In many ways the Internet has been the answer to the decline of the K-12 and university public school systems. Today there are many free resources on the Web that can supplement and/or make up for the deficiencies of elementary schools, high schools, and colleges.
One service that is getting a lot of attention lately, aimed at all age brackets, is the Khan Academy. The welcoming page of its website says this:
You Only Have to Know One Thing: You Can Learn Anything. For free. For everyone. Forever.
Here’s the synopsis of one summary of how it began: In late 2004, Salman Khan began tutoring his cousin who needed help with math using Yahoo!’s Doodle notepad. When other relatives and friends sought similar help, he decided that it would be more practical to distribute the tutorials on YouTube. The videos’ popularity and the testimonials of appreciative students prompted Khan to quit his job in finance as a hedge fund analyst in 2009, and focus on the tutorials full-time.
Today it is organized as a non-profit, and boasts of big name donors like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Google, and employs 80 people: “We are developers, teachers, designers, strategists, scientists, and content specialists who passionately believe in inspiring the world to learn. A few great people can make a big difference.”
Here is how the Academy describes its work: “Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps.”
To learn more, visit www.KhanAcademy.org.
Hillsdale College’s Free Online Courses:
One of the things many people learn first about Hillsdale College is that it is proud of its “independence”: “Hillsdale College does not accept federal taxpayer subsidies for any of its operations.”
Located in Hillsdale, Michigan, the college was founded in 1844 and bills itself as “an independent, coeducational, residential, liberal arts college with a student body of about 1,400. Its four-year curriculum leads to the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree, and it is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.”
Before mentioning the free online courses offered by Hillsdale, their “Constitutional Reader” is worth highlighting. This valuable resource, also free of charge, features 113 essential primary source documents, and is divided into eleven sections, with introductions written by Hillsdale faculty, including readings on the American founding, Civil War, Progressivism, and the rise of the administrative state. To learn more, visit www.ConstitutionReader.com.
For those who felt they were never sufficiently taught about the history, documents, and principles of the founding era, or for those who would like to brush up or improve upon what they know, Hillsdale’s free online courses are a goldmine of information.
Here are just a few of the courses offered at Hillsdale College:
Introduction to the Constitution
The Presidency and the Constitution
The Federalist Papers
Constitution 101: The Meaning & History of the Constitution
Constitution 201: The Progressive Rejection of the Founding and the Rise of Bureaucratic Despotism
History, literature, statesmanship and economics are also covered in courses such as these:
History 101: Western Heritage, From the Book of Genesis to John Locke
History 102: American Heritage, From Colonial Settlement to the Reagan Revolution
Great Books 101: Ancient to Medieval
Great Books 102: Renaissance to Modern
Winston Churchill and Statesmanship
Economics 101: The Principles of Free Market Economics
To learn more and sign up for the free courses, visit online.hillsdale.edu/dashboard/courses.