Online learning course start-ups offer virtually free college

By Jon Marcus, Washington Post

An emerging group of entrepreneurs with influential backing is seeking to lower the cost of higher education from as much as tens of thousands of dollars a year to nearly nothing. These new arrivals are harnessing the Internet to offer online courses, which isn’t new. But their classes are free, or almost free. Most traditional universities have refused to award academic credit for such online studies. Now the start-ups are discovering a way around that monopoly, by inventing credentials that “graduates” can take directly to employers instead of university degrees. “If I were the universities, I might be a little nervous,” said Alana Harrington, director of Saylor.org, a nonprofit organization based in the District. Established by entrepreneur Michael Saylor, it offers 200 free online college courses in 12 majors.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/online-course-startups-offer-virtually-free-college/2012/01/09/gIQAEJ6VGQ_story.html

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