Imagine you could take courses from Princeton, Stanford or University of Pennsylvania without ever having to apply or attend these elite schools. Now imagine those classes were free. Yes, you read that correctly. Free.
Launched on April 18th, Coursera.org brings its “Education for Everyone” motto to the learning-hungry masses. It’s kind of like a discounted designer clothing site – but way better. Besides, in the grand scheme of life, spiffed up math skills are far more useful than a new pair of Marc Jacobs pumps, right? And there are no knock-offs here; courses from healthcare to humanities offer the same curriculum as students enrolled at the school would receive.
Coursera basically acts as an educational middleman, making already available content from a handful of schools accessible to the public with its streaming platform. All you need to do is watch the lectures, hand in your homework and earn a certificate.
Improve Your Job Options
How does this help you? For one, it makes a world-class education available to anyone with a computer. The online nature of these courses makes flexible learning easy, meaning you can pick up a new resume-building skill in your spare time. And that new skill – it could be valuable when it comes to career advancement or salary negotiation.
If you look at what’s hot in the job market, you’ll find tech, tech and more tech. How about a Computer Science 101 course from Stanford University to help you learn about the industry? Coursera offers that class…for free. And, the guy teaching it is a 20-year Stanford veteran who teaches programming best practices at Google and produced the infamous Binky Pointer Fun video.
Tuition Costs Averted
If you need help appreciating what a great deal you're getting, just take a look at how much it costs to attend some of these top schools (much less how hard it is to get in). According the PayScale’s College Tuition ROI report, several schools with classes featured on Coursera cost over $200,000 before you graduation day. Sure, you don’t get the frat parties and college memories, but you also don’t rack up a dime in student loan debt.
If you’ve been thinking about going back to school, take a look at Coursera. The price of quality learning sure is right, and it goes without saying that picking up new skill is a career builder that never goes out of style.
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(photo credit: flickr/el frito)