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free online universityThe idea that you are never done learning has never been more true than today. The Internet has revolutionized the way we access information and knowledge – formerly a luxury accessible only to the rich and highly gifted – which is now freely available to anyone with Internet access.

Education and learning should be a lifelong process and the Internet is your chance to get a university level education for free, regardless of where you are in life. This article introduces you to the three best websites to get started.

Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is probably the most famous educational website out there. It was started in 2006 with the mission to provide “a high quality education to anyone, anywhere.” Meanwhile, the site provides over 3,000 videos on subjects from science to humanities, which have been delivered to millions of people. More than just videos, the site also offers short exercises to help students practice the knowledge they have acquired by watching the video material – all of it for free.


Online education is spreading and the traditional institutions are taking note. Coursera has partnered with top US universities to provide some of their courses for free. The site offers lectures on computer science, healthcare, social sciences, and economics from universities like Princeton, Stanford or Berkeley.

Like the Khan Academy, they offer interactive exercises. Moreover, Coursera promises that you will join a global network of thousands of students, who you can depend on for feedback and support. Coursera takes you through full courses, which follow a schedule, meaning you have to sign up for them in advance.

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If you enjoy Coursera and the Khan Academy, you may also enjoy one of these 6 Really Good Sites with FREE Video Lectures from Top US Colleges 6 Really Good Sites with FREE Video Lectures from Top US Colleges 6 Really Good Sites with FREE Video Lectures from Top US Colleges Read More or 5 Great Sites with Free Video Lectures from Top Colleges 5 Great Sites with Free Video Lectures from Top Colleges 5 Great Sites with Free Video Lectures from Top Colleges Read More .

Academic Earth

Similar to the Khan Academy, Academic Earth’s vision is to offer “a world-class education for everyone on earth“. The site offers free online classes and in-depth online learning through video lectures from university professors. Interestingly, Academic Earth has partnered with the same universities as Coursera and many more. In addition to Princeton, Stanford, and Berkeley, you will find video lectures from UCLA, Harvard, and Yale. Moreover, Academic Earth has partnered with the Khan Academy.

free online university

What makes Academic Earth unique is that you can sign up to earn an actual online degree. While this isn’t necessarily free (no definite information is available), it may at least be accessible to you regardless of where you live.

If you still haven’t learned enough, we have written about 8 MORE Knowledge Websites With Free Online Video Lectures 8 MORE Knowledge Websites With Free Online Video Lectures 8 MORE Knowledge Websites With Free Online Video Lectures The online video world is more than music videos and somebody’s cat chasing a laser pointer. It is also a treasure trove of knowledge nuggets and crowd wisdom. Our fixation on YouTube shouldn’t allow us... Read More , as well as 12 Great Free Video Tutorial Sites To Brush Up Your Tech Skills 12 Great Free Video Tutorial Sites To Brush Up Your Tech Skills 12 Great Free Video Tutorial Sites To Brush Up Your Tech Skills Read More , and 5 Websites To Watch Educational Videos That Will Expand Your Mind 5 Websites to Watch Educational Videos That Will Expand Your Mind 5 Websites to Watch Educational Videos That Will Expand Your Mind Watching videos is a fun and entertaining way to pass the time. If we were to watch every video available online, we could spend a lifetime. If you want to do more with your valuable... Read More . Would you like to take classes on your iPad, iPhone or iPod? Check out iTunes U, which we have recently reviewed here: Taking Free Classes & Courses At iTunes U Taking Free Classes & Courses At iTunes U [iPad, iPhone & iPod touch] Taking Free Classes & Courses At iTunes U [iPad, iPhone & iPod touch] At Apple's recent live event at the Guggenheim in New York to launch its most recent application, iBooks Author, the company also used the occasion to introduce another education related iOS 5 app and iTunes... Read More .

Fans of YouTube, check out these articles:

How do you maintain lifelong learning? Are there any great resources we have missed so far?

Image credits: Education via Shutterstock

  1. Âmìt Thäkür
    October 17, 2015 at 10:06 am

    please can you tell me some vedio channel sites for mba cat prep free online

  2. Linda Machado
    October 30, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Another great source for free-tuition online university : University of the People

  3. Candace Jenal
    October 18, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Cool site! I am all for education being free.

  4. Bongiwe Mngomezulu
    June 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for the information, I would like to further my studies

  5. Prabhu
    June 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Hi tina..
    I would like to know whether there are any universities that provide free online degree or diploma.. I want to earn a degree.. Not the course videos instead a complete degree or diploma certification with accreditation..
    Hope to do the needful..

  6. Prabhu
    June 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Tina..
    I would like to know whether there are any universities which provide free online degree courses so that I can earn my degree.. Not course lectures but the degree or diploma!!!
    please help..
    hope to do the needful..

    • Tina
      June 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Prabhu, I'm afraid I do not know.

  7. John
    June 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Just wanted to to the list. Looks good and well organized. From the site: is a free and open collection of college level courses. There are no registrations or fees required to take our courses, and you will earn a certificate upon completion of each course. Because we are not accredited, you will not earn a college degree or diploma; however, our team of experienced college professors has designed each course so you will be able to achieve the same learning objectives as students enrolled in traditional colleges.

  8. Shah Rishi
    June 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    thanks makeuseof for great post

    i share this page with my friends for back to study

  9. James Cameron
    May 29, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Hi. Thank you for writing this article, and also a thank you to the various people who have supplied additional links. I am 60 and very satisfied with where my career has taken me, so I am no longer concerned with collecting certifications for future promotions or transfers. However, I still like to keep my brain working and learning new things, and these courses sound ideal for that purpose. Kudos.

