from the world's big
The coronavirus pandemic offers online education companies a chance to prove themselves.
- Coursera is allowing federal, state, and local agencies that serve the unemployed to enroll in the free program until September 30.
- Typically costing $399 per year, workers will be able to access free online classes by going through unemployment agencies that have enrolled. Subjects range from cloud computing and computer science, to business and art.
- As workers begin retraining and school districts turn to virtual learning, online education companies stand to gain.
Coursera<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Coursera, along with its community of partners, is ready to serve the millions of workers who have lost their jobs and are going to have a hard time returning in a slow economy," Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda told <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2020/04/24/the-latest-from-coursera-free-courses-for-newly-unemployed-workers-across-the-globe/#7389edc65468" target="_blank">Forbes</a>. "We are honored to help U.S. states and countries around the world in their efforts to alleviate the impact on communities hardest hit by the pandemic."</p><p>The first U.S. states to offer the program will be Illinois, Arizona, and Oklahoma, while national governments like Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Malaysia, Panama, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan have also enrolled. Coursera anticipates that other U.S. states will enroll, and the company says it's looking into offering free access to private organizations "on a case-by-case basis."</p>
Fiona Goodall / Stringer
Online education's big moment<p>It's no wonder Coursera and rival companies like Kaplan and Udacity have begun offering free online courses. For one, the unemployment rate in the U.S. last week topped 20 percent, meaning there's more than <a href="https://fortune.com/2020/04/23/us-unemployment-rate-numbers-claims-this-week-total-job-losses-april-23-2020-benefits-claims/" target="_blank">33 million Americans without jobs</a>. Many of these workers may need to retrain for new jobs, or could otherwise benefit by boosting their skills.</p><p>Beyond that, online learning companies are likely hoping that workers who enroll in the free program will continue using the platform when the offer expires in 2021. After all, the pandemic is likely to reshape many aspects of modern life, and it may accelerate a broad transition from in-classroom education to online learning. </p><p>The pandemic has already closed public schools across the U.S., forcing some 55 million American schoolchildren to attend class virtually, if at all. This shift has been fraught with technical, logistical, and psychological <a href="https://www.vox.com/2020/4/23/21233042/coronavirus-online-learning-teachers-students" target="_blank">problems</a>. But if online learning can be more successfully integrated into society, companies like Coursera could win big. </p><p>As Chip Paucek, chief executive of the educational technology company 2U Inc., told <a href="https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-online-educations-moment-as-colleges-close-during-coronavirus-pandemic-2020-03-17" target="_blank">MarketWatch</a>: "This is online education's moment" to prove itself in front of a big audience.</p>
"The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think," Albert Einstein said. So go back to school, Ivy League style.
The idea of continuing to learn new things after leaving school is an attractive one, but one that can seem daunting. Finding both the time and the proper resources to learn something new can prove difficult, and leave us with unsatisfied curiosity. Even if we find a class we might be interested in, the cost can be prohibitive.
So, to help you curious cats out, we present 8 online classes from Yale you can take right now, at no cost.