It's not really practical to give universities a meaningful test drive. Not without ample amounts of money and time to throw at a practice semester, at least. It's about to become comparatively trivial. Arizona State, the University of Cincinnati and 38 other institutions are teaming up with Academic Partnerships to offer the first course from certain online degrees for free -- and, more importantly, to make it count as credit. Money only matters to participants (and Academic Partnerships) if they move on to the full program. Prospective students will have to wait until the spring to sign up for what's ultimately a freemium education, but patience could be a virtue if it means understanding the workload before committing to what may be years of higher learning.
[Image credit: Dave Herholz, Flickr]