Educating Yourself: Ivy League Courses Popping Up Online for Free

Educating Yourself: Ivy League Courses Popping Up Online for Free

Education isn’t cheap. Today’s young college graduates are increasingly realizing that their university years left them with massive school debt, and few options to pay if off. Others find themselves entrenched in careers without the option to go back and pursue new avenues of learning. Of course, there’s always the wistful curiosity we all face about what might really be going on in Ivy League classrooms. Who can really afford to go there? But who hasn’t wondered if maybe they missed out?

Well, now you can finally put your curiosity to rest and without jeopardizing your financial future. Distance education has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since Internet connections became fast enough to reliably stream video. Recently, a number of colleges—even Ivy League schools—have begun posting their courses online for free!

One of the most conspicuous efforts is the Open Yale program. Visitors can choose from a number of different areas and watch complete courses. Videos of every lecture are available, and some classes even include the final exam. You will also find printable resources available for some courses, though you may need to buy some extra compatible ink cartridges to print everything! Harvard has also offered free courses though not as many as Yale.

Even more broad resources are available on iTunes University. These free courses (usually in the form of podcasts) are taken from many different sources. Some of the more impressive names include Stanford University and UC Berkeley. The topics include almost everything imaginable. Some of the more popular courses concern philosophy, technology, finance, and various specialties in the sciences. Want to decide once and for all whether the gold standard is a good idea? There’s a course for that!

Naturally, these courses are not available for credit—even if you completed all the work you wouldn’t receive an Ivy League degree. But the important value is the knowledge! So why are these schools offering their expensive courses online?

One reason is that they can attract more interest for their full academic programs. Someone who begins working through the free courses online might eventually decide to attend these schools to get an even better education. This explains why some schools provide only one or two courses from each department—the courses are enough to whet your appetite and bring you back for more.

However, the colleges are also interested in providing free information as an extension of their concern for academic liberty. Various donors have helped with the related expenses, but the providers recognize that if anyone in the world can access this information it might contribute to real and significant innovations.

Regardless of the reasons, the universal availability of these courses is exciting and remarkable. The information revolution is maturing, and knowledge is no longer accessible only to the wealthy and privileged. If you are interested in bettering yourself or just participating in the joy of learning, take advantage of these incredible resources. It’s a privilege that people only a generation ago would have hardly believed!

Joel Arnold of offers ink cartridges, laser toner cartridges, and printer ribbons. Have a look at Inkpal's recycling page for information on green-friendly best practices for disposing of used cartridges.

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