Coming from someone who was influenced by family, recruiters, peers and so on that prestige came with a price, and a hefty one at that; guess where I went to college? A very prestigious private school in the Midwest. And although I couldn’t have gone if not for scholarships and grants I was awarded (having ‘no money’ actually “paid off” there!), I’m still the ‘proud owner’ of some large tuition debt. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my college! I grew as both a student, an athlete and an individual while attending, and after attending some classes at a few other state colleges and universities, I must admit I saw a difference in work load and ethic. But my growth wasn’t because of a hefty tuition. Our life is what we make it; how we apply ourselves. Perhaps harder classes were easier to come by in my college or a norm, but I don’t believe that, would I have graduated from a different school, I would be ” Looking back, I wonder what it would have been like and sometimes wish I would have completed my associates (generals) at a community or junior college and transferred to a 4-year school to complete my bachelors. My only hesitation in wishing this is wondering if I would have missed out on the “college experience.”
But we can’t change the past, so why dwell? And if I wouldn’t have attended the college I did, I would have missed out on all the great friendships, opportunities and activities I was lucky enough to experience. All we have is now. So now (that I’m no longer judged, graded or even expected to), I’m obsessed with continuing my education! Ironic, isn’t it? But I realize it doesn’t always have to come with a fee other than time, commitment and effort.
There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti
Learning for free! Why focus on (or pay for) the piece of paper when it’s really the knowledge that is so valuable?! And that’s why I want to share with you some of these awesome (and FREE) websites that I’ve found to grow and expand our knowledge and intelligence.
- UDACITY – Their “Free courseware” is the first part of their 4 part course experience. It allows you to get course material to learn and review on your own, but omits the other 3 parts including “coaches, projects with feedback, and verified certificates. From their website concerning Free Courseware: “Explore our course textbook. Take the Udacity journey with industry experts and Udacity instructors on your timeline. Create your own experience through videos and interactive quizzes.”
- edX – A collaborative site of various colleges and universities, some of the best in our nation with over 150 courses in multiple areas of study. “How it Works” according to their page: “Find your new course: Search the courses page and explore topics and professors. We’re always adding more. Review and Choose: Read through the course prerequisites and time commitment so you know what to expect. Become an edX student: Just click ‘Register Now,’ both edX and the classes are free (yes, really). Start studying and have fun: Crack the virtual books, start studying and connect with others online – and have fun!”
- Coursera – Another collaborative site of multiple colleges and universities, with over 400 courses offered from the some of the ‘world’s top educational institutions.’ Their mission: “Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. We envision a future where everyone has access to a world-class education. We aim to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.”
- endoRIOT – endoRIOT, a blog providing “inspiration and information in attempt to trigger your imagination” lists and gives links to 40 websites that offer free education!