You’re used to sitting in front of the computer for hours building a farm or chatting with a stranger across the world. Why not shift most of that time to something more useful like taking an online class that will help you start a real profit-generating agricultural business? Or help you afford a transatlantic trip so that stranger will no longer be so strange?
There are many free online courses that you can use to your advantage. These courses will help you further your career, assist you in getting the position you’ve been aiming for, or make you feel like a master in your field—even if you don’t have a master’s degree. Plus, these classes are conducted by world class institutions and prestigious educators all over the world.
You might not be able to set foot on Stanford University or Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but with the following massive open online courses (MOOC) and interactive online course providers, you can proudly say you’ve been instructed by an Ivy League university or a world class educational institution.
Backed by Stanford University, Coursera offers MOOC by over 80 top universities and organizations around the world, including Yale, University of Geneva, the Museum of Modern Art, National Geographic Society, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
There are hundreds of courses to choose from. Most courses are free but if you want to get a verifiable certificate, you have to cough up US$49. This is a small price to pay to be an expert on Social Entrepreneurship or to learn how to communicate German across cultures.
You can choose courses from the fields of humanities, medicine, mathematics, computer science, social science, business, biology, etc. Once you’ve chosen a course, you will be provided with information regarding the university, instructor, schedule, syllabus, course format, and recommended background. Classes are conducted through video lectures, interactive quizzes, peer-graded assignments, and online interaction with the class. When you finish the course, complete all assignments, and reach a certain grade, you will earn a Statement of Accomplishment or a Certificate of Completion.
Another MOOC provider worth looking at is edX. It hosts university level courses at no charge. edX was founded by people from Harvard University and MIT. The non-profit online initiative offers over 200 courses in the fields of business, chemistry, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, physics, science, statistics, and more. The classes are taught by over 400 highly qualified faculty and staff.
Just like Coursera, edX will give you all the necessary information you need about your chosen course. In addition, you will be informed of the effort and time you need to put into the course. You will complete the course through instructional videos, virtual labs, homework, and exams. Once you’ve successfully finished the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Master.
There are actually dozens of MOOC providers to choose from that it can get overwhelming. There are over 30 more aside from Coursera and edX. This will leave you wondering which provider can get you the best education and where you should look for a specific course. Turn to an MOOC aggregator or directory to point you to the right direction.
- Class Central, for instance, references free online courses by gathering data from Coursera, edX, and others. It gives you a list of sources sorted by parameters such as classes that just opened or the ones that will start soon.
- CourseTalk will organize courses by ratings, subject, etc.
- Knollop is an app that will give you in depth information about each course.