Monthly Archives: June 2010

Damn the Man

Change the status quo.

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A Free Online Education

I ran across a fascinating website today which is operated by a non-profit named Einztein.  The site is essentially a search engine that focuses on free online courses.  It’s definitely not perfect, but the quantity of courses is pretty impressive considering it just launched, and the concept of bringing the best online courses (they are “hand-picked” by their PhD level editorial team) into one easily accessible website is exciting.  For instance, today I watched two lectures from the a UC Berkeley course on Search Marketing.  I can’t imagine the tuition on those classes was cheap.

This isn’t the first website to offer free tools for self-education.  Courses at Universities such as Yale, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon have been available for a while.  If those are too intimidating, websites like TED and The 99 Percent offer streaming videos of well-known keynote speakers discussing “ideas worth spreading”.  There’s also free eBooks and slide shows on Scribd and Slideshare.  While these are all great resources, what really has me excited about Einztein is that it’s the first website I’ve seen that lets you aggregate University courses by subject from schools all across the world.  Until today, if you wanted to find online courses related to Computer Science, you had to browse around several University websites since MIT may have offered some courses while Carnegie Mellon offered others.  The benefits of a search engine across hundreds of universities are obvious.  On top of finding the courses people need, Einztein also helps expose courses at Universities that may not have as prestigious of a history but still have excellent programs.  To me, that’s a win-win for the students and Academia.

While sites like Einztein won’t (directly) help anyone receive a physical diploma, they will be a step in the right direction for education.  I’m really crossing my fingers in hopes that this concept catches on.

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