Does Free Online Courses Really Provide Value?


Quick Answer

Free online courses provide value as they give individuals access to educational materials that could otherwise be very expensive. Through free online courses, people can learn skills such as computer programming, foreign languages and a host of other useful skills.

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Full Answer

The primary value of free online courses is that they provide high-quality educational materials to anyone with Internet access. On sites like Coursera.org and edX.org, many of the courses are made by videotaping actual lectures and recitation sessions at universities such as Harvard, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Not only is tuition at these elite universities extremely expensive, these schools also adhere to strict admission standards for new students.

Udacity.org provides a course in Python, a simple but powerful computer programming language. While the full version of this course, which includes video interaction with the professor and graded assignments, carries a fee, the basic course materials are free. Computer programming is quickly becoming one of the most marketable skills available, making even the basic version of this course a valuable service.

Some free courses on Udacity.org and Coursera.org also give students the option of paying a small fee for certain extra features, such as interactive video lectures and collaborative projects with other students. Many of these paid courses also provide the student with a certificate of completion once she finishes the course.

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