Program offers free online classes - WNEM TV 5

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Program offers free online classes

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Imagine taking a class at Yale, Princeton or Northwestern and not paying a dime for it. That is now possible through a website called Coursera.

Some say it could bridge the education gap for many who can't afford it.

When Cynthia Ashford first learned about something called Coursera, she was shocked but in a good way.  

"As a teacher, it opens up opportunities not just for me, but for my students," says Ashford. "I believe this is what some of my students need to reinvigorate themselves into learning especially those who can't go to college."

Coursera is a website where some of the most prestigious universities from around the world offer online courses to anyone with no requirements. 
  
The Saginaw High School math teacher believes Coursera is the perfect option for students who, for whatever reason, are unable to take the traditional route to college. Devontae Greer among them.

"I had to come return home because I just couldn't afford it," said Greer.

Greer still has his sights set on a college degree but in the meantime he's focusing on several online classes through Coursera. He hopes to grow his skills and get a job in the food industry.

Greer's passion is culinary arts. Whatever your passion, Coursera has classes for you.   

When Coursera was first being developed, there were originally three schools involved. Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan. Now there are more than 100 schools and 6 and half million users worldwide.

TV5's Gino Vicci is enrolled in his second course. After three college degrees including a Master's degree from Northwestern, paying for college is no longer an option.

Vicci still have a desire to continue his education. He is currently enrolled in a class with the University of Maryland called Programming Mobile Applications for Android devices."

Believe it or not, there are more than 150-thousand students in Vicci's class from nearly 70 countries.

Although you can't earn any college credit, you can earn a certificate of completion to post to your resume. For 49 dollars, you can receive a "verified" certificate. The social network Linkedin has even added Coursera as an education option.

The online education site makes it's money from the verified certificate fee some students elect to pay.

That revenue is then split with the universities.

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