Why are online education courses free popular?

Online education courses free began in 2008. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) is another term for online education courses free. By 2012, the academic world began taking this concept more seriously. This has led to the rise and popularity of online courses. Previously only available to large learning institutions, the delivery tools are now available to anyone interested in developing and publishing an online course.

According to Global Industry Analysts, Inc., the online education industry is expected to surpass $240 billion by 2021.The online education industry brought in over $107 billion in revenue in 2015. Both the commercial and academic worlds contributed to the growth and delivery of knowledge on the Internet. The desire for knowledge, computer-aided multimedia and Internet delivery has paved the way for online education courses free.

Historical marker in front of historic site.Instructors are free to teach online courses on any subject of interest

This income earning potential opens the door to instructors who want to create, deliver and sell online education courses free. Of course, not all the courses available online are free. Instructors could earn income from specialized knowledge that people may want to learn. Teachers can create educational content around their expertise in subjects that interest them with a few basic tools. Both paid and online education courses free can be accessed by all students with a mobile phone.

Key elements of online education courses free

These courses are purposely designed courses. Anyone can enroll in an online course for the masses. They are participatory and distributed on a large scale. Online education courses free support lifelong networked learning.

Previously, colleges and universities were big players in the online education world. Using the available technology, colleges were able to develop and offer online courses. Traditional academic subjects were delivered using video, audio, PowerPoint slides, downloadable handouts and built-in quizzes. Today, these tools are more widely available.

Entrepreneur-led courses developed on platforms designed for non-college professors are unable to offer students who complete these courses college credit. Enrolling students will complete these courses for their own knowledge without receiving college credit or a degree.

 This means that there are more opportunities for non-college professors to create, teach, develop and deliver courses of interest to anyone. Since these courses aren’t for credit, prospective teachers have the freedom to create and teach many different non-academic topics. Entrepreneurial teachers should… 

  • know your topic
  • have the desire to share your knowledge and experience with motivated and interested students
  • present your course well

These courses are offered on-demand. Students signing up for these courses will have immediate access to all course materials. Since there are no set times when these courses occur, students have the freedom to learn at their own pace. Instead of teaching these courses at a given date at time, prepared materials teach the course. On-demand course instructors can also make themselves available to address student questions and concerns any time that is convenient for both the instructor and the student.

How to create an online education course 

The first step is to choose a topic that you are passionate about enough to share this knowledge with others. Think about your skills, talents, life and work experiences. Topics with which you are passionate about, have experience with and are knowledgeable about will make good choices for your initial course topic.

The next step would be to conduct several market research tests to determine the market demand of your prospective audience for your selected topic. Some questions to answer yes to are people talking about it? Are people asking questions about it? Is there a gap in what the competition is offering? A yes answer to all three questions and an idea that is similar but different to other courses already published may lead to becoming a best-selling course.

Historical peeps on display at an historical site.Determining who the students are for your online course is an important step

Clearly explain learning outcomes using measurable verbs, so that students will know what to expect when enrolling in the course. Otherwise, the online course created could severely risk the reputation of the teacher and the course’s bottom line. This is the best way to avoid experiencing frustrations when creating the course. If students don’t know how the course will help them, then they won’t want to enroll in the course.  

The next step is to create a course outline. To help organize the course, think in terms of modules and lessons. A module would be the overall subtopic, with the lessons providing the details of that subject.

Next, decide the best methods to deliver course lessons. The trick is to determine what format is best to explain the subject. Lesson delivery lesson choices include text, worksheets, video, audio, checklists, infographics and other ways of delivering quality information to students. Review your course presentations to ensure a high quality of lesson delivery to students. Remove all errors or glitches before finalizing the course for delivery to students.

There are many platforms out there that teachers can use to post course lessons. For example, teachers can create a website to host and deliver the course to enrolled students. There are membership site scripts and WordPress plugins that can be used to help set up a system for selling and delivering online education courses free. For faster, less technical effort, you can use an online course service. Teachers can upload their courses and the online course service takes care of selling it to their members/market, including payment processing. The downside is that they own the market and platform. In addition, teachers going this route are competing with other course providers. This means that in order to remain competitive, instructors must lower the price of their course offerings. Here is a link to some recommended online course services.

The three major ways to sell online courses are…

  • Online course marketplaces
  • Learning management systems
  • Plugins or software on your website

There will always be a need to promote the course regardless of which way the course is delivered to students. Start by creating a marketing plan that includes the targeted market, where this market is found and how to encourage prospective students to learn more about the course offerings. Course marketing options include social media, article and blog marketing. Another way to market courses is through PPC advertising such as Facebook ads. There are many other free and low-cost marketing options.

Finally, teachers and instructors should ensure that course information is current, relevant and up-to-date. Outdated information doesn’t help students and can lead to bad reviews. Broken links to resources should also be monitored and fixed.

What are the different free online courses?

