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Seven online courses you can take for free

Estimated reading time: 9 mins

Have you ever heard about MOOC or Massive Open Online Courses? If yes, then you know that you can take most of these programs for free. If not, well, continue reading to find out more about how you can gain access to these readily available online courses.

What is an MOOC?

Massive Open Online Courses are courses that aim to provide a more accessible and flexible learning experience to students. It technically exploits the conveniences offered by the internet to help individuals earn more knowledge and skills that will help advance their careers or help them gain lifelong learning. It is also used as supplements for corporate training, which enables employees to keep up to date with the new fundamentals of their industries.

MOOC is a term that was first used by Stephen Downes and George Siemens in 2008 to refer to an experiment course called Connectivism and Connectivity Knowledge or CCK11. This subject studies how the theory of connectivism and connectivity knowledge can be applied as a framework for learning solutions. The very nature of CCK11 is open and participatory. It is a 12-week course that anyone can take without commitments, like a paid subscription. Thus, it being the first officially recognized MOOC.

However, MOOCs are not entirely a modern invention. If one would look closely, the foundations of these courses evidently stem from the idea of distance learning. Distance learning is a form of educational experience wherein students can learn independently and remotely outside the university.

During its pioneering years, the first form of distance learning is correspondence courses wherein educational institutions mail course materials to students. After completion, students will then mail it back to the university for evaluation. Now, distance learning is conveniently offered through online courses like MOOCs.

To put it simply, MOOCs are free online courses that anyone can take. It involves students, participators, and course materials that all complete the learning experience. By utilizing the conveniences of web-based platforms, MOOCs’ primary goal is to help individuals engage in a learning process that connects people with similar interests and let them have a structured discourse.

Eight free online courses to advance your career

There are thousands of Massive Open Online Courses available on the world wide web. This can be overwhelming for people who are new to this form of learning. Hence, listed below are some of the best free online courses to take if you want to stay relevant in the job market:

Structuring Business Agreements for Success

University: Cornell University

Course description: An extensive five-week course inclusive of 2-3 hours a day of classes focusing on the components of a business agreement. This Cornell University MOOC will let you obtain knowledge about laws, principles, and guidelines to create successful business deals.

CS50’s Understanding Technology

University: Harvard University

Course description: An introductory course to the basic application of technology in one’s career. This Harvard University is a Computer Science subject that will let you learn core expertise in internet, multimedia, security, web development, and programming.

AP® Microeconomics

University: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Course description: A 12-week course discussing consumer theory, producer theory, market structures, market failures, and economic fairness, which are all essential in understanding how the corporate world works.

MicroBachelors® Program in Professional Writing

University: Arizona State University

Course description: A 2-in-1 degree program with courses focusing on how to concretely express ideas for personal and professional purposes. It also teaches the basics of research, design, and development of research projects.

Constitutional Interpretation

University: Princeton University

Course description: An intermediate law degree that discusses the basic alternatives in interpreting the Constitution. In which you better understand the historical development of the power of judicial review, its superiority with the Congress and the presidency, and the relations of the federal government and state governments of general jurisdiction. Most importantly teaching about, the role of the courts in securing freedoms of religion and speech and rights of property

Intercultural Communication at Work – Land the job and do it well

University: National University of Singapore

Course description: A course perfect for job seekers as they can learn the most basic way of how to impressively create a resume, attend interviews, and improve communication skills. All of which are highly essential in a competitive job market.

Statistics: Unlocking the World of Data

University: The University of Edinburgh 

Course description: An introductory course in Data Analysis & Statistics, which helps students gain knowledge to understand the basics of statistics and how to interpret data found in everyday life.

All of these MOOCs are available online, free of charge. These are all essential courses that are helpful and applicable in every industry. All of this will equip you with up-to-date expertise that will increase your value as a professional and further advance your career.

Benefits of taking an online course

Online education is gaining more popularity than ever. The current health crisis that is affecting nations worldwide is a major propeller of this rising trend. Due to social distancing precautions, universities are forced to close their doors and migrate online temporarily. As a result, more students are relying on remote web-based curriculums for learning continuity. Hence, the number of so-called e-learners amounting to millions.

