Free online classes have revolutionized the availability of education. With the advent of the Internet, it’s possible to educate yourself on almost any topic imaginable, without leaving the comfort of your home. And in many cases, these courses rival the quality and accessibility of much more expensive paid resources.
Read on to learn more about where you can find the best free online courses in a variety of subject areas. From tech to languages to science, there’s no limit to the realms in which you can educate yourself online–for free.
Established Colleges and Universities
Many institutions of higher education now offer online versions of popular courses, free of charge. For example, The University of Massachusetts Boston has an OpenCourseWare program that includes modules in 18 different departments, including biology, chemistry, education, nursing, and psychology. It’s part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium site, founded by MIT and now includes classes from dozens of revered institutions. A similar project, EdX, is run by Harvard.
The Open University
Based in the UK, the Open University has a mission of aggregating the best online courses in a variety of disciplines and subject areas. The best feature of this site is its ease of use, with the ability to search by subject area, discipline, career field, and more.
Applied Math and Science Education Repository (AMSER)
If you want to expand your knowledge in the science and math realm, there’s no better online resource than AMSER. It gathers resources in this realm within 20 broad classifications; however, the real boon is the Library of Congress designed taxonomy that allows you to drill down the subject you want to learn about into as many as 430,000 categories, allowing you to find extremely specific and accurate resources.
Wolfram Demonstration Project
Wolfram Demonstration Project is ideal for teachers and homeschooling parents because you can search not only by topic, but by online lessons that meet certain specific curriculum standards. The site is also notable for its beautiful graphic interactive demonstrations of scientific, social, and mathematical concepts, ideal for the visual learner.
This federally-maintained website is the number one online source for peer-reviewed scientific information. It aggregates information from “60 databases and over 2200 selected websites from 15 federal agencies, offering 200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information.” Regardless of the scientific topic you’d like to explore, this is an excellent starting point–especially if you’re interested in research study findings.
Beyond these basics, there are a bevy of courses available for anyone who’s interested in learning a new skill without shelling out the cash to take in-person or college courses. For best results, stick to resources that are created or lauded by known organizations that consistently produce trustworthy and peer-reviewed information. As with any information you find on the internet, the value of free online courses largely depends on the accuracy of the source.
Related Resource: What is a MOOC?