How to Get Your Degree Online for Free (or very nearly): Part III

Academic
Academic (Photo credit: tim ellis)
By Christopher Lotito

This article is part of a multi-article series about the evolution and democratization of learning, online education, and the challenges and choices our children will face in their education over the next decade.  Pequannock News is proud to provide this personal account of experiences with online education providers (including Udacity, Coursera, edX, and others) for the value of parents, students, and the general public.


What's Next?  Graduating Dot-Com

I'm going to complete my search engine programming course and probably launch a search engine directed at pulling up documents on public servers which tend to be poorly indexed by Google and others.  I'll probably take more courses with Udacity, Coursera, and edX.  I'll probably enroll in a graduate degree or certificate program in the next 18 months.  I'll almost certainly take another online-based course at some time in my life (they're now almost required for a New Jersey real estate license!).  I MIGHT even pursue my passions in education, study like crazy, and complete a graduate degree using courses available from several sources for a mere $3,000.00 the way that this gentleman completed his Associates Degree from Excelsior:  http://chronicle.com/blogs/saysomething/2012/12/04/episode-45-how-to-get-a-degree-with-free-and-laundered-credit/#  (he's taken several courses with FEMA that I've completed myself by the way and they are great courses!).

It's hard to put a bottom-line on an article with this broad a scope, but here's my best effort: Schools need to commit to providing an education which reflects the cost of that education, avoiding simply churning out graduates with no ability to reason or think critically and $100,000.00 in student debt for an undergraduate degree.  It's the ethical thing to do and if schools continue to increase tuition without adding value, they have no one to blame but themselves when a more innovative educator comes along with a system where the price of education reflects the value and applies the rule of Capitalism to corner the education market.

Another take-away, YOU should take my CompSci course with me!  The link is here under CS101: http://www.udacity.com/courses -- By doing so you will: A) Join millions of individuals furthering their education (and not just their credentials) INCLUDING Freehold NJ High School Students (http://blog.udacity.com/2012/12/local-nj-news-profiles-udacity-high.html), B) You will increase your understanding of the challenges and unique choices that our youths will face over the course of the next decade (or until such time as the exception of online-education becomes the norm), and C) You will learn a great deal about the ways in which traditional concepts of social-class are breaking down and the so-called institutions of higher education and wealth (long linked) are becoming democratized.  Oh, and you might also learn how to program a search engine, like Google, using Python programming language and earn some college credit in the meantime.

Next up, an Online Education Wrap-Up with a bunch of cool links to courses that you can check out!

The rest of this series will examine, at some length, non-traditional options for higher education (with options for high school students as well).


Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Historic District, Open Space, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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