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L. Denise Jackson

Founder & CEO,

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Do you think there is a benefit in providing a percentage of courses within every college free and online?

With the rising of educational costs and the competitiveness, the socioeconomic gap will continue to be wider unless there is a philanthropic mandate post-graduation to ensure that generations to come are not existing with a disconnected view of society and more importantly people that can contribute to our overall progression.

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  • Sep 2 2012: Nothing's "free."

    Every online course requires an instructor to lead, grade and administer the course. That teacher commonly does not donate his/her time. They expect to be paid for their work.

    If the student does not have to pay for that particular course then the money to offer the course must come from another source such as higher tuition or higher taxes.

    SOMEbody's "gotta" pay.
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      Sep 3 2012: Hey Jim,

      While you are correct in that the professors do need to be paid, the great thing about MIT OpenCourseWare is that they are video recorded lectures, syllabi, and notes that are simply put online for independent learners or people who were unable to go to a university for a multitude of reasons. It's great! Why would anyone pay for school then you ask? Well, the disadvantage of OCW is that you do not have contact with the professor for questions or explanations (generally). Completing courses 'independently' is not recognized in a certifiable way. It is also quite a different learning environment all together, you have to be strict on yourself to do the work, as no one will be checking it, there simply will be no grades. While avenues of ''free'' learning cover the most essential component in giving an opportunity to increase knowledge; they perhaps do not give the prestige or credibility that going to a university would, which might result in lesser potential to carry forward the knowledge in a corresponding subject-area job or in graduate study.
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      Sep 12 2012: I learned to be an excellent computer programmer checking out books for free at the library. Well, they weren't entirely free. The taxpayer paid for them and the publisher paid the author. I also had to build my own computer because there weren't any ti purchase in any of the stores.

      Most of the people who learned to program at college, who didn't already have loads of experience from practicing at home made pretty poor programmers. They usually ended up in sales and managing projects.

      To learn to program requires a lot of time and occupying space with your fingers and your mind. Starting to learn this useful art when you enter college is a bit too late to compete with those who started when they were 12 years old at home.

      The software industry doesn't need prestigious programmers they want coders who can follow directions and code the work. Prestige goes to the boss, who probably dropped out of college to pursue his grand idea.

      To be medical doctor, you have to go to medical school but to be a good doctor you have to spend a lot of time in the emergency room and on the floors, making mistakes. That's a scary thought.

      What they have today I didn't have is online MIT, video lectures, and access to programing materials all over the net. The gap between needing a college education to accomplish most projects today is reduced by the computer which does most of the processing with logic and math. Spending more time at home with Mathcad an adequately designed program manual and access to people who can guide you and critique your work will create more mathematicians than college.

      The only thing keeping these people out of the work force is the requirement for a college degree, which is swiftly being replaced by the Certification process.

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