A single college course can cost hundreds of dollars, and add to that the mandatory books and other materials that an instructor will require students to get for a class and you are looking at a pretty hefty chunk of change.
If you are interested in learning about a certain academic subject, but do not necessarily need to earn college credit for it, you don’t have to go any further than your own computer. OpenCourseWare is a virtual learning environment that provides course materials created by universities. While usually the opportunity to learn from institutions of higher education requires admission and payment, these course materials won’t cost a cent as they are shared freely over the Internet. According to the OpenCourseWare Consortium, an open license allows CourseWare to be available for use and adaption, although it does not provide access to instructors or allow for any type of formal certification, degree, or credit.
These high quality university-level OpenCourseWare materials are developed by professors and give self-directed learners the freedom to work through educational materials at their own pace and in their own way. With top-notch institutions of higher education like Yale University making it possible for a free Ivy League education to be available to anyone at anytime, there is no excuse to not educate yourself. Through Open Yale Courses, independent learners can browse through free educational materials, including numerous liberal arts courses like humanities, social sciences, and biological and physical sciences.
These digital publications of educational materials are usually organized as courses, which may include thematic content, course planning materials, and evaluation tools. MIT OpenCourseWare offers courses on everything, from scientific subjects, such as physics, biology, and chemistry, to those that fall into the realm of humanities, like history, literature, and even foreign languages. Usually, OpenCourseWare courses contain the same type of curriculum that is taught in the actual courses given at the university, meaning they reflect the same instruction and materials.
Want to get a sneak peek on what goes on in a biology class? With OpenCourseWare, you can watch or listen to the lectures of prestigious professors just by downloading video or audio files. You might even have the option to access lecture handouts so you can follow along. Reading assignments are often posted as well, including research articles, online resources, class handouts, and selections from required text. If after going through lectures and readings you want to put your knowledge to the test, all you have to do is download a PDF to print out assignments, quizzes, and exams, as well as the solutions keys to check your answers. Whether you need to refresh your memory of a certain subject, acquire a new skill, or just love to learn about new things, OpenCourseWare is an easy way you can enrich your educational experiences.
Did you enjoy this article?