The Rise of Online College Courses


To state that attending college is an expensive process is definitely an understatement. As at 2012, total student debt in the us is believed to have exceeded $1 trillion. This year, the New York Times reported that average student debt was approximately $26,500 and internet based college courses are not much cheaper. However, the appearance of free online college courses, other referred to as MOOCs (Massive Open Web based classes), could change the face of education forever.

Accredited Online College Courses


It started out as an experiment but all signs point to it being a huge success with large numbers of public universities set to offer MOOCs to anyone who applies in the hope that many of the participants will pass the program; enroll in the college and pay for the normal tuition fees. In the country where a degree in religious and women's studies inside a prestigious university can cost up to $100,000, MOOCs could throw open the world of education to students. Why are colleges interested in offering these free taster courses? Many American colleges are in huge debt and require some method of attracting more students.

Increase of a Phenomenon?

The University of Arkansas, the University of Cincinnati and Arizona State are just three of the well-respected colleges mixed up in plan. The growth of MOOCs really spiked this year as start-ups such as Udacity and edX came to the fore and offered hope to those who previously couldn't afford education. These courses were founded by professors of top schools for example Stanford and Harvard with millions of people worldwide taking the teachers high on their offer.

At this time, one wonders if MOOCs can one day replace college degrees. If it were the case, it would make a profound difference to an incredible number of would-be students. One issue was that colleges were not giving credit for MOOCs but even this looks set to switch. A number of universities in Austria and Germany are giving credit for MOOCs this also could spread to American educational facilities as Colorado State has produced noises about pursuing the lead of its European counterparts. The University of Washington can also be considering this course of action though students on the college will need to pay a fee and do extra work with a professor in the institution if it goes ahead with the plan.

free online college courses

The Future of MOOCs

These free online courses are no longer a novelty and may continue to be used as an instrument to encourage prospective students to enroll in a university. The University of Texas in Arlington has joined with Academic Partnerships to offer free online college courses to would-be nursing students. To date, more than 80% of those that accepted the free offer returned and taken care of the on-campus course. Basically, MOOCs give students a 'try before they buy' option, an invaluable resource when classes are so expensive. Free online college courses could pose a menace to traditional education however, if these institutions find a way to utilize MOOCs to their advantage just like the University of Texas, giving something at no cost could turn out to be very lucrative.