The development of the massive open online course platform edX by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University means many more people have access to information and learning opportunities. The inclusion of content from nonacademic institutions further opens the field. The edX platform now offers Linux development courses to teach people with little to no experience with the open-source operating system, since many companies have an increasing demand for this particular skill.
Open online course opportunities open the field to many people who may not otherwise have a chance to go through higher education channels or other training courses that teach new technology. However, Jim Zemlin, the director of the Linux Foundation, notes that the number of people adept in using Linux lags behind the need for proficient professionals. Linux development courses definitely have this dilemma in mind, since Linux runs everything from the stock exchange to Android smartphones and cloud computing services.
Even if you have no professional aspirations in Linux development, you still have access to open online courses. The Linux Foundation usually charges $2,500 for these courses, but it now offers them online and in person with its authorized training partners, including 32 member schools such as the University of California at Berkeley, Dartmouth College and McGill University. Now, anyone with Web access has the opportunity to take these courses.
While the massive open online course platform for Linux does not provide a degree, edX does offer the option for a verified certificate from the Linux Foundation. However, this option costs $250. Even though this is only a fraction of the usual full cost, it does mean a small investment is necessary to obtain a certificate. This makes job seekers more attractive on the IT job market. However, the process of demystifying how Linux works also helps people who simply want to be more proficient in using their computers and other devices.
Whether you're taking the course for a certificate or auditing it for personal satisfaction, these open online course offerings test the new frontier of online learning as well as the idea of making education accessible to a greater number of people. Thousands of people have already taken advantage of edX courses, and the Linux course provides yet another opportunity for those looking to expand their knowledge base. Furthermore, employers have a bigger pool of talent from which to draw capable potential employees.
The partnership between the Linux Foundation and edX signals an educational shift that looks to technology to open opportunities beyond the traditional campus. Taking a massive open online course such as Intro to Linux has positive implications for both learners and employers looking for capable talent. If you're seeking to learn, you should also keep in mind that edX offers many other kinds of courses to help meet your educational and professional goals.
(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)
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