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Five highly ranked colleges in the United States are set to start offering online classes for free through a new interactive learning program called Coursera. Students will be able to use Coursera to take classes in a range of subjects. Classes such as Greek mythology, calculus and many more will be available for students. In all, there will be more than three dozen classes available.

Coursera is designed to make getting an education more accessible and affordable. There are other programs with the same goal, but many of them simply offer a wall of text for students to read with little or no interactivity. Coursera brings a level of interactivity not previously seen in a free or affordable class.

The five schools currently signed on are Stanford, Princeton, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan. These are some very prestigious schools, and having the opportunity to learn from them for free is amazing.

Classes will function like most online learning environments. There will be tests that are computer graded. They are working on computer algorithms to grade papers and essays automatically.

Like anything in its infancy, there are some problems to be worked out. As it stands, there is no way for professors to keep track of who is doing the work, so cheating could be a problem. Because there is no degree, cheating will only hurt the student, and that alone should keep students honest.

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Students will not get a degree for taking the courses, but they can request a certificate of completion for a small fee.


  1. hilina fekadu
    July 10, 2012 at 7:54 am

    i like your learning and teaching process. keep it up

  2. ShareForward
    April 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    This is such a great idea, thanks for sharing with us. I hope to see more classes that we can use in the future.

    • Dave LeClair
      April 27, 2012 at 6:46 pm

      You're welcome!

  3. hrhenry
    April 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Not part of Coursera, but MIT offers many, many courses through OpenCourseWare too, and have begun offering certificates:

    • Dave LeClair
      April 27, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Very cool, I will have to check this out!

  4. memo1288
    April 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Certificates of accomplishment do not cost a small fee, every student with a good enough score (like 70%) will get them for free. You do not have to pay for anything.

    • Dave LeClair
      April 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Thanks for pointing this out. The article i got this from reported that there was a fee.

  5. Krishnapriya
    April 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I signed up long ago and just started my first lesson today on CS 101

    • Dave LeClair
      April 27, 2012 at 6:47 pm


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