There are 107 online education courses free university courses from the best universities in the United States including Princeton, Harvard and Yale. Coursera courses and edx courses review are two online learning sites that let students audit classes from well-known universities like Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Course topics vary. Some topics include social justice, food science, business management and structural engineering. After paying additional course enrollment fees, these institutions will offer assignments, tests, final grades and course certificates of completion.

Online education courses free from Coursera courses and edx courses review are making it possible for anyone to access high-quality education. These free and low-priced courses are taught by instructors from the best universities and academic institutions around the world. Anyone can use these online education courses free to help with professional goals, receive continuing education in subjects of interest or just enroll in a course to satisfy personal interest. These online education courses free also offer in-depth specializations from committed students. After completing these courses, students will develop the professional skills that are in demand in today’s career marketplace.

Coursera courses and edx courses login allow any student to audit any course for free. Students receive access to course materials and can listen to course lectures presented by distinguished professors and instructors. For an additional $40 to $160, students completing the course can receive an edx certificate. This edx certificate may be included on a resume or LinkedIn profile.

Expanded access to Coursera ceu courses include assignments, tests and a final grade after paying an additional fee of  between $29 to $99 per course. More information on Coursera paid courses free download is available at www.courseara.org specializations.

Princeton University

Princeton University offers online education courses free in Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies, Computer Architecture, Effective Altruism and Imagining Other Earths. Other courses include Making Government Work in Hard Places, The Art of Structural Engineering and Global History of Capitalism.

Harvard University

Online courses offered from Harvard University include Contract Law, Science and Cooking, Data Science, the Opioid Crisis in America, Computer Science for Business Professionals and Masterpieces of World Literature.

University of Chicago

Some Coursera ceu courses from the University of Chicago include Critical Issues in Urban Education, Internet Giants and Understanding the Brain. Edx courses are Modeling Climate Change and Critical Issues in Urban Education.

Yale University

Yale University Coursera free courses are Introduction to Negotiation, A Law Student’s Tool Kit, Essentials of Global Health, the Global Financial Crisis, The Science of Well-Being and Financial Markets.

Columbia University

Columbia University offers Construction Management Specialization, Artificial Intelligence, The Age of Sustainable Development, Demand and Supply Analytics,  Analytics and Statistical Thinking for Data Science and Analytics.


Online education courses free from MIT edx courses are Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science, Circuits and Electronics, Just Money, Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python through edx courses Python, Supply Chain Analytics and Design Thinking for Leading and Learning. 

Stanford University

Stanford free online courses are Algorithms Specialization, Social and Economic Networks, Organizational Analysis, Stanford Introduction to Food and Health, International Women’s Health and Human Rights, Child Nutrition and Cooking.

University of Pennsylvania

Free online courses from the University of Pennsylvania are Robotics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Programming for the Web with JavaScript, Intellectual Property Law and Policy, Business Analytics Specialization, Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society, Business Foundations Specialization, Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content and Foundations of Positive Psychology Specialization. 

Duke University

Coursera courses from Duke University are Excel to MySQL: Analytic Techniques for Business Specialization, Behavioral Finance, Dog Emotion and Cognition, Think Again IV: How to Avoid Fallacies, Sports and Society and Programming Fundamentals.


Free online training is available from Caltech in Drugs and the Brain, Principles of Economics with Calculus, The Science of the Solar System, Getting Started in Cryo-EM, Pricing Options with Mathematical Models and The Evolving Universe.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College offers free online courses for adults. These are Omnichannel Strategy and Management, The Engineering of Structures Around Us, Retail Fundamentals, Introduction to Environmental Science, Retail and Omnichannel Management Professional Certificate and Question Reality! Science, Philosophy and the Search for Meaning.

Johns Hopkins University

Study at home courses for free are offered from Johns Hopkins University. These include Data Science Specialization, Toxicology 21: Scientific Applications, Mastering Software Development in R. Specialization, Major Depression in the Population: A Public Health Approach, Systems Thinking in Public Health, Health for All Through Primary Health Care and Design and Interpretation of Clinical Trials. 

Northwestern University

Coursera courses from Northwestern University  are Content Strategy for Professionals Specialization, Social Media Marketing Specialization, Modern Robotics, Organizational Leadership Specialization, Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare and Scaling Operations: Linking Strategy and Execution.

Brown University

Brown University offers Fantastic Places, Unhuman Humans: Exploring Humanity Through Literature, The Ethics of Memory and Artful Medicine: Art’s Power to Enrich Patient Care.

Cornell University

The edx courses review at Cornell University are A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations, Introduction to Global Hospitality Management, Wiretaps to Big Data: Privacy and Surveillance in the Age of Interconnection, The Computing Technology Inside Your Smartphone, Sharks! Global Biodiversity the Science and Politics of the GMO.

Rice University

Rice University offers DNA: Biology’s Genetic Code, Investment and Portfolio Management Specialization, Proteins: Biology’s Workforce, Communication Skills for Engineers Specialization, Electricity and Magnetism, Finance for Non-Finance Professionals and Introduction to Mechanics.

