Udacity, a website for free and open university-level courses in STEM fields, offers classes that are not put on a set time limit, including:
Intro to Physics (PH100) Landmarks in Physics
Introduction to Statistics (ST101) Making Decisions based on Data
Algorithms (CS215) Crunching Social Networks
Logic & Discrete Mathematics (CS221) Foundations of Computing
Software Testing (CS258) How to Make Software Fail
This is certainly not the only website for this kind of engaging and challenging material, the most well-known include MIT OpenCourseWare and YouTube EDU. Udacity has a bit more scaffolding, since there are assessments and “office hours”, which make it resemble a traditional course a bit more than the others (which are more self-guided).
There are two pushes for advances in Educational Technology:
– Online courses that actually take advantage of digital media to create material that doesn’t resemble existing models (so, no digitized written exams or video lectures, but games and interactive media)
– Utilizing the efficiency that we gain from integrating technology into education to teach more useful things, so changing the content for the 21st century (more about information processing/organizing/analyzing than memorization, now that billions of facts are at our fingertips 24/7).
But as we work our way up to those big changes, we shouldn’t discredit the changes created from these types of websites, which are dramatically democratizing and enriching education already!