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Free Online Colleges and Universities

Higher Education Articles December 5, 2012

In the last few years, several universities and colleges have decided to offer coursework such as readings, notes, tests and lectures online and they do not charge a penny for it.

The decision to offer free lessons online has had a tremendous impact and gives everyone an opportunity to educate themselves across the world. Most importantly, the lessons are provided by reputable institutions like UC Berkeley and MIT. To optimize your benefit from free online courses offered by these schools, follow the lecture videos on the Internet, use them to help pass an exam and garner real college credits.

Best Free Online Colleges

Free lectures, assignments and courses are offered online by a few world-class universities and colleges. The material offered by these colleges comes in various forms, including lecture notes students can download, podcasts, and streaming video.

The colleges and universities who provide such material on the Internet include some well-known institutions, including Berklee College of Music, Carnegie Mellon University, Gresham College, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Stanford University, Tufts University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Notre Dame, University of Washington, Utah State University, Utah Valley State College, Vanderbilt University and Yale University.

How to Use Free University Resources

If students want to use the free online resources offered by these colleges, the first thing they need to do is visit the website of the school where they will find a list of lectures and courses they are able to access, select the one they want and download or view the content thereafter. To ensure access to the material offered; students need to use other software such as Adobe reader or iTunes.

In certain cases, on the University of Washington website, students need to register as a user, by submitting their email ID. In some cases; students can avail the study material offered without having to register or log in.

Pros and Cons of Free Online Colleges

There are some obvious cons to using free course material. The use of such material will not entitle students to college credits. Also, students will not be able to interact with teachers or other students. Additionally, several courses recommend reading books that are not free of charge and students have to purchase such books to get optimal value from such courses. Also, some of the available courses amount to less than six or ten pages of text and a multiple choice quiz based on the text. Students who are used to studying in groups, engaging in classroom discussions, and involving themselves in an in-depth reading may not find the free online courses as stimulating as traditional online degree courses. However, several of the free online courses are quite extensive in their coverage and many hours of interactive quizzes, movies to supplement the coursework, audio lectures, and self-assessment styled exercises. For instance, lectures are archived on UC Berkeley’s website, and they are on an eclectic range of topics that include Human Emotion, Heidigger and General Astronomy and can be accessed as podcasts by interested students.

Are Free Online Courses Good or Bad?

While some colleges and universities offered an impressive array of online content, other free online education courses are quite fragmentary in their scope, but what truly matters is student involvement with the online learning process. While college education can never be substituted by these free online courses, they can help students garner fundamental insights on subjects they always wanted to learn, especially as some of the material are created by the top colleges and universities in the United States.

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