Vanderbilt University

Free online university courses at Vanderbilt University are Leading Innovation in Arts and Culture, Android App Development Specialization, Understanding the Music Business: What is Music Worth, Business Essentials for Managers Specialization, Online Games: Literature, New Media and Narrative, Justice, Mercy and Mass Incarceration and Data Management for Clinical Research.

What are the best online education courses free?

There are over 8,000 massive open online education courses free from around 750 universities worldwide. Coursera free courses is the top provider and there are 9 edx courses in Class Central’s top 50 list of the best online courses to take. Stanford free online courses and MIT top the list with four course offerings each. The University of Cape Town offers three courses – two on FutureLearn and one on Coursera. Barbara Oakley and Terry Sejnowski are two instructors of the most popular online education courses free in the world. Their new course Mindshift joins Learning How to Learn.

Top technology best free online courses

  • An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python
  • Coding in your Classroom, Now!
  • Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists
  • Introduction to Programming with MATLAB
  • Programming for Everybody
  • Machine Learning
  • Learn to Program: The Fundamentals
  • Creative Applications of Deep Learning with TensorFlow
  • Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: From Nand to Tetris
  • Programming Languages, Part A
  • The Analytics Edge
  • Algorithms: Design and Analysis, Part 1
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Functional Programming Principles in Scala
  • Introduction to Computer Science
  • Cryptography I
  • Artificial Intelligence for Robotics
  • Algorithms, Part I
  • Intro to Computer Science
  • Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python
  • Circuits and Electronics 1: Basic Circuit Analysis

Sciences study at home courses for free

  • Mountains 101
  • What Is a Mind?
  • Introduction to Dynamical Systems and Chaos
  • Introduction to Complexity
  • Understanding Dementia
  • Medical Neuroscience
  • The Science of the Solar System
  • Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics
  • Extinctions: Past and Present
  • Model Thinking
  • Introduction to Engineering Mechanics
  • The Science of Everyday Thinking
  • Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology
  • Introduction to Biology – The Secret of Life
  • Calculus One

Business free online courses

  • Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects
  • Aprender
  • Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
  • Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World
  • Marketing in a Digital World
  • Preparing to Manage Human Resources

Humanities free online university courses

  • Modern & Contemporary American Poetry
  • A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment
  • Justice
  • The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future
  • Introduction to Dutch
  • Tsinghua Chinese: Start Talking with 1.3 Billion People
  • Moralities of Everyday Life
  • Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance

Free online courses with printable certificates

Online education courses free can lead to new career and educational opportunities. Adding new knowledge and skills to a resume may attract the attention of employers. Free online courses with qualifications open doors to increased responsibilities in a current position. This helps to pave the way for future promotions and/or an increase in salary. Completing free courses online with certificates demonstrates motivation, discipline and curiosity to an employer. 

Employers put a high premium on using the knowledge gained from online education courses free for on-the-job tasks leading to improved job performance. Some online courses require students to complete practical hands-on projects. Completing free online computer courses with certificates demonstrates a lifelong commitment to learning and professional development. In a survey of people who had completed free online courses with certificates, 72 percent reported career benefits and 61 percent said they’d received educational benefits.

Three suggestions to maximize the benefits of free online training

  1. Choose wisely – Research the available course offerings. Find a course on a topic of interest. Some courses offer project-based work that can be used to demonstrate competence to a current or future employer.
  2. Limit the number of course enrollments – Taking one course at a time boosts successful completion rates. Be realistic about the amount of time spend on course study. A self-paced course might be a better lifestyle choice than one with a set schedule. Plan out the self-study schedule.
  3. Commit to the process – Practicing good time-management skills helps to reduce stress and maintain enthusiasm for continuing and completed the selected course of study.

Six companies that offer free online courses with certificates

  • OnlineDegree.com – Offers a wide selection of first-year college courses without paying tuition, applying or taking entrance exams. Certified transcripts are available for all completed courses with a passing grade. These free online college courses for credit are available with schools such as Ashworth College and Southern New Hampshire University in certain associate and bachelor’s degree programs.
  • Saylor Academy – Saylor is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. There are more than 70 free self-paced online education courses free in 17 different areas. Passing a course’s final exam with a grade of at least 70 percent earns a free certificate of completion.
  • Open2Study – Based in Australia, Open2Study offers free online courses with certificates if the average score for a course is at least 60 percent. There are almost 50 courses in a wide range of areas. Each course runs over a period of four weeks.
  • Aquent Gymnasium – Aquent focuses on courses for digital, creative and communications professionals. There are nine free online courses on topics such as web design and content development. A score of at least 85 percent on the final exam earns the student a free certificate of excellence.
  • Oxford Home Study College – Located in the United Kingdom, this college offers 15 free online courses for adults with certificates of completion. Course offerings center on business management. Fashion design and public relations courses are also available.
  • Stanford Online – Stanford free online courses are taught by Stanford faculty. Some (but not all) are free. Though completion criteria for each course varies, some courses offer a Statement of Accomplishment to those who meet certain criteria for these online education courses free. 

Here is another resource to find free online courses.

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