Bob Rankin: Free Online College Courses


By Bob Rankin

Everyone knows that college is not cheap. But did you know that some college courses are free, online? Some of the most prestigious universities in the world offer thousands of courses free of charge to qualifying students, or to anyone with a Web browser.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – offers more than 1,800 courses through its OpenCourseWare project. These courses are offered in text, video, and audio formats and are even translated into a number of languages. Students from all over the world use OpenCourseWare and 96 per cent of them say they would recommend it.
  • Open University is based in the United Kingdom. Through its OpenLearn program it provides undergraduate and graduate level courses to everyone free of charge. Topics include the arts, history, business, education, IT and computing, mathematics and statistics, science, health and technology.
  • Carnegie Mellon University has its Open Learning Initiative providing informal instruction to college-ready students at no cost. Subjects you can study here include but are not limited to statistics, biology, chemistry, economics, French, and physics.
  • Tufts University, like MIT, uses the OpenCourseWare online learning platform. Free courses, including lectures, homework assignments, and reference materials, are offered by the schools of Arts and Sciences, Medicine, and others.
  • Stanford University, always striving to be the coolest school for geeks, has teamed up with iTunes U to offer access to Stanford courses, lectures, and interviews with professors. You don’t have to use Apple’s iTunes application to download materials to your iPod, Mac, or PC. You can even burn the materials to CD.
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