If the thought of mandatory advanced mathematics or science courses in your degree plan have you terrified, you can take a prep course for free. Yes, FREE. Some of our nation’s top universities offer no- (or low-, as in $25.00) cost courses as preparation for more difficult classes, additional help with current classes, or a deeper dive into a particular subject.
Some of the websites are affiliated with the brick-and-mortar schools and universities, whether as a part of the school’s home site, or as a link. Others are hosted by foundations established to make education attainable for all. For upcoming freshmen, taking the introductory classes before taking CLEP tests can save money one would have spent on freshman class tuition. There is the potential of CLEPing out of many freshman courses in this manner, depending on the CLEPs taken and school requirements. It can definitely save at least some money.
If you have finished your degree and are working in the business arena, there are many free online classes that can enhance skills needed in the business world. Need more computer knowledge? It’s there. Management skills? They are there as well. Some of the courses can provide a certificate for a small fee if that is needed.
For the simply curious, who want to know more about a particular subject, there are classes that delve deeply into singular subjects. If home-schooling programs for children are lacking, or if a preparatory class would be beneficial for them, many universities and foundations have created (expressly because of COVID-19 situations) specially designed enhancement classes and seminar programs for school-age children, their parents, and teachers. Again, many of these are free or charge a nominal fee for membership or access.
Here is a closer look at some of the schools’ free courses:
AMSER, the Applied Math and Science Education Repository, offers many free courses to boost knowledge in the everchanging world of STEM. It is a portal built specifically for those in Community and Technical Colleges, but are free for anyone to use. It is funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the National Science Digital Library.
Need a refresher before taking that physics class? Choose from one of AMSER’s whopping 4,431 offerings in the physics category. Some classes are video series from the likes of the BBC, lectures from Tulane professors, and lectures and presented papers from the likes of U of Maryland and Stanford. Even those individuals who want more information on a particular subject will find this website a virtual treasure chest. Home-school parents and teachers will find it invaluable. For more information, go to www.amser.org .
Brigham Young University
This well-regarded Utah university offers both free academic courses as well as self-enrichment classes. Under its heading of free courses, one will find 31 currently available free classes from World History, to the Old Testament, to Introduction to Print Publishing. In their words, “So, whether you’re looking to better understand personal finance, learn how to build your family tree, or just try out our site before enrolling, our free courses are a valuable resource.” Visit them at: www.is.byu.edu/catalog/free-courses.
Open Learning Initiative
OLI, whose mission is to “transform higher education through the science of learning,” has a variety of subject classes to enhance college courses or for self-enrichment purposes. The course catalog includes offers classes in the arts and humanities, business, computer science and programming, data science and causal reasoning, language and speech, life sciences, physical sciences, and math and technology. OLI is affiliated with the renowned Carnegie Mellon University. While there are no free courses at OLI, most have small fees, starting at $25.00. Find them at: www.oli.cmu.edu/courses.
Harvard University has partnered with MIT for this amazing site for free learning, which is a platform and provider of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course). EDX has collected courses and programs from partner universities including Harvard and MIT, of course, but also Berkeley, U of California, and the U of Texas system to provide higher education to students globally. According to EDX, it is a “cutting-edge platform filled with the latest college courses.” A sample free course: Excel for Everyone: Core Foundations, offered by the University of British Columbia. If a Verified Certificate is needed, for an employer as proof of completion, the fee is $149.00. Find the perfect course at: www.edx.org .
And, finally, for those who can’t get enough TED talks, TED’s established an award-winning education extension “to share and spread ideas from teachers and students.” This global network boasts more than 250,000 teachers to help students learn a myriad of subjects, including a platform for those teachers to create interactive lessons. Here’s a sample of their free classes and videos: Underwater Farms vs. Climate Change, Think Like a Coder, Superhero Science, and oodles more at : www.ed.ted.com .