“And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.”
3 Nephi 6:12
About five years before the resurrected Christ visited the Americas (in A.D. 34), there arose a great inequality of wealth among the people of Nephi, and education began to be limited to the very wealthy. Contrary to Christ’s teachings, they no longer “had all things common” (Acts 4:32) and great pride and persecutions resulted. We see the same thing happening today as cost of tuition rises among many prestigious universities.
Since the beginning of the world there’s been educational disparity between the rich and the poor. Modern technology, however, is gradually bridging that gap with more and more free educational resources being provided online. In fact, a massive project is currently underway that could potentially change this approach to education forever!
Harvard and MIT partnered to launch edX, an initiative to create an in-depth high-quality online education. And the best part is, it will be free for all. Both colleges have pledged $30 million to the project. Though currently the only two colleges in this partnership, they hope to partner with other universities to create a more expansive educational resource.
A few edX courses will be announced this summer and will begin in the fall. It is expected to become a much larger resource down the road. This could become the new way of the future–bringing education to a new platform that is no longer based on socioeconomic status, but on individual desire and motivation. For exams, students who wish to may pay a fee to receive a certificate of accomplishment, but there will be NO fee or admissions process to have access to this rich wealth of knowledge and learning resources.
Those who can’t wait for edX might consider checking out Academic Earth in the meantime. Academic Earth has hundreds of high-quality video lectures from colleges such as Harvard, MIT, Yale and Berkeley. You might also enjoy taking a look at The Khan Academy that has over 3,000 free educational videos. Video Lectures and Nalanda U are also valuable resources, with over 10,000 educational videos, each.
“Five years from now on the Web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university.”
~ Bill Gates
Personal Notes: There are so many free educational resources out there. For about six months I researched e-learning competitions and award-winning educational products online. I discovered there are thousands of free, high-quality educational resources available on the web. I think it’d be cool if a website existed that would allow it’s users to browse to whatever educational topic they were interested in and easily find the very best, free online educational websites relating to that topic. I started to do that with the E-Learning Library. It’s still under construction, but feel free to check back in the future for access to some amazing learning resources.