Education doesn’t exactly come cheap. But if you want to get a free pass to some of the best tech-related courses and events, you can go online. Many institutions and companies now organize and offer free tech-related educational classes, seminars, workshops, and conferences for people who have the time but not enough money on their hands. Here are some of the best places in the web to get free education:
What’s the connection between Godzilla and the bullet train? Care to know about how technology figures in American History? How does cyberculture relate with Anthropology? How can technology enable creative learning? If you crave the answer to these thought-provoking questions, then log on to MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), a web-based publication of all MIT undergraduate and graduate course content. There’s no limit to the materials you can download for free, and this includes syllabi, quizzes, readings, assignments, video lectures, and other study materials. You also have the option to purchase some of the required books, but lecture notes are available without restrictions.
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» Free Webcast: Strategic Thinking: Social Media + Social Business Strategy
Business and tech blogs are great sources of free information, including webinars where industry leaders are given the opportunity to share specialized information. These webinars are not only about the company’s products but also about relevant topics for most professionals interested in that wide space where business and technology meet. Examples are RingCentral’s free webinars with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and social media guru Jason Falls and the free weekly Office 365 webinars over at Office Blogs. Check out your favorite company blogs to see if they offer free online seminars.
If you want to get serious about your tech education, visit Coursera, a company that partners with the world’s top universities and organizations to bring you free online education taught by top notch professors. In Coursera, get the opportunity to connect with a global community of students and master new material via interactive exercises. If you opt for regular or free enrollment, you’ll have to complete the projects, take quizzes, and/or watch the online videos in order to receive a certificate or statement of accomplishment. However, this standard certificate of accomplishment will not be able to attest to your identity. Select courses offer an optional paid “Signature Track” where you can earn a Verified Certificate or official recognition from participating universities and Coursera upon completion of the course.
P2PU brings the fun in web learning in this peer-to-peer online community where you can work alongside other learners, get help from mentors, or offer your tech knowhow to those in need. Challenges include CSS Bliss & Beyond, Programming with the Twitter API, Learn Drupal, Python Programming, Beginning Game Development with HTML 5, and others.
Conferences are a great way to learn from the best of the best in the industry. Unfortunately, a lot of these events may not happen within your locale. Livestream lets you attend these live events through its free online service. Event owners are given software and hardware tools to share their events, while viewers can watch these events online. Some tech-related conferences hosted on Livestream are Start SF, HP Discover, and Internet Week NY. If you also want to gain access to webcasts from Microsoft, CNET, the Verge, and other leading companies and commentators in the tech world, simply sign up for Livestream.
Have you tried these sources of free education? What was your experience like? What other sources of free tech-related education do you know? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.