Stanford University has increased the amount of courses it offers for free online and anyone can participate by enrolling in the January 2012 intake. The courses are run with all the benefits of an online university course, except you do not receive any credit for completion.
Lectures are available online to watch at your leisure, as are reading materials and quizzes. Teaching staff monitor forums so that important questions can be answered. Dedicated students should find it is possible to learn as much from these courses as from their paid, internal counterparts.
Since Stanford expect very high enrolment numbers for these subjects, they have ensured the Q&A forum for each class is quite sophisticated. When a question is asked, students can respond and they can rank both questions and answers given. When the teaching staff monitor the forum and offer their expertise, the difficult questions will be easy for them to spot in the midst of the forum action.
Stanford don’t seem to have created a page specifically to list of all their available free subjects, however there are links to all of the currently available courses at the bottom of each course page. For an example, see the Human-Computer Interaction class page.
And remember, it’s not about accreditation. It’s about what you learn and the great minds you meet along the way.