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With the high cost of university education these days, it’s no wonder why many teenagers can’t afford to go to college. Thankfully to the rise of the internet and some brilliant minds, you can get your own university from home for free. Not only that, but most of them will give you a certificate for completing their courses.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 20 MOOCs, Massive Online Open Courses. These courses are available to a wide range of people for cheap or at no cost. Do you see a website that hasn’t been placed in our MOOC list or feel it’s not ranked where it needs to be? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
1. FX Academy – Free
If you’re looking into high-level trading, this is the MOOC for you. FX Academy was founded by the trading experts at DailyForex.com. They have been reporting their earnings from the Forex market since 2006. FX Academy offers many courses from the most basic to the advanced – trading psychology, introduction to Forex trading, independent thinking for traders, and more. Courses come with a trade simulator and links to additional reading material all at no cost. If you’re looking to really get started in Forex trading, we recommend checking out these Forex contests.
2. Edx – Free
Funded by Bill Gates, Edx offers courses from over 29 of the top universities of the world, including MIT and Harvard. The great things about these classes is that most of them are self-paced, meaning you can do them at your own speed. For $100, you can receive a certificate to show that you completed the or choose to simply audit the course. The classes are simply previous recordings of live lectures, and each course comes with a syllabus that includes assignments and books needed.
3. Coursera – Free
Unlike Edx, Coursera is not self-paced. Each class has a start date and an end date lasting from 7 weeks to 14 weeks. Homework is usually due at the end of each week to make sure you stay on track. These courses are not recordings of live classes, but rather are a lot of short mini lectures with powerpoint slides. They offer over 530 courses from over 100 university partners, even including international partners such as Beijing University in Chinese or with English subtitles. If you want to earn a certificate to gain recognition for taking the course it will cost $50. The layout of this site really makes it easy to find the course you want.
4. Academic Earth – Free
Academic Earth was launched with the mission that everyone worldwide could have free access to education. Similar to Edx, they offer recordings of live lectures of their classes with coursework and a syllabus. The only difference that I have found is that 100% of their classes are completely self-paced. Recently they have been adding some new courses outside of the typical classroom curriculum. There is one called “First Day of Freshman Year” that only lasts a few hours. This MOOC includes many top-notch schools as well, such as Yale, Harvard and MIT. All of their videos on YouTube. The one thing they don’t offer is a certificate for completing the course.
5. Khan Academy – Free
Khan Academy is nonprofit dedicated to providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. All classes are taught by one man named Salman Khan who uses an electronic blackboard to give lectures. While his classes aren’t taught in the traditional style of teaching like the other websites on this list, I personally have found Khan to be the best teacher I have ever had even though I’ve never met him. However, Khan stresses that his videos should only be used as supplements to a real university education.
6. Soundviewpro – Free
Author and Entrepreneur Fasial Soundviewpro with the idea that an entrepreneur is anyone who pursues an idea with a limited amount of resources. According to Fasial, by taking his courses you will not only take a journey in business but in life as well. Courses are taught by a wide array of different professors and include anything from leadership to Microsoft Excel. This MOOC is great for those looking to get ahead in their career or obtain an entrepreneurial mindset. There is currently no cost for taking the courses and a certificate can be obtained free of charge upon completion.
7. Stanford Online – Free
Stanford University is developing new online material to improve on-campus courses and create broader access to education. Some of their courses link back to Edx in the traditional university setting while others are developed specifically for online users. All classes run on schedule with assignments and a syllabus provided. There is currently no cost for attending courses provided by Stanford Online.
8. World Mentoring Academy – Free
For all types of education from Kindergarten to College courses, World Mentoring Academy could be what you’re looking for. Subjects that you might not find in the other MOOCs include learning a foreign language, deaf studies, professional certificates and graphic design. What’s more is that you have the potential to earn an actual bachelor’s degree as long as you pay for the taking the exam and materials. One student even earned a Bachelors from a Regionally accredited University in 6 mos for under $5,000 All courses are currently offered for free.
9. Allversity – Free
Allversity has designed their website to be a digital gathering place to bring people who love to learn together. Courses are very easy to track for progress with a wide range of classes available. Subjects include math, science, history, agriculture, entrepreneurship, life skills and more. Their materials are built to inspire and challenge and come at no cost. Some of the courses are drawn from the inspiration of Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy.
