Stanford Offering Free Classes to the Public

Now you don't have to be a brainiac with deep pockets to enjoy the fruits of higher education.

Last Fall, Stanford University tried an experiment in free education.

The elite university put its most popular computer sciences classes online and free to the public. The demand was so high that the university is doing it again.

This month the university will launch five more free online classes.

"Stanford has been a pioneer in online education for many years, and we are pleased to continue expanding and refining our online offerings to benefit both our own students and students around the world," Stanford University Provost John Etchemendy said.

The classes last fall drew more than 350,000 students from 190 countries across the globe. About 43,000 of them actually completed the courses.

While Stanford is not handing out degrees for completing the free classes, the school will give a certificate of acknowledgment to those who do the work.

The classes will be taught online by regular Stanford professors. Students will be allowed to view the lectures online at their leisure.

"Advances in video technology, social networks and collaboration software have put us at an inflection point in technology for higher education," said John Mitchell, a professor of computer science.

The school will offer three classes that will launch on March 12 and two more that will go live March 19.

The classes are Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Natural Language Processing and  Cryptography. Two more, Game Theory and Probabilistic Graphical Models.

Students can register for the classes online.

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