Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Options for knowing it all

So as well as starting to learn more stuff, I've been trying to plan how to do it in a structured way.

OpenCourseWare is one option, because it gives you a full syllabus, but unfortunately there's gaps and holes where you're relying on a course textbook, so the whole immediacy is lost.  And different suppliers give different quality of materials, and so I'm a bit wary of trying to follow through something, only to find it becomes impractical to use halfway through.
But now MIT have started producing experimental free online courses, with the aim of commercialising them as professional (non-university) training at a later date.  I've signed up for their anatomy course, and a couple of others.  The courses are starting up later this month (frustratingly, they haven't given a precise date) and all the subjects available can be seen on the Anatomy Class page (they haven't set up a single central website, as far as I can see, and I'm not sure why not...).

And then I thought "well, free's all well and good, but what about cheap?"  And how do you get cheap education?  Go to a poor country, of course!  But what if you don't want to live in a poor country?  E-learning.  So I checked out a couple of places in Bolivia.  $4800 US for an online masters -- that's £3066.  Another had a face-to-face masters for 34,300 Bolivianos -- £3172.  For a resident of Scotland, an OU masters currently stands at around £4000, so that's really not much of a saving.  But for a South American, that's an utter fortune!  I also Googled on a few African countries, but they all seem to point to the UK or France for online programmes.  It looks like there's a massive gap in the access to paid-for education across the world.

So maybe it's just as well that there's a lot of free material emerging....

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