8 Universities With Great Open-Courseware Tech Programs

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As a tech professional, if you're looking to advance your learning but don't have the money or the time to enroll in an official course, online education may be a good option. More and more colleges are offering free courses online, including many prestigious institutions. Featuring some of the world's foremost authorities on subjects ranging from beginner courses in computer programming to advanced engineering and quantum electronics, these courses are available to anyone for free.

Finding them isn't always easy, so start with this list of some of the best resources available online today. Many of these websites include video recordings of lectures; however, lecture notes, interactive activities, tests and even free certificates are now being made available as well.

MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Open Courseware (OCW) website has 2,100 free courses online using a combination of lecture notes, audio, and video resources. Engineering courses cover just about every discipline, from aeronautics and astronautics to mechanical engineering and nuclear science.

If you're looking for computer science courses, you can find them in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science section. There are dozens of undergraduate and graduate courses in this section alone, ranging from Introduction to Computer Science and Programming to specific programming languages like Java and C++.

Advanced courses range from quantum electronics to nonlinear programming and organic optoelectronics.

Other courses include health sciences and technology, energy courses, hard science courses in chemistry and physics, energy courses.

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley offers online “webcast” courses in a range of departments from Biology to Asian American studies.

Although they are no longer releasing new content, webcasts posted during or before the spring 2015 semester will remain free to the public.

Check out their spread of computer science courses here. Note: to access these courses you must either use YouTube (if the course is uploaded) or iTunes U.

Berkeley also partners with edX, where their new free courses are featured.  

Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative (OLI) offers courses in a wide range of disciplines. Technical courses include engineering statistics, media programming, principles of computing and secure coding. Carnegie Mellon's OLI had had 45,000 course enrollments in 2013.

In addition to lectures, the website offers resources like learning activities, quizzes, and itemized lists of objectives. Like with most of these websites, there is no interaction with instructors, nor are course credits or certificates offered.

Harvard

Similar to other universities, Harvard offers a wide variety of free courses online through their Open Learning courses. Some are free; others charge tuition fees at reduced rates.

Course topics range from programming to data science to security and more. They also have a few offbeat ones, like Bits: The Computer Science of Digital Information, which you probably won’t find at other universities!

Stanford

Stanford Online offers a variety of free online courses to interested learners. Check their course list for the latest offerings, which are broken up into four categories: Upcoming & In Progress; Self-Paced & Self-Study; Professional Education; and Continuing Medical Education.

Available courses currently cover topics like software security, big data, computer science, computer networking, and more.

Notre Dame

The Office of Digital Learning at the University of Notre Dame equips faculty to develop online course materials for free public use. Currently, there are only five courses available (with a statistics course bearing the closest resemblance to anything tech), but keep an eye out for new offerings.

Open.Michigan

Created by the University of Michigan, Open.Michigan features a huge collection of courses, complete with syllabi and lectures.

One web design course (emphasizing software and coding) is available through UM-Flint.

Tufts

On the Tufts OpenCourseWare website, you’ll filter courses according to school. Tech-related courses can be found under the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Engineering (the latter offers one course on game development at the time of writing).

Conclusion

Open courseware has been hailed as the future of education around the world. It’s affordable, accessible, and (in most cases) as good a quality as you’d get attending the school “for real.” There’s no better time to start learning new skills.