How would you like to take the best courses from the best professors at the best universities in the world – basically for free? How would you like to interact online with fellow students, have your online questions answered within minutes and take quizzes for real marks?
You can now. And the revolution is just beginning. This week, the University of Toronto joined Stanford, Princeton, Michigan and a dozen other major universities offering free online courses to anyone anywhere in the world with a computer. They are partners in Coursera, an online venture launched a year ago by two Stanford University computer scientists. No pesky entrance exams or prerequisites required. No $40,000 tuition, either.
Coursera is just one of many new initiatives in online learning. Harvard and MIT are pouring millions into edX, a joint venture that will offer their own online courses. This spring, MIT launched an experimental online version of a course called Circuits and Electronics. Almost 155,000 people signed up. More than 7,000 passed.