Nowadays, education is not limited to the classroom anymore. The advancements of technology and the Internet have granted us access to a wide range of digital learning materials as well as online forums and communities.
There are now many organizations or individuals that offer free online courses and learning materials, and today I would like to bring your attention to a list of websites that offer free online courses and open courseware content for different streams of higher education.
These websites are all part of the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) movement. All you have to do to is sign up and you’ll be able to join your favorite courses for free. Online courses, if taken seriously, can indeed provide you knowledge in ways that are no less effective than learning in the classroom. Learning online is wonderful and fun. Give it a try!
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Coursera is the biggest source of online courses, which are based on pedagogical foundations. It currently offers 621 courses in 25 categories from 108 providers – all free to join! The courses span various categories such as Arts, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Food & Nutrition, Humanities, Law, Mathematics, Medicine, Social Sciences, and many more.
Course materials can be downloaded in the form of lecture videos, presentations, and notes. Your marks for weekly assignments and final exam determine your eligibility for the Certificate of Completion. Coursera has also started a paid Signature Track program to provide verified certificates.
Udacity is a website that offers professional online courses with a focus on practical and active learning. It currently offers 36 courses spanning 5 categories: Business, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. The courses are also grouped according to different levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advance.
Short quizzes, and assignments are provided after each lesson to test your understanding. You can watch the course videos online or download the archived lessons and assignments in compressed zip format. All the courses are self-paced, which means you can complete particular lectures or assignments at your own pace.
MIT OCW is the top source of OpenCourseWare on the web. The site offers more course materials than any other website or organization, with reading materials from over 2100 courses in more than 10 top categories (with sub-categories) from over 30 departments. The categories include Business, Energy, Engineering, Health & Medicine, Humanities, Science, Society, and more.
Although MIT OCW doesn’t offer online courses, it’s still the best source of free course materials for students as well as teachers. You can find recorded lectures and other study materials about various topics for free.
edX brings the best online courses from top universities, including MIT, Harvard University, Berkeley University of California, University of Washington, and more. It currently offers 146 courses in over 20 subjects from more than 30 universities. The courses span various categories such as Business, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Ethics, Food & Nutrition, History, Law, Literature, Philosophy, Science, and Statistics.
It is a not-for-profit open source platform for students and institutions who want to transform learning through technology and pedagogical courses. edX offers self-paced courses, which means you can take the courses at your own pace. You can watch the lecture videos online. You are required to complete all homework and assignments to get the Certificate of Mastery.
NovoEd is a website that currently offers 24 free courses and 7 paid courses. The courses span 7 categories: Entrepreneurship, Finance, Business Strategy, Education, Design & Creativity, Math & Science, and Humanities. The courses focus on adopting a practical approach to learning, and encourage team work and group activities.
The courses come with lecture videos and other course materials. You are required to watch the videos and complete the assignments (including group activities) in order to obtain the Certificate of Completion.
Canvas Network is an open online course network that offers more than 30 courses spanning various categories such as Arts, Business, Environmental Studies, History, Mathematics, Medicine, and Writing. Course materials, assignments, final grades, and certificate availability vary according to the course and the instructor.
Links: About Canvas Network
Open2Study offers close to 50 free courses spanning various categories such as Arts & Humanities, Business, Education, Finance, Health & Medicine, Management, Marketing, and Science & Technology. The courses come with good study materials. And most of these courses only take 4 weeks to complete, which would suit most busy learners.
Links: More courses
Course Builder is Google’s experiment in building online courses. It’s a software package that is freely available to anyone interested in creating his/her online course, which can be made available to any number of students on the web. Feel free to browse through the list of existing courses. Course materials, prerequisites, workload, and certification rules will differ from course to course.
Links: Course Builder courses
OpenCourseWare Consortium has various open course content offered by many universities. As of 24 February 2014, it has 24298 courses from 77 providers. Just use the search funtion to look up any course that you’re interested in. You can browse courses by provider, language, and category.
Links: OpenCourseWare courses