Whether you are just getting started on your STEM journey or you are in the process of continuing your education, there are a lot of resources available to you on-line free of charge. Encouraging STEM education is a big part of this platform, thus I would like to highlight the various resources that are available to you. Among those resources are open courses from prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford and others which I will provide the links for below.
Before We Get Started
It should be noted that you can go on Youtube at any moment and search for videos on calculus, physics, circuit design, coding, or general engineering, etc. Honestly, you might find some great videos by doing that. Although, you could also find some videos that are not so great. It can be hit or miss. The content could be wonderful but the quality of the videos could also be a little off, or vise-versa. Another thing is that the setup of the videos and/or their instructions may not be organized in a progressive structure that helps to build a foundation for learning. Even after stating all of this, I still would not discourage anyone from learning or researching STEM topics on Youtube. It is one of the largest websites in the world. It is basically a search engine for videos where massive amounts of content is being loaded onto it’s platform every minute of the day. In addition, there are some great educators on that platform. I would also like to mention that Khan Academy is great resource for STEM videos. They offer a nice structure to their videos which helps their viewers build basic fundamentals before moving on to more challenging subjects.
What’s out there for you?
Let’s now take a moment to highlight the various prestigious universities and reputable organizations that also offer free courses on-line. Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Caltech are just a few of the universities that offer open courses. Keep in mind that most of these courses do not offer college credit unless an additional fee is paid (usually). These open courses are perfect for general lifetime learners or any individual who may be seeking continuing education on a particular subject. The experience is also great for those who may not be familiar with a college class setting but want to see what it is like in order to prepare for their future leading to a university track. The sites for these open courses are listed below. Class Central and OEDb.org are basically two search engines that can lead you to more open courses at other universities all over the world. You can use the search filters on either site to see if a particular university of interest is offering open courses.
Resources for Open Courses On-line
Carnegie Mellon Open Learning: Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning is unique in that it offers courses for students, and materials for instructors who wish to teach students. Although, it does provide a limited amount of open courses compared to some of the other sites.
Coursera: An interesting thing about Coursera is that it offers open courses from companies as well as universities. Google, Intel, and Amazon are a few of the companies that it offer courses from, while Duke and Columbia are a couple of the universities that also offer courses on its platform.
Class Central: As stated previously Class Central is a user-friendly search engine that allows you to search for courses and universities but it also allows you to search for e-learning websites.
EdX: EdX is one of the largest open online course providers and may be the most popular. It provides a ton of great resources and free computer programming courses. It was founded by Harvard and MIT but it now includes courses from other prestigious schools such as Boston University and Caltech.
FutureLearn: FutureLearn is an interesting site in that it offers courses to help improve academic knowledge and everyday skills such as budgeting, research, critical thinking, and job interview preparation.
Harvard Online: What can be said about Harvard that has not already been said. It’s one of the most prestigious schools in the world. Harvard online offers over 50 free open courses .
MIT OpenCourseWare: MIT offers a wide range of free courses but a text book may be required in order to follow the curricula. The textbook can either be purchased or downloaded. The archived courses can also be download and followed.
OEDb.org: As stated previously OEDb.org is a user-friendly search engine that allows you to search for courses.
OpenLearn: The thing that I like about Open learn is that it offers courses for differing skill and knowledge levels. It can be a great site for beginners or experts. The site also offers a statement of participation once a courses is completed. This can be an added benefit when showcasing skills to potential employers in the future.
Stanford Online: Standford’s site offers courses from their university as well as courses form other universities. The unique thing about Stanford’s open courses is that they offer Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits. These credits can be earned by completing certain courses free of charge.