Erica Cardenas

Free on-line college courses

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EDUCATION BRIEFS
Youth Soccer Academy
The “Human Face of Sustainability”

Over the past decade, the web has become a free source for college-level course materials called OpenCourseWare (OCW). Whether you’re a college student, a self-educator or a homeschooler, OCW provides an on-line format for anyone interested in learning on their own. 

What are some of the advantages of OCW? It’s free and available to anyone with web access. In China, a site called Netease attracts 1.2 million visitors a day; users see OCW as a way to learn English, find out more about the study-abroad experience and establish their own study groups, according to the OCW Consortium, a worldwide community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing OCW and its impact on global education.

The drawbacks of OCW include not being able to take courses for credit and the inability to interact with the professors who create the materials. Nonetheless, OCW continues to attract more users each year with seemingly endless options from which to choose. A good starting point might be tapping in to the OCW Consortium  at ocwconsortium.org. 

The OCW Consortium’s search index currently contains 6,974 courses from 65 sources in 19 languages.

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