Aside from schools limiting physical class attendance due to updated industry protocols, unemployment is also another factor to be held accountable for the rise of online course admissions. This is because the most affected sector of the labor market recession is low-wage workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded an alarming unemployment rate of more than 20% for people without degrees. In which an estimated 20 million individuals have lost their jobs during the pandemic. And until these people find a quick way to earn higher education recognition, they will remain least relevant even after the job market heals from recession.

But besides limited physical learning options and unemployment, what other factors further contribute to the growing interest of people in online education? The answer relies on the benefits.

Hence, below are the perks one can get from participating in an online course:

Learning online has more offerings

The education industry is one of the least innovative sectors in the market. Although many universities spend most endowment for research, academic institutions still fall behind updating their learning solutions. True enough, almost every educational facility has incorporated online schooling in their methods. However, the very foundation of their curriculums still remains relatively the same.

Undergraduate and graduate degrees in any field are still based on the most general fundamentals of its discipline. Rarely will you find new industry findings embedded in a degree’s core subjects. Most often than not, current trends are learned through short online courses. And for people who are seeking advanced options to further their careers, traditional education from brick-and-mortar facilities is not preferable.

Hence, more people are resorting to enrolling in online schooling as it has more updated information to offer. These modern industry developments are helpful as it will keep an individual’s expertise up to date. Meaning, they will have expertise applicable to the current environment of their field, hence making them more in-demand members of the workforce.

Web-based education is cheaper

An average tuition fee in the United States costs up to $50,000 per year. This number still increases depending on your chosen academic provider. If you decide to enroll in an Ivy League or elite institution, your annual academic fees can reach up to $100,000 max. Besides that, the cost of education will always be on the rise despite shifts in economic standing.

Meanwhile, earning degrees online is significantly cheaper compared to enrolling in a university. You can save thousands of dollars from taking online courses. Although the average cost per credit hour remains relatively similar at $300 to $500, online courses are still more affordable. This is because most degree offerings on web-based platforms take only 120 credit hours. Therefore, if you want to allocate more of your finances on other pursuits, such as a business venture or leisure spendings, it would be best to take the virtual path to get a college degree.

Online courses are faster to complete

Most online courses are designed for people looking for flexible ways to earn academic recognition. Besides, not everyone has the time to spend four years of schooling or more. That said, online academic offerings are faster to complete. As mentioned, most of these only require 120 credit hours to finish. Meaning, you can get a college diploma in just two years!

Earning a diploma fast is an advantage to have because you are essentially fast-tracking your way into success. Aside from that, you can also get more education through online courses. For example, you can acquire two undergraduate degrees, like a Bachelor’s, at the same time it takes to earn one. This, in return, will help you gain better working opportunities in the future.

Overall, the main reason people choose to shift to virtual and web-based learning solutions is cost-efficient benefits. When you earn a degree online, you will have a more practical means of education, wherein you will have more knowledge to obtain at a much cheaper cost for a shorter period.

Other faster alternatives to MOOCs

There is no doubt that MOOCs are the cheapest form of education anyone can try. But there is a catch. The program may be free itself, but you will still have to pay a certain price to receive your official certificate. Now, this amount varies from every institution. In which the more prestigious the school is, the higher the costs. Besides, most of these programs can take at least a few months to finish.

Aside from that, MOOCs are mere certificates for a college course. Meaning, it is not an entire degree. It is just a subject in industry and therefore does not have an equivalent value or merit to the standard undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Buy online!

That being said, if you are looking for a more immediate recognition that has the same academic value as your typical college diploma, you should seek the help of degree sellers instead. However, make sure to avoid those who claim to provide real college degrees but do not have official partnerships with accredited universities. These websites will only give you fake degrees with verification.

Instead, it would be best if you will buy a degree from websites like universitydegree.education, which is officially collaborating with real accredited universities that have physical campuses. This website has access to real college diplomas and all necessary documents needed to support it because of their partnership. Meaning, you can get genuine academic recognitions ranging from diploma parchment, transcripts, and official student identification cards. All of which went through due processes, such as legalization and verification, therefore you are guaranteed that your degree is safe to use.

In trying times like this, where economies are slowing down, and millions of employees are losing their jobs, it is important to have something that will anchor you down in your career. Hence, the growing emphasis on investing in a college degree. When you have a degree at hand, you can easily put a stronghold on your expertise and increase your value as a professional. And with a more enhanced professional credibility comes better work benefits, opportunities, and job security.

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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