Education isn’t something that you do in school while you’re younger and just end as soon as graduation day comes.
Learning should be a lifelong endeavor, with an individual consistently trying to better themselves and expand their horizons. Thanks to the internet, it has never been easier to access information and continue one's education.
In an effort to bring advanced education to the masses, some of the top universities around the world have banded together to bring college material to the public for free through massive open online courses (MOOCs). The courses cover a wide variety of subjects, from art to science to history.
The classes can be taken for fun to satisfy curiosity, or assignments and exams can be taken to earn an actual certification program to add to a resume for career advancement. Some certificates do require a small fee, but it's still much less expensive than going the traditional route.
Here are some of the most widely-used MOOC services:
EdX offers over 300 classes taught by faculty from more than 30 global institutions.
Introduction to Public Speaking - UWashingtonX - Public speaking routinely ranks #1 as the most common fear in adults, and this class could relieve some of that anxiety. This 10-week class is set up to teach techniques that allow a speaker to be more confident and prepared for presentations.
The Science of Happiness - UC BerkeleyX - This self-paced course investigates the psychology of happiness and teaches methods that will allow students to make their own lives happier and more meaningful.
The Ethics of Eating - CornellX - This 6-week-long class instructs students on the origins of the food they eat, and what dietary choices are ethical and sustainable.
The rest of the classes can be viewed on the EdX course catalog.
Here are some of the classes available:
Vaccines - University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine - This 6-week course will discuss the history, efficacy, risks, and benefits of vaccination, as well as how they fit in with modern medicine.
Introduction to Philosophy - The University of Edinburgh - This self-paced course serves as the basis for learning about philosophy, including the goals of studying the subject and how to approach some of life's toughest questions.
Think Again: How to Reason and Argue - Duke University - Basic reasoning and debating skills are taught in this 12-week course. Students are taught how to break down a topic and form a clear, well-framed argument.
To see the rest of the classes available, refer to Coursera's course catalog.
Stanford OpenEdX provides MOOCs like Coursera and EdX but is different because it only features courses taught by staff from Stanford.
Adventures In Writing - Instructions in this self-paced course are given in the style of a graphic novel and teach basic writing skills to improve style and syntax in order to convey a message.
A Crash Course On Creativity - This self-paced class teaches students how to break down an idea and build it back up, infused with additional creativity.
Computer Science 101 - This course teaches the basic of understanding computers, from terminology to how software, internet, and computer codes work.
View Standford OpenEdX to see the full course catalog.
MIT Open Courseware
The courses available on MIT Open Courseware are all done on demand and can be completed at your own pace. There are hundreds of classes spanning 11 different topics. Like the Stanford program, these courses are taught by faculty members.
Here are just a few of the courses that are available:
Human Origins and Evolution - This class explores the physical and cultural evolution of humans, by introducing students to how scientists analyze fossils and other archeological clues.
How to Learn (Almost) Anything - In order to learn about any other subject, it is beneficial to understand how the brain is capable of learning. This course explores how people learn as well as new techniques to promote learning.
Introduction To Psychology - The basics of human nature are introduced in this class, starting with the function of the brain.
View MIT Open Courseware's course catalog to view the full selection.