Virtual learning is expanding by the day with websites for free online courses offering everything from high school to university courses. If you’re struggling in a subject like math, you can tutor yourself through an online course. Or, if you’re in high school and wonder whether a tech-related university course is for you, try out a free university course.
The range of online courses has been exploding around the world through a movement to make education more accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live. The movement has a catchy name for free courses that’s also growing in use – MOOCs which stands for Massive Open Online Courses.
Some universities that offer free courses on their own websites or through other organizations allow you to earn a certificate or a credit in a course for a fee if you want something to show for all your hard work.
Here are some of the most popular sites for free online courses in just about anything you might want to know.
The Khan Academy’s goal is to change education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. The Academy has a library of 3,300 videos covering K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even reaches into the humanities with playlists on finance and history. Watch the introductory video below
Coursera partners with the world’s top universities to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. Coursera envisions a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions! Its courses cover 17 categories, including: the humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science and electrical and materials engineering. The University of Toronto is one of the many universities participating in Coursera. Watch the Coursera introductory video below
Udacity describes itself as a totally new kind of learning experience where you solve challenging problems and pursue projects with world-renowned university instructors. The website says passing a Udacity class is as demanding as passing a university-level class but the courses aren’t affiliated directly with a university. Courses include introductory levels to computer science like how to build a search engine, programming languages for building a web browser and artificial intelligence for programming a robotic car. You can check out some of its course videos at the Udacity YouTube Channel.
Mozilla offers free web development courses through its School of Webcraft, including basic programming languages like HTML and PHP. The School provides mentors to help you along and you can even earn badges, backed by Mozilla, that highlight your technical and community skills. You can add the badges to your website or résumé.
Google Code University (GCU) provides free courses and materials along with tutorials and introductions to its courses which include programming languages, Android app development and web security. You don’t even have to register and there are forums where you can ask questions and get help from other students.
Stanford's free online courses are taught by its faculty and are highly interactive. You won’t get a full Stanford credit for your work but you can receive a statement of accomplishment if you successfully complete a course. Stanford also offers courses on iTunes U. Here is the Stanford list of free courses.
Carnegie Mellon University offers several free online courses and materials through its Open Learning Initiative. Introductory college-level courses include statistics, biology, chemistry, economics, French and physics. Learn more at Open Learning Initiative.