If you're looking for educational advancement and new skills but don't have the money or the time to enroll in a college program, online education may be a good option. Open-Courseware or OCW is a form of learning that involves taking free online courses over the internet. Students can learn at their own pace, and there are a wide variety of courses. However, the courses typically do not count as college credit.
More and more colleges are offering free courses online, including many prestigious institutions.
The courses outlined in the programs are available to anyone for free and feature some of the world's foremost authorities on subjects.
Finding them isn't always easy, so start with this list of some of the best resources available online today. Many of these websites include video recordings of lectures; however, lecture notes, interactive activities, tests, and even free certificates are now being made available as well.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Open Courseware (OCW) website has 2,400 free courses online using a combination of lecture notes, audio, and video resources. Engineering courses cover just about every discipline, from aeronautics and astronautics to mechanical engineering and nuclear science.
If you're looking for computer science courses, you can find them in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science section. There are dozens of undergraduate and graduate courses in this section alone, ranging from Introduction to Computer Science and Programming to specific programming languages like Java and C++.
Advanced courses range from quantum electronics to nonlinear programming and organic optoelectronics. Other courses include microeconomics, linear algebra, health sciences, technology, energy courses, hard science courses in chemistry, and physics.
UC Berkeley offers free online courses in a variety of subjects including english, writing, blockchain technology, marketing analytics, and statistics.
UC Berkeley has also partnered with edX, where many of their new free courses are featured. Edx is an online website portal for those looking to learn from many colleges including Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley to name a few. The courses include engineering, chemistry, biology, economics, business, medicine, social sciences, and many more.
Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative (OLI) offers courses in a wide range of disciplines. Technical courses include engineering statistics, data science, business, media programming, principles of computing, and coding. Carnegie Mellon's OLI has a student program where the courses are $25 each. However, the Independent Learner courses are free and open to the public.
In addition to lectures, the website offers resources like learning activities, quizzes, and itemized lists of objectives. Like with most of these websites, the courses are free but there is no interaction with instructors, nor are course credits or certificates offered.
Similar to other universities, Harvard offers a wide variety of free courses online through their Open Learning courses. Some are free; others charge tuition fees at reduced rates. Course topics range from programming to data science to security and more. They also have a few offbeat ones, like Bits: The Computer Science of Digital Information, which you probably won’t find at other universities!
Stanford Online offers a variety of free online courses to interested learners. Check their course list for the latest offerings, which some have a fee, but many are free to the public. Available courses currently cover topics like software security, big data, computer science, statistics, quantum mechanics, computer networking, and more.
Created by the University of Michigan, Open.Michigan features a huge collection of courses, complete with syllabi and lectures. Under the Educational Resources section, you'll find many free courses that include chemistry, engineering, nursing, statistics, and education. The school also allows the public access to data, which includes research as well as publications and scholarly journals published in years past.
Open courseware has been hailed as the future of education around the world. It’s affordable, accessible, and (in most cases) as good a quality as you’d get attending the school. There’s no better time to start learning new skills.