  10. Heri Muhero
    May 27, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Hi Tina. You included some really interesting websites for online/distance/self learning that should give students/educators/institutions new ideas into what education can mean in the coming decades. In the debate about a piece-of-paper certificate vs real-life work skills, I think there's room for both perspectives. Obviously there's a lot of knowledge that can be provided by the online or virtual lecture/classroom. However, I'm not so sure I'd do away with the institutional, certification process for pilots, surgeons, mechanics, electricians, engineers, etc?!! I think many things still benefit greatly from in-class, human instruction and validation/testing.

    • kristina
      May 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      To provide more insight. Most certification and classrooms allow you to challenge in order to gain recognition. They might require some class, but this is similar to taking AP courses in high school.

    • Tina
      May 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm


      You're absolutely right. There are a lot of jobs that require training and experience that cannot be self-taught and you named some good examples.

      Obviously, standardized degrees and certificates generally make things easier for employers. Nevertheless, creative ways to demonstrate education and experience should be equally respected.

  11. Oken
    May 27, 2012 at 9:03 am

    great useful sharing. thank you.

  12. tripathi
    May 27, 2012 at 5:53 am

    I am 64 now but eager to gain more from eery source and the internet is found the greatest source by me, this article has opened a great road to knowledge.

    • Tina
      May 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Thank you for the feedback, Tripathi! I'm glad to hear you found this article helpful and I hope you'll discover a lot of interesting lectures on the recommended sites.

  13. tripathi
    May 27, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Bookmarked the article and all the sites recommende besides sharing ot on my social sites.

  14. Peter Paul Stoltink Netherlands Middelburg
    May 26, 2012 at 5:10 am


  15. Kevin Martin
    May 26, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Thanks for sharing these educational websites. I'm going to use them.

  16. Dave
    May 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Do not forget to add MITx the new online courses that mit offer and if your good enough you can gain a cert of recognition. Its currently In its trial phase.
    khan and academic earth are 2 of my favorites.
    There is also teachertube, a bit like YouTube full of mini vids etc...

    • Tina Sieber
      May 25, 2012 at 11:57 pm

      I didn't know about MITx, that sounds great. Thank you for adding this information to the list.

      • amine23
        May 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm

        MITx is now edx in parntership with HARVARD
        this gonna be thrilling
        I am following circuits and electronics at MITx and it is awesome

        • Tina
          May 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

          Thanks for the update, Amine!

  17. AnkammaRao
    May 25, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    How about this huge list of 1000+ free college courses

  18. Merlyn
    May 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you so much for the information. I am thrilled that I will be able to continue my education with the sites you have recommended. As Always MUO is a GEM!

  19. Amit Kumar
    May 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    hey guys, what about Its also good & specially for programming.

  20. Anuj More
    May 25, 2012 at 6:35 am


  21. Sarina
    May 25, 2012 at 2:52 am

    I already know abt Khan Academy n Coursera but Academic Earth is new. Thanks for all the info. on educational sites. I'm looking forward to learning from them.

    • Tina
      May 25, 2012 at 8:21 am

      Glad you found something new, Sarina!

  22. Nai1ed
    May 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Great, and education without the degree, credentials, or recognition by any employer. Just how I'd like to spend my years learning a new trade.

    • Tina
      May 25, 2012 at 8:20 am

      Well, some people are just hungry for knowledge and enjoy to work out their brains. They don't necessarily need a piece of paper to prove they are educated. Personally, I find it very unfortunate that this piece of paper is still worth more than the actual knowledge and experience. A degree is merely an indicator of what someone should know and it's not even very good at that.

      • George
        May 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm

        I wholeheartedly agree!

      • Arthur
        May 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm

        I agree absolutely ! In any case - it's very easy to forge a Degree certificate but very hard to convincingly fake knowledge of the actual subject matter. Many thanks for the article - I was unaware of these resources.

      • Bruce Epper
        May 26, 2012 at 6:40 am

        All that piece of paper says is "I was willing to incur a large debt before I ever had a full-time job". I have been lucky enough to find employers who allowed me to prove to them that a piece of paper is just a piece of paper. The same thing applies to CompTIA, Microsoft and other certifications. In most cases, I have been able to outperform the individuals who had degrees and certifications. With one placement agency, I was the first to get a perfect score on a computer technician aptitude test, at least in that particular office.

        • dragonmouth
          November 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm

          Yes, you have been lucky. Unfortunately most employers insist on that piece of paper even though the degree may be in basket weaving. Many employers use the paper as another reason to disqualify an applicant. The problem is that most initial interviews are done by Human Resources drones who just follow a standard script of questions. The have no expertise in evaluating professional applicants.

        • Anonymous
          November 9, 2012 at 12:24 am

          In one case, I didn't talk to HR until after I was offered the position. I knew someone else in the IT department who hand delivered my resume to his boss. My initial interview was telephonic with the man for whom I would be working. After that brief conversation, we set up a face-to-face interview for the following week at which point I was offered the job. Only after that did I even meet anyone from HR. I'm not even sure they ever saw my resume.Also, when I have been looking for work, I tend to veer toward those who have people in power that have come from a technical background. Either the owner of a smaller company started as a technician or programmer or others in upper management have similar backgrounds. They are the ones who have seen first-hand that papered individuals are not necessarily the most knowledgable about the technology in use and are frequently not a cost effective solution.

  23. pooki9
    May 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    geat stuff!

  24. memo1288
    May 24, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I would like to add a site to the list:
    Udacity is mostly about programming, but it is quite good.

  25. Chris
    May 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    thx for the info. i'm bookmarking all the sites you recommended

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