How Online Courses Let You Go to Schools for Free

By Angelita Williams

Online courses initially made their debut on the internet through many “open” classes that Harvard and MIT offered.  These courses attracted potential students, allowed web users to learn about a subject, and generally allowed students to become informed about a topic without the expense of Ivy League tuition.  The website Academic Earth has additionally tied all these free online courses together in a neat and tidy layout which allows web viewers to search under different subjects for free video lectures from esteemed Ivy League professors. 

With the growing advent of social media, sites like Academic Earth allow students to view different lectures without paying for the costs of the classes and are akin to sites such as Hulu.  At this point, students are offered the opportunity to upload lectures at their leisure and whenever they feel the need to know more about an era of architecture, or the intricacies of our nation’s financial state.  It is an easy way to get background knowledge of a particular subject and participate in a live lecture.  These original online courses have been revolutionary in online education because they have recorded lectures in which professors are teaching to live students in a classroom, rather than the simple lecture notes most students of online universities receive.  Furthermore, the fact that most Ivy League schools have jumped on-board in this realm of online education is indicative of the success the programs have achieved throughout the internet.

These online courses are beneficial for all types of people, from potential students, to interested entrepreneurs, to business professionals who simply need a reminder of various terminology.  What makes these courses even better is the additional information most classes post, including transcripts, notes, and sometimes homework assignments in which you can grade yourself.  While you will not be receiving any kind of grade for attending these online video lectures, you will be allowing yourself the flexibility to learn a new subject without the added expense of tuition.  Additionally, many of these sites now allow viewers to rate the class, making it easier to see which classes are most beneficial to newcomers.  While you will not be receiving a grade of any type, you will have an introduction into many different intricate subjects without the interruption of finals, midterms, or inane commentary by students.  In a sense, these open online courses can almost supplement a college degree program, and seem set
to continue their path of delivering knowledge to internet viewers. 

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