Where Can I Find Free Distance Learning Courses?

It's never been easier for the world to access free online courses, simply with an internet connection and a mobile device, laptop or home computer. Universities that offer free online courses include Utah State University, MIT, and UC Berkeley.

What You Need to Know

Free distance learning courses are available in the form of audio podcasts and video lectures, in addition to offering various assignments, exams, projects, and other resources. Students can access materials as PDF files, YouTube videos, or perhaps downloading course materials in their entirety.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has one of the largest libraries of OpenCourseWare (OCW) classes available, with approximately 2260 courses covering a wide variety of subjects. These non-credit classes often combine lecture videos, recommended textbooks and Portable Document Format (PDF) files over a series of Web pages.

What Subjects Are Available?

The subjects span eight primary categories, including humanities, arts and social sciences, health sciences and technology, management, science and engineering. These categories are broken down into separate disciplines - such as literature, mathematics or biology - where you can find individual courses. A section offering supplemental resources through MIT and other universities can help enhance your studies.

What Materials Will I Need?

The requirements for each course differ, but often you will need a reader for PDF files, a media player for lecture videos, copies of required textbooks and materials for homework assignments. Many of the classes are available for download as a zip file and require a program to unzip the contents in order to use them offline.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

Some classes provide essay or laboratory assignments, exams or projects. Occasionally, solutions or student examples for the assignments are provided, but you do not receive feedback on your work from MIT instructors.

Utah State University

Utah State University also offers a multitude of online courses on a variety of subjects. These OCW non-credit classes are available on a series of websites and combine recommended readings, media files, lecture notes and assignments.

What Subjects Are Available?

You have access to nearly 20 departments ranging from anthropology to wildland resources. Each department has anywhere from one to over 20 separate classes containing materials and content related to that department. Classes cover a variety of topics, such as beginning Latin, fluid mechanics, family finance and general ecology.

What Materials Will I Need?

Each OCW class has different requirements, but you will need the ability to download or stream videos and view Portable Document Format (PDF) files. You will need to check each class for the individual materials required for course completion. Most courses can be downloaded as a zip file, allowing you to store the contents on your computer and access them offline.

What Assignments Will I Complete?

Some classes provide assignments such as problem sets or essay prompts. You do not receive instructor feedback, but some classes may provide solutions to allow you to check your work.

University of California - Berkeley

UC Berkeley offers hundreds of courses via its Webcast.Berkeley initiative, as YouTube and iTunes videos and audio podcasts. With this website library of lecture videos and audio clips, you can also access lecture series and poetry readings.

What Subjects Are Available?

You have a variety of study options, including history, science, technology, mathematics and liberal arts. Most subjects offer more than one class.

What Materials Will I Need?

The lecture archives feature embedded audio and video tracks, but you also have the option of downloading them to play on your own media player. Acquiring the corresponding textbooks and materials may help you get more out of the classes, but they are not required.

How Will These Materials Help Me?

These free lecture videos allow you to learn about new topics or other aspects of subjects that you may have already studied. They can also serve as a refresher course or study guide to enhance your current studies if you are a student.

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