The Open Source Revolution: How It Is Making Learning Free for Everyone

About this article
Students from all over the world can now engage with colleges and universities across the globe. With the Open Source revolution, anyone can take free online courses from over 200 higher learning institutions, worldwide.
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A Discount Path to an Education

You can't earn an actual degree from an open course, but you can obtain valuable knowledge that will make earning a degree much cheaper. Students can use open source courses to prepare for the College Board's College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), which allows students to earn college credit for knowledge they already have.

If you can earn a few credits this way before you enroll in a formal program, you can take fewer classes and graduate with less debt. Taking the free courses will also ensure that you are classroom ready when the time comes.

The Pursuit of Knowledge

People can also use open course education to pursue a love of learning. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenCourseWare platform reports that at least half of the people who download their courses are independent learners looking for a little bit of knowledge.

Some of these people simply want to broaden their horizons, others are looking for a career change and others still are hoping to take practice classes before going to college or graduate school.

OpenCourseWare Consortium

More than 200 higher education institutions from around the world are members of the OpenCourseWare Consortium. The OCWC is hoping to advance education by making free online courses available to people all over the world.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, offers more than 2,200 free courses. Most courses are very similar to those taught on campus and include materials like lecture notes, assignments, reading lists, labs, quizzes, exams and textbooks. Courses can be downloaded and completed at your convenience.

You can find thousands of free online courses on nearly every topic imaginable by browsing the OCWC links below:

United States

Netherlands

Spain

United Kingdom

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master of Public Health
      • MBA: Human Resources
      • MBA: Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
      • Accelerated MS in Finance Option
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Accounting
    Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
      • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
      • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Notre Dame de Namur University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters in Business Administration
      • Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • Online Programs Available
    3. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
      • Master of Arts in Economics
      • Master of Public Administration and Policy
      • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Communication
      • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
      • Master of Science in Engineering Technology
      • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
      • Master of Public Health
      • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    5. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
      • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
      • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
      • Masters in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
    Bachelor's
      • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
      • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    6. University of Fairfax

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctorate of Information Assurance
    Master's
      • Master of Computer Science and Engineering
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Liberal Arts
      • Master of Arts in Science Writing
      • Master of Science in Applied Economics
      • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems
      • Master of Science in Bioinformatics
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • PhD in Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • PhD-TIM - Computer Science
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
      • Ed.D. - Sports Management
    Master's
      • M.A. in Psychology - General Psychology
      • MBA - Applied Computer Science
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • M.Ed. - General Education
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Criminal Justice
    Certificate
      • Education Specialist - Organizational Leadership
      • Education Specialist - Special Education
      • Education Specialist - International Education
      • Education Specialist - Early Childhood Education
      • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Education Specialist - Instructional Leadership
  • Campus Locations:
    9. Lincoln Tech

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Automotive Technology
      • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
      • Electrical/Electronics
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Trident University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Business Administration (Ph.D.)
      • Health Sciences (Ph.D.)
      • Educational Leadership (Ed. D.)
      • Educational Leadership (Ph.D.)
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education
      • Leadership (BSL)
    Bachelor's
      • Computer Sciences (BSCS)
      • Business Administration (BSBA)
      • Health Sciences (BSHS)
      • Human Resources Management (BSHRM)
      • Health Administration (BSHA)
      • Homeland Security (BSHLS)
    Associate's
      • Professional Studies (ASPS)

Featured Schools

The schools and programs listed below are popular educational options, and tuition varies based on program and location

Kaplan University

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • Master: Legal Studies
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Medical Office Administration Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Notre Dame de Namur University

  • Masters in Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

What is your highest level of education completed?

American University

  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
  • Master of Arts in Economics

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Communication
  • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
  • Master of Science in Engineering Technology

What is your highest level of education?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
  • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
  • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences

What is your highest level of education?

University of Fairfax

  • Doctorate of Information Assurance
  • Master of Computer Science and Engineering

What is your highest level of education completed?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Master of Arts in Science Writing

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Applied Computer Science
  • M.A. in Psychology - General Psychology
  • Education Specialist - Organizational Leadership

What is your highest level of education?