Today hardly anything is free, especially when it comes to pursuing higher education. But Open courseware (OCW) programs have been quietly changing that since the late 90s. OCW courses are developed by universities, then collected and uploaded to a website accessible to anyone worldwide.
Though these courses don’t involve real time professor to student communication, deadlines, required assignments, or credit, the classes are free and allow people the flexibility to start and stop whenever they wish. OCW makes education a viable option for self-learners and those who lack the time or resources to take traditional classes. And an increasing number of top colleges around the globe are contributing OCW courses, which means OCW offers fairly expensive content completely for free.
OCW courses can be used to:
- Enhance personal knowledge
- Compliment a current course
- Plan a course of study
- Explore areas outside of your professional field
- Review basic concepts in your professional field
- Prepare for future course study
- Keep current with industry developments
- Gain knowledge to complete a work-related project or task
- Help bridge the transition to universities for first generation college students
Free classes that occur both offline and online are also offered by numerous community organizations:
- Mi Casa provides free classes, including financial fitness workshops and computer literacy.
- Denver Public Libraries offers free computer workshops.
- G.O.A.L Academy provides free, guided online academic learning that assists high school students aged 14 to 21 in earning their high school diploma, and also provides free online college courses and workforce certifications.