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Free College Online - OpenCourseWare and Free College Online

courses video programs notes

Though many free online products are spurious at best, free colleges online are actually available from some thorough programs. Major universities offer transcripts, notes, and video recordings from professors who would be pretty expensive to learn from otherwise. None of these offer true diplomas, but they offer knowledge in droves.

Such services cater to a variety of learners. Some use them as a preview to online or brick-and-mortar coursework, seeing firsthand if they can handle collegiate learning before making a plunge. Others use them to look back on old lessons, to refresh themselves on old coursework which has been dulled over the years. Still others like them as a means of being self-taught, auditing the classes for no reason other than it is a free and studied method of learning.

Open Yale offers video recordings of numerous lecturers in addition to notes and syllabi. Lectures are available on Youtube and iTunes as well, making such courses easily accessible from computers, mp3 players, and modern phones. The represented departments are very broad, ranging from Dr. Charles Bailyn’s course in astrophysics to Dr. Dale B. Martin’s course on the history of the New Testament.

Systems like these are referred to as OpenCourseWare—collections of donated class materials to be provided online. The idea was first conceived of by MIT, which features full audio-visual lecture series and notes as part of this project. The popularity of this service has resulted in many similar programs at well-known schools across the United States.

OpenCourseWare at Notre Dame offers a wide selection of programs including a healthy collection of humanities with Africana Studies, Gender Studies, English, and Political Science among others. Courses do not contain much video, but the lecture notes and course outlines are thorough reproductions of the materials one would receive in the paid classroom.

OpenCourseWare also appears at the University of California Irvine. Courses at Irvine are accompanied by whatever the professors can provide, including video, links, complete collections of handouts, and PowerPoint presentations.

Other schools that offer OpenCourseWare include Tufts University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg, and Utah State, with more programs appearing every year.

Not all resources are based on MIT’s OpenSourceWare: a trove of math courses can be found at WhatCom community college. Simple, diagram and number-driven courses with no video but plenty of links for extra learning, these courses are ideal for brushing up on math skills prior to returning to college or switching into a more math-intensive field.

For motivated self learners, free college online is a valuable resource charitably provided by leading colleges. The OpenCourseWare movement has put many top-tier schools on the free college map, while similar resources continue to appear elsewhere.

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