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Students who would like to pursue an online education program can find several types of web-based courses and even degree-granting programs for free.
Several industries accept certificates and degrees earned through accredited online programs, regardless of the cost of the course. Some online education programs are free to participate in but charge students a fee to take the final exam and receive a certificate or degree. Free and low-cost online education standards are held up to the same standards as other accredited online and traditionally taught schools.
While the availability of online education programs has grown steadily in recent years, some fields are more prone to offer web-based education options than others. Along the same lines, students may only be able to work towards certain types of degrees or certificates through an online program according to the specific guidelines of their field.
Information about free online education resources is available online and through community and education centers that work with prospective students. Read on to learn more details about how to gain access to free online education programs in some of today’s hottest industries.
Students of computer science can find free and accredited online education programs offered by some of the world’s top universities and schools. Students today can find online computer science programs that grant Bachelor’s degrees after completing several semesters of work to short crash courses in programming or coding logic to get an idea of a new aspect of the field.
A popular intro course to computer science basics is provided completely for free online by Harvard University through edX, a web platform that offers hundreds of free university-level courses in a wide range of topics. Harvard’s course familiarizes students with CSS, HTML and PHP programming languages while also reviewing basic algorithmic and cording logic. Students can complete this course over nine sessions in as little as two weeks. To receive valid credit for the course, students must pay a small fee.
The University of Michigan also offers a beginner’s programming course to teach the basics of coding to interested students. It is specially designed for students who have no background in coding so that it can be accessible to the widest possible student base. Students are only required to have a basic understanding of mathematics as well. Students generally complete this course’s ten lessons in 20 to 40 hours.
People with some computer science and coding familiarity can benefit from more specialized free courses like the Introduction to Programming in Java offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This course is aimed at students who already know how to do basic code and who would like to develop their ability to use a new coding language in different settings.
MIT’s Java course lasts just 16 hours and includes seven lectures and seven interactive lab sessions. Other intermediate level programmers may enjoy enrolling in another of MIT’s free online programs, Introduction to C and C++ Languages. Like the Java course, this program teachers students with a basic understanding of coding how to better utilize C and C++ languages. Most students complete this 16 hour course including eight lectures and eight labs in about four weeks.
There are also several online education programs focused on helping students learn more about front-end web development and content production. While computer programmers and coders work on the backend of software development, designers and other website experience experts make the internet navigable and appealing to users.
Several free graphic and web design programs can be found online for both degree-seeking students and those just looking to learn a little more about a new subject.
Udemy is a popular web platform offering over 40 free and several low-cost web design and development courses. Students looking to learn more about Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator will find several options on Udemy. Students have rated Udemy highly for offering courses ranging from the beginner to expert level that incorporate the newest tech and software available today.
Students interested in learning how to create images or other visual content professionally can gain the skills and knowledge they need through one of these programs to gain a lucrative job or raise. Udemy’s free Introduction to Graphic Design course can be completed in just 12 lessons.
ALISON is another web-based education platform that offers a variety of graphic design courses focusing on photography and similar content. The Adobe Photoshop CS6 Essential Tools course is one of ALISON’s most popular program, teaching students basic photo retouching techniques and tools in eight free lessons.
Other popular ALISON courses include the Adobe KnowHow series, covering a range of beginner and intermediate level graphic design skills and techniques. Although studying through these programs can be free, students must usually have access to a paid version of Adobe to complete the course.
Students interested in studying business or marketing can also find a great deal options for online education programs. Education programs granting degrees and certificates at a wide range of prices can be found to study in these fields. Both basic introductory courses and specialty programs are available.
Learning more business or marketing skills can help students just beginning their careers and established professionals working towards developing their skills further. Many online business and marketing programs are free or available at a low cost.
For example, the University of Illinois has made the introductory course entitled “Marketing in a Digital World” free and open to the public. This course offers a general overview of how marketing affects the many elements of the digital world and vice versa. In this free course, students can expect to learn about how smartphones can be used to strengthen a market base to the innovation and potential behind 3D printing. Throughout 24 lessons, students will even learn how to best use these tools to sell their products and make an impact in their sector.
Several companies and private institutions offer short courses or certificate programs in marketing and business. The web company Copyblogger has published the popular free online course entitled “Marketing for Smart People”. Students who enroll in this program get a good overview of the basics of digital marketing, covering topics like copywriting, content strategy, search engine optimization and more. This program allows students to download over a dozen e-books on specific marketing topics to keep even once the course has been completed.
Beginners may prefer Buffer’s Social Media 101 course if they are specifically interested in learning more about the social media landscape and have little background in the area. This free course is ideal for the busy student who can only dedicate a few hours a week to their study, using weekly emails as the primary method of instruction.
Some form of online education program exists for most common fields of study in addition to those mentioned above. Students who would like to sharpen their skills in mathematics, learn Japanese or study advanced economics can all find some free web-based program to help them develop their comprehension or skillset. Anyone interested in finding a free online education program should look online for courses in their subject area or contact a nearby school or community center for guidance.