Josh Dean writes in Popular Science:
The world’s most prestigious universities have begun posting entire curricula on the Web—for free. Is there such a thing as a free higher-education lunch? I enrolled to find out.
Essentially, there is a lot of great material out there for the taking but you can quickly find yourself in over your head. One of the advantages of being in an actual classroom setting is the ability to ask the professor questions. For difficult classes, such as physics, having the textbook is essential. If you do decide to plow ahead in a particularly hard course, take the time to see if there are any online communities with people able to answer any questions you may have.
Read the whole thing for the details of Josh’s adventures.
Here’s a list of free online education resources:
1. MIT OpenCourseWare
Its list of 1,900 courses includes Weight Training and Playwriting. But the majority of “students” visit the oldest open courseware program for the subjects that made the Institute so renowned: physics, math and electronics.
2. University of Berkeley
It’s no surprise that the top-ranked public university offers a few dozen online audio and video lectures each semester. And live videos from special campus events, like the Dalai Lama talking about peace through compassion, could make you feel like you’re in the middle of college life.
3. Johns Hopkins School of Public Health OpenCourseWare
If you’re interested in a softer side of science, you can find written, video and audio lectures on public health topics ranging from sexual health to the fundamentals of human nutrition.
4. Google Code U
Becoming a master of your own domain, speaking C++, and hackproofing your data are all possible at Google Code U. And if you feel inspired to give back to the community that teaches you all that computer science, you’re in luck. The site accepts appropriate course content from its users.
5. Hewlett-Packard Learning Center
Brush up on basic computer skills like Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, as well as life skills such as business etiquette, from the technology giant Hewlett-Packard. You can even opt to receive a degree to hang on the wall once you completed your course.
“You know,” “generally speaking,” “in order to” learn a foreign language, you have to memorize the most common phrases and words. Or so goes the mantra of this online language resource that promises to have you speaking one of over 70 different languages “before you know it.”
7. Digital Photography School
The site offers tutorials and tips for digital photographers of all levels.
8. Academic Earth
Perusing video lectures from different universities on Academic Earth is so smooth and seamless that you will have plenty of brain cells left over for learning.
9. YouTube EDU
In the same familiar format used for scanning screenshots of fluffy kitty videos, YouTube aggregates video content from different learning centers.
10. iTunes U
Use your iPhone or iPod touch for a higher purpose than tweeting with iTunes U. The application brings a list of the most popular lectures from different universities and cultural institutions to your fingertips.