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Last August, we made a post about how MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley had collaborated on offering free university courses through the edX program. At the time, 7 courses were offered. One year later, the edX program now has more than 40 courses available and more than 20 universities signed on.
This is a great way to challenge yourself and to learn new things. You've got online access to lectures tools, real course materials, and you'll be doing actual coursework. To be clear, these are non-credit courses, but certifications are available.
You can enrol now for courses that start in September, October, November, and in 2014. Here's a quick look at some of the courses available:
- 3.091x: Introduction to Solid State Chemistry (MITX)
- CB22.1x: The Ancient Greek Hero (HarvardX)
- 7.00x: Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life (MITX)
- UT.4.01x: Take Your Medicine - The Impact of Drug Development (UTAustinX)
- 4.605x: A Global History of Architecture: Part 1 (MITX)
- CS-184.1x: Foundations of Computer Graphics (UC BerkeleyX)
- SPU27x: Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science (HarvardX)
- BE101x: Behavioural Economics in Action (University of TorontoX)
- CS50x: Introduction to Computer Science (HarvardX)
Still have questions or want to learn more? Visit the edX site and read the FAQ!
Tablets are everywhere now but, as most will tell you, getting work accomplished on them is a tough task. Sure, they're fun to play with and watch movies on but bringing it to class to take notes isn't the easiest thing. The Microsoft Surface RT and Surface Pro models are here to buck the trend of non-productive tablets and, just in time for back to school, have undergone a price drop. They're worth considering as alternatives if you're looking for an entry level or mid range laptop. Here's a closer look at the discounts:
- 32 GB Surface RT - Tablet - $349 was $499
- 32 GB Surface RT - Tablet with black Touch Cover - $449 was $599
- 64 GB Surface RT - Tablet - $449 was $599
- 64 GB Surface RT - Tablet with black Touch Cover - $549 was $699
- 64 GB Surface Pro Tablet - $799 was $899
- 128 GB Surface Pro Tablet - $899 was $999
Though prices are higher than your average Android or Apple tablet, the real draw of the RT and Pro is that you're getting a portable version of Windows to carry with you on the go. Other tablet operating systems are fairly limited, but the RT and Pro allow you to work productively without sacrificing entertainment when you're not in class. Other notable features include 720p HD cameras, Bluetooth, a micro SDXC card reader and up to 8 hours of battery life.
These appear to be permanent price drops but you'll want to get your order in soon to have yours ready for the start of class.
If you've always wanted to see what taking courses at renowned schools like MIT or Harvard is like, you can get taste by checking out free online course materials from each. These are non-credit courses, but it's worth a look for self learning.
MIT OpenCourseWare is a web based publication of pretty much all MIT course content. That includes lecture notes, exams, and videos.
Harvard serves up 8 online courses. Course selection includes Shakespeare, computer science, algebra, and more.
For an even more elaborate experience, visit edX -- a new collaborative online education effort from Harvard and MIT. Here, you actually enroll for the courses. There are 7 courses offered (2 from Berkeley) and the courses start in September and October. According to the site FAQ, certificates of completion can be earned. If you want a challenge, here are the courses that are available this fall:
- 3.091x Introduction to Solid State Chemistry (MITx)
- 6.002x Circuits and Electronics (MITx)
- 6.00x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming (HarvardX)
- CS50x Introduction to Computer Science I (HarvardX)
- PH207x Health in Numbers: Quantitiative Methods in Clinical & Public Health Research (HarvardX)
- CS169.1x Software as a Service (BerkeleyX)
- CS188.1x Artificial Intelligence (BerkeleyX)