The sites below offer free online college level classes to anyone willing to spend the time on them. Each differ – some have all of the materials online and some may want you to purchase (borrow?) a textbook to follow along with. Each of them offers complete courses with only one thing missing: the credit for the coursework to put towards a matriculated degree.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology was a pioneer in offering online college courses and they still have the most diverse and in-depth collection of classes available anywhere. Their online offering is an archived version of real courses that have been taught at MIT, and you may need to purchase the textbook to follow along with the class. These courses come highly recommended.
Carnegie Mellon, based in Pittsburgh, PA, has a variety of courses available for anyone online. While the selection is not as great as MIT’s, many core courses are presented in an easy to follow online format. Their courses are similar to what a paying student would receive minus the course credit or access to an instructor.
Salman Khan began putting videos on YouTube to help with tutoring a cousin. When he started receiving feedback that they were helping a lot more people than just his cousin, he realized he was on to something good.
Today, there are over 1000 videos on KhanAcademy, which is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Most videos are about math. However, there are also many other topics that he explores. Even Bill Gates has said that he uses Khan to teach his kids about math. These are not college courses per-se, but the math he introduces in them are at college level and many people praise them for being clearer and easier to comprehend than actual college courses!
UC Berkeley has put online videos and audio of many of its most popular courses up on their Webcast website. They do not include the text materials which can be very helpful for taking online college courses. However, you can still learn a lot by watching the videos of the lecures.
They have lectures for ongoing courses and also historical class archives on their website, as well as videos of recorded events and one-off lectures.
Stanford has made many of their courses and lectures available via iTunes in iTunesU. This collection is great if you are on the go or want to listen to courses while commuting. They have an impressive collection of content available, all for free. The downside is that you need to use iTunes to view their content.
Tufts uses the OpenCourseware format to offer full content on a number of their programs. Worth mentioning from Tufts are their Medical and Dental school courses as well as selections from other courses.
Learningspace offers content from the Open University, based in the UK. This university pledges to be open and accepts many different kinds of students in its real world classrooms. It also opened up its content to anyone online. The online college courses are laid out extremely well and offer many different topics with skill levels going from beginner up to expert.
Johns Hopkins is a respected medical school outside of Baltimore, Maryland. They offer a selection of courses from their school which would be of particular interest to medical students.
Get to work!
The sites above are free as in free beer. However, if you wish to make the most out of them you will still need to make the time commitment to sit down and watch or listen to the course content. You may not receive college credit for learning via these sites but you will definitely turn out a better person!
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