Free Online College Classes

Attending college can be expensive. Many online colleges offer free online distance learning (minus the degree) without breaking the bank.

Online Universities That Offer Free Courses

Many colleges and universities offer free coursework online, usually referred to as OpenCourseWare, or OCW. These schools do not offer credit or degrees for the courses taken, but are a great resource for people who enjoy learning.

Online Universities Offering OpenCourseWare

MIT started the OpenCourseWare movement in 2003 by listing 500 classes. They now offer more than 1900 courses, in every subject imaginable, from Aeronautics to Writing. Lectures, syllabuses, and notes are posted online.

As part of University of Washington's Educational Outreach, the university offers free courses in HTML Basics, Greek Mythology, The American Civil War and others. A list of all their free courses is available at the university's online learning site.

Those students who have aspired to be a doctor can try their hand at the same courses doctors and dentists take at the OCW project at John Hopkins. Courses range from adolescent health to mental health to nutrition. Current offerings include Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases and Fundamentals of Epidemiology I.

Notre Dame University offers open access to a wide variety of more than 40 courses in 24 subjects, including Nuclear Warfare, African American History and Women in Islamic Societies. Those interested in religion will find classes in Theology and Catholic Social Tradition.

Tufts OpenCourseWare offers classes from the School of Dental Medicine, School of Medicine, and The Fletcher School, among others. Current offerings include International Multilateral Negotiation, Microbiology and Intro to Modern Physics.

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Utah State University offers courses through their OpenCourseWare site including Cultural Anthropology, Intro to Microeconomics, History of Utah and Classical Drama and Theatre. The University of Massachusetts in Boston provides access to the courses and materials used in them, in a variety of subjects. Featured courses include General Biology I and II, as well as Organic Chemistry I and II.

Open Yale Courses, from Yale University, provide free access to a variety of introductory courses like Introduction to Ancient Greek History, The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, and Introduction to Political Philosophy.

Other Universities Offering Free Online College Classes

Stanford University has partnered with iTunes U to offer courses and lectures that can be downloaded to an iPod or burned to a CD. UC Berkely and MIT also have classes available through iTunes U.

University of the People claims to be "the world's first tuition-free online academic institution". They offer two programs, Business Administration and Computer Science. All courses are online. The school is not currently accredited but intends to apply for accreditation, at which time they will be able to confer degrees.

OpenCourseware is a great resource for autodidacts, students and those who want to learn more about a certain subject. Although they don't offer access to professors or college credits, they provide the tools necessary to learn about a new subject.

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Edward Attwell

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