In May 2012, a columnist for the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman, wrote about Coursera who at that time was pioneering the idea of online education. It was co-founded by University of Stanford computer scientist Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng. At the time he visited he noted that there were 300,000 people taking 38 courses being taught by professors from Stanford and a few other elite universities. Stanford is not the only school developing this massive online platform, but the well known Massachusetts Institute of Technology has also joined in. As of February 2013, there were 2.4 million students taking 214 courses from 33 universities including eight international ones.
Now while the numbers are impressive, schools do admit that only a small percentage of students complete the work, and they come from middle and upper-class families, but despite that, the participating universities believe that within 5 years, these learning platforms will reach around the world. And in the future, the concept that a college degree will only be associated with a brick and mortar college will become passe' as online graduates will be given what will be called “credential certificates” that will testify that the student has done all the work, and passed all the exams. The only problem that is being worked on right now is giving credibility to the online credentials that will verify that the student adequately mastered the subject and did not cheat, and can be counted on by an employer.
Also In the future, you will be able to create your own college degree taking the best online courses from the best professors from around the world, and paying only a nominal fee for the certificates of completion. It will change teaching, learning, and the pathway to employment.