Paradigm Shift: the Open (and Online) Education Revolution
Coursera is an online university started by two Stanford alumni that aims to bring classes from elite universities to students around the world for free. Partner universities include Stanford, Princeton, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania. NPR has an article on its history and Silicon Valley’s current fascination with education. Also, the New York Times has a piece on the influx of investments for Coursera and similar systems by venture capitalists.
The Minerva University is an ambitious project, aiming to be an online university that can compare and compete with Harvard and other Ivy League schools. Slated to open in 2014, they are accepting applications for teaching positions as well as signing up prospective students.
Codecademy is the most different of these virtual schools. Codecademy is not really a "university" – its sole purpose is to teach you how to code. Also, while they all offer course materials in multiple media, Codecademy teaches you by letting you do all the work. It is simple, straightforward, and easy.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MITx, for which the maiden course is called "Circuits & Electronics 6.002x ." Described as "an experimental on-line adaptation of MIT’s first undergraduate analog design course: 6.002. This course will run, free of charge, for students worldwide from March 5, 2012 through June 8, 2012." Prerequisites are a high barrier though, as students are required to have taken an AP level physics course in electricity and magnetism as well as be adept at basic calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations.
ComputerWorld has a fascinating article rounding up some of these online education shakers.