Catching Everyone Up

It looks like a number of new visitors have been stopping by the site lately, likely a result of the new podcast that has included interviews with some of the most important thought leaders in online education.

So in an effort to catch people up on the Degree of Freedom project (and to catch up everyone else on where that project stands as it hits the half-way mark): Degree of Freedom is my twelve-month effort to learn the equivalent of what I would get from being enrolled in a four-year BA program in just twelve months using only free learning resources such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The program has been organized to match the requisite courses for a degree in philosophy and requires taking the equivalent of 32 full-semester courses in just one year which fit both the distribution and major requirements of a four year degree at a liberal arts university.

My schedule has me finishing the equivalent of one year of college every three months, and since I kicked this whole thing off on January 1, I am now closing in on the end of my sophomore year.  Courses I’ve either finished or am about to finish are listed here and here and tomorrow I’ll provide a list of junior year classes that will focus on getting closer to completing the major.

The purpose of this effort is not just to take a lot of MOOCs, but to explore and report on every aspect of what these free learning resources mean in the rapidly transforming world of online education.

Having discovered MOOCs last year, and having read a great deal about this hot educational topic, it occurred to me that the broader conversation lacked the perspective of students actually taking a wide variety of courses on different topics from different sources to completion.  So Degree of Freedom was created to close this gap.

The project has evolved to include a number of components reporting on different elements of online learning.  These include:

  • This blog which provides an article-length essay each weekday reflecting on some aspect of MOOCs or other form of free learning (course components, the nature of higher education, specific topics such as assessment) all informed by the courses I’m taking and my professional background in areas such as educational curriculum development and assessment.
  • The Degree of Freedom newsletter which each week provides a detailed review of a course I have just completed along with brief updates on the status of the project.  (Note: Some of these reviews are also republished on the excellent MOOC News and Reviews site.)
  • A weekly podcast that features an interview with someone leading the way or taking advantage of some aspect of free learning
  • Other material, including a semi-regular Huffington Post column and a monthly video designed to provide practical tips and advice to fellow online learners

Taken together, this material is designed to give those interested in pursuing independent learning and those making decisions with regard what to do with these new learning tools material to work with that has been informed by someone who has been taking to completion all of the courses needed to learn the equivalent of a genuine degree.

So that’s the scoop and I hope everyone who has been tuning in lately will join with the many others who have been following this project from the beginning, especially with regard to sharing your own experience and thoughtful feedback either through the comments section of this blog or via direct communications.

Tomorrow – My Junior Year Lineup

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