Coursera is a place where magic happens ! It is an OpenCourseware platform where tens of thousands of students from thousands of places take hundreds of courses from the best schools of the world. The availability of Open Courseware has indeed ushered in an era of democratization of education, with quite a few universities offering online courses parallel to the real courses(taking place on the university campus) and having almost the same course content. Such virtual campuses are available to just anyone who has a computer and a stable internet connection. This is indeed ‘knowledge without boundaries of space and time’, not to forget the courses are absolutely free of charge. You don’t need hundreds of dollars anymore, just the will to learn, ( and ofcourse the internet connection we talked about too 😉 )
As an Electronics Engg student, who is also interested in CS a lot, online courseware is particularly useful for students like me. In college we don’t have much of a choice in choosing courses that we like besides the electives. On the contrary, at Coursera(and other such platforms) there is absolute freedom about joining a class. There is this lovely green colored ‘Go to Class’ button that allows you to drop into a class whenever, wherever (even from in between of a course), once you have signed up for a course. Listen to lectures, answer the interactive quizzes, solve assignments and if you are sincere enough, you get a letter of accomplishment from the course instructors. Coming to the course instructors, they are the most chilled out professors I have encountered. Each one of them is one of the very best in his or her field and each one meticulously and painstakingly designs the contents of courses. But wait, that’s not all, there are also live forums and meetups, where nerds, backbenchers, star performers alike shoot questions at the profs and amongst themselves.
A special mention for the variety of courses at Coursera. There are courses ranging right from Game Theory, through Algebra, through Neuroethics, through Cosmology(Galaxies and cosmology), to something as different as Poetry Writing, and Music. The Course Catalog is an absolute pleasure to go through.