Although you won't be able to earn your degree free of charge, free college courses online can be a valuable resource for developing new skills.
About Online Learning
Online learning is a convenient way to explore areas of personal interest, develop your professional skills, or prepare for a new career. Without leaving your home or spending a dime, you can learn about almost any topic imaginable.
Although online learning offers many advantages, it's worth pointing out that this form of education does require a great deal of self-discipline. You'll be expected to read the course materials and listen to lectures with little or no supervision. If you're the type of person who thrives on social interaction and personal attention, learning new skills from free college courses online may prove rather difficult.
The format of online courses varies. The most primitive offerings usually consist of a series of Web pages or downloadable PDF tutorials. However, an increasing number of universities are incorporating audio files, video demonstrations, slideshows, and multimedia quizzes into their online courses.
Technical support is also an issue to consider if you want to take advantage of online learning opportunities. While paid courses usually have some sort of customer service helpline available in case you need assistance, most free classes have minimal or no technical support.
Finding Free College Courses Online
If you're interested in finding free college courses online, LoveToKnow College recommends visiting the following helpful links:
- Business: If you've been dying to start your own business, Learning Space provides free college-level courses covering topics such as entrepreneurial behavior.
- Chemistry: Carnegie Mellon University has free classes in chemistry, as well as courses in biology, physics, and engineering.
- Economics: Utah State University helps people interested in developing a better understanding of how the economy works by providing five free online classes.
- Health Sciences: Tufts University has free courses covering dentistry, nutrition, and other related health topics. The courses are available through Tufts OpenCourseWare, part of a new educational movement begun by MIT that provides free access to informational content.
- Literature: The University of Washington has online classes covering Gulliver's Travels, Hamlet, Shakespeare's comedies, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
- Math: Whatcom Community College has multiple online courses available for those who need assistance developing their math skills. Topics covered include basic math, algebra, calculus, and geometry.
- Music: MiraCosta College offers a free music theory and appreciation class provided through The Sofia Open Content Initiative.
- Philosophy: The University of Notre Dame has a course designed to provide a "topics-based" introduction to philosophy that includes discussions of issues such as the existence of God, the relation between the mind and the body, and the foundations of morality.
- Poetry: Yale helps take the mystery out of understanding poetry with this entertaining and informative e-course.
- Psychology: MIT has a free introductory level psychology class designed to answer the most common questions people have about human behavior.