Tag Archives: Free Education

Free Education Project – December 2013 Update

My project is moving along nicely. I’ve created the habit of waking around 5am, making my coffee and settling down for a few hours of study before anyone wakes up. This procedure seems to work very well for me. I’ve been focusing my energies on the content from Treehouse and I’ve already recorded 27 Achievements, mostly in the web design area.

I was inspired to work a little harder by one of my classmates from Intro to Financial Accounting, the man behind HomemadeMBA.com. His plan and his progress on the plan are truly remarkable.


COMPLETED

Click HERE to see my Report Card


WORKING ON NOW

Web Design‘ Track at Treehouse [$25/month]
Focusing on CSS right now, PHP will be next.


ONGOING

Read 2 books each month [Free from library]
Reading has suffered a bit because I am turning in early to be up at 5am. See my book reports and reading list HERE.

2 weekly posts to this website [Free WordPress.com]
On track with a solid base of content on this site.

Dave Ramsey podcasts for finance tips [Free on iTunes]
Still enjoying several episodes every week.


ABANDONED

Grammar Girl podcasts for writing tips [Free on iTunes]
Listened to 6 episodes but it really wasn’t my thing so I moved on.


WHAT MIGHT BE NEXT?

Learn French at duoLingo [free online]
Khan Academy ‘Finance & Capital Markets‘ module [Free online]
Khan Academy ‘Microeconomics‘ module [Free online]
Khan Academy ‘Macroeconomics‘ module [Free online]
Intro to Computer Science‘ class at HarvardX [Free online]
Learn JavaScript‘ at Codeacademy [Free online]
Intro to Computer Science‘ class at Udacity [Free online]
Intro to Programming in Java‘ class at Udacity [Free online]
FileMaker Pro 12 Certification [$20 for training materials, $150 for exam]
Shopify ‘Build a Business‘ competition (10-1-14) [$168 – 1yr subscription]
National Novel Writing Month (11-1-14) [Free online]
Publish a book on CreateSpace [Free – books printed on demand]


ACTUAL $$ SPENT:
Aug internet – $30
Sep internet – $30
Oct internet – $30
Nov internet – $30
Dec internet – $30
Nov Treehouse – $25
Dec Treehouse – $25
Total Spent So Far – $200


Free Education Project – November 2013 Update

In August, I started my first class as part of the ‘Free Education Project’. To recap, this project is my own personalized curriculum of things that interest me from content delivered for free (or at a very minimal cost) via the internet. My first class is going quite well (see below). Since creating the first versions of my curriculum, I’ve decided to tweak the process further. Rather than adhere to a finite time line or predetermined class list, the newest outline calls for me to concentrate fully on the class or task at hand and THEN choose what to pursue next. However… the concept of spending as little as possible still applies.

WORKING ON NOW

Learn WordPress’ Track at Treehouse [$25/month]
Learning to install, setup, manage & customize WordPress.


ONGOING

Read 2 books each month [Free from library]
On track. See my book reports and reading list HERE.

2 weekly posts to this website [Free WordPress.com]
On track. I’ve built up 8 draft posts in addition to what has already been posted.

Dave Ramsey podcasts for finance tips [Free on iTunes]
Haven’t missed an episode in several months. Incidentally, D.O.D. and I are on Baby Step 2 and will be debt free in early 2014!


COMPLETED

Coursera ‘Intro to Financial Accounting‘ from U. Penn. Wharton [Free online]
Certificate of completion (pending) 11/22/13.

Final score 79.8/100

(Two lowest Homework scores dropped)
Week 1 Homework – 9.6/10
Week 2 Homework – 8.4/10
Week 3 Homework – 7.0/10
Week 4 Homework – 8.8/10
Mid Course Exam I – 10.4/12
Mid Course Exam II – 5/8
Week 5 Homework – 8.6/10
Week 6 Homework – 7.2/10
Week 7 Homework – 6.4/10
Week 8 Homework – 7.6/10
Final Exam I – 9.2/12
Final Exam II – 5/8

——-

Xero cloud based accounting software certification [Free *Paid by employer]
Completed 2 day certification course 8/23/13.


ABANDONED

Grammar Girl podcasts for writing tips [Free on iTunes]
Listened to 6 episodes but it really wasn’t my thing so I moved on.


WHAT MIGHT BE NEXT?

Learn French at duoLingo [free online]
Khan Academy ‘Finance & Capital Markets‘ module [Free online]
Khan Academy ‘Microeconomics‘ module [Free online]
Khan Academy ‘Macroeconomics‘ module [Free online]
Intro to Computer Science‘ class at HarvardX [Free online]
Learn JavaScript‘ at Codeacademy [Free online]
Intro to Computer Science‘ class at Udacity [Free online]
Intro to Programming in Java‘ class at Udacity [Free online]
FileMaker Pro 12 Certification [$20 for training materials, $150 for exam]
Shopify ‘Build a Business‘ competition (10-1-14) [$168 – 1yr subscription]
National Novel Writing Month (11-1-14) [Free online]
Publish a book on CreateSpace [Free – books printed on demand]


ACTUAL $$ SPENT:
Aug internet – $30
Sep internet – $30
Oct internet – $30
Nov internet – $30
Nov Treehouse – $25
Total Spent So Far – $145


Free Education Project – September 2013 Update

belushi in animal house by Franchize11In June, I wrote about the ‘Free Education Project’, my own personalized curriculum of things that interest me from content delivered for free (or at a very minimal cost) via the internet. In July, I created the curriculum for the project, and in August (just like the fine student pictured here) I went back to school.

