A college education will get you far in business, but according to Bill Gates (a college dropout himself), a place-based college education system that is so prominent today will soon be shadowed by what you can teach yourself online. During a recent interview at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA, the former Microsoft CEO predicted that in the next five years, you'll be able to find the best educational lectures for free online, which will make the Internet "better than any single university."
I'd have to agree with him on one point — there are an amazing number of ways you can get a quality educational experience online, without ever having to fork over any cash. The cost of a college education is pretty remarkable these days, and not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a degree from an Ivy League school. But nearly everyone can afford the cost of an Internet connection, or even a library card. Here, I'll show you 11 places to point your web browser for free classes online, so you can soak up all the knowledge your brain can handle!
To see the list, just keep reading!
- MIT OpenCourseWare — With over 2,000 courses available at your fingertips, MIT OpenCourseWare should be your first (and maybe your only) stop in online learning.
- Online Education Database — This website offers up a list of 200 free classes you can take online. Take some physics classes and learn about the phenomenon of superconductivity, or retake that algebra class you struggled with in high school.
- OpenCulture — This website offers up a list of free classes from top universities like Stanford and UC Berkeley, and even some video lectures you can find on YouTube.
- UC Irvine OpenCourseWare — With free courses ranging from business management to social ecology, UC Irvine has you covered.
- The Open University — Based in the UK, this site offers up course materials along with forums so you can discuss the content with your fellow online learners.
- Open Learning Initiative — Free courses, along with self-guided materials, help you learn biology, chemistry, economics, and more at your own pace.
- UC Berkeley Webcasts — Skip the sky-high tuition and get free video and audio lectures from UC Berkeley professors.
- Free Online Classes — Get design and photoshop tutorials to help you in the digital space.
- LiveMocha — Learn a new language — from Afrikaans to Vietnamese — for free with this recognized community.
- OpenCourseWare Consortium — This website hosts thousands of classes in several languages. Learn at your own pace, and even scan the professors' notes, all for free!
- iTunes U — Hundreds of classes and audio books from several top universities are offered up on iTunes for free. Just download to your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Mac and learn on.