The latest trend in higher learning, massive open online courses (MOOCs) provide college-level courses in many subjects completely free. Top level universities, such as Stanford, CalTech, Duke, and more offer videos of courses taught on campus by high caliber professors. The courses are enhanced by cutting-edge online learning interactive tools; they almost feel like video games! (Know any kids who’d be down with that? I do!) Anyone can sign up completely free, and watch the identical presentations that on-campus students pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to attend.
Colleges don’t offer credits for these courses yet, complains the news report I’ve linked below. But they’re forgetting about CLEP exams.
The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers testing in various general courses for college-bound students. A passing score ensures college credit in that subject at many colleges and universities. (Not all accept CLEP, so be sure to check.) Our local junior college, Cabrillo, accepts many CLEP exams. Instead of paying for a course, students can take an $80 test. As I see it, students could take one of these free courses in preparation for a CLEP exam, pass the exam, and save both money and time on general ed undergraduate courses. I assume this approach would also work for SAT subject tests.
For more information about CLEP, visit the College Board website, here.
To see the news report about MOOCs, click here.
Follow these links to check out three innovative suppliers of MOOCs here:
Don’t forget about CollegePlus, for personalized career direction and assistance with CLEP planning, jump-starting higher education at a fraction of the cost. Click here.
And, of course, there’s also the Khan Academy.
As the news report points out, the main drawback is lack of community and face-to-face interaction. However, this can be mitigated with study groups. Perhaps local high school homeschoolers can create a group learning situation centered on these courses. As the mom of three computer-savvy kids, I’ll be giving this serious consideration. Let me know if you’re interested!