Quality Education For Free ? Yes !!


I discovered Daphne Koller’s TED talk video quite by accident a few days ago, and thank God I did. Although I do follow TED’s website off and on, I must admit I am not a regular, and hence not familiar with all the illustrious speakers that TED has been featuring. My loss, because each one of the speakers that they feature has something of immense value to share, which can benefit so many of us.

Being a trainer myself, AND someone who loves computers, the subject of online education has always fascinated me, and of late I have been experimenting with setting up my own Learning Management System (LMS) on another website of my own. Not being a techie, I usually turn to the know-all big brother Google for help, when I get stuck with something. After all, if Google could point me to Content Management Systems earlier and also list all the resources that I needed to become proficient in managing my own websites, there was no reason for me to not trust Google to come up with the desired answers on online education, and sure enough, it did just that. It landed me on TED’s video page for Daphne Koller, and a couple of minutes through the video I was hooked – and eagerly absorbed each and every word of that video talk by Daphne.

Here was somebody who was quietly helping to transform millions of lives and shaping the careers of literally hundreds of thousands of people around the world. To give you a brief background on Daphne (Source: TED Website) – she is a 3rd generation Ph.D who is passionate about education, Stanford professor Daphne Koller is excited to be making the college experience available to anyone through her startup, Coursera. With classes from 16 top colleges, Coursera is an innovative model for online learning. While top schools have been putting lectures online for years, Coursera’s platform supports the other vital aspect of the classroom: tests and assignments that reinforce learning.

Let us watch the video that I am referring to, below.


You can also watch the video as well as get the transcript on this link.

What a fantastic and noble effort this is. Imagine trying to bring education from the best universities right to your doorstep, and that too totally free of cost. This is the magic of online education, where there are no boundaries, no restrictions, and no boring one-way lectures to endure. Educational psychologists have been pointing out that adults like to learn on their own initiative and this is what online education is all about. A learner can follow the course at his / her own pace, and as per his / her own interest.  This also eliminates any age barriers, which means that education need not end when college ends. Education can now become a lifelong possibility.

Whilst there are hundreds, probably thousands, of educational institutions churning out online courses on virtually any subject under the sun, it is people like Daphne and Andrew Ng who are making it possible for anyone with access to the basic technologies – a coputer and a decent internet connection – to benefit from the best programmes from the best universities around the world. Their very approach to learning as a right makes them different from so many other institutions.

Having seen the talk, the very next thing that I did was to visit Coursera’s website and browse through the available courses, and guess what ? I have already enrolled for two of these courses, and am on the lookout for more. Why don’t you check them out for yourself ? Who knows, you might come across something that might ignite your potential. So go ahead – feel free to educate yourself 🙂

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