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Duke To Offer Free Classes Online

Duke University has announced it will begin offering free Internet courses this fall to anyone who wants to enroll. The school is partnering with a California startup that has more than a dozen top-tier universities offering classes online. Sixty thousand dollars. That's the estimated cost to attend Duke University during the coming school year. And even if you could afford to attend, you'd still need the grades to get in. Come September, Duke will begin offering a handful of free online courses, including one called "Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach." They'll be similar to the classes paying students take in terms of quality and rigor. But they won't offer college credit. And Lynne O'Brien - the school's Director of Academic Technology and Instructional Services - says you'll also miss out on the true "Duke Experience." "Duke students are still going to be meeting with faculty members face to face. They're going to be working on team projects with students and faculty. They're gong to be doing research and labs alongside the Duke faculty," said O'Brien. Still, for those without hope of attending Duke, these online courses bring Ivy-league educational opportunities to the masses. That's the goal of Coursera, which is working with Duke and other elite schools including Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford to offer free college classes online. O'Brien says the benefit for Duke is the chance to showcase its offerings to a global audience.