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Where to Find Free Online Classes

Updated on January 23, 2013

A few months ago, I ran across a forum discussion about Coursera, a website that offers free online classes from many different universities. I signed up for a class called, "Fundamentals of Pharmacology," which was taught via video lectures and included appropriate diagrams and other visual aids. I joined the class well after the start date and was allowed access to all previous lectures. I am now taking a couple of genetics classes and I have enrolled in a nutrition class and other health-related classes that will be starting soon.

There are currently about 200 free classes on their website and they will likely add more in the future. The classes vary greatly in subject matter, including courses in technology, medicine, business, engineering, economics, and more. They can range from a couple of weeks to a couple of months in duration.

A Free Education - What’s the Catch?

Are the classes really free? Yes, the classes are all provided free-of-charge to anyone interested. However, they do not lead to a degree. The classes are not eligible for college credit; therefore, a degree cannot be obtained.

Although a degree can't be achieved through the classes, a certificate can be earned in some of the classes. In the first class I signed up for, I joined the class a few weeks after it had already started, so I missed some of the quiz deadlines, which deemed me ineligible for the class certificate. Not all of the classes offer certificates though - it varies depending on the class.

Taking advantage of the free classes is an excellent way to explore subjects of interest. Many college students float from subject to subject trying to find a career path that’s a good fit for them. The free classes allow the freedom to explore areas of interest without racking up a huge college debt. They are also great for lifelong learners and for those looking to add to their resume.

A free education is a rare gem. If you or someone you know is interested taking some of the classes, you can visit to check out the many different courses and enroll. In addition, Khan Academy is also a free online learning environment, which I highly recommend, but Khan Academy is set up more as a supplement to existing classes rather than actual classes.

Please note that I am not an affiliate for Coursera or Khan Academy, nor do I believe that they even have affiliate programs. I am all about education though, and I know a lot of people will be interested to find websites that provide a free learning environment.


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    • SunsetSky profile image

      SunsetSky 5 years ago from USA

      That sounds like an interesting class to take. I love the variety offered in the different courses. There are so many classes to take and so little time. It's such a great program.

    • cmahan profile image

      Chrystal Mahan 5 years ago from Michigan

      I took a free poetry class through Courseca, I think it was at Penn State. It was pretty fun and I enjoyed it.