A couple of months ago, I woke-up in the morning on the loud noise of car horns, after a couple of minutes I realized that it was high school kids that have passed their exams and received their diplomas. During that day the celebrations can be seen in the streets with loud horns and music, where sometimes after a car passes by I was able to hear a police car going after them (Oops they are so busted).
Usually, in Jordan finishing high school generates a festive mood, despite the high education rate in this country, the tradition of excessive celebrations, I think, dates back to the days when education levels were not very high, when graduating from high school was a great deal, only achieved by the few. A moment of success where all the neighbors are invited to attend the celebrations.
But after graduating from high school what’s next?
Where should we go to study? As someone who has earned her graduate degree, it may come as a surprise when I suggest you consider online degrees, perhaps not as a substitute but rather as a supplement to your university education.
With the rise of the Internet of Things movement, and the Sharing economy, students and young professionals must consider very closely the needs of the new job market, one should ask will an accountant, or an X-Ray specialist be needed in the coming twenty years, or will they be replaced with an Artificial Intelligence software. Jeremy Rifkin in his book, The Zero Cost Society,he has given an example from the book publishing industry, where he points, in the new evolving economy, cost of production can reach up to zero, in which many professions will be unnecessary in the book publishing business, such as a copyeditor, composer, printer, wholesaler, distributor, and retailers. If we look today at companies like Amazon you can see how it has already removed many of the jobs done by these middlemen.
There is even a talk about substituting doctors with an Artificial Intelligence software where the entire patient’s medical history is entered into a system, along with the symptoms, a diagnosis will be made and a treatment recommended, all without the presence of a real human doctor, although it can be argued that we still need the emotional attention a real doctor can give when we are feeling sick.
The Middle East is not sheltered from these upcoming changes in world economy, for instance, if we look closely to what happened in Jordan in early 2018, when taxi drivers protested for the emergence of Smart taxi, as they are called, such as Uber, these taxi drivers were trying to protect their source of living.
If we look closely, developments in technology that are to come in the coming few years will have tremendous effects on the livelihood of many people, unfortunately people who are least skilled will be hit very hard, that’s why we should be ready by gaining the right skills and knowledge that will make us productive in the near future.
Trying to fill in the gaps and compensate what we didn’t learn during our university education can pay us back. For this reason, I would like to suggest some online platforms that can offer great skills and knowledge grouped according to the field of study.
Data Science, Engineering, and Math
- Stanford Engineering Everywhere— provides engineering, software and many other classes that are free to students and educators, with materials that include course syllabi, lecture videos, homework, exams and more.
- Better Explained— offers a big-picture-first approach to learning mathematics, often with visual explanations, whether for high school algebra or college-level calculus, statistics and other related topics.
- Codecademy— offers mostly web-related data science and software programming courses for various age groups, with an in-browser coding console for some offerings.
- Big Data University— covers Big Data analysis and data science via free and paid courses developed by teachers and professionals.
Design, Web Design, and Development
- Hack Design— this platform offers an all free of charge courses put together with the help of several dozen designers around the world, together they made a lesson plan of 50 units, each with one or more articles and videos, on design for Web, mobile apps and more by curating multiple valuable sources (blogs, books, games, videos, and tutorials).
- HOW Design University— offers free and paid online lessons on graphics and interactive design, and has opportunities for those who would like to teach.
- Skillcrush— offers professional web design and development courses for those who are interested in the field, regardless of their background, with short, easy-to-consume modules and a 3-month Career Blueprints to help students focus on their career priorities.
General for Children and Adults
- Scratch – Imagine, Program, Share— this platform is developed by MIT it is a creative learning site for children, which has projects that range from the solar system to paper planes to music synths and more.
- Udemy— this platform hosts mostly paid video tutorials in a wide range of general topics including personal development, marketing, design, photography, lifestyle, software, health, music, language, and more.
- E-learning for kids— offers elementary school courses for children ages 5-12 that cover curriculum topic including environment, health, language, science, computer, math, life-skills, and others.
- Ed2go— offers “affordable” online learning courses for adults, and partners with over 2,100 colleges and universities to offer this virtual but instructor-led training in multiple categories, with options for instructors who would like to participate.
- GCF Learn Free— is a project of Goodwill Community Foundation and Goodwill Industries, targeting anyone looking for modern skills, offering over 1,000 lessons and 125 tutorials available online at any time, covering computer software, technology, reading, math, career, and work.
- Stack Exchange— is a Q&A site covering multiple topics, including Stack Overflow, which is related to computer technology. The audience can ask a targeted question, get answers from professional and enthusiast peers to improve what you already know about a topic.
- HippoCampus— combines free video collections on 13 middle schools in the U.S through college subjects from NROC Project, STEMbite, Khan Academy, NM State Learning Games Lab and more, with free accounts for teachers.
- Howcast— hosts casual video tutorials covering general topics on crafts, lifestyle, entertainment, cooking and more.
- Memrise— this site includes languages and other topics, and are presented on the principle that knowledge can be learned with gamification techniques, which reinforce concepts.
- Instructables— is a hybrid learning site, offering free online text and video how-to instructions for mostly physical DIY (do-it-yourself) projects that cover crafts, recipes, technology, gameplay accessories and more. (Costs lie in project materials only).
- CreativeLIVE— offers workshops on creative and lifestyle topics (art, photography, music, design, people skills, entrepreneurship, etc.), they have two options; a live access offered for free, and on-demand access requiring purchase.
- Do It Yourself— Do It Yourself (DIY) primarily focuses on how-to for home improvement, with the occasional tips on lifestyle and crafts topics.
- Adafruit Learning System— if you want to learn how to make Arduino-based electronic gadgets, Adafruit Learning site offers free tutorials, you can buy the necessary electronics kits and supplies from the main site.
- Grovo— this site is for those who want to learn how to use a variety of Web applications for work, Grovo has paid (subscription, with free intros) video tutorials on best practices for hundreds of Web sites.
General College and University
- Cousera— is a learning site offering courses (free for audit unless you want to earn a certificate of completion) from over 100 partners including top universities, as well as non-university partners, you can also enroll in specializations, which groups related courses together in a recommended sequence.
- edX— offers courses on a wide range of topics from top universities, colleges and schools from around the world, including MIT and Harvard, the site provides courses by videos from instructors with assignments and a discussion forum for students, many courses are “verified,” offering a certificate of completion for a very minimum fee.
- Open Yale Courses— is a free, open access, non-credit introductory courses recorded in Yale College’s classroom and available online in a number of digital formats.
- MIT Open Courseware— is the project that started the Open Courseware / Open Education Consortium [http://www.oeconsortium.org], launched in 2002 with the full content of 50 real MIT courses available online, and later including most of the MIT course curriculum, all for free. Later hundreds of higher Ed institutions joined in with their own OCW course materials.
- Harvard Extension School: Open Learning Initiative— offers a selection of free video courses (taken from the edX selection) for the general public that covers a range of typical college topics, including; arts, history, math, statistics, computer science, and many others.
- Open Learning Initiative— is a Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Open Learning Initiative (OLI), it offers course content, many are open and free, intended for both students who want to learn and teachers/ institutions requiring teaching materials.
- MIT Video— offers over 12,000 talks and lecture videos in over 100 channels that include math, architecture and planning, chemistry, physics, arts, robotics, biological engineering, humanities and social sciences, and more.
- Khan Academy— is one of the early online learning sites, offering free learning resources for all ages on many subjects, and free tools for teachers and parents to monitor progress and coach students.
- Stanford Online— is a collection of free courses labeled as “for anyone, anywhere, anytime” which includes language, human rights, writing, statistics, economics, physics, chemistry, engineering, software, and more.
- Canvas Network— offers mostly free online courses source from numerous colleges and universities, with text content and instructor-led video, there is also certificate options for selected programs.
- Open UW— Open UW is the umbrella initiative of several free online learning projects from the University of Washington (UW), offered by their UW Online division, including Coursera, edX and other channels.
- UC San Diego Podcast Lectures— is a collection of video and/or audio podcasts of multi-subject university course lectures, some freely available, others only accessible by registered students.
- Quantum Physics Made Relatively Simple— offers three presentations given by theoretical physicist Hans Bethe, a set of just three lectures, plus intro about, as the name implies Quantum Physics.
- NovoEd— this site claims to offer a range of mostly free “courses from thought leaders and distinguished professors from top universities,” and makes it possible for today’s participants to be tomorrow’s mentors in future courses.
- University of the People— offers tuition-free online courses, with relatively small fees are required only for certified degree programs, mainly to cover exam and processing cost.
IT and Software Development
- Udacity— offers courses with an emphasis on skills desired by tech companies in Silicon Valley, their courses are either with a paid certification, it is mostly based on a monthly subscription, with access to course materials (videos, print) available for free.
- Apple Developer Site— provided by Apple Developer Center which is a very specific in topics for its lessons, but it’s a free source of documentation and tutorials for software developers who want to develop apps for iOS Mobile, Mac OS X desktop, and Safari Web apps.
- Google Code— is topic-narrow but a good source of documentation and tutorials for Android app development.
- Learnable— developed by Sitepoint, it offers paid subscription access to an ebook library of content for tablets and computers, they have nearly 5,000 video lessons (along with code samples) covering software-related topics, you can find quizzes and certification as well.
- Pluralsight— offers paid tech and creative training content (over 3,700 courses and 130K video clips) for individuals, businesses and institutions that covers programming, IT admin, Web development, data visualization, as well as 3D animation, game design, and video editing through a partnership with Digital-Tutors.com, and additional software coding lessons through Codeschool.com.
- CodeHS— offers software coding lessons by subscription for individuals who want to learn at home, or for students learning in a high school teacher-led class.
- Aquent Gymnasium— offers a small but thorough set of free Web-related lesson plans for design, coding and user experience, this site performs filtering on enrollees and only those with 70% score will be allowed access or continue accessing course materials.
- Code.org— is a non-profit organization that aims to expand computer science knowledge in schools in the U.S, however, they launched “Hour of Code” campaign which reaches students worldwide.