Free Online College Courses - Part Three

Category: Education

If you've read my previous articles about top colleges that offer free online courses, I've got a whole new world of online learning for you. But instead of focusing on specific colleges and their online learning options, I've got three 'online educational ecosystems' that promise to make college-level learning easier to find, more enjoyable, and more directly focused on learning the skills that today's employers are seeking...

More Free College Courses Online

If you want to take college courses, and your budget is slim to none, here comes the Internet to the rescue! My previous articles Free Online College Courses and Free Online College Courses - Part Deux listed twenty top-ranked colleges and universities offering free online college classes. Now there's almost no limit to what you can learn, by taking advantage of free audio, video and multimedia courses on the Web.

COURSERA offers free college-level courses from top universities, including Princeton, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, and Berkeley. Choose from a wide range of courses in Biology, Business, Computer Science, Economics, Humanities, Mathematics, Medicine and others. You'll learn at your own pace by watching video lectures presented by world-class professors. Concepts are reinforced with interactive exercises and tests.

What can you learn at Coursera? If you're into math, how about Calculus, Statistics, or Quantum Mechanics? In the Healthcare, Medicine, and Biology category, you can bone up on Genome Science, Fundamentals of Pharmacology, or Basic Behavioral Neurology. If business is your business, check out courses such as Intro to Finance, Game Theory, or Model Thinking. And in the Humanities, explore A History of the World Since 1300, Intro to Sociology or Greek and Roman Mythology.
Free Online College Courses

Udacity wants you to try a new kind of learning experience. Instead of passively watching an endless series of boring lectures, you jump right into learning by solving problems and working on projects with world-renowned university instructors. Udacity was founded by three Stanford robotics professors, with some new ideas for offering university learning in the online environment. Their first class (Introduction to Artificial Intelligence) was offered last fall, and attracted over 150,000 students from all over the globe. Udacity doesn't promise that their courses will be easy. In fact, they say they're every bit as demanding and challenging as passing a university-level class. But unlike many other online learning venues, Udacity offers certifications that are recognized and accepted by tech firms. Even better, some of these companies recruit Udacity students.

Most of the classes are focused on computer science, but you can also learn about Physics, Statistics and Cryptography. Here's a sample of the current offerings, and the specific project you'll pursue in the learning process: Intro to Computer Science (Building a Search Engine); Programming Languages (Building a Web Browser); Artificial Intelligence (Programming a Robotic Car); Software Testing (How to Make Software Fail); Introduction to Physics (Landmarks in Physics)

Academic Earth's goal is to create a "user-friendly educational ecosystem" to help learners find the best online video courses and lectures from the world's top scholars. By partnering with top universities, Academic Earth is able to offer free video lectures and online classes in a wide variety of subjects that includes, Art, Architecture, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Humanities, Law, Mathematics, Medicine, and Sciences.

Open Culture is not an online learning destination like the others, but it does offer an impressive list of over 500 free online college courses, in the liberal arts and sciences. Many are offered via YouTube or iTunes, in either audio or video format. A few are web-based. But wow, what a list. Check out courses in Achitecture (from MIT), Art (from Oxford University), Philosophy (from Notre Dame), History (from Yale), Economics (from UC Berkeley), Film (from UCLA), Geopolitics (from Stanford), Law (Yale/MIT), Literature (Harvard), Music, Philosophy, Religion, and Sociology. In the Sciences field, you can find hundreds of classes in Aeronautics, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics and many more. If you want to learn a new language, check out Open Culture's free language lessons for Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish.

There's no guarantee that you'll earn college credits for taking any of these courses, but you can definitely make yourself more valuable to a current or potential employer by improving upon and learning new skills. Free online college courses can help you beef up your resume, advance your career, or just expand your knowledge. And who knows where that could lead you?

Have you taken free college courses online? Do you want to recommend another source for free online learning? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Free Online College Courses - Part Three"

Posted by:

18 Jun 2012

Bob, since spelling, punctuation, grammar etc. are important, please correct Partnering in the following, "By partering with top universities..." Sorry for being anal.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Done. And going forward, I reserve the right to one typo per every 800 words or so. :-)

Posted by:

Jason Wallwork
19 Jun 2012

I recently finished a course offered by Stanford through Coursera. It was Computer Science 101 and though none of the the theory was new to me, it was fun doing some simple programming in JavaScript. I think anybody could've done this course and even though I knew computers, and have done shell script programming and in C, C++ and Basic, it was still interesting enough to do real world stuff with JavaScript. The course actually had you produce little snippets of code that changed the colours of images and even did a hollywood-style blue screen replacement as part of the course. Fun stuff! Highly recommend this course if you want a basic computers course.

Posted by:

19 Sep 2014

Another consortium of universities worth your consideration is edX, which was founded by MIT and Harvard a few years ago.
I have taken three courses so far. The first, Introduction to Biology was by far the most rigorous. It really increased my respect for MIT students!
Biomedical Imaging at the University of Queensland was quite a bit easier, but I still learned a lot.
Genomic Medicine Gets Personal at Georgetown University was the easiest, but unfortunately, the content proved to be not what I expected. It wasn't of great interest to me, so I simply audited it and did not bother with the examinations.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Online College Courses - Part Three (Posted: 18 Jun 2012)
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