Once in while you stumble on some really great online resources. If ever you need to brush off on your know-how, want to learn new skills or just want to broaden your horizon, then this list of online educational resources should keep you busy.
Full credit to Yoshitaka Shiotsu for putting it together.
Coursera tops many lists for good reason: With more than 25 million learners, 149 university partners, and 2000+ courses (at the time of this writing), it’s the largest MOOC provider on the market.
Like most MOOC providers, Coursera courses cover a broad range of disciplines and skills, from neural networks and deep learning, to web development and even painting. Courses are generally free, with the option to pay $40 to $150 for perks like graded assignments and certificates, called “specializations”, which can be used to bolster your resume.
Unlike most MOOC providers, Coursera also hosts online Masters degrees from accredited universities, such as the University of Illinois or HEC Paris. Imagine picking up a Master of Science in Accounting (iMSA) as you prepare to leave a traditional 9-to-5 job forever and launch a freelance accounting business. With Coursera, that’s a real possibility.
Eager to learn from top universities and industry leaders like Harvard, MIT, and Microsoft? edX is a non-profit open-source educational platform with 1600+ free online courses, 100+ university/industry partnerships, and more than 12 million learners (at the time of this writing).
Courses are free and upon completion you have the option to pay for a verified certificate. edX also has MicroMasters programs, which provide a series of graduate level courses you can take to earn credentials for your resume or to use as credit for participating universities. Whether learning web development from the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) or earning a MicroMasters in marketing analytics from UC Berkeley, edX is a portal to top-tier courses taught by world-renowned experts.
Founded in 2012 by Sebastian Thrun, the brain behind Google’s Self Driving Car, Udacity bills itself as a place where “lifelong learners come to learn the skills they need, to land the jobs they want, to build the lives they deserve.” If you want to learn from industry professionals from tech companies like Amazon, Google, and GitHub, Udacity is the MOOC for you.
Targeting working professionals, they are best known for their nanodegrees — paid certificates that are accepted by major tech companies as credentials for industry-specific skillsets such as data analyst, Android developer, or even machine learning engineer. While you’ll need to pay for graded projects and certificates, all the courses that make up a nanodegree are free.
FutureLearn is the largest MOOC in the United Kingdom, with more than seven million learners, 400+ courses, and 130+ partnerships with universities and institutions around the world. It’s owned and backed by Open University, a public distance learning and research university that pioneered the concept of a location independent education long before MOOCs became a buzzword.
FutureLearn uses the standard model of offering a wide variety of free courses with an option to buy a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the course. Students can gain academic credit at participating universities. They also provide fully online masters degrees in fields such as cybersecurity, information technology, and real estate via a partnership with Deakin University.
5. Khan Academy
Khan Academy’s founder Salman Khan is quick to point out that his nonprofit is not a MOOC. Founded in 2006, Khan Academy’s mission is to provide a place where “you can learn anything. For free. For everyone. Forever.” Khan Academy does not offer certificates, college credit, or paid programs. But they do have 6,500+ video lessons teaching a wide range of academic subjects for students of all ages, from kindergarten through college to adult learners.
You’ll find high-quality educational videos that cover everything from multivariable calculus to personal finance, to introductory courses on web development and data science.
6. Saylor Academy
If you’re looking for something like Khan Academy that’s a little more friendly for those looking for actual credits, Saylor Academy might be the online university for you. With 100+ courses, featured learning pathways (some leading to credits), and 22 full credit aligned courses, Saylor Academy is structured like a university with quizzes, assignments, and final exams.
From art history, to political science, to microbiology, there’s plenty to sate your intellectual curiosity. If you want to stick to programs best suited for business development, check out courses such as business administration, project management, and computer science.
Berlin-based iversity collaborates with universities, companies, and non-governmental organizations to provide high-quality educational content to more than 750,000 learners. Initially founded in 2011 (its MOOC service was launched in 2013), they are best known for being the first online educational platform to offer ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits.
Courses at iversity are available in both English and German, with some courses even supporting subtitles. There is a free Audit Track that gives students access to all course materials, access to the learner community forums, and a free statement of participation at the completion of any course. ECTS track, pro courses, and bundles are all paid, but can lead to a certificate of accomplishment and actual ECTS credits.
Open2Study is brought to you by Open Universities Australia, an educational platform that provides accredited online courses through a collaboration with Australian universities. The website divides courses into paid accredited courses that follow a traditional university curriculum structure, and free courses geared more toward freelancers and professionals looking to pick up new skills.
Courses consist of video lectures, supplementary reading materials, assessments, and quizzes. There’s an online classroom for interacting with other students, gamification via a reward badge system to encourage participation, and free certificates of completion for free courses. Whether you’re looking to learn to write for the web, polish up on your UX design, or even pick up an associate degree in engineering, Open2Study has the courses to help you reskill.
Initially launched in 2010, Udemy bills itself as a “global marketplace for learning and teaching online.” While most MOOC providers source content through corporate and university partners, Udemy also allows individuals to create their own courses and submit them for review. Udemy boasts an impressive library of more than 55,000 courses.
Udemy is a true marketplace, with both free and paid courses that range from $20 to $200. The variety of coursework is also not to be understated: You can learn everything from military hand-to-hand combat to playing the piano. Whether you’re looking to pick up a new programming language like Python, retrain for a career in digital marketing, or brush up on your copywriting, there’s a course for everyone at Udemy.
10. Cognitive Class
Cognitive Class (formerly known as Big Data University) is an IBM-backed MOOC provider that specializes in data science and cognitive computing. Blockchain, deep learning, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning were among some of the fastest growing skills for freelancers in 2017.
Cognitive Class courses are completely free, awarding IBM recognized badges and a certificate upon completion. Courses are organized into learning paths covering essential skills like Hadoop, Scala, Spark, and other data science fundamentals. If you’re looking to capitalize on the next wave of automation, Cognitive Class is for you.