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. Purdue University Global

    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
      • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master of Public Health
      • MBA: Human Resources
    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: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Accounting
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
    Certificate
      • Medical Assisting Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
      • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
      • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Film Production
      • MS - Entertainment Business (Campus)
      • MS - Game Design (Campus)
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
      • Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
      • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
      • BS - Information Technology Bachelors (Campus)
      • BS - Creative Writing Bachelors (Campus)
      • BS - Film (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Walden University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
      • PhD in Criminal Justice - General
      • PhD in Criminal Justice - Online Teaching in Higher Education
      • PhD in Education - Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment & Evaluation
      • PhD in Education - Learning, Instruction & Innovation
      • PhD in Psychology - Teaching
    Master's
      • MS in Education - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (Grades K-12)
      • MS in Education - Self-Designed
      • MS in Psychology - General
      • MS in Psychology - Self Design
      • MS in Developmental Psychology - Administration & Leadership
      • MS in Developmental Psychology - General
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Psychology - MS AIM Track
      • BS in Criminal Justice - Advanced Topics Criminal Justice AIM
      • BS in Criminal Justice - Self-Designed
      • BS in Psychology - Criminal Justice
      • BS in Psychology - General Psychology
      • BS in Psychology - Human Services for Psychology
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA: Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management: Entrepreneurial Studies Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • Bachelor: Health Care Management
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate of Science - Medical Assisting Services
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ph.D. in Communication
      • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision
      • Ph.D. in Education
      • Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology
      • Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies
    Master's
      • M.A. in Communication
      • M.A. in Journalism
      • M.A. in Business & Design Management
      • M.Ed. - Individualized Degree Program
      • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. in Communication
      • B.A. in Communication Studies - Journalism
      • B.A. in Communication Studies - Organizational Communication
      • B.A. in Communication Studies - Rhetoric and Public Culture
      • B.A. in Communication Studies - Strategic Communication
      • B.A. in English - Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Florida Tech

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master's in Business Administration/Management
      • MA in Organizational Leadership
      • MS in Information Technology/Database Administration
      • Master's in Business Administration
      • Master's in Business Administration/Accounting
      • Master's in Business Administration/Accounting & Finance
    Bachelor's
      • BA in Applied Psychology
      • BA in Business Administration/Management
      • BA in Criminal Justice
      • BA in Accounting
      • BA in Applied Psychology/Child Advocacy
      • BA in Applied Psychology/Clinical Psychology
    Associate's
      • AA in Applied Psychology
      • AA in Criminal Justice
      • AA in Liberal Arts
      • AA in Accounting
      • AA in Business Administration
      • AA in Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Independence University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Accounting (BS)
      • Business Administration (BS)
      • Business Administration - Human Resources Emphasis (BS)
      • Business Administration - Marketing Emphasis (BS)
      • Business Administration - Technology Emphasis (BS)
      • Health Services Management (BS)
    Associate's
      • Medical Assisting (AOS)
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Columbia Southern University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Administration
    Master's
      • MBA - Finance
      • MBA - General
      • MBA - Health Care Management
      • MBA - Human Resource Management
      • MBA - Marketing
      • MBA - Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Psychology
      • BS - Business Administration
      • BS - Criminal Justice Admin.
      • BS - Criminal Justice Admin./Arson Investigation
      • BS - Health Care Administration/Emer Med Service
      • BS - Human Resource Management
    Associate's
      • AS - Business
      • AS - Criminal Justice
      • AA - General Studies
      • AS - Health Information Science
      • AS - Health Information Science Med. Coding Emph
      • AS - Fire Science
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Finance
      • Graduate Certificate - Health Care Management
      • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management
      • Graduate Certificate - Marketing
      • Graduate Certificate - Project Management
      • Graduate Certificate - Public Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Visionary Leadership
    Master's
      • Criminal Justice, M.S.
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Advanced Accounting
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Health Care Administration
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Leadership
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Project Management
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
    Bachelor's
      • Psychology, B.S.
      • B.S. Applied Psychology: Biblical Studies
      • B.S. Applied Psychology: Criminal Justice
      • B.S. Accountancy
    Associate's
      • Criminal Justice, A.S.
      • Psychology, A.S.
      • Communication Studies, A.A.
      • Business Administration, A.S.
      • Health Care Administration, A.S.
      • Human Resource Management, A.S.

Featured Schools

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

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Medical Assisting Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Film Production
  • MS - Entertainment Business (Campus)
  • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
  • Bachelor of Science - Software Development

What is your highest level of education?

Walden University

  • Doctor of Education (EdD) - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
  • MS in Education - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (Grades K-12)
  • BS in Psychology - MS AIM Track

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

What is your age?

Regent University

  • Ph.D. in Communication
  • M.A. in Communication
  • B.A. in Communication

What is your highest level of education completed?

Florida Tech

  • Master's in Business Administration/Management
  • BA in Applied Psychology
  • AA in Applied Psychology

What is your highest level of education completed?

Independence University

  • Accounting (BS)
  • Business Administration (BS)
  • Medical Assisting (AOS)

What is your highest level of education completed?