Technophilia: Get a free college education online – Lifehacker

This is a large collection of links to free on-line courses, syllabi and other learning resources.

The web has made it easier than ever before to get a free education, and you’d join the ranks of great thinkers in history who were also self-taught, like Joseph Conrad, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Paul Allen, Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway. You, too, can be an autodidact; the breadth of free educational materials available online is absolutely astonishing.

This is an interesting compilation of on-line resources for self-education, but, Charlotte’s recent comment got me thinking about how many resources are actually getting harder to get access to as public library budgets are cut and university libraries move more materials onto electronic networks that require logins. She had a recent conversation with a librarian who claimed that the web has not democratized access to scholarly literature to the extent most people believe.

… but, in fact, has segregated it within elite communities more than ever. In the past, an unaffiliated person could probably walk into a medical or law library and use its resources for free more easily than one today can gain entry to either a bricks-and-mortor academic library without the right ID card or to its online data bases without a legit username and password.

I’m totally spoiled by having on-line access to most of the library databases and many of the full-text journals that I need. In preparing for my course I checked out and read about 30 books, but found myself almost always avoiding journals unless they were available on line or if I had copies of the articles in my files.