Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Education Wants to be Free Full Courses Offered

I'm excited. Over the weekend, I put together the first of our full courses at EducationWantsToBeFree.com Classroom. This is the beginning of what I hope will be a major force in online education for people simply seeking to learn things without having to spend a lot of money.

The name Education Wants to Be Free is adapted from the hackers ethic stated Information Wants to be Free. There is a double meaning in this. Free means both without restriction and without cost. The nature of information (and hence education) is to find its way to learners. As the old proverb says, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." When you want to learn something you will seek out venues in which to learn it.

Wanting to learn and wanting to get a degree or take a class are often two different things. You may have to take a class and pass it for your job. You may see taking classes to get a degree as "paying one's dues" in order to get that sheepskin which is the key to a career. There is nothing wrong with that. However, there are times when YOU - not your boss, not your guidance counselor, not the school system - want to learn something for its own sake. It may be how to write a novel, ancient Greek history, Science fiction as literature or how to give a speech. That's where Education Wants to be Free Learning Space is there to help.

You will be able to learn without restriction in those courses we offer. No Entrance Exams. No long registration forms. No governmental restriction. Crazy idea, but we believe that educators are the best at creating educational opportunities. You will learn online through a state-of-the-art distance learning website powered by MOODLE, an open source course management software, used by many universities in their own distance education programs.

We will be offering courses in writing, history, Bible study/Theology, communication, literature and education. We will likely add other categories as we expand. Right now we are taking registrations for two courses: Preparing for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and Basics of Novel Writing.

Preparing for NanowrimoNational Novel Writing Month every year brings together thousands of people from around the world to do one thing - Write a 50,000 word novel. It's wild, crazy, and wonderful. It's called a month of "literary abandon." However, you might feel overwhelmed by the event. Well, not to worry, this course will help you prepare to complete Nanowrimo. Think about this a training for a marathon. You wouldn't decide to tackle a marathon but not bother to train for it in advance. Well this is your training center. Fortunately, all your training here can be accomplished sitting down. Now, that's my kind of training.  This course is offered FREE OF CHARGE

Basics of Novel Writing. This course leads you through the process of planning and editing your novel. By the end of this course you will have completed a first draft (or at least 50,000 words toward a first draft) of your novel and will have written a plot summary. Dates of instruction: November 1 - January 31. New lessons appear weekly during this time period. There are three version of this course

Autopilot (Free) This free autopilot course provides you with no feedback from the instructor, however, there are forums where you can share and receive critique and feedback from other students.  

Deluxe ($10.00) This course is an instructor guided course. You will have full access to the instructor through the course discussion board, MOODLE messaging, and email. Two of the major assignments (First 25,000 words of the first draft and your plot summary) will receive a general critique from the instructor as well as informal critiques of some assignments throughout the course. Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion.

Premium ($20.00) This course is an instructor guided course. You will have full access to the instructor through the course discussion board, MOODLE messaging, and email. You will receive feedback on all assignments (except the autoscored ones) and a critique of the full 50,000 word draft and story summary. Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion. Additionally, a file will be created in our student archives for you with the course outline, your scores on assignments and your choice of up to two critiqued assignments. This can be useful if you need to provide verification of continuing education to an employer. Additionally, you will be invited to special Premium student only events such as chat sessions with published authors, editors and publishers.

Free? No Way!

Way. Every course offered will have a free version. Some like the Nanowrimo prep course only have the free option. Others like the novel writing course will have an "autopilot" version with text lessons and access to a student forum but without instructor input or feedback as well as Deluxe and Premium versions offered for less than $50 and usually from $10-20.

I've taught at the college level for close to 30 years. The last 10 years I've taught mostly online and have been instrumental in training other online instructors. These courses will be treated just like my college courses with the same quality of instruction you would find at most colleges and universities.

Why so low?

You may be wondering why, if a state supported college has to charge over $100 to $300 dollars for a creative writing class, I can offer mine for $10 - $20 on average. It all boils down to overhead. A college has a huge plant to maintain all the time whether anyone is there or not. You still have to heat a classroom whether there are 15 or 150 students in that room. There are janitors, maintenance people, clerks, secretaries, electric and gas bills that run into 5 - 6 figures a month.

My overhead? Website hosting and the Domain name. That's pretty much it. About $10-15 a month. One paying student a month covers my overhead. The rest is my own time. But I enjoy teaching and I'm retiring from the school system next year so I'll have lots of time. And I can actually show a profit at $10-$20 a student.

Anyway, I hope to see you over at the new website. But I'll still be posting my mini lessons here as well. Because wherever I post it Education Wants to be Free.


  1. I linked you up. We have a few authors looking to be published with us at G8Press. Their manuscripts need polishing and I'm thinking of sending them your way. This is awesome Terri.


  2. Sounds great. The Novel writing class might be good for them and it begins November 1. I may be posting some "early bird" stuff before then, but the course itself will begin at that time.


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