Yale Open Courses
July 8, 2009
There is something exciting going on in the education world. Something really exciting….
We go to school when we are children to learn and develop our minds, maybe to become productive members of society
maybe to just stay out of trouble…
Some of us go to college, get our degrees, and start our careers. Others aren’t so lucky, don’t have the opportunity to go to college…
Some don’t have the access to great facilities, resources that help develop the mind.
Yale Open Courses is a great resource. http://oyc.yale.edu/
Yale is providing free courses via the internet to anyone interested in learning. I have taken a philosophy class on this site and it is amazing. They offer quite a wide range of disciplines; from astronomy to political science.
You can download videos, listen to audio, and read lectures at your own pace. The professors are among the best in their field and they teach at a pace that is easily accessible.
I think this is a bold step by a major university. The courses are already being taught, students will want to go to these schools regardless. There is nothing for these universities to loose by providing these courses free of charge. There is only good will to gain.
This opens the door to amazing possibilities in the future. Perhaps education as a completely free commodity, easily accessible to anyone interested in participating? Think about it. People go to college for various reasons. Some go for knowledge, some go to obtain a degree that is required by employers. Both legitimate reasons. What if a college education was completely accessible to everyone, completely free of charge? People could obtain a degree if they completed the coursework. Some could pay for the experience of physical classrooms, real time interaction with professors; while others that couldn’t afford it could just learn independently.
You might ask, then everyone would have degrees? Obtaining that distinction would be meaningless? Well to some extent that would be true. What is a degree other than a certificate of completion? It doesn’t mean more than the fact that you have completed a series of courses and finished a series of exams. Making higher education completely free levels the playing field, sure, but that is a good thing. It raises the standards, employers will look for new measurements beyond just the four year degree. Perhaps even a greater focus on a person’s work ethic or character.
Don’t we want people to be more educated? Don’t we want knowledge to be free to anyone who is interested in learning? Today just going to college is a huge financial commitment. Going to a state school, which is already cheaper than private institutions requires a big financial investment. After graduating students have to work years just to pay off their student loans and get out of debt. With free education, instead of fees and tuition, the payment becomes just time and commitment.