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The list of free courses available on-line keeps growing. If you read this blog regularly, you know I’m all for free or inexpensive education, so long as it’s effective and meaningful TO THE STUDENT. This list of free courses is offered to those who want to learn something new, but aren’t necessarily planning to go back to school. The upside is that you learn something interesting, and it’s free. The downside is that you don’t get credit for the course.
iTunes U. this is by far my favorite site. You will find full courses and helpful tutorials. A note to academics: you can find some great course supplements here, too. If you want to integrate digital storytelling in your class, for instance, you can simply use this tutorial as a starting point. NOTE: several elite universities, like Duke, have their own iTunes U station for MOOCs.
UC Berkeley. It’s hard to resist the romance of Cal. This site includes courses and supplemental materials.
Harvard Open Courses. The selection is slim but these courses offered through Harvard’s extension school can give students an idea of what the elite campus has to offer.
UCLA Extension Courses. UCLA offers a large selection of writing courses, but most of these are NOT FREE. A note to potential MOOC enrollees: the reason is that the require instructor time and attention. Most free classes don’t offer that.
MIT. Another great school offering courses in the sciences. I’ve encouraged my high-schoolers to consider taking these courses to get a feel for what’s expected in a college science class.
Stanford U. Most of the courses here are in Engineering.
Yale. The course offered here are introductory (first of second year) courses.
The Open University (UK). The Open University has been around for a while doing distance ed. It always surprises me that here in the U.S. we like to act like we invented the idea, when actually OU has been doing it for quite a while.
Coursera. This site offers classes from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia and many more. We’ve all heard of it, and I’ve written about it. It’s a nice clearing house of courses, but the closest you’ll get to an instructor is your screen. Generally no instructor feedback. For courses that require writing, the students typically grade on another’s work.