10. Open2Study – Free
The one great thing about Open2Study is that it makes it easy to collaborate with classmates. A discussion board is placed right below the videos with any questions that you may have. Courses includes entrepreneurship, nursing, health and more with classes being held all of the time. Each course is only 4 weeks long and not held in the traditional university setting and a wide variety of teachers. The 4-week course is great for those who quickly want to try a lot of new subjects.
11. OpenLearning – Free Except For Private Lessons
Founded in Australia, OpenLearning offers a wide variety of courses at no cost. Compared to the other MOOCs on this list, the subjects found on the OpenLearning website are much different than you’d find in a typical learning environment, such as pre-employment, blogging and travel writing courses. They also offer private courses for individuals looking to get extra help in areas such as writing, but these come at a small fee. This site is definitely worth checking out due to their difference in structure.
12. NovoEd – Free
NovoEd’s goal is to make online learning more collaborative and experiential. You not only have access to world-class professors from top-ranked universities, but also have the opportunity to work with students from all around the world on projects and assignments. This MOOC is great for those interested in peer-learning, and most of their courses are currently free.
13. Canvas.net – Free
Canvas.net provides many high-quality courses just like the others on our list but is unique because the majority of their courses don’t come from high-ranked universities. Some schools on their website include Seattle Central, Shoreline Community College and Florida Institute of Technology. This site may be for those who feel that they cannot endure the rigor of coursework found at top-ranked schools. All of their courses are currently open at no charge.
14. Udemy – Both Free and Charged Classes
Udemy is superb for those wanting to learn skills rather than simply taking courses. Some of the classes taught are Guitar, Adobe Photoshop and Video Game Creation. The only downside to this MOOC is that almost all of the courses require some sort of small tuition fee. I still consider it worthwhile to take a quick look at my favorite course: How to Build an App Without Coding. This course is absolutely free of charge.
15. FutureLearn – Free
FutureLearn is still in the testing phase but offers some great courses. If you’re looking to get a more “internationalized” education, the universities featured on their website come from many different countries. You will found courses that you wouldn’t find tin the typical American university, such as classes teaching about the history of King Richard. Currently all courses are free of charge.
16. Instreamia – Free
Note: This MOOC is no longer in service.
Instreamia focuses on courses taught in Spanish or Portuguese. If you only speak English, they offer 3 basic-level Spanish courses to catch you up to speed. The courses found on Instreamia are not of the best quality, as some the lectures consists of TED talks. However, there are some classes taught by Yale and Stanford professors among others. It’s worth taking a look at, especially if you’re looking to learn another language
17. Neodemia – Free
This Paris-based MOOC aims to help students obtain education at no cost. Being that it’s located in Paris, all of the courses that you find on the Neodemia website are in French. A great option for those who might not have English as their first language. The courses are currently very limited but are expanding very rapidly.
18. Udacity – Monthly Cost of $199
Udacity solely focuses on technology-related courses and gives classes in robotics, computer programming, app development, 3D graphics designing and more. In the past this website used to be free, but unfortunately it now costs $199 to sign-up per month. They offer a two-week free-trial for those wishing to test how good their courses actually are. Udacity uses a more hands-on approach in their learning by intertwining videos with small assignments. I personally recommend this for those interested in learning anything computer-related.
19. CodeSchool – Monthly Cost of $29
It could be argued that CodeSchool is not a MOOC since it only offers programming courses, but it made the list due to its excellent structure. Not only does CodeSchool provide you with an excellent curriculum, but also combines lecture with small assignments making it easy to learn quickly. The $29 monthly fee includes all course available on their webpage: Java, Mobile App Development, Python, etc. From personal experience and those looking to learn how to code, it wouldn’t hurt to take a free trial.
20. Virtual Linguistics Campus – Cost Per Course
Virtual Linguistics Campus (VLC) solely focus on linguistics in both the theoretical and applied sense. With their courses you can even obtain an online MA Web Development Certificate for Linguistics. Unfortunately, their courses are not free, making it not one of my personal favorites. Don’t confuse this resource with learning a second language.
Is it worth paying high tuition fees when you can get free education online? Is there another course you’d like to add to our MOOC list? Feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!
My name is Jason Wuerch and I'm currently located in Madrid, Spain running a personal finance blog called Frugal For Less. My goal is to help everyone and anyone willing to make and save money through easy and simple ways that don't require much effort. Just because you're frugal doesn't mean you have to give up life's luxuries.