Some of the world’s best universities are now offering free courses for students worldwide. World famous US universities Stanford and Princeton have set up an online platform called Coursera, whilst Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have formed a multi-million dollar alliance to launch edX. This could signal the beginning of a move towards free Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

Could this be good news for Zambian students?

The good news for students is that at the moment many of the courses offered by edX and Coursera will be offered for free. This should enable students in Zambia to benefit from a number of free educational courses.

To good to be true?

The question many people (and students in particular) will be asking is – are these free course offerings to good to be true? The answer really depends on your viewpoint. If you want to use high quality, web-based learning materials that enable you to learn at your own pace without full accreditation then this is really good news. If you prefer face-to-face tuition or require full accreditation then these courses are probably not for you – although they could be a useful tool to add to your study kit. It is worth noting that edX propose to provide successful students with a certificate in mastery rather than a degree and will not get university accreditation which is often a stipulation in job advertisements.

Coursera (Stanford and Princeton)

Coursera outline their vision for the future of education on their website:

  • “We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Our technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.
  • “…we hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.”

This certainly seems like a bold initiative and could change the way education is provided worldwide. To access the current Coursera course list and to explore what courses are available to you visit: Coursera  

Edx (Harvard and MIT)

edX have a similar vision to Coursera. edX state that their online learning platform is designed to offer online versions of their courses, which includes video lessons, embedded testing, real-time feedback, student-ranked questions and answers, collaborative web-based laboratories, and student paced learning.

To access the current Coursera course list and to explore what courses are available to you visit: edX

FutureLearn 

FutureLearn is a new company and is owned by the Open University (OU) a UK-based university that is also one of the largest universities in the world. FutureLearn brings together 21 top Universities from across the world as well as renowned institutions such as the British Council, the British Library and the British Museum.

FutureLearn is offering free courses and content to all learners worldwide. In July 2013, FutureLearn announced that learners from over 140 countries had already registered with FutureLearn.

For more information visit: www.gozambiajobs.com/free-courses-from-futurelearn

Further Information

If you prefer more traditional methods of learning with face-to-face lectures, tuition and formal accreditation you can search for over 1,500 courses at: www.gozambiajobs.com/courses.