Thank you for your opinion on the matter, I do agree that classroom environments are a great way to further knowledge, even online, for an educational experience. But I do have to disagree with a couple of the things you said. Mostly that for the most part online courses/sites are for lack of a better term pointless, as you said in your second to last paragraph. The fact that someone would spend their free time educating themselves, using whatever resources they have at their disposal is commendable. Depending on the certificate in question, many places actually look fondly on the prospective employee for taking the time to better educate themselves before applying for a position. Now this isn't to say they will take said certificate into consideration when reviewing at what level they wish to employ a person, but it can still be looked on positively that at least the person has some education in the proper field. Take, for example, the Alison courses I mentioned, they are provided by several other education authorities, including some from Khan Academy. Some of the certificates are "pay to receive", but what you are paying for is the documentation, not the learning experience itself. It is how the site itself can remain, for the most part, free. You can take the entire course, save your results, and come back to them later, or even leave them up for evaluation by others without purchasing the certificate. Now, granted, especially in this day and age, very little in life is truly "free", either you are spending money, time, both, or exchanging services in lieu of payment. Again, I believe that a classroom environment can help promote a better learning environment, but that doesn't mean that self taught students have any less of an education than those that chose to sit in a classroom. It's the way many online colleges operate anymore, the students are given the resources to teach themselves (for the most part), then evaluated on what they have learned, almost taking the teacher completely out of the equation. I am all for the implementation of an Asgardian University, but that doesn't mean that a free online education (taken from the right resources) has no merit. You say that free online education isn't equal to "real" education, having been self taught in many areas myself, I have to disagree. It boils down to what a student is most comfortable with. I never payed much attention in school, the other students tended to be a distraction for me (I have ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, basically I have a lot of energy and get distracted really easily), so teaching myself through books and online resources has allowed me to continue my education where a school system could not.
Everyone learns differently, where as videos and lectures might work for some, hands on and book work might work better for others, depending on how they process and retain information best. During my time in High School (ages 14-18), I started a program called "Teach the Teachers." It focused on helping teachers learn new teaching methods, whereas before they were teaching students the way they were taught, the way their teachers were taught, the way their teachers' teachers were taught, and so on. They were confused as to why only part of their classes seemed to be grasping the lessons, and that the other part was having trouble with them. "Sally learns best from watching someone do something multiple times, Jack learns best by doing it himself multiple times, Fredrick learns best by seeing it broke down in a book in front of him to learn why they are doing it in the first place." Retention practices. How the student best grasps the subject at hand. Individual students have individual needs, something a large portion of the educational system is still having trouble grasping. By having multiple resources for the subject at hand, all needs can be tailored to accordingly.
I apologize for this becoming as lengthy as it has. My point is merely that online courses, even being free, have merit. They can, if utilized correctly, be a great source for learning, and that a proper education doesn't require a student to be engaged in a classroom setting to gain the same knowledge, nor does it require a physical teacher to be present (even an online presence). But, in time, I am still hoping to see an Asgardian University based in our own (Asgardia) community.