I have been following developments in online education and the exponential increase in college costs with interest. I recently became frustrated with prototyping image processing codes and asked people (with little hope!) whether there was a decent environment to do that in (really, do I need 300 ugly lines for "hello world"?). This lead me to "processing" which is super cool (for a full image blur program look at this example).
But this also led me to a new online course by Andrew Glassner. This makes intro programming cut right to what is fun and cool about programming without all the yuck that is present in modern programming environments (yes powerful, but YUCK! Do you really want a 15 year old to see that?).
I looked through Andrew's course and it looks to me like a nice combination of online course and medieval apprentice system. I wish I could have taken this course when I was starting!