The Internet can provide hours of entertainment. It can be a source of news for those who do not read newspapers, or for those who want to supplement their newspaper reading. It can be an excellent source of research for historic and genealogy studies.
The sharing of emails can bring more junk mail to one’s inbox than any physical snail-mail box could possibly handle. And, sadly, the Internet can be the reason that various urban myths are perpetuated and misconceptions about peoples and nations continue.
There are both blessings and curses attributed to the Internet and to computers. But today, I learned of a project that makes me proud to know that there are people who still wish to see the people of the world educated. Some believe that real education is what it will take to make people more peaceful and respectful of one another. If that is so, this new project should be a stepping stone in that direction.
Correspondence courses have never been very popular nor given much credence. But online college courses have helped many achieve education levels that would not otherwise have been possible. Still, there are those who would like to learn at college level who cannot afford the fees nor qualify for scholarships to help toward that end.
Today, I learned of college programs throughout the world called, Open Courseware. Although there are no fees involved, there are also no rewards in the way of grades or diplomas or certificates. Still, one could certainly benefit from taking college courses from prestigious colleges and universities. Learning is never for naught, and the boost in self-esteem might well be worth the time and effort. For those without the resources necessary to participate in a college or university, the project Open Courseware may be just the answer.
Here are some of the colleges and universities in the United States offering Open Courseware:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Utah State University
Each of these colleges is making tremendous efforts to allow anyone to access hundreds of courses without cost.
Yale will be offering selected lectures, and Notre Dame will make materials for eight courses available online, according to press releases in September, 2006.
Colleges in China, Japan, France, Vietnam and Canada have also committed to devoting resources to support these Open Courseware projects.
We have the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty to thank for this concept. Soon, people around the world will have the opportunity to access high quality learning opportunities, no matter what their economic situation. The dreams of the MIT faculty have been answered, and the colleges who responded have provided an open network of resources for educators, students, and self-learners everywhere.