Monday, October 22, 2012

Online Education with coursera.org

For many of us in the developing countries, access to world class education is something you just dream about, because the cost is way beyond the average individual.

 The Internet has helped to at least provide much more accessible knowledge, but the current wave of free online courses offered by world class faculty is really a boon to the individual who wants to acquire world class education, but has no financial capability to do so.

 Coursera (www.coursera.org) is one of those free online sites where you can get to audit full and free courses, offered by leading universities all over the world. I got to know about coursera about 4 months ago and I am currently taking my third course there. I found out that the courses I have done are delivered in such a way that the topics are very clear and easy to follow, though you still have to dedicate time, if you do want to be successful.

 I am currently doing the course "An Introduction to Interactive Programing in Python", and just in the second week I am so excited. I had wanted to learn a programming language for so long, but found several books and online resources either so hard or not interesting enough to keep at it. But writing a mini game in python in just a week blew my mind away. For the first time I wrote a program which did something and it worked. The teachers are actually interested in you understanding the course, which is a far cry from what is obtained in most institutions here in Nigeria.

 I have enjoyed coursera and I would be able to complete the python course and go on to be really proficient in the language. The major drawback for most of us here is the poor and usually expensive (relatively) Internet access in Nigeria. The courses are delivered with video and most ISPs here struggle with video streaming. Downloading offline is the best choice, but again you need access to a reasonable speed Internet access. I do encourage you to take a look at coursera.

 You may find that what you need to learn is just a click away. Coursera website is www.coursera.org

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