There are classes covering many subject areas such as biology and life sciences, computer science, education, humanities, mathematics etc. etc. Currently they have 116 online courses and anyone can sign up free of charge. The host universities include Edinburgh, Toronto, University of Michigan, Princeton and Duke.
I started the 'Internet History, Technology and Security' class yesterday, hosted by the U of M's School of Information Science. There are over 33,000 students enrolled in the class and so I am not expecting personal service from the professor but he is available on Twitter and surfs the forums daily as well as having office hours. The forums are a central part to these classes and students are encouraged to help each other answer questions and solve problems. So far, we have had around an hour and a half of lectures on the origins of the internet and have learned all about the Bomba and Enigma machines in WWII. The calibre of the lectures is far better than I was expecting and I was engaged with the material - something that cannot be said of most online classes I have experienced!
|Courtesy of Erik Pitti|
As far as assessment goes, there are non-graded in-lecture quizzes as well as weekly graded quizzes (worth 60% of the overall grade). There will also be a final exam, making up the remaining 40% of the grade. Hopefully those who complete the course will receive a certificate but there are no credits available. I am not doing this for the certificate though, I just wanted to broaden my knowledge and a free online class taught by a different institution seemed like an excellent way to do so.
In the next few months I am signed up for some more classes: 'Securing Digital Democracy' with the U of M; 'Learn to Program: The Fundamentals' with the University of Toronto; and 'E-Learing and Digital Cultures' with the University of Edinburgh. While this is extra work with not a lot of documentation to show for it, I think that I will still enjoy learning about subjects related to my field and continuing to add to my academic experiences.