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5 Places to Find Free Online College Courses

by Shawanda Greene

I’ll happily invest financial resources in income boosting education. However, I’m reluctant to fork over cash for high-priced courses. After all, with any investment, you stand a chance to lose money.

According to The College Board, public four-year college tuition costs for in-state students spiked 4.8% between the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school year. Attendees of private, nonprofit four-year universities saw their tuition and fees rise 4.2% for the same period.

Although I largely agree with John Rohn’s statement, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune,” I appreciate diverse forms of education: online, offline, video, audio, written, informal, and yes, formal.

So what’s a knowledge hungry miser to do if the price of post-secondary education continues to trounce inflation?

Well, there is a solution. It’s not perfect, but it is free.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Not sure if you fully digested that acronym, but a massive amount of people, i.e., ANYONE, can enroll in these open, online courses.

Use the MOOC experience to feed your natural curiosity or learn a new skill that’ll help you excel in your career. Students can enjoy instructor led education provided by Duke, Princeton, Stanford, and other renowned universities—for free.

Find MOOCs at . . .

  1. Coursera
  2. Khan Academy
  3. EdX
  4. Udacity
  5. Canvas Network

In some instances, students who successfully complete a MOOC receive a certificate, statement of accomplishment, or other formal acknowledgement for their efforts.

But don’t expect universities to treat you the same as their traditional students. You can’t expect to skirt a lengthy admissions process, dodge steep tuition costs, AND pick up college credits. Can you?

I’m looking at enrolling in A Beginner’s Guide to Irrationality for fun and Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning for my professional development through Coursera.com. See anything you find interesting?


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Remy @MLISunderstanding January 9, 2013 at 1:09 PM

I dropped CodeAcademy last year. :( But I just started Spanish and German lessons on LiveMocha — free so far, and a bunch of credits (earned by reviewing others’ work in my native language) stacked up already.
Remy @MLISunderstanding recently posted..Project Work/Life Balance: Working a Shorter WeekMy Profile

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Shawanda Greene January 9, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Ooooh. I completely forgot about CodeAcademy, and LiveMocha is totally new to me, so thanks for sharing.

I took three years of Spanish in high school, dated a native speaker for about 4 years, and when I went to Puerto Rico a couple of years ago, I couldn’t even pronounce “mango” in Spanish. So yeah . . . I don’t think it’d hurt me to spend a few hours (or dozens) on LiveMocha.
Shawanda Greene recently posted..A Quick and Dirty Guide to Passive Income StreamsMy Profile

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Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey January 11, 2013 at 9:04 AM

I love CodeAcademy! This is the place where I learned more about programming and web design. I also use Khan Academy for my kids. The videos are very helpful for them to understand their lessons better. My nephew used these websites as models for his college thesis.
Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey recently posted..Step 1 in Personal Finance – List Out All of Your Financial Accounts and Calculate Your Net WorthMy Profile

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Shawanda Greene January 11, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Cool! I think high school seniors or undecided college students should consider taking a few MOOCs to get a better idea of what majors will work for them. I knew several people who changed their majors multiple times. University classes aren’t free! Well, at least not the ones you have to pay for. :)
Shawanda Greene recently posted..A Quick and Dirty Guide to Passive Income StreamsMy Profile

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Jules@Faithful With a Few January 15, 2013 at 9:28 AM

I didn’t even know such a thing existed! Thank you for sharing!!

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Jake OxyElite March 1, 2013 at 7:39 PM

I recommend both Coursera and Khan Academy. Coursera is taught by college professors, while Khan Academy is taught by some dude in an office. Both are equally nice and professional.

I can’t wait in the future where most college degrees are earned online.

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Click Link April 27, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Great site. Thank you for taking the time. I will check here to find out more and tell my people about this site.

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