I initially didn't want to launch TheFreeCollege.com this early, but there seemed to be something poetic about doing it on July 4th. So, here we are, and I'm nowhere near finished on going through all of the possible entries that I have for Courses and Sessions, but what I have does provide my users with enough information to begin using the website.
In case any of you are interested, this site is built using Drupal. It was originally intended to be a small, personal project to serve as a playground for development and experimentation. I decided to take this project public, however, once I realized the extent to which others could benefit from the data that I've gone through. In short: I've sifted through a lot of junk to find the good stuff!
Of my initial scraping (automated searching) through information available online, I found approximately 50,000 Courses and Course Sessions. Of those, I have examined around 40% of them. Of the ones that I have examined, less than 10% contain material of sufficient quality to be listed on this website. Most of the cruft consists of Lectures, Sermons, Student Projects and Promotional Material. These are not bad in and of themselves, but they are not the focus of this Website. The result of all of this labor, however, is a high-quality, hand-culled collection of Institutional education.
I would like to say something about the Courses that appear on TheFreeCollege.com. First of all, you and I both are indebted to the Institutions that have spent their time, money, and resources to create these Courses and to make them available for free. It's not cheap! By providing them, they are investing in you, even though they receive nothing in return. Please let them know that you appreciate them, both the Institutions as well as the Professors who teach the classes. You will be surprised at how effective a simple "Thank You" will be.
The second thing I would like to mention is that if you know of an online class that is not listed on TheFreeCollege.com, please contact me. I try not to add Podcasts and Lecture Series, but I am more than happy to include more resources. Also, if you come across a Course that doesn't really fit the standards of TheFreeCollege.com, then please call that to my attention, too. It's very possible that it slipped through the cracks in the editorial process.
Lastly, I would like to thank you for your interest in TheFreeCollege.com, and I urge you to continually explore, learn, and push yourself to greater heights. Oh, and tell a friend about us, too!