Prestigious high-ranking schools, including several Ivy Leagues universities, are no longer strictly reserved for those with perfect SAT scores. Coursera, an online learning platform, has recently announced that 12 new universities will be offering free courses, which include esteemed schools such as Princeton University and John Hopkins University.
Although students can’t currently use these courses for academic credit, platforms such as Coursera are allowing virtually anyone to have free access to higher tier education, with many of the courses being taught by experts at the top of their field. Other companies are also offering similar opportunities, such as Kahn Academy and Udacity, both offering free online courses to the general public.
What does this mean for the future of online education? Well, here are some of the main ways that these free online courses will change how online education is used by the public and perceived by traditional learning institutions:
Online Education is Being Taken More Seriously
The increase of Ivy League and other well regarded schools offering online courses shows that traditional educational institutions are finally beginning to change their attitude about online education. In the past, top tier schools were quick to judge online education, and even dismiss it all together as an invalid form of education. However, platforms such as Coursera are changing all of this, and showing that online education is now being taken much more seriously and even being fully supported by internationally revered educational institutions.
High Quality Education is No Longer Ultra Exclusive
High quality, Ivy level education no longer has to be only exclusively available to its campus enrolled students, thanks to platforms like Coursera. Now virtually anyone from around the world can enroll in a course taught by renowned professors from schools like Princeton or Stanford, opening the doors of the usually ultra exclusive doors of an Ivy League education. This will allow people who aren’t fortunate enough to attend such prestigious schools to still have access to some of their courses and syllabi, making top ranking schools appear much more welcoming and accessible to non campus enrolled students.
The Way We Learn is Evolving
Online education is allowing education to evolve and advance. Students no longer need to pay the hefty price that a top tier school usually requires to get access to their courses and course materials – they can now do it for free, 100% online. This not only adds some credibility to online learning, but it shows that the way we learn is changing and is no longer restricted to a classroom environment. Students now have the freedom to study wherever they have an internet connection and for free, which is a phenomenal advancement in higher education.
Top ranking schools such as Princeton and Duke University providing free courses to non-students proves that online education is becoming a defining and increasingly dominant feature of higher education. Online education is showing little sign of slowing down, and will likely only continue to become more widely accepted as an effective form of learning as time progresses.