Founded in 2008, Academic Earth has compiled over 750 free online college courses and 8,500 individual online lectures from top universities, including Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and New York University.
To access this collection of free online college courses, simply select your area of interest from their online course menu, and different lectures in the form of videos and articles will pop up. They have a ton of course variety, including Art History, Graphic Design, History, Video Game Design, Engineering (of all types), Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Philosophy, Communications, Nursing, Dentistry, Criminal Justice, Law, Science (of all types), and SO much more. They also offer test preparation if you need help with the SAT, ACT, LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT. Furthermore, they list internships, scholarships, journals/magazines, and organizations that you can partake in to further your education with each topic your interested in.
The Khan Academy has been around for a while, and while you can easily find all of their lessons on Youtube, signing up with them allows you to specify your courses and track your progress. You can build a personal lesson plan and more. Khan Academy’s courses range from the basics (math, science, etc.) to specific courses and seminars on current topics, like how the housing market stumbled or what happened to the US automobile industry.
All of their courses are free, ad-free, and open to the public. You can even get involved yourself and give back to the community by teaching your own classes or coaching students working their way through subjects you’re already familiar with.
Degreed is unique because it allows you to get a free ‘degree’, but on your own time and mixing together all of your interests, instead of having to choose just one ‘major’. The degree is not formally accredited, but you will receive a Degreed certificate that you can show to employers to show that you have self-determination and will follow through on what you set out to do. Degreed will connect you with an endless supply of website articles, free online courses from various MOOC platforms, and online books to read regarding your chosen interests, which can be absolutely anything you desire to learn about.
University of The People
UoPeople is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited, degree-granting online university. Currently, they offer 4 undergraduate degrees: Associate and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Associate and Bachelor degrees in Computer Science. So, while the course selection is limited right now, they are continuously growing and it’s still an amazing opportunity to get a fully accredited degree for absolutely no cost if you’re interested in Computer Science or Business Administration. Arts & Science courses are required as part of General Education Requirements, regardless of your chosen specialization.
Future Learn is a fantastic choice for those that are either outside of the U.S. or just want to learn from outside-U.S. universities. While a lot of the big names in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are American and work with American colleges and universities, Future Learn works with schools in the UK and in mainland Europe, which results in an interesting and varied curriculum that focuses on topics that we may not get much focus on here in the United States.
Schools that may be unfamiliar in the U.S. are often represented, which means you’ll get a unique perspective on history, art, literature, and more based on research conducted by places such as labs and schools across the ocean and museums in Europe. There a variety of course studies, including amazing seminars and classes on British history and exploring Irish life and culture. These courses often have a specific length of time it will take to complete the course and a specific date it starts, and there is a minimum required hours per week (usually 3-6 hours). You will also receive a “Statement of Participation” each course completion if you choose to purchase one (29 british pounds).
Novoed is the only MOOC provider that focuses on team collaboration, instead of individual knowledge. There are courses from top universities, and in these courses you routinely talk with one another on Skype and submit combined assignments.
OpenLearning has a very unique platform that has features that allow you to like, favorite and comment almost everything, just like Facebook. They also have an online chat, badge and karma point system that encourage real conversation and a sense of community among students. You can also read inspirational student stories and hear feedback.
This unique college offers completely free, not-for-credit online courses that you can take. It’s based on Hillsdale’s undergraduate Core Curriculum, which is a required part before graduation. Some of the free online courses that they offer include Constitution, History, and Economic courses. To take these courses, you have to register for them, but all you have to do is put in basic details (name, address, etc.) and create a username and password.
These classes are in the form of lectures, but there are also readings, study guides, quizzes, and discussion groups that you can partake in. You can receive certificates of completion for each course if you want to. Registering allows you to see the full course list.
If you’d rather not take a full length course on the Constitution, Ducksters (yes it is for kids) has the Constitution in layman’s terms that you can always refer back to if you forget which amendment is which from time to time.
Free & Low Cost Course Options
Coursera was one of the first big online MOOC providers, and they still offer a wide variety of classes and material from leading colleges and universities across the world. Their classes come in both paid and free forms, with credits available for participating institutions, certificates available to anyone who wants to take the certificate path, or just free courses to take to learn the more about the subjects you’re interested in.
Edevate allows you to convert MOOCs into credible credentials. It’s basically a huge database of MOOCs that include almost course from a variety of popular online MOOC kingdoms, including Lynda, Udemy, and Coursera. It combines completed courses from the various websites and organizes them into one dashboard where you can go to track your progress of earning college credits to eventually be awarded a fully accredited Associate Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree. All college credits earned through Edevate are approved by the American Council of Education for transfer to thousands of colleges and universities.
EdX has fantastic resources with lots of different topics from multiple universities and other sources. The courses are a bit more rigorous than the ones on Coursera, but the classes are still excellent and teach the material well. They offer leisure learning courses and also the “Verified Certificate,” which, much like Coursera’s feature, allows you to take the same courses but you have to complete assignments on certain due dates to qualify for the course to count for a certificate. All of the courses are free unless you take a professional education course or want to get the Certificate of Achievement with an “edX Verified” stamp to show that you passed the course.