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Where to Take Free Classes Online

by Miranda Marquit

One of the best ways to invest in yourself is to engage in lifelong learning. Not only can you keep your mind active, but you can also learn valuable skills. Whether you are just interested in learning something new and interesting, or whether you want to become better educated in a way that will help you advance your career or improve your business, it’s possible to take free classes online.

Where to take free online classesThe Internet has opened up all sorts of possibilities and opportunities, and that includes gaining a free education. There are main resources for free learning, and you can take classes from true experts and bona fide professors. You should realize, though, that these free online classes won’t give you college credit. You can learn, and improve your abilities, but the benefit will be strictly to your knowledge and capability, and won’t provide you with class credit.

That said, here are some of the best ways to take free classes online:

Open Courseware

Open courseware consists of classes provided by colleges and universities. You can get access to class materials used to teach courses, and that can inform your progress. Additionally, many open courseware collections also include actual lectures from classes. These can be helpful, providing you the benefit of true expertise without paying for the class. Here are some of the more interesting and prestigious open courseware collections:

These schools offer their knowledge to anyone who wants to see it online. If you are interested in seeing offerings from a particular school, simply Google the name of that university, and the term “open courseware.”

iTunes U

This option is related to open courseware. You can get access to different classes and lectures on your mobile Apple device. I’ve listened to lectures from Princeton on my iPod, thanks to iTunes U. You can even use iTunes U to build your own course, based on the information you receive from classes at Yale, Duke, Penn State, Stanford, and other schools. It’s a great educational tool for yourself, or for your students (if you are a teacher).

Khan Academy

Another interesting collection of knowledge is Khan Academy. This site was started by a young man interested in broadening his knowledge base. He collected courses, videos, and more from experts in various fields. You can visit Khan Academy to learn more about a variety of subjects, from finance to business to math, to art.

Other Online Learning Options

There are plenty of other great online learning options as well. Some of those available include:

  • CodeAcademy.com: Learn computer coding basics. Great if you want to learn more about running your own web site, and accomplishing other goals.
  • Coursera.org: A collection of different courses from various schools. Choose a category you’re interested in, from management to robotics, and start learning.
  • BBC Languages: Take free courses that can help you learn 40 different languages.

If you are self-motivated, and enjoy learning, these free courses might be just the thing. You’ll improve yourself, and perhaps even gain the skills and knowledge you need for a promotion, or to be a better business owner.

Photo credit: Jami3.org


Published or updated August 10, 2012.
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 William @ Drop Dead Money

Ahhh… there it is again: the dreaded if. “If you are self-motivated, and enjoy learning…”

The key to a better life. So true. Wish it weren’t so, but it is.

Thanks for an excellent resource. I bookmarked the page. Never know when the “if” will strike again! :)

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2 Debt Free Teen

A great site for finding all the latest online free courses is Getting Smarter. I recently read his his book and it was excellent!
Chase

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3 Daisy@EverythingFinance

Interesting – are these accredited? Meaning, is it possible to get transfer credit for these if you were to want to further your formal education later?

It’s always good to learn, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal “class” or even an online class. Reading and self study can be just as valuable!

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4 Ryan Guina

As mentioned in the article, these courses are for personal education, not college credits. There are many schools, including some of these, which offer online classes for credit. But they are generally not “free.” These course are great for learning skills, or personal fulfillment.

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5 John

I’m so glad you mentioned iTunes U! I love that app! I’ve listened to several physics courses (because I’m a sort of geek), and enjoyed all of the experiments contained within. Lifelong learning is so important . . . and with tuition costs these days, there’s nothing like getting a free education online!

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6 Jason Clayton | frugal habits

This is the best list I’ve found. Learning is an amazing hobby that hands down beats watching TV (My other hobby :)) College credits are valuable for getting jobs, but they also can get you into big time debt – being able to enjoy learning without this ‘ball and chain’ is highly valuable.

Look forward to trying iTunes U – first time I’ve heard of it.

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7 Ryan Guina

College isn’t always the most efficient way to learn skills either. For example, many licenses and certifications simply require you to pass a test, but not necessarily have college credits in the subject. If you go the traditional college credit route, it could take a few semesters worth of classes to learn the necessary skills to pass the exam. Sometimes the skills can be learned more quickly and effectively outside of the classroom. Learning how to design or be a programmer can also be learned outside of the classroom, and all one needs to do to be employable with those skills is build a portfolio. As much as people say college is a requirement (and it often is in the corporate world), there is also a large market for employees and freelancers with certain skill sets that don’t necessarily require a degree (particularly in the tech side of things – programming, websites, design, and similar skills). There has never been a better time to learn these skills as many of them can be learned online through free or inexpensive tutorials.

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8 Kris

All good options for free classes. Great if you want to learn about a new topic. But none will get you close to “the paper” – the diploma. Not everyone wants a degree, but when it comes to college there is no such thing as free (I know, I work at a college for my “day job”).

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