which includes a list of narrower search engines, focused on specific types of materials. If you are still not able to find materials that meet your needs let us know in comments below and we will make an effort to help you.
If you dropped out of high school, you can teach yourself and test out for a GED. If you can’t afford college tuition you can teach yourself and test out for a respected degree at Western Governors University. If your dream is to learn a skill, or acquire knowledge we can find a way.
Making the commitment to self education can be tough. We hope to create and find communities that will help sustain this difficult process.
If you have insights, or information that will help let us know. Comment below, or leave your thoughts in our forums.
Our intent is to help you acquire the resources and skills you need to cope with our new work environment.
The economy is restructuring and we are going to have to change our strategies for survival and success. Each of us is going to have to find our own way, to develop a new mind set, to develop new skills, a new approach to our work lives. The future is uncertain and we need to be flexible.
Most of us need to acquire new skills and new ways of thinking. The Open Education Movement has made free self-education very accessible. We need only to find our vision, to get organized and to find the self discipline to follow through.
Some examples of free educational resources in the US and UK are:
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Irvine
University of Notre Dame
Utah OpenCourseWare Alliance
Utah State University
There are many more universities and repositories around the world in many languages. For a more complete list see LearnatNexus.com.