Most of us will be concerned and some probably directly impacted by the frequent strikes by university teaching staff which invariably create severe discontinuities and dilution of tertiary education in Nigeria. While we pray for a speedy resolution whenever these strikes are initiated (by ASUU and/or ASUP), there are available resources that those impacted could use to keep learning.
Some of our readers may already be aware that several of the world’s leading universities do offer free online tuition on a wide range of courses. The best of these free courses are those offered by Yale, Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, MIT, Notre Dame, Stanford, Columbia and UCLA, among other universities.
We have reviewed and are particularly impressed with the depth and range of free courses offered by Yale University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the United States. The lectures are presented by some of the university’s leading academics and subject matter experts. Their offering covers everything from Geology and Geophysics to core Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, History… you name it.
It’s all free. You can watch the lecture series online as video delivery, typically lasting upwards of an hour per lecture. This will probably prove a little costly for those without unlimited data package. Good thing is that you can also download the lecture series as audio files and play them offline.
You can also open the transcripts of the lectures and just read them as text. This is the cheapest option.
Think of it as attending Yale University, one of the world’s most prestigious universities, for free.
Our students who become homebound when the strikes occur (and who in any case often lack books and lecture materials) could really benefit from this academic facility. But it’s not only for our students and youths. Adults who probably graduated a while back can refresh their minds and update their knowledge: they will not only remain intellectually engaged but can also improve their current skills.
Life-long learners and knowledge seekers can also dive into diverse subjects beyond their immediate fields of specialization and acquire course-level tuition without paying!
If interested, just click the link below which lists all the freely available Yale courses. Identify the subject of interest to you….and go to Yale!
Here is the click-stream for the Yale University offering:
> Click the Yale link provided above to see the list of available courses by department.
> For a selected course, click the link provided in the column named “Course Title”. This leads to the actual course page.
> To access the course content on the course page, select the tab named “Sessions”. This leads to the list of lecture sessions for the course. They are typically an hour long, and number over 20 for each course.
For a list of other leading universities that also offer free online courses please click the link below:
These universities offer their free (in some cases partially free) online courses through their own websites, or through their YouTube channels and iTunes podcasts.
But the phenomenon of free online tuition is much broader than that. Through our research, we discovered that there are now in fact some global initiatives by the top universities to provide tuition through collaborative online platforms where they provide their free and heavily subsidized courses. These offerings are collectively called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), provided through collaborative platforms such as the following (links provided):
1. Coursera (www.coursera.org): This appears to be the largest of the collaborative platforms, currently with 150 university partners from 29 countries. Their participating universities include Stanford, Duke, Penn, Princeton, Michigan etc. They also have corporate partners like IBM, Google, and PwC that have launched their own courses. Coursera currently has about 2,700 online courses and about 33m registered users around the world.
2. Udacity (www.udacity.com/): This platform focuses more on tech and vocational courses for professionals and those seeking “nanodegrees” that are recognized by many employers. They have some university partners as well as tech companies like Google, Nvidia, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM etc. They now have about 1.6m users.
3. edX (www.edx.org): This is an initiative jointly launched by the two prestigious universities Harvard and MIT, offering rigorous coursework across many disciplines. Some 70 schools, corporations and NGOs offer courses through this platform. The partners have over 1,800 online courses and over 14m students worldwide. They offer certificates for successful completion, and some courses are credit-eligible.
All these online education initiatives are free or heavily subsidized. For practically nothing or a token fee one could obtain an employer-recognized degree, nanodegree or certificate from one of the top universities of the world.
We are really excited about these opportunities. They offer our youths (and adults) access to the world’s most prestigious universities as “virtual exchange” students. They expose subscribers to the latest research in their chosen fields, and avail course materials that may not be readily available otherwise.
We hope that our readers will fully utilize this invaluable opportunity.
Awka Times Management