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Sunday, November 04, 2012

Free online higher ed: Voices from the frontier by Nick Anderson

 reports, "Let’s hear from students around the country and the world about their experiences with free online higher education."

For a Washington Post story about massive open online courses, aka MOOCs, I looked at a class in biostatistics Johns Hopkins University offers on the Web site Coursera, one of several emerging MOOC platforms.

There are about 15,000 people registered for professor Brian Caffo’s public health class.

Mathematical Biostatistics Bootcamp with Associate Professor Brian Caffo PhD

I put a couple queries onto Caffo’s online discussion board and got many e-mail responses. I quoted from three in the story: Mohammad Hijazi, of Beirut; Ephraim Baron, of California; and Patrycja Jabłonska, of Poland.

Here is a sampling of others:
“I learned about Coursera through a former colleague’s Facebook page. He was taking a course and posted it on his FB. I checked out the site, got excited and signed up. Currently I’m taking 5 courses simultaneously and I signed up for several more that will start in the near future. Even though these courses give me no advantage when I’m looking for positions (I’m a HS Math teacher working in international schools) I take them to expand my horizons, so to speak.”-- Denes Tilistyak, 31, born in Hungary, lives in China.
“I’m taking this course specifically because it helps me relate to the design of health care models and large population health care simulations ... This class also helps familiarize me with the mathematical basis and terminology that I hear on a daily basis at work.” — Sean C. Ormbeck, 37, of Daly City, California.

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Source: Washington Post (blog) and Coursera's channel (YouTube).

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