The Rise of Free Online College Courses

To say that attending college is an expensive process is an understatement. As at 2012, total student debt in America is believed to have exceeded $1 trillion. In 2011, the New York Times reported that average student debt was approximately $26,500 and online college courses are not much cheaper. However, the advent of free online college courses, other known as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), could change the face of education forever.

It started off as an experiment but all signs point towards it being a huge success with large numbers of public universities set to offer MOOCs to anyone who applies in the hope that many of the participants will pass the course; enroll in the college and pay the normal tuition fees. In a country where a degree in religious and women’s studies in a prestigious university can cost up to $100,000, MOOCs could open up the world of education to students. Why are colleges interested in offering these free taster courses? Many American colleges are in huge debt and need some method of attracting more students.

Growth of a Phenomenon?

The University of Arkansas, the University of Cincinnati and Arizona State are just three of the well-respected colleges involved in the plan. The growth of MOOCs really spiked in 2012 as start-ups such as Udacity and edX came to the fore and offered hope to those who previously couldn’t afford education. These courses were founded by professors of top schools such as Stanford and Harvard with millions of people worldwide taking the teachers up on their offer.

At this stage, one wonders if MOOCs can one day replace college degrees. If this were the case, it would make a profound difference to an incredible number of would-be students. One issue was that colleges were not giving credit for MOOCs but even this looks set to change. A number of universities in Austria and Germany are giving credit for MOOCs and this could spread to American educational institutions as Colorado State has made noises about following the lead of its European counterparts. The University of Washington is also considering this course of action though students at the college will need to pay a fee and do extra work with a professor from the institution if it goes ahead with the plan.

The Future of MOOCs

These free online courses are no longer a novelty and will continue to be used as a tool to encourage prospective students to enroll in a university. The University of Texas in Arlington has teamed up with Academic Partnerships to offer free online college courses to would-be nursing students. To date, more than 80% of those that accepted the free offer returned and paid for the on-campus course. If nothing else, MOOCs give students a ‘try before they buy’ option, a valuable resource when courses are so expensive. Free online college courses could pose a threat to traditional education but if these institutions find a way to utilize MOOCs to their advantage like the University of Texas, giving something for free could turn out to be very lucrative.

Choosing the Best Online College or University

Online College or University choices are as wide open as the day is long and you want the best that money can afford you. Online education is fast taking on its own dimension in broadening and supplementing our resumes. Getting the most education you can afford and in a time strapped lifestyle as most people are in today is challenging to say the least.

Getting an online college or university degree is just as credible as a traditional college degree but it is less expensive, more adapted to your busy life and work mix, plus you can suffer far less sideline interruptions that a land based campus would cause.

In deciding what online college or university to choose, you should consider the real interactions you expect and plan on needing before landing on your selection of education providers. Ideally, you want to find an online college or university that is geographically close to where you reside. This allows you the options of having a better opportunity to check in, meet, and have a good relationship with any professors or teachers that are associated with the online classes.

Accredited online colleges offer much the same level of education as campus classes and yet by not having all the distraction, you can better focus on studying and at the times that allow you to turn off all your other commotions.

Psychology Degrees Online is a popular field to enter and the spectrum from which this profession is leading us, you could be doing yourself as well as others a real service. Online graduate programs and online master’s degrees are other levels of education you can complete from the comforts of your own home.

While online college or university classes can be flexible, you still have some obstacles that may be somewhat different, than the campus lifestyle classes. Finding the time in your busy schedule to stay focused and regimented to do the required class time is very challenging. It is easy to do the class, but making yourself stay the course, literally is hard.

Distance education is the new community college mentality. Finding a less costly education and conveniently accessible. Many local community colleges are seeing more and more students using online college and university choices and less classroom students.

Another stigma that is easily overcome with online education is the age of the student to the rest of the class. If you are now older and want to go back to get or finish your degree, or even expand your education to a graduate or masters degree, you don’t have to concern yourself by feeling like the oldest person in the class.

The choices are many and the specializing of classes offered are detailed, but if you really want to further your education or get a specialized class on virtually any subject, online college or university studies is the way to get it.