You don’t have to go to a university or pay tuition to access many learning resources, with a variety of institutions offering free online college courses through initiatives. open learning.
Although most of these free courses don’t offer credits or certificates (unless you pay a certification fee), they’re a great way for you to expand your knowledge and keep up to date with your industry. Then there’s the benefit of being able to learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace.
Want to access free college-level courses at home? Here are some of the best sites to take free online college courses.
EdX is one of the world’s largest and massive open online course providers, giving over 14 million users access to free courses from universities. Originally founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the site now includes courses from Boston University, Caltech, and dozens of other prestigious universities around the world.
You can study courses in a wide range of fields on the website—including science, education, history, medicine, and more. There is also a wide range of free computer programming courses available.
Although the courses are free, verified certificates and diplomas are not. EdX offers online certifications and master’s degrees on the website, but these require users to pay fees or tuition.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was a pioneer in offering college courses online. The university gives you the option to download and follow their archived courses through its OpenCourseWare platform.
The advantage of using the platform is that you get access to a huge range of actual courses that the university has offered over the years. The downside is that you may still need to buy textbooks to keep up with the programs.
The website also does not offer accreditation or certification, as these are archived courses. But they are a useful resource if you want to learn more about certain topics.
Carnegie Mellon University offers free online courses to anyone who wants to access them. In fact, it even offers materials for instructors who want to teach these courses to their students.
For independent learners, there are short courses in subjects such as computer science, biology, psychology, etc. The downside is that the number of open courses is much more limited than on other open learning websites.
Carnegie Mellon’s open courses are similar to what a paying student would receive less course credit or access to an instructor.
Coursera is another online learning platform through which many universities and companies offer their open courses. Like the other course providers on the list, you can access the courses for free, but you will not receive an accreditation or certificate at no cost.
Nevertheless, the site offers an excellent platform for online learning. Major universities such as Duke and Columbia offer courses on the platform. In the meantime, you can also access online courses from Google and companies such as Intel or Amazon.
If you want to access certification and specialization features on the platform, you can purchase a monthly subscription. However, all individual courses are available for free if you choose the audit option. This gives you access to all course material and lectures, minus a certificate or accreditation.
Stanford Online is the website through which Stanford University offers all of its online courses. Although you have to pay tuition to earn a certificate or degree through the platform, the university’s open learning courses are available to everyone for free. This includes courses offered by the various academic schools, such as Stanford School of Medicine and Stanford Business School.
These open courses are especially helpful for those looking for Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits, which can be earned by taking certain courses on the website without having to spend a dime.
FutureLearn is another platform that offers courses from universities and organizations around the world. Like other open learning platforms, courses are available for free, but certificates are chargeable.
The website offers an impressive range of courses in different areas, as well as various courses aimed at improving life skills. For example, FutureLearn offers courses dedicated to improving your budgeting, online research, critical thinking, and job interview skills.
The platform is a great tool for those looking to expand both their academic knowledge and their everyday skills.
The OpenLearn Platform features content from The Open University –— a university committed to being open and providing free learning to as many people as possible. Although the university has physical UK-based classrooms, it has also opened up its content to anyone online through its OpenLearn website.
Online college courses are extremely well presented and cover many different topics. A great feature is that it offers courses for different skill and knowledge levels, from beginners to experts.
Once you complete a course, you may receive a statement of attendance to show potential employers. Although this does not count for university credit, it proves that you have successfully completed Open University courses.
If you are interested in Harvard University courses, the institution offers many through its online portal. Although some of these courses are chargeable, there are dozens that are also available for free.
Some of the university’s free courses include religious studies, game development, app development, and data science. When you filter by free courses, there are over 50 available, so take a look at which ones you might be interested in.
The Open Education Database (OEDb.org) is not its own college, but rather a site that helps you explore free online courses from universities. It’s basically a search engine for online courses. Kyoto University, Utah State University, and Tufts University are some of the institutions included in the aggregator.
It can be difficult to find available courses using the ‘degree finder’ on the site, so we suggest using the search box instead or scrolling down the page to find courses by category.
Class Central is another free, user-friendly, and easy-to-sort college course search engine. It brings together courses from universities in different countries, but also from other online learning sites such as EdX and Coursera.
If you don’t want to be limited to finding courses from one provider or platform, an aggregator like Class Central helps you find the courses that are right for you. The website even has a filter specifically for Ivy League institutions.
Online learning is easier than ever
These online courses are a great way to deepen your knowledge of certain subjects for free. But you can also access e-learning through other platforms. Increasingly, free apps are giving people ways to learn new skills with their smartphones.
From coding skills to foreign languages, apps can help you fit learning into your busy schedule. Find out how you can learn a new language with Rosetta Stone or check out these Android apps that will help you learn new skills anywhere, anytime.
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