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Could Open Education Create a New Ivy League?

The term 'Ivy League' has long meant prestigious, academically rigorous, expensive and inaccessible schools. However, the continual advancement of online educational technology and the expansion of the open education movement may be changing the face of the Ivy League colleges - at least the inaccessible and expensive parts.

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By Mercy McKee

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The Hallowed Halls Open Digital Doors

Until recently, entry into the famed Ivy League colleges has been limited to the graduates of elite prep schools, top academic achievers and those who were born to the family of school legends. Now though, with the growth of online and open education programs worldwide, regular folk can obtain an Ivy League education as well.

For example, Harvard University Extension School offers undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs with more than 150 courses that are online, open to the public and cost significantly less than attending the campus. And Cornell University's eCornell offers more than 20 online certificate programs.

Open Education Ivy League Courses

For those who don't want to pay for a master's from Harvard, but do want to supplement their education, or simply have a desire to learn, there are also open education Ivy League courses available online. These resources, listed below, are free and open to everyone; they do not, however, grant degrees or credits, or allow access to faculty.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenCourseWare

Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) OpenCourseWare (OCW) is an online publication of 2,000 of MIT's undergraduate and graduate courses. Anyone can access lecture notes, multimedia content, assignments and exams from 36 areas of study, including aeronautics, physics, health sciences, economics, chemical engineering and nuclear engineering.

Open Yale Courses

Funded by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Open Yale Courses (OYC) are free online courses designed for educators, students and life-long learners. Introductory courses are offered in economics, history, biomedical engineering, philosophy, religious studies, sociology and many other areas of study, and include high-quality, downloadable videos of all lectures.

Academic Earth

Academic Earth offers a user-friendly educational environment and full video lectures and courses from leading Ivy League schools, such as Columbia, Princeton, Harvard and Yale, as well as from other prestigious schools such as Berkley, Stanford, UCLA and NYU. Courses cover a variety of areas, including astronomy, biology, business, economics, education, environmental studies, literature, mathematics, healthcare, physics and political science, just to name a few.

Read about the People's Choice Nominees for Best Online Learning Platform.

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