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135 Completely Free Distance Education Courses

Jul 25, 2007 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Education.org Columnist | 7 Comments

Whether you’re studying online or at a traditional college, there’s no question that school is expensive.  But not everything has to cost an arm and a leg.  There are plenty of free distance education resources out there for cash-strapped students—if you know where to look.  Here are 135 free ways to enhance your education online.

Free Classes

Many of these schools and sites offer a large number of free courses and courseware.  These links to individual classes represent only a small sampling of what they have to offer, and the sites are worth exploring further.

Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering:


Tufts University: Agricultural Science and Policy Course I
Utah State University: Surface Irrigation Design Course
Utah State University: Wildland Fire Management and Planning

Anthropology:


MIT: Medical Anthropology
Notre Dame: Islamic Societies of the Middle East and North Africa Studies
Utah State University: Cultural Anthropology Class


Art, History, and the Humanities:


Notre Dame: Jews and Christians Through History Courseware
Tufts University: Producing Films for Social Change
Utah State University: History of Utah
Utah State University: Understanding Theatre
Washington University: History of Jazz: New Orleans


Biology:


Berkeley: General Biology Video & Podcasts

Tufts University: Tropical Ecology and Conservation

Tufts University: Biology of Water and Health

Utah State University: General Ecology, Spring 2007

MIT Open Courseware: Animal Behavior

UNU Open Courseware: Training Course on Mangroves and Biodiversity

Business:


Free-Ed.net: Principles of Modern Marketing
Hewlett Packard: Real Estate Marketing Made Easy
Small Business Association: How to Start a Business on a Shoestring Budget
MIT: Taxes and Business Strategy

Civil Engineering:


MIT: Introduction to Urban Design and Development
MIT: Introduction to Environmental Policy and Planning
MIT: Regional Energy/Environmental Economic Modeling

MIT: Sustainable Economic Development
The Open University: Managing Coastal Environments
Utah State University: Numerical Methods in Civil Engineering

Computer Studies:


Berkeley: Introduction to Computers
Free-Ed.net: Fundamentals of C++
Hewlett Packard: Introduction to Programming
Washington University: HTML Basics
IBM: New to Linux


Economics:


MIT: Economics and E-Commerce
MIT: Principles of Macroeconomics
MIT: Economic Applications of Game Theory
MIT: Competition in Telecommunications

Education:


Free-Ed.net:
GED and College Prep
ASU: Telecommunications for Instruction
Indiana University: Developing Family Literacy Program
University of Kentucky: Online Physics for Teachers

 

 

 

 

 

 Environmental Studies:


Berkeley: Wildlife Ecology
Johns Hopkins University: Nutritional Health, Food Production, and the Environment
MIT: Chemicals in the Environment: Toxicology and Public Health
MIT: Sustainable Design and Technology Research Workshop
MIT: Introduction to Environmental History
MIT: Energy and Environment in American History
Utah State University: Avalanche and Snow Dynamics


Family Issues:


Brigham Young University: Building a Functional Family
Utah State University: Power of Positive Parenting
MIT: The Contemporary American Family


Gemology


B.W. Smigel: Introduction to Gemology

Genealogy:


Brigham Young University:  Finding Your Ancestors

Health and Medicine:


Berkeley: Introduction to Human Nutrition
Free-Ed.net: Introduction to Immunology
Johns Hopkins University: Social and Behavioral Foundations of Primary Health Care
Health U: Insomnia
Tufts University: Geriatric Dentistry
Tufts University: Human Growth and Development
Washington University: Energy, Diet, and Weight
Washington University School of Medicine: Learn CPR


Homeland Defense:


Johns Hopkins University: Case Studies in Terrorism Response
MIT: Nationalism
MIT: Technology in a Dangerous World
MIT: Human Rights in Theory and Practice

Language:


Chinese-Tools.com: Mandarin Chinese
Russian Lessons.net:  Russian
Serbian School: Serbian
Sogang Korean Program: Basic Korean
SpeakDutch.nl: Dutch
Swedish Language Course: Swedish
Utah State University: First Year Chinese I


Math:


MIT: Calculus
MIT: Mathematics for Computer Science
MIT: Single Variable Calculus
Whatcom Community College: Abstract Algebra Online
Delft Open Courseware: Math Learning Space

Media and Journalism:


BBC: Interviewing For Radio
MIT: Video Game Theory and Analysis
MIT: Expository Writing

Religion:


Brigham Young University: Leadership of the Mormon Church
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary: Dimensions of the Faith
Notre Dame: Foundations of Theology
Notre Dame: Faith and the African American Experience

Sociology:


MIT: Consumer Culture
MIT: Environmental Conflict and Social Change

 

Research Tools

 

Access to scholarly journals:


Google Scholar: Search scholarly articles with Google.
Resource Shelf: See the results of searches performed by professional researchers, scholars, professors, and reference librarians.
Directory of Open Access Journals: Online access to scholarly and scientific journals—all free.
Rutgers Library Online: Rutgers library archives on African American history, literature, and culture.
CiteULike.com: Privately-run website where academic researchers can store online academic papers—a user-contributed web library.
Questia: Online library.  Searchable access to journals and books.
University of Houston Libraries: Directory of free-access scholarly journals online.
JournalSeek: Online access to scholarly journals.
Virginia Tech Electronic Journals: Free, open-access e-journals at the Digital Library at Virginia Tech.

