Varun Pant recently passed Stanford University courses in cryptography and logic without dropping a single mark, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
But the IT consultant and father of two from Epping has never stepped foot inside the prestigious American institution. Nor did he fork out the tens of thousands of dollars students pay to study there.
He is one of the millions of keen learners around the world enrolling in Massive Open Online Courses, known as MOOCs.
The online phenomenon, being led by top universities such as Princeton and Harvard, allows anyone with access to the internet to study free.
Recently, Open2Study, the MOOC arm of Open Universities Australia, passed the milestone of 100,000 enrollments. And Coursera, the world’s largest platform, has attracted 5 million sign-ups since launching last year.
As the phenomenon gains momentum globally, several Australian institutions, including Macquarie University and the University of NSW, are beginning to dip their toes into the online area.