As the cost of college continues to rise, and the value of a degree (in terms of lifetime earnings) falls, there will be a long-term shift towards cheap or free learning methods that take advantage of technology. That has been the lesson of technology, over and over again: technology enables a lower cost way of doing business, and particularly in delivering content. As we adjust to this new world, and we are able to realize massive benefits to the scale it offers, it becomes clear what the future holds: how we education ourselves will be changed forever.
Universities and Colleges, led by MIT among others, are supporting this future rather than standing in the way, and in the last few years have begun putting content online in the form of open courses, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and textbooks. These resources include some of the most popular courses taught by leading professors from the most prestigious universities. In some cases, lectures and notes are made available; whereas in others, you can access the everything: quizzes and tests, problem sets, the textbook and more.
Some might say that this isn’t such a big deal, as the Internet has already “freed” content so that anyone with a web browser can access the world of knowledge. However, inherent in the format of a “course” are many things you do not find online: structure, a logical order of principles & concepts, expert knowledge, milestones aligned with practicum, and a sense of achievement. Despite what some may say, there is a reason that Wikipedia alone does not make for a proper education, and the format of a course has withstood the test of time.
By putting these courses online for free, anyone in the world — be it someone in India, Brazil, Nigeria or Wisconsin — can access the same teachings from the same great professors as the highest level achievers in our society. This foundational knowledge is a requirement to contribute meaningfully to society at large in key areas that drive our quality of life: Science, Humanities, the Social Sciences and Engineering. These courses enables students to: open their minds and free their thinking; ask new and important questions; and learn from those that stand atop academia.
So today, in order to do our little part in this revolution, SkilledUp is releasing OpenU, a series of curated resources from around the web: be it MOOCs, open courses on the web, iTunesU or Youtube, Textbooks, K-12 resources and more. We will continue to update and add to these resources — and even eliminate those that become obsolete or sufficiently replaced by a new resource that is wholly better.
What is OpenU? Well, we tried to focus on three criteria:
- Is it available for FREE to anyone in the world?
- Does this resource offer a deep (in the case of MOOCs or textbooks) or unique (with many K-12 resources) educational experience?
- Does this resource focus on the key subject areas that universities prepare people
And so we have been able to curate over 850 unique resources — the most comprehensive list we’ve seen, and organize these into key subject areas, including Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Literature, History, Economics, Computer Science, Engineering, Philosophy, Political Science and Psychology.
Much of these courses are not new, but nearly all of it has been made available in the last few years. This does not represent the end, but rather the beginning. We will continue to update and add to this list, as well as improving and enhancing our Online Courses search tool, which allows you to find courses for specific needs, including Skill-based courses, MOOCs, Books and even engaging Talks & Lectures.
So read, learn, enjoy, and share. The world is changing, and that’s a good thing.
– The SkilledUp Team
SkilledUp is committed to bringing you all the best open educational resources, and we have curated over 850 online open educational resources for you as part of OpenU. Check them out —