The Goal: Substance or Credentials

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.

Regardless of your background, I urge you to jump in and fill in the gaps as you go. If you are a high school dropout, identify what skills you need as you go. The community will give you the advice you need on how to fill in the gaps. There are free textbooks ( see below ), and tutoring support ( such as the KhanAcademy.org, again see below ).

Coursera offers 117 courses, and growing, from a number of universities, lead by Stanford U. EdX, will offer 7 courses, under the guidance of MIT, Harvard, and UC Berkeley, in the Fall. This number should grow rapidly from here. All, including Udacity offer computerized evaluation, and certificates of course completion.

Many believe that eventually, a stack of these certificates will grow to importance approaching equaling degrees from these very expensive and prestigious institutions. But, the main thing is, are you acquiring what is needed to get the job done.

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