Following along with an online class may not be exactly the same as sitting in the auditorium and watching a live lecture. You’ll also miss out on the experience of labs and the free course material doesn’t help you earn credits, but if you’re interested in furthering your education you can do so with free college classes online at MIT. In all, more than 1900 courses are available for free at the “OPENCOURSEWARE” (OCW) website. Classes are organized by topic, and everything they offer is right there for no cost.
Of course, there are limits to taking free college classes online. You’ll still need to find access to textbooks and you won’t earn credits toward a degree. What you can do is learn more about any subject you’re interested in, or you can compare the curriculum of your own college classes with the counterpart being offered at one of the world’s most exclusive and academically challenging universities.
The internet makes copying and distributing information easy at practically zero cost, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing according to some people who make their money selling information. In particular, the music industry hasn’t been too happy with unpaid copying and mass distribution of their works, but some others are embracing the technology to increase demand through brand recognition. And MIT has plenty of brand recognition and no need to worry about free access diminishing demand for their actual degree: Everyone knows that an MIT degree is going to get you far in the science and business fields. Instead of discouraging people from pursuing that goal, it will probably make more than a few realize “Hey, I could pass this class!”
Know any other colleges that provide free course material online? Let us know, share your favorite online classes in the comments below!