Free College | Planet Ryan

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Back in August 2011, I wrote my first column for this awesome, award-winning newspaper. Here I am, three years later. Cheers!

Most regular readers of my column will know that a majority of the time, my goal is to leave them with something new — something that can perhaps be used or thought about or taken advantage of. I like spreading the good word about interesting things I run across, whether it’s online or even at the barber shop. This week is no different, as I’m excited to share with you what still seems to be a relatively unknown, yet amazing resource anyone can tap into on the internet.

I’m talking about free college. Free, university-level classes from top schools around the world, including Yale, Harvard, Oxford and MIT. Did you know that there has been a massive development over the past few years in the free, open-course education realm? From classes that teach songwriting to advanced psychology, whatever you’re interested in learning, you can certainly find it online for free. Some of them even offer certificates of completion for a reasonable fee.

If you’re someone who enjoys learning and soaking up knowledge, then pay attention. I’m going to give you four websites that you can check out right after you read this, and choose to register for free classes from a selection of hundreds of top schools and thousands of course options.

1. Coursera.com – Definitely the leader in free online learning. Coursera partners with more than 60 of the biggest and most prestigious schools around the world to offer hundreds of amazing courses. Many of the schools give you the option to purchase an authentic school certificate that shows you completed/passed the course. That’s optional of course. It’s easy to sign up, and you can literally register for a class within minutes with no problems. Register for free at www.coursera.com

2. itunes.stanford.edu – If you have an Apple device and want to listen to some of the most epic lectures available for your area of interest, then check this site out. Stanford University offers a wide selection of lectures for free, and are viewable through any device that connects to itunes. Head over to itunes.stanford.edu to sign up.

3. Johns Hopkins OpenCourseware – If you’re in the medical field or looking to break into it, the prestigious Johns Hopkins University offers free access to some of their most popular courses revolving around the medical field. Head over to ocw.jhsph.edu to register today.

4. MIT OpenCourseware – Have you ever dreamed of taking an actual MIT class? Well, here’s your chance. MIT paved the way for free, open access to high quality education on the internet. They have a very large and impressive collection of classes available, and they are all real classes that were taught at MIT. Register for free at ocw.mit.edu.

If you’ve ever kicked around the idea of taking a refresher course or even venturing into a new area of interest, thanks to technology, you can jump on it without spending any money. Does it get much better than that?

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