Free Online Coursework

An integral component of learning a new career, becoming a better person, contributing to the world, and achieving my goals includes learning.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m going after a location independent lifestyle with a location independent source of income to fund my adventures.  However, higher education, especially in the US is very expensive (why I’m in all this debt in the first place).  But it doesn’t need to be, here are five ways to learn online for free, in no particular order.

Udemy: This video lecture based website covers mostly technological training.  I’m currently going through some classes for WordPress and Operations Management, but there’s others about Java and iOS development.  Informal courses with no definite start/end dates, everything is on your schedule.  A lot of the courses are free, some have a relatively small cost.

Kahn Academy: Another video based lecture format with everything from Math and Science to Humanities and Finance.  While I’m writing this, there have been 221,364,471 lessons delivered, which is substantial so people must find it helpful.  That said, it seems to skew a bit more towards the high school / college level with a lot of test prep courses.

Coursera: The most comprehensive, highest level of free coursework I have found yet.  Courses have  official registration with start and end dates, taught by professors from Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Stanford, and Vanderbilt.  After successful completion, most of the courses offer a certificate of completion and may count for accredited college credit.  The only drawback with one of these more official learning methods is the time commitment.  These are actual college courses so it will take a bit more effort than a few minutes over lunch.

Crash Course:  Hosted by John and Hank Green, this video series covers world history from the Agricultural Revolution to Globalization as well as biology, literature, and ecology.  With engaging graphics the videos are more than enough for a working knowledge of the subject at hand.  And while this may not get you a Master’s Degree it might make you a more informed person.  So that’s something.

The Open University: Probably the most well known free coursework online, it offers classes in everything from social work and education to international development and accounting.  You could even get an actual Law Degree here.  Some short videos and discussions as well as ‘real’ courses that might require a registration fee.

After just a cursory look, I found most of these sites, and of course there are several more out there.  If you need to learn how to use Photoshop, design websites, develop iOS apps, or go after an actual certification or degree, there is a free (or cheap) way to do it online.  Having a regular degree can be helpful too since most of the world hasn’t accepted that the internet can be used for more than lolcats and facebook.  But if you just want to learn something new or develop one of your interests, look for a free way to do that online rather than overturning your life and spending tens of thousands of dollars elsewhere.

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