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Education Featured Article

September 21, 2012

Free Cyber Courses for Grandma

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

For certain senior citizens, the Digital Age seems to have snuck up on them, and suddenly, they find themselves surrounded by digital devices they have trouble understanding and grandkids they understand even less. For some of these seniors, the thought of taking computer courses in a classroom alongside younger students can seem daunting, and for seniors on a fixed income, a luxury. But now there is an opportunity for seniors to get an optimal education for free – and in the privacy of their own homes. 

According to a recent report, a company called Coursera has teamed up with major universities, including Brown, Columbia and Vanderbilt, to offer free online courses for anybody who is wants to sign up. The idea for this educational program came from two computer science professors at Stanford. So far, the program has garnered an enrollment of 1.3 million students from across the globe.

For some critics, offering free online courses deprives institutions of an opportunity to generate additional revenue. However, competing platforms are beginning to deploy methods that could present opportunities to collect money in different ways. EdX, a Coursera competitor affiliated with Harvard and MIT (News - Alert), is going to offer exams for students, so they can present potential employers or academic prospects certificates of their various levels of achievement.

Part of the beauty of belonging to the Age of Information, are educational perks such as these. Companies such as Coursera, Wikipedia and have all participated in a movement that promotes online education at an affordable cost.

Although some could view free educational tools as a wasted business opportunity, some companies have perhaps predicted that free online education is going to be the future of education. Companies serving as pioneers, will advantage from being among the first to get their name out there. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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