MOOCs are changing the college game


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What’s a MOOC? More and more people are going to start finding out.

Jonathan Salovitz’s course load sounds as grueling as any college undergraduate’s: computer science, poetry, history, math and mythology, taught by professors at big-name schools such as Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.

Except Salovitz, 23, is not an undergraduate. His effort won’t count toward a bachelor’s degree, and he hasn’t paid a dime in tuition. Nor have his classmates, who number in the tens and even hundreds of thousands.

Instead, Salovitz calls himself a “guinea pig.” He’s participating in a grand experiment in higher education known as Massive Open Online Courses –MOOCs, for short. Learners of all ages around the world are flocking to them. Top universities are clamoring to participate. And MOOCs already have attracted the interest of some employers, paving the way for a potential revenue source. All in less than a year.

“The industry has operated more or less along the same business model and even the same technology for hundreds of years,” says John Nelson, managing director of Moody’s Higher Education. “MOOCS represent a rapidly developing and emerging change and that is very, very rare.”

Welcome to the self-education revolution. Follow that internal link as we’ll be tracking the progression of MOOCs and other ways you can teach yourself new skills or give yourself a rewarding education. This can also help young kids in high school learn subjects that aren’t taught in their school. It is also a threat to rising college costs.

The possibilities are endless. The true potential of the Internet is now reaching education. Take advantage of it!

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