Easy explanations, tutorials, and touch-ups:


How Stuff Works: Easily understandable explanations of how just about everything works, from plasma converters to antibiotics.
Wikipedia: Online encyclopedia; good for quick definitions of terms and concepts, but not considered a valid reference resource for papers.
Mathcasts: Math tutorials.
The Owl at Purdue: Online MLA style guide, plus advice on writing academic and scientific research papers.
Education Online for Computer Software: Tutorials for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other basic software useful in online learning.
Cliff Notes: Free online access to Cliff Notes literature summaries and analysis.
Physics Tutorials: Tutorials and explanations of basic physics concepts.
Biology Tutorials: Tutorials on a wide variety of biology subjects.
HTML Code Tutorial: Offers tutorials on HTML, applets, CSS, and other programming topics.
Learn2Type.com: Brush up on your typing skills—very useful preparation for online classes.
Webfoot.com: Beginner’s guide to effective email.
5-Minute Guide to the Internet: Good resource for those just getting started with Internet basics.
Glossary of Internet Terms: Definitions to both basic and advanced online terms and acronyms.

News sources:


U.S. News Archives on the Web: News coverage of current and past events in all 50 states.
BBC Archives: News coverage on events all over the world.  Good for a non-American perspective on events.
The U.S. Library of Congress: Newspaper and current periodical reading room.  Links to on and offline news sources and archives.
NewsDirectory.com: Immense directory of newspaper and magazine archives, browsable by country or region.
Refdesk.com: American newspaper websites, listed by state.

Interactive research:


Yahoo! Answers: Ask questions for other users to answer.
Answers.com: Free, searchable access to millions of published documents.  You can also ask and answer questions online.
Scientific American: Bring your science questions to professional scientists.
Ask an Expert: find an expert and ask questions in a wide variety of fields.
AllExperts.com: Volunteer experts on a wide variety of subjects.  The net’s oldest Q&A website.
PointAsk: Ask and give answers to users online.
Able2Know.com: Q&A forums with subject experts.
Experts Exchange: Mostly technology, computers, Internet, software and hardware experts.
Math Central Quandaries and Queries: Bring difficult math questions here for explanations.

References for specific topics:


Mayo Clinic: Database of diseases and conditions.  Type in symptoms to match with diseases, or study individual conditions.  Great resource for medical students.
Cornell Legal Information Institute: Comprehensive online resource on U.S. law code, Supreme Court decisions, and more.
National Human Genome Research Institute: A collection of resources on DNA science and genome research.
American Anthropological Association: Online resources for anthropology students.
ThomasNet: Online resources for industrial design and engineering students.
Erratic Impact: Resources for philosophy students.
Small Business Administration: Resources for students in on starting a new business
All Business Schools: Resources for students in business and accounting.
Firefly: Information about the disappearance of fireflies in urban and suburban areas
Public Library of Science: Open-access database of free scientific journals.
The Educator’s Reference Desk: Resources for education majors.
Social Science Research Network: Vast online library of social science research and data.
Astrophysics Data System Scanned Article Service: Scanned scholarly articles from Harvard’s astrophysics library.
Free Medical Journals: Database of important medical journals that offer free online access.
Artcyclopedia: Comprehensive online guide to all genres of visual art and artists.
Gray’s Anatomy Online:  Bartleby.com’s online edition of Gray’s Anatomy.  It’s a searchable database, complete with hand-drawn illustrations.
 

Social Support


Meetup: Start or join a face-to-face group of online learners in your area.
Yahoo! Groups: Find an online gathering of like-minded online students.
Craigslist: Immense online classifieds.  Advertise or find an advertisement for online students interested in starting a study group.
StudentCenter: Make connections with other college students.  Mainly aimed toward a younger crowd.

Sources

     

Comments:

Mustafa Yavuz Over a year ago

Great job, special thanks for your efforts :))

Ron Brandenburger Over a year ago

Great list. Thank you... very interesting.

SarahRi Over a year ago

You can finally take that course in Geriatric Dentistry that you've always been interested in!

Ben Pfeiffer Over a year ago

Yes! Thats a great course!

eslconsult Over a year ago

Great resource for those wanting an online course of study!

Carla Over a year ago

I just wanted to know whether you get a certificate when you finish the course or not, please need answers

Khine Zar Chi Wint Over a year ago

Should we need to answer the exam to get certificate?

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