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.
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:
- Johns Hopkins University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Tufts University
- University of California at Berkeley
- University of California- Irvine
- University of Massachusetts- Boston
- University of Notre Dame
- Utah State University
- Berklee College of Music
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Stanford University
- University of Washington
- Vanderbilt University
- Yale University