I've said before and I'll say again that I believe the most important element in making the world better is education. A more educated global population can work together to develop solutions to the world's major problems. I also think that an educated person is more understanding, accepting, and compassionate towards others. It's wonderful that we live in a time when information is so accessible. There a lot of wonderful sites popping up around the internet that offer access to education courses. I encourage you to take a class. Learn something that will help make the world better, like
for someone in a homeless shelter,
, how to
for your favorite non-profit, or
This site has a wide range of university-level courses including business, literature, mathematics, and more. I like that all of the video lectures are available immediately, so you don't have to wait for a class to be live and they don't disappear when a course is over. Some users might miss the interaction that you get with participating along with other students while a course is happening. My favorite parts of this site are the
mix-and-matched from multiple courses, and the
featuring some really interesting topics.
Learning from our elders is the concept behind the Amazings. The site offers classes on craft techniques such as felting, knitting, and hair styling, all presented by teachers with "years of experience." The classes are not free, but are pretty affordable, and your first class is half off.
Canvas has a lot of really great course offerings from schools around the country. Offerings include courses on business, writing, social media, education, and more.
This site is great because it pulls courses in from a variety of sites, and categorizes them into subject groups similar to the way courses are organized by major universities. So if you want to focus on world history, there is a list of suggested courses from around the internet there waiting for you. A lot like a course catalog.
Coursera is my favorite of all the education sites, possibly because it was the first one I ever used. My experiences with it are what prompted me to seek out similar sites and ultimately to develop this list. Students are encouraged to participate in class forums while they experience lecture videos and course work. Content stops being available after the course ends. I'm especially looking forward to an upcoming course on the
If you're interested in learning some fine arts techniques such as water colors or drawing, you can check out CraftArtEdu. They also have some crafting classes like jewelry making, polymer clay, etc. Not all of their classes are free, but
This site offers a variety of classes on crafts such as jewelry-making, fine arts, cooking, and more. The classes vary in both time commitment and cost, but they do offer some
This is a great resource for homeowners or handymen/women who want to learn how to do certain home-improvement projects. There are also some great tutorials on gardening, automotive, crafts, and green living.
edX was created by Harvard and MIT. A lot of the courses on the site are offered through the founding schools and their colleagues. They offer a really great selection of higher education courses. Students are give the option to either audit the class, or to actually try for a certificate of completion.
The Goodwill Community Foundation created this wonderful resource for the under-served community. It's perfect for anyone who wants to learn basic computer and internet skills, improve their English, or write a resume.
The Khan Academy is a registered not-for-profit organization with a mission of helping people learn. Specifically, most of the video tutorials are to help people learn pre-university level math. The founder, Salman Khan, did a
about how he got started. To say I struggled in math would be a massive understatement. I really wish that this had been around when I was in high school. Here the video:
Learn that offers video tutorials on a lot of business and technology topics.
Lynda is actually not a free site, but they do offer a free 10-day trial. The courses available on the site are mostly design, development, and other tech-related fields.
This site isn't as well organized as some of the others, and the source of some of the course content is a little ambiguous, but it does seem to have some interesting lessons, including a lot of language courses (Italian, German, Russian, French, etc.) which, I've noticed, aren't available on a lot of the other sites. They don't seem to be complete courses, but are broken down into more manageable lessons.
This is an Australian-based site that offers a variety of university-level courses.
Novo features a lot of free courses, most of which seem to be in the fields of business and finance. They have a special course track for entrepreneurs.
Saylor is a great site if you want access to courses in the basics, like English composition, or calculus. They have a lot of courses for university level, as well as K-12 and professional development courses.
This is a robust site that features video tutorials and classes, mostly about design. Topics include advertising, music, publishing, film, food, and much much more.
Most of the courses available on Udacity are for web developers and the tech sector.
Help Others Get Access to Education
Even more important than these wonderful free course offerings is actually being able to access them. I hope you'll support these efforts towards global education, and seek out other ways to give education access to those who don't have it.
Today, the internet plays a huge role not just in the global education system, but almost every aspect of modern life. Communities without internet access are at a huge disadvantage.
is a non-profit organization working to bring access to those without, all around the world. Here's a quick video by founder Kosta Grammatis about why it is so important to get internet access to anyone without.
This is a really great site that connects those in need with potential lenders. You can browse through borrowers to find individuals who need assistance paying for their education. Most of the loans are small, and they ask lenders to pay only in $25 increments.
Library for all
with a goal of building digital library of ebooks and other learning materials, and providing access via low-cost ereaders to communities in need around the world. Thankfully, the campaign was successful and the organization is on its way to fulfilling that mission.