The idea of offering free online courses was difficult several years ago mainly due to a lucrative business platform that has come to be known as college education. Although there are more than enough resources today, so many people cannot afford a college education, thanks to ever increasing tuition fees and ignorant politics.
But not all is lost. There is some light at the end of the tunnel – the birth and growth of Free Online Courses through big name universities across the globe. Perhaps the only thing remaining is for companies to finally hire their potential employees not by looking at a paper but skills they have earned. Now let us take a quick look at my favorite list of free online courses you could start with today.
Top Ten Free Online Courses
- Udacity – I was fortunate enough to be among the first group of people to join Udacity when it was launched. The first course I took was Introduction to Computer Science – Building a Search Engine. The fun part of the whole experience was being able to learn from each other through forums and also helping others learn the python programming language. Most courses are freely available to take at your own convenience. Enjoy!
- Coursera – With more than three million people using Coursera free online courses, there is no doubt it is massive. I attribute this to its 83 partners and 390 courses they offer. When Udacity launched and then Coursera soon after, I started thinking about what might happen – both good and perhaps the eventual death of Udacity (the small guy being crashed by the big guy). Either way, it is a great platform. Go try it out.
- Academic Earth – This was my first ever site that I stumbled upon when I was looking for alternative resources to learn computer science. You probably can’t go wrong with names like Harvard, MIT and Stanford just to name a few. Hey, they have several courses accessible to anyone free of charge. Another great thing about it is that you can watch the courses using a device called Roku – which hooks to your television and streams media from the internet. Have fun.
- University of the People – This university states that it is the world’s first non-profit, degree-granting, tuition-free online university. That means you earn a degree after completing their courses. One thing to remember before joining might be the fact that they now charge a fee of $100-per end-of course exam for those who can afford it. If you cannot afford it, you can apply for a special scholarship. In summary, it looks like a good place to learn.
- Saylor University – The best part of Saylor University is the structure of their free online courses; they have been put together in a way that makes learning very straight-forward. All you need to do is choose an area of study for example Computer Science. All required courses are then listed under that category like they would normally do in college. Things progressively get more advanced as you study. Give it a shot.
- Alison – I enrolled in a diploma programme a few months ago from Alison and I was impressed. The good thing they do that many others don’t is get you certified. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything if you don’t have the skills required by an employer. Getting a certificate will cost you upwards of a hundred dollars and without that, it can be harder to show a documented proof of your attendance if that is important to you. Try and see how it goes.
- Open Culture – This website has 725 free online courses from top universities. They also have books in different formats which include audio. You want to learn a new language? Pick a German or Chinese lesson and get started without paying a dime. I have not spent much time here but it sure is worth taking a look.
- Harvard Extension School – Maybe, just maybe for some reason you have always wished that you could attend Harvard University. Many people wish the same thing until they realize how difficult it is to get there – both financially and academic performance. The good news is that you don’t have to attend Harvard to be successful, heck, you don’t even need to go to college. Either way, you can check out great free online courses provided through the Harvard Extension School and feel like you have been there.
- Online Courses – This free online courses repository boasts over 500 courses from top universities across the globe. What you need to do is just search for a course and get started without much ado. That is all it takes.
- edX – This is yet another partnership between Harvard University and MIT. You might start to think that they are all over the place but you can’t argue with their resources. All their courses are top-notch and totally free of charge. So what is left? It is up to you to decide what you want to do with your life. Good luck.
In summary, the choice is most certainly your own; you can enroll in one of the above universities and earn the skills you need to get the job done or go to school where you will be paying it by getting into debt. Phew, that was tough. Note: Student Loans interest rates are doubling TODAY in the US because congress failed to stop them. Same old same old. (put an angry face here).