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Education Sans Frontier

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Didn’t get that full scholarship from MIT? Chill. You can attend the class for free.

An indisputable fact of life in India is that most of its young citizens want to leave the country and study abroad. Nowadays, more than a few manage to make the trip to the land of no return. But many can’t, due mostly to financial reasons. Luckily for these unfortunate souls, all is not lost. In fact, look what we found: entire university courses from prestigious schools like Yale, MIT, UC Berkeley and all the other top US colleges, yours for the price of a broadband connection and little else.

True, watching free video lectures won’t earn you that much-prized degree, but it will give you a great deal of knowledge and understanding—
and that, as one of the Idiots glibly demonstrated to us, is a very powerful thing. On that stirring note, let’s get the ball rolling in right earnest down the road to free learning. Our first stop will be at the OpenCourseWare (OCW) Consortium (www.ocwconsortium.org).

Past applicants, successful or otherwise, to foreign universities will tell you that deciding on a proper course of study is never easy
because you’re often spoiled for choice. For better or for worse, the OCW Consortium is not different on that count. On last count, it had listed a little more than 200 schools worldwide, looking to provide free knowledge via online video, audio and text. And, you can be sure this is only the beginning.

The site lists all participants in the programme and provides direct links to that school’s online offerings. Admittedly, this approach
can be a tad overwhelming because the OCW Consortium doesn’t make much of an effort to sort out and categorise these offerings. That said, there’s a good chance the college you’ve always wanted to go to but couldn’t—for reasons already mentioned—is offering many of its courses online for free, all thanks to the ever-present ‘I’ in our lives. (The internet, in case you’re wondering.)

We all know how much the internet has changed the world. The availability of free university courses online is one of the greatest examples of it. What an idea, Sirji!

PS: Have any of you tried any free courses being offered by these reputed universities? If yes, do consider telling us about it so we can learn from your experience.