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Free University-Level Courses in the Cloud with P2PU

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So, your Master of Science in Marketing degree won you a great job when you graduated ten years ago.  But social media wasn’t around ten years ago, so you either stayed with traditional marketing jobs, went back to the University in hopes of finding courses in Social Media Marketing taught by someone with actual social media experience, or learned social media marketing techniques in your spare time. Entrepreneurial Marketing is just one example of the dozens of online University-level courses offered at Peer-to-Peer University (P2PU).  Courses are free, mostly asynchronous, and taught with structure, guidance, and support around open course materials.

P2PU is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements.  Courses are offered free of charge and P2PU is run largely by volunteers.  P2PU has received seed funding to cover operational costs and because web hosting costs are very low, P2PU has few other operational expenses.  Although P2PU may charge small registration fees in the future to ensure perceived value in the course, P2PU promises that it won’t restrict access to course information.  Although not accredited yet, individual instructors are seeking accreditation from their affiliated institutions.  In fact, some students are already receiving credit from some western universities.

The P2PU initiative is very popular with web technologists who are almost completely self-taught in the web design and development fields. Most traditional academic institutions don’t offer university-level courses or degrees in emerging web scripting languages.  In fact, the courses were so popular that P2PU created a sub school called P2PU Webcraft.  Webcraft courses are mostly taught by expert peers working in the field, not college professors with advanced degrees.  However, the skills gained can lead to high-paying jobs where real experience ranks above a college degree.P2PU is always looking for volunteers to propose and teach open courses.  So, if you’ve got an idea for a course and some spare time, consider facilitating a P2PU course of your own!

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