There are few costs more daunting than a college education. With at least four years of tuition payments, boarding costs, book costs, and so much more, higher learning can come with a hefty price tag. Moreover, as college tuition rates skyrocket and student loan debt is at an all-time high, many parents and students alike are worried about the financial burden of a college education. Thankfully, as educational technology elements grow and expand, there are more and more options for powerful learning experiences online.
Not terribly long ago, online education and the digital classroom were frowned upon and thought of as a lesser learning option to the tradition brick and mortar schoolhouse. However, today online education and the online classroom have become accepted and celebrated platforms for obtaining a college education and even elements of the primary learning experience. To save on tutoring and to supplement your learning, consider these three free options for extended learning.
- Open Courseware
As online universities and online college classes become more mainstream, many colleges throughout the world adapted free online versions of their classes available to anyone. Open courseware is a revolutionary step for the world of higher academia and an important step for education as a whole. Some of the most prominent and well-renown universities in the country offer open courseware options of their actual on-campus classes. This means that anyone with computer and internet access can also access classes at MIT, Stanford, Harvard, and many many more. MIT offers one of the most extensive course catalogs for open courseware with free classes in biology, chemistry, engineering, computer science, literature, political science, history, and many others. Students can use this material to learn about new subjects, supplement their knowledge on one specific topic, or use as a tutoring service in problem subjects.
- TED Talks
TED talks are a wonderful resource for learning new things and inspiring new ideas. With thousands of videos on every educational topic you can imagine, TED talks offer unique and truly exciting learning experience. Living up to its motto, TED talks really do offer ideas worth spreading. Students (or non-students) can watch a 15 minute video on mental illnesses, language, computer technology, education, dreams, or the climate. These videos are given by experts and innovators within their fields. Use these videos to discover new interests and learn more about specific topics. TED is great for intellectual and educational inspiration and stimulation. Watching a quick video can be an engaging educational experience for busy college students, stay-at-home moms, uninspired high schoolers, and anyone else.
- Khan Academy
Khan Academy is the next big thing in digital learning and modern education. Offering video lectures and lessons on topics in math, science, computer science, finance, economics, and humanities, Khan can be a great educational supplement or academic staple. With the advent of Khan Academy video lectures, the concept of the flipped classroom has taken academia by storm. Students are able to watch video lectures at home at their own pace and then do "homework" assignments in the classroom with their teachers. Khan is completely free to use and anyone with access to the internet can watch lectures on the academic subjects offered. Many students have found more success with video lecture lessons than in-person tutoring because they can pause, rewind, and fast forward whenever they need to. Use these lectures as a way to tutor students in problem areas or learn more about subjects that really interest you.
is a freelance education writer and blogger. She loves to dabble in a variety of education topics, although her main interests include online learning and trends. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.