Free Online Courses at Renowned Universities

There are thousands of free online courses available on the Internet, making the dream and promise of free public education a reality today. Websites have sprung up that list, organize and allow you to search easily through the large number of diverse course selections. You may wonder what the best course is.

The “Best” Free Online Courses

The best online course for you is one that will meet your goals for taking a course, whether it is to learn about a particular subject area, practice another language or to take online classes for a job. Whatever your goal, the best online course for you should be at the right level for you—not too easy or too difficult to understand—and one that you will enjoy learning from. Since there is no charge for the courses, you can sample courses until you find one that is a good match for you.

Open Culture – Over 1100 Free Online Courses

Open Culture offers more than 1100 free online courses from well-known institutions such as Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and others. The audio and video courses can be downloaded from the site links, You Tube, or iTunes from their websites to your computer or MP3 player. In addition to academic courses about almost every conceivable area of study, there are free movies, language lessons for Chinese, Arabic and romance languages, textbooks, ebooks, audio books, K-12 lessons and teacher resources. Hear great lectures by notables in many fields such as Carl Sagan and Leonard Bernstein. Listen to the Nobel lectures or Oxford philosophy lectures. Open Culture is a good starting point for finding free online courses.


MOOC List is another site to explore. MOOC means Massive Open Online Course, and these courses have unlimited participation and open web access to all with no need to register. If you choose to register, you can bookmark your favorite MOOCs. The list of current courses is easy to search using a cloud of tags or by using multiple criteria. You can find the upcoming courses for the next 30 days in the home page.

Coursera – 100 World Universities

Coursera offers 980 free courses from more than 100 world universities. Coursera suggests courses by popularity among the almost 12 million people who use this site, such as “Think Again—How to Reason and Argue,” from Duke University and “Introduction to Finance” by the University of Michigan. Coursera also suggests courses that are learner recommended, such as “Introduction to Music Production,” from Berklee College of Music and “Social Entrepreneurship,” by the Copenhagen Business School. Many universities from different countries, such as the U.S., Mexico, Australia, Israel, Sweden and others, offer courses. Also, many well-known institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, Exploratorium and National Geographic offer courses.

ALISON – Free Online Courses for Jobs

When you’re looking for free online classes for jobs, ALISON (Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online), may be a good place to start. Their 400 courses range from basic to specialized. One of the most popular ALISON online classes for jobs is “ABC IT,” a 15-20 hour introduction to computing. ALISON specializes in workplace courses and skill instruction.

Try one or more of these sites to get started, and love it or leave it. There are many more sites for online courses that are too numerous to list, so enjoy exploring the Internet!