The Internet has opened lots of doors. Banking, communicating and ordering food are just some of the many tasks that you can now do at the touch of a button. Increased convenience is a big deal. But I think education is the most significant opportunity the Internet has created.
I’m only 34, but I’m old enough to remember having to go to the library to do research. If I was home and wanted an answer to something, I had to call a friend or hope I had a book with the info I needed. Most of the time I was out of luck.
It was all I knew at the time, but in looking back, it sucked.
Now I can look up anything I want at any time. If I can’t find an answer, I can ask a question on Reddit and have dozens of answers within a few hours.
But it doesn’t stop there. There are actually tons of courses you can take online. And they cover every topic you could possibly imagine.
Did you know that many of the world’s top universities make their coursework available for free online? Check out edX for courses from MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Notre Dame, and tons of others. Want to study Philosophy through Harvard? Want to study Computer Science through MIT?
You don’t have to travel to Boston. It’s all available through edX.
Most of these courses offer certificates of completion for a small fee.
You can also download many of these same courses through iTunes. One of my favorites is a Harvard course called Justice. It’s a 12-part course taught by Michael Sandel, and it reviews such heady topics as morality and equality. It really made me think about the world in a different way. It didn’t necessarily help my career or help me make more money, but it provided lots of interesting topics for dinner conversation. And there are plenty of courses that can help you with your career, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Another great education resource is YouTube. In a previous post, I mentioned how much I like using YouTube for exercise videos, but it’s even better for how-tos and education. Here’s a link with 10 of the top YouTube education channels. But you should spend a little time on the site searching for topics you’re interested in.
You might know by now what a valuable resource I think the library is. As I mentioned above, libraries have always been a center of knowledge and education. So, check out your local library if you are interested in free classes – both online and in-person. Speak to a librarian or visit your library’s website for more info.
Education is immeasurably valuable. Thankfully we now live in a time where it’s available at your fingertips.