PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY — Barnes & Noble has been so successful at selling college textbooks, taking over campus bookstores everywhere that now it’s trying its hand at offering courses online at none-other-than www.barnesandnobleuniversity.com.
Unlike its predecessor, this corporate takeover doesn’t have to in-debt students in the process. Why? The courses are FREE. While they have required texts like all other courses, these texts do not have to be bought through Barnes and Noble nor even bought at all. Some required books, such as various Shakespearean plays, students may have already, having needed them for previous courses. Other texts may be gotten from a simple trip to the library. In other words, the courses are designed so that their students need to buy books, but students can get through them without forking over a single dime to Barnes and Noble.
The courses are designed mainly for educational enrichment purposes, so they have assignments, but no grades or finals. Offering introductory information on a variety of subjects ranging from website design to yoga to astrology, they help to fill the educational void some people may have concerning those quirky and off-beat topics that they’d like to learn more about but never have a convenient opportunity to do so.
Students enrolled in the online classes have a skilled instructor and a course-only chatroom through which they can exchange their thoughts and ideas about the course’s subject with others who are also interested in the same topic.