Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Free College Courses

Frank Zappa
One of the many things a college freshmen probably notices after their first semester is that they are not paying for what they are learning in class, but their degree. In fact I would argue that if one can get away from college with a vocational skill, then they are much better off than any of their fellow students.

Do to this bizarre set of circumstances; college classes are free, unless you want the credits. Thanks American academic system! Honestly, does this not make a college degree virtually worthless? I will give an awkward back massage to anyone who can persuade me otherwise. Many courses are mostly homework anyways, where you go home, read a few chapters, and then your professor briefly covers it all again in the next class. Like Frank Zappa says; if you want an education, go to the library.

Nevertheless some colleges place their courses online. Thanks to sites like Youtube, as well more and more professors switching over to power-point style presentations. I remember about five years ago when a particular college decided to start recording, and posting professors' lectures online. The files were only audio files, and after picking a Sociology lecture I was a little frustrated when the professor decided to play a fifty minute film on homeless people for the class.

UC Berkley has uploaded over two-thousand video to Youtube, many all of which are lectures. This is particularly appealing to me because Berkley has a Cognitive Science department. Yes, there are lectures for at least one Cognitive Science class:

Hm... Rene Descartes looks like an awful lot like Frank Zappa.
For the record, you can skip the first twenty-eight and a half minutes, it is all administrative stuff for the school. That is, unless you are interested in learning how to reschedule an exam.

Stuff like this makes me drool. FREE KNOWLEDGE! YUM! If CS classes are not your thing they also have electrical engineering, statistics, and chemistry. Why not take a semester's worth of classes before the semester actually starts and guarantee yourself a less stressful semester as well as one with more free time? If you do watch the administrative stuff you can find what textbook the class is using, or other resources they may use.

When I can, I actually like to get the textbook for a class I know am going to take, and read the whole thing over the summer. You will always be a step ahead of the classes, and you are that much closer to the A. Chances are there is only a week or two until your semester starts, what else are you gonna do with the rest of your summer that is as worthwhile?


  1. FZ totally right. People think they can go to college get a degree then graduate, get a good job, get a nice house, and have a happy life.

    Ask the class of 2010 how that is going. Over a year later and 2010's employment rate stands at 50%.

    Better figure out how to provide wealth to the super rich, or just expire on the spot.

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  3. Awesome post, Carm. Here's some more autodidact resources that I think you'll like (and your readers):


    I've been toying with the idea of trying to start an online community for autodidacts. Let me know what you think.

  4. Good stuff. It amazes me that some people in class don't bother reading up on the next semester's class material, and then look completely clueless halfway into the semester.