Since July, I’ve tweaked the curriculum a bit, added a couple things and deleted a couple others. However, the cost for the educational program outlined below is still less than $1000. Below is an update of how things have been going so far….

• Read 2 books each month (Free from library)
On track – see my book reports and reading list HERE.

• 2 weekly posts to this website [Free WordPress.com]
On track – building up some draft material in addition to what has been posted.

• Grammar Girl podcasts for writing tips [Free on iTunes]
Have missed about a dozen episodes because I neglected to turn on the subscription in the Grammar Girl podcast settings. Duh! 😉

• Dave Ramsey podcasts for finance tips [Free on iTunes]
Haven’t missed an episode in several months. Incidentally, D.O.D. and I are on Baby Step 2 and will be debt free in early 2014!

• Xero cloud based accounting software certification [Free *Paid by employer]
Completed 2 day certification course 8/23/13. Took the test on 8/25/13, but only scored 17/25. Will attempt again.

• Coursera ‘Intro to Financial Accounting’ from U. Penn. Wharton [Free online]
Completed Week 1 – scored 96% on first homework assignment.

• Enter Shopify ‘Build a Business’ competition [$168 – 1 yr Shopify subscription]
Brainstorming to choose a product/path for the competition.

• Khan Academy ‘Math’ module [Free online]
Entered the Learning Dashboard for the World of Math.

• Khan Academy ‘Finance & Capital Markets’ module [Free online]

• Khan Academy ‘Microeconomics’ module [Free online]

• Khan Academy ‘Macroeconomics’ module [Free online]

• ‘Intro to Computer Science’ class at Udacity [Free online]

• ‘Intro to Programming in Java’ class at Udacity [Free online]

• ‘Learn WordPress’ Learning Adventure at Treehouse [$250 -1yr subscription]

• ‘Learn Javascript and jQuery’ Learning Adventure at Treehouse [*see above]

• FileMaker Pro 12 Certification [$20 for training materials, $150 for exam]


TOTAL PROJECTED COST:
$588 plus internet connection @ $30/month

ACTUAL $$ SPENT:
Aug internet – $30
Sep internet – $30
Total Spent So Far – $60


Free Education Project Curriculum

Last month I wrote about creating my own personalized curriculum of things that interest me from content delivered for free (or at a very minimal cost) via the internet. I called it the ‘Free Education Project’. (It is important to give proper credit to author Chris Guillebeau and his Alternative Graduate School Program. I’ve borrowed several of his concepts for this project).

Studying by Skakerman

I suspect it will take 18 months (Jan 2015) and less than $800 to complete the curriculum listed below [cost noted for each line]…..


  • Read 2 books each month from my reading list. [Free from library]
  • Follow a schedule of 2 posts per week, Sunday & Wednesday, to www.thefishchronicles.com. [Free using WordPress.com]
  • Listen to Grammar Girl podcasts (1x per week) to get tips for better writing. [Free on iTunes]
  • Listen to Dave Ramsey podcasts (3x per week) to get personal finance tips. [Free on iTunes]
  • Complete certification for Xero cloud based accounting software, the accounting software used at my workplace. [Free *$199 fee paid by my employer* scheduled 8/22 – 8/23]
  • Complete ‘An Intro to Financial Accounting‘, Univ. of Pennsylvania Wharton via Coursera [Free online, scheduled 9/16 – 11/25]
  • Update skills with Khan Academy ‘Algebra‘ module. [Free online learning]
  • Update skills with Khan Academy ‘Geometry‘ module. [Free online learning]
  • Update skills with Khan Academy ‘Probability‘ module. [Free online learning]
  • Complete Khan Academy ‘Finance & Capital Markets‘ module. [Free online learning]
  • Complete Khan Academy ‘Microeconomics‘ module. [Free online learning]
  • Complete Khan Academy ‘Macroeconomics‘ module. [Free online learning]
  • Complete ‘Intro to Computer Science‘ class at Udacity. [Free online learning]
  • Complete ‘Intro to Programming in Java‘ class at Udacity. [Free online learning]
  • Complete the ‘Learn WordPress‘ Learning Adventure at Treehouse. [$250 for a one year subscription]
  • Complete the ‘Learn Javascript and jQuery‘ Learning Adventure at Treehouse. [*see above]
  • Complete FileMaker Pro 12 Certification, the database software used at my workplace. [$20 for training materials, $150 for exam]
  • Create an idea. [Free – meditate, walk, browse the internet, talk to people]
  • Launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the idea. [Free]
  • Open a Shopify online store based upon the idea. [$152 for a one year plan]

Following the curriculum outlined above will provide me the equivalent of an advanced degree that costs traditional university students tens of thousands of dollars. The project will be comprised of subjects that are of great interest to me and also lend value to my daily work. I’ll complete my ‘degree’ for less than $1,000 and finish at my own pace with no debt. Upon completing the project, I’ll have an online store that has a high probability of generating revenue from Day 1.

I’ll provide updates from time to time about how the ‘Free Education Project’ is progressing. Thanks for reading – comments are always appreciated!

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.