As I mentioned before, Kahn Academy is one of the leading initiatives in spreading knowledge. Free and available in several languages, it continues to grow in popularity, and now we see several other initiatives like it appearing in different countries.
Some of the best universities in the United States, like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT, Princeton, have already published free courses in their websites. Stanford’s Udacity is a fascinating one, but if you want to find more classes online, check other sources as The Open University, or Apple’s iTunes U.
The idea now is spreading to Latin America. One example is the new e-Aulas USP that has been published and it is currently available to the public. For those of you that are not familiar with the university, Universidade de São Paulo – USP – has been ranked as the best university in Latin America according to Quacquarelli Symonds, a recognized British ranking system. The new web site was launched with over 800 free courses, from Calculus to Education, with promises to increase the number of courses over time.
Universities are an integral part of the ecosystem surrounding them. By providing free training classes, they are giving back to their communities a powerful stimulus, something truly appreciated in periods of economic crisis. And, better yet, it becomes a laboratory to test new ideas on education, with a close and direct feedback.
One quick comment: some people complained that these courses are not valid to include in a C.V., as formal training. It is true, but I don’t understand why people would do extension courses just to get a new item in the C.V. It is far more valuable to acquire new skills and competences that can be leveraged in the professional and personal lives. If you really need to get additional certificates, then go for the investment.
What do you think?