The ‘Free Education’ Project

“Now YOU should go back to school!”

Memorial Union by Adam ProcterD.O.D. had just completed her Master’s Degree in Library Science. She knew I had considered returning to school, now she was encouraging me to make it happen. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in the late 80’s and my Master’s Degree in the early 90’s. Other than some random computer courses, I really hadn’t been in a classroom for 20 years.

I’d always been a decent student and was intrigued by the idea of taking classes, so I started to explore the possibilities. Immediately I realized… HOLY CRAP tuition is expensive!! D.O.D.’s employer paid her tuition, so we really hadn’t given too much thought to cost per credit hour – we just forwarded the bills. With a baby on the way, the house needing a new roof and me needing a different vehicle, I decided $1,000 (or more) per credit hour was not in the cards. I let the idea go.

——–

During the past few weeks, several compelling realizations along with a thought provoking article by author Chris Guillebeau have caused me to reconsider the idea of returning to school…. but not in the traditional way!

1. The internet is a very efficient method for learning. I witnessed this first hand as D.O.D. earned her Master’s Degree from a major University mostly online.

2. Student loan debt is something to be avoided at all costs. This excerpt from an article by Steven Greenhut sums up the absurdity of taking on student loan debt:

I know people with six-figure loan debt, multiple degrees and few job prospects. There were few lending standards – hey, it’s only government money – so they racked up loan after loan. Others use loans to gain useful degrees with lucrative job potential, but these graduates come out of school with a crushing load of debt that will take decades to repay.

3. Learning should be fun. As I looked at a few degree track programs, only four of ten courses appealed to me. I’m sure the other six courses would deliver excellent content, but I’m way past the point of needing to take classes to fill requirements.

Everything mentioned above led me to ask this question… “Why can’t I create my own personalized curriculum of things that interest me from content delivered for free (or at a very minimal cost) via the internet?”

The answer? I can….. welcome to the ‘Free Education’ project!

Next time, I’ll share the plan in detail.

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