How useful does that liberal arts degree seem now, buddy? With unemployment still high, the economy still crappy and student loans biting everyone in the ass, it’s a tough time no matter what, but it’s especially unpleasant for the poetry, philosophy or lit major.
Luckily thanks to a new, $30 million project, you can transform yourself via the power of the Internet into a real, live person with a useful degree. Sort of!
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT if you’re nasty) and Harvard are teaming up for a project that will allow anyone with an web connection to enroll in free online courses through the schools as part of a program called edX.
And while you can’t earn an actual degree from either of the schools without being an actual student, edX still offers the opportunity to learn from top-tier professors and do something with your time other than catch up on 90s sitcoms on Netflix. Though, you will have to be comfortable knowing the smart kids think of you as an Internet guinea pig.
"EdX gives Harvard and MIT an unprecedented opportunity to dramatically extend our collective reach,” said Harvard’s president, Drew Faust, “ by conducting groundbreaking research into effective education and by extending online access to quality higher education."
So, it might not be a way to get a degree, but edX—especially in combination with a steady diet of TED talkslike how to buy happinessor morality lessons from animals--will help you get brainier, and without any of those pesky student loans that American Crossroads keepstelling us the President is so fond of.
If you're in the camp that the era of traditional learning is over, then check out some even more innovative concepts over at SXSW.com, where a collection of podcasts from this year's conference offers tips on how to build a better enterprise or government, how to get your music published or just skip to the most important one: how to be just like Kevin Smith.