Monday, January 30, 2017

ALISON: A 9-million member, global community of free and certified learning


Yes, ALISON is free! And this is how they do it and why.

They are inspired by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reads: “Everyone has the right to education.” ALISON was founded by global leader and innovator Mike Feerick in 2007 in Galway, Ireland.

They financially support the publishing/offering of their courses in two ways: they host advertising and offer parchments for purchase to those who have successfully completed a course. 

The ALISON parchments (which are available framed or unframed or, as PDFs for some courses,) are similarly priced in relation to the average income of countries. The cost ranges from €4 to €115 plus shipping.

There is of course no obligation to purchase a parchment. The students are entitled to cite the fact that they have completed a course, regardless of whether they have the hard-copy certificate or diploma.

Innovation & Technology

ALISON is a globally social enterprise, dedicated to providing free certified education and workplace training skills to any individual, anywhere, anytime, on any subject over the web.

With 9 million learners in 250 countries, ALISON is changing how the world learns. Recognized as the first MOOC (Massive Open Online Courseware), ALISON has increased global reach and reputation. Some 1 million people all over the world have graduated with free certificates and diplomas using this program.  More than 10,000  students have shared their stories of empowerment and success, adding their testimony to the positive change ALISON has brought to their lives.

In 2009, a UK government report stated that "ALISON opens up the world of knowledge offering new, flexible, and exciting ways to learn”.  In 2010, ALISON was recognized by UNESCO through UNESCO’s Innovation in ICT in Education Award. Also in 2013, ALISON received the World Summit for Education Award for "outstanding quality and exceptional impact on education through innovation."

ALISON engages new technology and innovative business models. Lead by a group of highly talented and socially aware technologists and professionals from around the world, ALISON leads the way to enable people to educate and upskill themselves for free. This helps  to build a better, more sustainable global community.  As pointed out by Nelson Mandela, "education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world".

Course Providers/ Publishers

ALISON’s course material comes from Subject Matter which is provided by: Amazon Web Services, British Council, Cambridge University, Google, Harvard, Lund University, Microsoft, MIT, Sun Microsystems, UN World Health Organization, University of Kansas, University of North Carolina, University of Texas at Austin, University of Western Sydney, US AID, and others.  Course content is redesigned digitally for an immersive, interactive and enriched learning experience.

What To Do If Interested?

1.       Decide what subject area you want to study.
2.       Find the right course for you (from ALISON’s 750 courses).
3.       Get enrolled. Sign in or register your free account on ALISON, and then click on the “start course” button. ALISON courses are free and self-paced.
4.       Take the assessments (which you may retake if needed).
5.       Get your certificate.  Once you have completed your course, you can download your learner record as proof of your accomplishment. Should you like something more official, you can purchase a certificate.

Available Courses

To explore ALISON’s 750 Certificate/Diploma level courses (which have been grouped into 100+ subject areas) and other details, please click here

Posted by Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi

Saturday, January 21, 2017

UNIVERSITY OF THE PEOPLE: The Tuition-Free University

With headquarters in Pasadena, California, the University of the People (UoPeople) was launched in 2009 by Israeli entrepreneur and UoPeople President Shai Reshef. He was nominated in 2012 as one of Wired Magazine’s “50 People Changing the World.”

UoPeople is the first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university. It gained accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council in the US in 2014.The University has been able to offer tuition-free education because of its use of volunteers (including more than 4,000 professionals). Also Open Educational Resources, Open Source Technology, peer-to-peer learning, and support by/ partnership with foundations and corporations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and others are apart of this University. 

UoPeople is dedicated to allowing students access to higher education globally. This program  is designed to help qualified high school graduates overcome financial, geographic, social, and personal constraints keeping them from entering college.  By 2016 the UoPeople had accepted 5,000 students from 180 countries, and the University even had students studying from home in Aleppo, Syria during recent heavy shelling.

Tuition at UoPeople is FREE, but there is an application fee of $60, and a processing fees for each examination taken ($100/exam: undergraduate programs, and $200/exam: MBA program).  Thus, an Associate degree, with 20 courses to be studied over two years, costs a total of $2,060; a Bachelor’s degree with 40 courses over four years costs $4,060, and the MBA with 12 courses costs $2,460.  Students who cannot afford these fees may apply for assistance.  UoPeople works with top corporations and organizations to provide grants and scholarships to students needing financial support.  Students still have to study hard for their degree and UoPeople help out by providing academic advising, and outreach to students with low grade-point average.

The general requirements for the undergraduate degree programs are: (a) Be 18 years of age or older; (b) Be able to demonstrate high school completion; (c) Have English proficiency; and Must complete the UoPeople’s two Foundation Courses designed to equip students to thrive in their academic degree studies.

Business Administration
Computer Science
Health Sciences
·         Master’s Degree (MBA)
·         Bachelor’s Degree
·         Associate’s Degree
·         Bachelor’s Degree
·         Associate’s Degree
·         Bachelor’s Degree
·         Associate’s Degree

For more details on UoPeople, please click here.

Posted by Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

LYNDA.COM: An affordable, low-cost strategy for accessing high quality online courses

Lynda Susan Weinman (born January 24, 1955)  a U.S. business owner, computer instructor, and author, and husband Bruce Heavin founded the online software training website, was acquired by the online business network LinkedIn in April 2015 for $1.5 billion. provides a low-cost strategy for accessing online, high-quality courses that are normally too expensive for average individuals interested in learning new skills. Skills such as: Business, Technology, or Creative Skills. This is an  excellent option for an individual already in the workforce who is interested in learning new skills to qualify for a more alluring or better-paying position. offers 5,451 courses in the following areas:

Subject category
Number of courses available
·         Software Development
more than 400 courses
·         Design
more than 600 courses
·         Business
more than 900 courses
·         Web Development
more than 100 courses
·         Photography
more than 1,700 courses

The user will be asked for  Credit/Debit Card details as the user registers.  You may then explore for free over a 10-day period. After which, you have to pay a monthly fee (from around AUD $34.99 – equivalent to about USD $25.75) which entitles you to:
·         Unlimited learning from all 5,451 courses
·         Watch on your computer, phone, tablet, or TV
·         Cancel at anytime
·         Project files and code practice
·         Assess your progress with quizzes, and
·         View offline.

I interviewed someone who joined for a few months.  He mentioned that the skills he aquired were well worth the money spent, and that cancelling his membership was a very simple and straightforward process.

To explore and see whether they have something that might interest you, please click here.

Posted by Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi