Workplace Trends

Taking Advantage of Free Online College Courses?

By James Greenway on July 30, 2012

Our economy is driven by knowledge, discovery and innovation. It’s our responsibility to keep up with market changes through continuing education. And thanks to the proliferation of free, online courses offered to the general population by prestigious universities, it’s never been easier to access information that can keep you informed and relevant.

In his New York Times article “Top Universities Test the Online Appeal of Free,” Richard Pérez-Peña discusses the current trend of universities offering “massive open online courses” (MOOCs). While some universities have offered MOOCs for a few years, Pérez-Peña notes a recent development where 12 top-notch universities (including the University of Michigan, University of California – Berkeley, Stanford, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Virginia) recently joined forces to offer over 100 free courses through coursera.

These courses range from technology (Internet History, Social Network Analysis); to business (Smart Growth for Private Business, Gamification) to the humanities (Modern and Contemporary American Poetry). Most offer multimedia delivery, student-instructor interaction, free downloadable textbooks and a certificate of completion.

Here’s what continuing education can do for you:

• Increase your personal knowledge and let you investigate new fields
• Improve your work-related skill set – and possibly your career
• Demonstrate your initiative and commitment to career development
• Provide additional educational experience to add to your resume
• Help you prepare for a career change or explore post-retirement options

It’s never been easier to access advanced educational opportunities. