edxOnline free courses may boost tutor/mentor business models in Black Boston.

Guy on the phone
hacker time

Heard you are 13-17 years old, or older and you’d like to be a really good computer hacker or want to be making money in computer software but it ain’t happening for you yet.

You dream….

Your wish has been granted and its here now, but there’s a catch.

You can get the skills to program  in Java, CSS, Javascript, HTML5, Python and  code  social media marketing applications, Facebook,  mobile apps and games, IT software scripts, web sites and other business functions in demand and its absolutely free.

An edXonline course titled Introduction to Computer Science and Programming 6.00x  teaches the participant  how to think like a computer scientist.  They’ll get there by pushing through 14 weeks of course material,  3 exams and 13 homework/finger-exercise problem sets.  You’ll get a fancy  programming software suite for free.

If you’re curious about concepts like abstraction, inductive reasoning, bisection search, scripts, debugging, dictionaries, probability and etc., you will cover these areas and two dozen others like them that are being taught to professionals and college students who are paying thousands upon thousands of dollars to learn what you can get for free.

You’ll have homework due every Monday night by 11:59 PM usually, and the course designers say you should expect to devote about 12 hours per week to this particular course.  Do that and you’ll will be a knowledgeable computing machine thinker able to apply what you have learned to solve real world problems using Python, the favorite high-level interpretive computer language used in first-year computer science course at MIT and Harvard.

The course is something you can do whenever you can and it will help prepare you to create smartphone apps  and code all sorts of things.  It will help you along the path to become a skilled coder who can get past the typical IT job interview logic computer language tests  some companies want you to do well with during an interview process even if you don’t have a computer science degree.

So it was good news today to read Tweets, blog and newspaper articles about the collaboration announced by edXonline with MassBay and the Bunker Hill Community Colleges in Massachusetts.  What’s new is they plan to deploy the excellent edxOnline course material into physical classrooms with teachers to help you over the humps and take you higher. It will cost some bucks at those schools and its a new rollout for the edXOnline platform.  You can also get it free from anywhere you log in.

Quality online education has been free and available for quite  some time to high school, high school grad and non-school students.  Khan Academy offers dozens of subjects.  Its founder Salman Khan wrote The One World School House: education reimagined book  to introduce his concept of a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere.

Its a neat concept that catching on in droves.

It has mentioned in a future of education article that one day there may only be 200 college/universities in the country that people will pay to attend and they will likely be the list of current Top 200 colleges on the U.S News and World Report magazine list because people are sick and tired paying the high price of education today.

The Catch:  

Actually there’s more than one so here’s a short list:

  • Pull up the big picture view by checking out events where people who doing things with what you are learning.  Here’s a short list of local invite yourself clicks:  Mobile Monday Boston,   Microsoft NERD events, Greenhorn Connect, the BDPA-MetroWest, and don’t forget to pour over the online  Hacker News journal.

  • If this is your first course ever in this stuff, you will probably fail it but don’t worry.  This is  vigorous courseware and remember, the objective is less on teaching coding, although you will certainly get plenty of that —the objective is to teach you to think like a computer scientist does and that’s awesome.

There are published stats about people who take FREE online courses and a significant majority fail their first round because of many many factors… one being that its free and they don’t feel compelled to jump over hoops because they haven’t paid anything for it.

  • Enjoy that its a free course while imagining that you just paid $1,000+  for it because its worth that much.  Some schools and classes cost more.  Treat it as if this is money to lose.

  • edxOnline computer science courseware assumes you’ve got your high school math skills covered. When faced with difficult math-based exercises, bone up using any method you know:  ask somebody about the math, take Khan Academy tutoring, check out the courseware blogs, do this course with a friend that knows more math than you.

  • concentrate on the material as long as you can mentally stand it.  Its a good idea to print the course-at-a-glance doc and hang it somewhere visible. Its also a good idea to print the lecture slides which are effective  content concept and code reminders.

  • put studying the edxOnline material into a daily or weekly routine. It doesn’t matter if you do it three times a week for hours at a time or 7 days a week for a shorter period of time each day, but do something with it on a regular basis or you will fall far far behind so quickly, you won’t even realize it till you know.  This course can be all consuming but don’t worry, it will soon be over in like 14 weeks, LOL!

  • Get a tutor or find a mentor you can call on in an emergency.

  • Consider buying a good calculator if you don’t have one. TI makes some good ones. You won’t need to spend more than $30 but don’t buy those that cost less than that.

Hopefully, these are tips you will find useful.