Free Curricula

Since graduating from college almost three years ago (Christ), I’ve really missed the convenience and fun of organized education. There are a million things I wish I knew more about, but that I don’t know where to start looking to learn: anthropology, sociology, literature, art history, psychology, more philosophy, more linguistics, math, physics… I’d love to go to college forever, collecting degrees in everything.

I’ve wondered for a long time whether there were any online curricula available to follow. Sure, some courses on some universities’ websites had publicly available syllabi, but not many. And those that do aren’t very thorough. I figured there must be tons of people like me who have banded together to create something better than this, like an online book club but with more focus.

I found out today that MIT is doing exactly this. They’ve come up with OpenCourseWare, which presents, in an amazingly organized fashion, all the material you need (or references to it) for a large number of classes. I don’t know where to start. Fortunately, now that I live so close to MIT, I’m sure I can get almost all of the necessary reading material at the library down the street, and, if all goes well, get started with one of these classes.

Also of interest is Wikiversity, which aims to offer a broad, free, online education via Wikibooks‘ open-content textbooks. Proposals are still being made, and the logistics of it are only roughly sketched at this point, but there seems to be a lot of excitement about the possibilities behind this framework.

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