Where to Get the Best Free Education Online

Whether you’re a student looking for supplemental learning or you’re in the workforce but thirsty for knowledge, you don’t have to drop thousands of dollars in tuition to enjoy a top-notch education from some of the best schools in the world.

Computer photo by marcopako; university building photo by J-a-x.

While most online resources won’t grant you a college degree, there’s a lot more to the internet than Wikipedia when it comes to learning. Whether you learn best through video or text, want to a year-long course or just to touch up on a few topics, there are more than a few places online that can give you the full experience. In fact, there are enough that it can get quite overwhelming, so we’ve rounded up the best resources to make it all a bit more manageable. Here are some of the best places to get an education without ever leaving your computer.

Video Courses and Lectures

You won’t really notice much of a difference between sitting in front of a screen watching a lecture and sitting in on a lecture in person—apart from the fact that if you do have a burning question, you can’t raise your hand to get it answered. These video sites host lectures and full courses from some of the best schools on the planet.

First Stop: The OpenCourseware Consortium

MIT began their OpenCourseWare initiative and published their first batch of courses online in 2002. In 2005, they formed the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which partnered with other universities to bring free education to the masses via the internet. Most courses offered on OpenCourseWare are available as free audio or video lectures for free, and under open licenses. The easiest way to find a course you’re interested in is to search the OpenCourseWare Consortium site, which aggregates courses from over 22 universities in the US alone, including MIT, Johns Hopkins, Tufts, and the University of Michigan, and features courses on tons of different subjects, from business and economics to architecture and physics. Most universities have their specialities, of course (MIT, for example, has a bounty of resources in engineering), but between them all, you should be able to find pretty much anything you want. It doesn’t include every university participating in the movement—for example, Yale seems strangely absent from the list, despite their open course initiative (which is, of course, yet another option)—but it’s more than enough to get you started.

Read more via Lifehacker.

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