1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Information about free online courses?

  1. Apr 13, 2013 #1
    I have found sites like coursera.org, and I have also heard that M.I.T. offers free online courses as well (though I have yet to have browsed their site for them). I am wondering how these courses work? I see that you get certificates of completion, but do they have any actual meaning? Is it just something extra to tack onto the college resume, or can any of them actually provide you with college credits?

    Also, how do those that offer these free courses benefit from them? Why offer them completely free? It's one of those things that sounds too good to be true, but I have heard they are legit. If anyone knows more about them and can fill me in, I'd really appreciate it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    These courses mostly work on the following principle: you have video lectures offered every week (following a specific course syllabus), and you can watch them whenever you want. However, you also have weekly assignments which have a due date for completion. In general, the platforms work just fine (I am referring to Coursera and EdX here, since they are the most serious and successful attempts so far).

    Regarding the credibility of the certificates, some course have started to offer identity verification, but this is rare so far. However, in the close future, I think it is likely that this will become a standard.

    Still, with identity verification or not, I don't think this is relevant, since you can always list your courses in your CV - the point is to broaden your set of skills and knowledge. I have 4 courses so far, 3 from Coursera and 1 from EdX, and I am very pleased with every single one of them. This form of education is definitely an important part of the future of education.
  4. Apr 26, 2013 #3


    User Avatar

    At the moment, no colleges are accepting any free online courses for credit. EdX is hoping to change that, but it hasn't happened yet. They still haven't gotten around all the cheating issues; any good solution is going to cost someone money. So the classes are mostly just for your own enlightenment right now.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook