Well, I guess it depends on if you are interested in any of the classes offered, but right now there are thousands of classes and lectures available for free on the internet. And while they might not result in your receipt of a diploma, free online courses help to break down the barriers for some people to attain a higher education. In fact, most colleges offer at least a few online classes for free, so if you have a school that you like, check out their website to see if they have any available. But for those of you just wanting to jump in and take some classes while sitting on the couch, here are some places for you to start looking:
iTunes U – I am a huge Apple nerd, so finding out I could download courses onto my iPhone was pretty cool. iTunes U is a part of the iTunes Store featuring free lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and more, that you can enjoy on your iPod, iPhone, Mac or PC. Explore over 200,000 educational audio and video files from top universities, museums and public media organizations from around the world. With iTunes U, there’s no end to what or where you can learn.
MIT OpenCourseWare – MIT publishes pretty much all their class materials on the internet for you to dig into. MIT OpenCourseWare is a free publication of MIT course materials that reflects almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT. How sweet is that?
Creative Commons Learn – Those of us who use a lot of images online know all about Creative Commons, but I had no idea they also had courses available as well! ccLearn is a division of Creative Commons dedicated to realizing the full potential of the internet to support open learning and open educational resources. Their mission is to minimize legal, technical, and social barriers to sharing and reuse of educational materials.
Open University – Talk about tons of random classes! The OpenLearn website gives free access to Open University course materials. This is the LearningSpace, where you’ll find hundreds of free study units, each with a discussion forum. Study independently at your own pace or join a group and use the free learning tools to work with others.
UC Berkeley Webcasts/Courses – Hey look, you can take courses at Berkeley without being around all those liberals! (Kidding, I am one, so no offense). Every semester, UC Berkeley webcasts select courses and events for on-demand viewing via the Internet. webcast.berkeley course lectures are provided as a study resource for students and are not sanctioned as a substitute for going to the course lectures. Of course, you don’t have to go to watch them!
Online Education Database – From the site: “A high quality education doesn’t have to come at a high cost. In fact, it’s possible to take classes from big names like Yale, MIT, and Tufts without ever submitting an application or paying a cent in tuition. We’ve compiled 200 online classes from these and other respected institutions, and you can take all of them with no strings attached.”
Do you ever take classes online? If so, where? After the holidays are past, I plan on taking as many online classes as I can in several different subjects, so please share if you have any personal favorites!