Here’s a fantastic list of places to get some serious nourishment for your mind, online, for FREE. That’s right: online education, for free — you don’t have to leave your home, and you pay no money. Like it or not, online education IS the future. The only question, of course, is the quality of that education.
The following is a popular list (along with a slight introduction) that has been featured on a number of different websites, though the original source appears to have been lost. Regardless, we’ve quality-checked each link, and these remain some of the best, most legit sources for a decent online education.
If you are like so many others and love learning, but hate doing it on someone else’s schedule, under unnecessary and expensive duress, bookmark this list of 40 places to get a high quality online education, for FREE.
Isaac Asimov Knew What Was Up
According to Webometrics, there are approximately 26 000 institutes of higher learning across the world (no one is completely sure — there could be as many as 40 000), but unless you live in one of the more progressive countries when it comes to education, getting a degree can often be quite costly. Many students around the world (and their families) get into big debt or have to work over sixty hours a week in order to afford an education.
Two thirds of the US college seniors who graduated in 2011 had student loan debt, with an average of over $27 000 USD per person. Reading those statistics, I can’t stop thinking about a few certain words from one of our finest minds over 30 years ago:
“With mass education, it turned out that most people could be taught to read and write. In the same way, once we have computer outlets in every home, each of them hooked up to enormous libraries, where you can ask any question and be given answers, you can look up something you’re interested in knowing, however silly it might seem to someone else.” ~ Isaac Asimov
Asimov died in 1992, but if he could see the opportunities that the Internet is giving us in XXI century he would probably grin from ear to ear. The number of websites that now offer a high quality online education FREE of charge is large, and growing. All you need is access to a computer, even if it’s one at the local library for public use.
Anyway, enough with the words! Here’s the list — and be sure to bookmark this page before you begin clicking, as nearly every one is a rabbit hole that can run quite deep, and you want to be able to find your way back to surface ground for more adventures. 😉
40 Places to Get a High Quality Online Education for FREE
1. ALISON – With over 60 million lessons, this website records over 1.2 million unique visitors per month.
2. COURSERA – An educational website that works with universities to get their courses on the Internet, free for you to use. Learn from over 542 courses.
3. The University of Reddit – Often referred to as ‘The Front Page of the Internet’, Reddit is a favourite (anonymous) destination many very, very smart people. The site itself could be referred to as a crash course in ‘online education’. This is their university.
4. UDACITY – Advance your education and career through project-based online classes, mainly focused around computer, data science and mathematics.
5. MIT Open CourseWare – Free access to quite a few MIT courses that are on par with what you’d expect from MIT.
6. Open Culture – A compendium of free learning resources, including courses, textbooks and videos & films.
7. No Excuse List – Ah, lists within lists… This website is a huge list of even more websites to learn from.
8. Open YALE Courses – Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. All lectures were recorded in the Yale College classroom and are available in video, audio, and text transcript formats. Registration is not required.
9. Khan Academy – Watch thousands of micro-lectures on topics ranging from history and medicine to chemistry and computer science.
10. Zooniverse – Take part in a huge variety of interesting studies on nature, science, and culture.
11. TUFTS Open CourseWare – Tufts OpenCourseWare is part of a new educational movement initiated by MIT that provides free access to course content for everyone online. Tufts’ course offerings demonstrate the university’s strength in the life sciences in addition to its multidisciplinary approach, international perspective and underlying ethic of service to its local, national and international communities.
12. How Stuff Works? – More scientific lessons and explanations than you could sort through in an entire year. Does an exceptional job of being truly neutral and presenting only the data, while also remaining well-written and easy to understand.
13. Harvard Medical School Open Courseware – The mission of the Harvard Medical School Open Courseware Initiative is to exchange knowledge from the Harvard community of scholars to other academic institutions, prospective students, and the general public.
14. VideoLectures.net – The title says it all: amazing video lectures on many topics.
15. TED – Motivational and educational lectures from noteworthy professionals around the world.
16. Shodor – A non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the advancement of science and math education, specifically through the use of modelling and simulation technologies. Included in this site are instructional resources, software, interactive lessons, explorations and information about workshops for students, teachers and learners of all ages on mathematics and science. Make sure you check ‘Shodor Interactive’ – a great collection of interactive math, geometry, fractal, probability, algebra and statistics activities.
17. Udemy FREE Courses – Hundreds of experts teach on Udemy every month, including New York Times best-selling authors, CEOs, Ivy League professionals and celebrity instructors. Courses include video, live lectures and tools to help teachers interact with students and track their progress. There are a number of free courses covering business, law, programming, design, mathematics, science, photography, yoga, and many more.
18. Maths & Science – Courses, tests and learning materials covering mathematics and science for students from grades 1 to 12.
19. edX.org – Free courses designed specifically for interactive study via the web, provided by MIT, Harvard, Barkley, Georgetown, Boston University, University of Washington, Karolinska Institute, Kyoto University and more.
20. iTunes U – Apple’s free app that gives students mobile access to multiple courses. In addition to a library of video and audio lectures, they offer access to a massive amount of other resources. One of the top spots for a well-tailored online education.
21. Liberty Classroom – Owned by bestselling author Tom Woods, this site offers some free courses in history and economics, but at the price of one movie ticket a month you can gain access to a lot of useful information. So not completely free, but worth it nonetheless.
22. Drawspace – Hundreds of free drawing lessons.
23. Codeacademy – Easy way to learn how to code. It’s interactive, fun and you can do it with your friends.
24. Duke U – Duke offers a variety of free courses on iTunesU.
25. Scitable – A free science library and personal learning tool that currently concentrates on genetics, the study of evolution, variation and the rich complexity of living organisms.
26. My Own Business – Offers free online business administration courses beneficial for everyone from new managers to complete newbies.
27. Kutztown University’s free courses – The Kutztown University of Pennsylvania’s Small Business Development Center offers more than 80 free business courses online. Kutztown’s courses are individualized and self-paced. Many of the courses feature high-end graphics, interactive case studies and audio streams.
28. Open Learn – Gives you free access to Open University course materials.
29. Free Computer Books – Free computer, mathematics and technical books along with lecture notes.
30. Academic Earth – Free video lectures from the world’s top scholars.
31. American Sign Language Browser – Teach yourself sign language online.
32. BBC Languages – Teach yourself a new spoken language online.
33. unplugthetv – Randomly selects an educational video for you to watch.
34. Lifehacker – Learn to hack life! Tips and tricks for improving all areas of your life.
35. JustinGuitar – Hundreds of free guitar lessons as well as some basic music theory.
36. DuoLingo – Learn a new language for free while helping to translate the web.
37. Layers Magazine – Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, Premiere Pro, In Design and After Effects tutorials.
38. Creative Flow – A list of over 950 Photoshop tutorials to keep your skill set up to date.
39. Open2study – Open2Study delivers resources for a free, truly high-quality online education. You can study subjects with real value, and in just four weeks you can learn something new, explore the next step in your career, challenge yourself or simply satisfy your curiosity. These subjects are provided by leading Australian institutions, and are taught by academics and industry professionals who love to teach. All you need is an internet connection and the desire to study.
40. OEDb – Another massive list. Choose from over 10,000 free online classes.
Last updated: Feb 2017
Still hungry? For another extensive list, check out our post: 100+ Websites to Read, Download & Share FREE Literature