Welcome to Provide Your Own - education


Get Accredited Degree Online

While many universities have been offering some of their courses online for a few years now, none have offered actual degrees (aside from dubious “professional” colleges). Georgia Tech is first to have taken the leap. In collaboration with Udacity (which I have written about before), they are offering an accredited masters of computer science degree for $7,000.

Of particular interest is the fact that the actual courses are free. It is only the degree that costs money. This is nevertheless good news. There are a number of positive things to note:

  • An actual college degree can be obtained online from home without having to move and live near or on a campus.
  • The cost is much less than tuition for the same degree is normally; not to mention the considerable savings in living expenses.
  • The actual education is free for everyone in the world.
  • The degree is obtained via proctored exams offered at 4000 Pearson locations around the country.

That last item also points to another positive trend – certification by exam. Currently, the primary value of a college degree has nothing to do with education. Its main value is the piece of paper that opens doors into the world … Read the rest

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The End of College Education?

Recently, I wrote about how anyone can use Khan Academy to obtain a top class math education from the basics to advanced calculus. The handwriting is now on the wall for over-priced college education. Just as the Internet has been a great equalizer for independent journalism, it is now poised to do the same for education – even college education. Sebastian Thrun, a prominent Standford professor is aiming to do just that. This Forbes article describes his vision for a college degree available for only $100 that anyone anywhere in the world can obtain.

His education initiative Udacity is now online. You can see the course offerings here. While it doesn’t offer many courses yet, his vision is bold, and he has the credentials to make it happen. While online learning has been with us for awhile, a major stumbling block has been certification. That obstacle will soon be overcome, and Udacity may just pave the way.

The other major innovation by Udacity is integrating the course material into real world problems and their solutions. Instead of long, isolated, boring lectures, you actually work on a project as part of the course, learning what you need to know along … Read the rest

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Tools for Math and Math Education

khan-video

Whether you are a student, have school age children, or have used math at all in your life, you have no doubt struggled at some point with mathematics. Math is one of those things that can be difficult no matter how good you are at it. I know – I am very good in math but I still struggle.

I wanted to share two excellent resources that make that struggle much, much easier. So much easier that, for many of us, math may cease to be a struggle.

Math Software

When it comes to solving and visualizing mathematical problems, good math solving software can make a difficult task significantly easier. Unfortunately, the mainstream offerings such as Maple, Matlab, and Mathematica are way too expensive for casual use. Now there is an alternative called Sage.

Sage is open source, and you can both download it (and run it on just about any OS) or run it from a browser. It has a simple interface, and is fast and powerful. This video gives a history of the project and at about 38:45, you can see a short demo.

With Sage, you don’t have to toil over an algebra or … Read the rest

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Following Your Passions

Steve Jobs was best known as a man who followed his passions.  With his recent passing, I found a commencement speech that he gave to Stanford University graduates provided an interesting view on his accomplishments. In his speech he reflected on his life, his successes and his failures. You can either view his address or read the transcript here. It is worthwhile reading or viewing.

Gary North recently wrote about his own impressions on Job’s speech. I have some of my own observations to offer as well.

Education

Regarding college education, Jobs found it to be:

  • extremely expensive
  • most of the courses to be of little value yet required in order to graduate
  • some courses were very useful and could be taken for free if not concerned with getting credit for them

These observations mirror my own regarding college. Now I know that education, especially college education is considered to be sacrosanct in this country, yet I find its value¬†similar to what Jobs found it to be. The sole reason to pay for an expensive college education is not for the education value, but for the piece of paper that opens doors into the job market. The truth is, … Read the rest

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You Can Do Miracles

When you believe. The words of this hit song are more true than we might think. You can do miracles. What hinders you is your lack of faith. Consider one of the major themes preached by Jesus. To wit:

Believe ye that I am able to do this? – Matt 9:28

Thy faith has made thee whole – Matt 9:22

Be not afraid, only believe – Mark 5:36

If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth – Mark 9:23

That is only a taste of what he preached. While many of his sayings on faith are regarding faith in God, don’t think that the principle of faith are only limited to believers in Christ. Faith itself has an even broader scope. I do not diminish the immense value of faith in God and Christ. Yet, I do not want to limit the application of faith to that toward God only. Faith is an inherent quality of man. While it applies to God, it also applies to virtually everything else in life. Faith is a difficult thing to obtain. It is also fragile. Consider another thing Jesus said:

O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall

Read the rest

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