Of great importance in the life of every person - of any age and any profession - is self-education. But the amount of information available today is so large that it can easily be confusing. If you want to understand a specific topic, you do not need to read dozens of books and open many tabs in an Internet browser - just look for good online courses.
What should you know about online courses?
After viewing several online courses, unfortunately, it is unlikely to fully master the entire selected area of knowledge: each area is too vast to fit into several video lessons. Online courses are more suitable for general familiarization with the topic, for example, before entering a university or for studying some narrow direction.
Range of online courses
Online courses are significantly different from each other, even if they are taught by the same person or university. In general, courses are divided into suitable for self-education and studying, similar to studying a subject with a mentor.
- The first version of online lessons is often free, requires discipline and organization, like all self-education in general. Their program rarely includes checking homework and conducting projects, since a large number of people enroll in such courses. During the courses, practical classes are held and progress is present, but the responsibility for assessing their own work lies with the students themselves.
- Courses in the second category are often paid, as they include intensive classes and a more rigorous assessment framework. The difference in this category is that the program includes the implementation of projects, homework and their evaluation. Such courses are suitable for people who do not want to spend hours reading many books and other sources, but want to quickly go through and learn new material. Sometimes it’s better to pay and take one online course than to search for the necessary information on different sites or in books for several months. Often the payment is not for the course, but for the certificate that students receive after passing.
Most Popular Online Course Portals
The following are the popular online course portals. Please note that partner university programs are described here, that is, educational institutions themselves are not taken into account.
- Official website: en.coursera.org
- Partners: Columbia University, CalTech, Stanford University, MIT, Yale, Duke University.
This is one of the largest self-education platforms in the world - on the site you can find courses on any topic of interest. The platform is ideal for those who know English or Chinese : you will find about 1000 different options for online lessons. Accordingly, it is not always possible to find exactly the course that interests you, and not all courses are free. However, lectures often come with subtitles in other languages, so programs of interest can also be viewed in English.
The site is an interactive educational site, and not a regular portal with many online lectures. After registration, the user quickly finds the course of interest due to the tooltips. In your personal account it is easy to track the progress of education and see the points received for successfully completed courses. This site is a project of a young businessman Salmon Khan who has 3 MIT diplomas and a Harvard degree.
- Official website: edx.org
- Partners: Harvard University , Caltech, MIT , Berkeley University, Paris Sorbonne University, Cornell University.
One of the most popular online portals with more than 4 million registered users. A big plus of the site is that absolutely all courses are free, but in some cases you will have to pay an average of $ 60 to $ 100 for a certificate of completion.
Official website: openculture.com.
On this portal you can find information in any field in different formats. The user is offered a huge selection: audio books, films, articles, links to useful online lectures. The big drawback is the ability to stumble on advertising, although the site honestly informs users that the links are sponsored. But the source is one of the most informative among such sites.
- Official website: futurelearn.com
- Partners: Monash University , Kings College, Lancaster University, the University of Birmingham
The site collaborates with British universities, which distinguishes it from the aforementioned colleagues. Courses on the portal are free, and their choice will please any user. The advantage of the site is its interface - very convenient and pleasant to use.
- Official website: iversity.org
- Partners: Autonomous University of Madrid , Bremen University of Jacobs, the University of Hamburg, the University of Padua.
The programs of this portal are mainly associated with European universities . Most courses are free, but for an advanced course - for example, with the implementation of projects, evaluation of work, etc. - you have to pay. For passing paid programs, ECTS points (academic credits) are awarded, which will greatly help if you plan to enter a European university.
Finding the right information on the site is not easy. In general, the site offers education in approximately 400 courses in different languages ( English, Spanish, German ).
- Official Website: novoed.com
- Partners: Yale University, Cornell University, Oxford University, Princeton University, MIT , Johns Hopkins University , Stanford University.
A big plus of the site is the lack of the need to register, free access to lectures from Ivy League universities. The site covers a huge number of different subjects and topics, but many links lead to the university website, where you can see the information you need only for money.
- Official Website: openlearning.com
- Partners: Taylor University, Open University of Malaysia, University of New South Wales.
On the site you can find about 500 various educational courses. The essence of the portal is not in cooperation with universities, but in the coordination of students who are eager to study. Programs are usually offered to users by small academies, organizations or individuals, and reviews and lecturer ratings help you decide which program to choose. The advantage is that the courses are free, but students will have to track their own progress themselves.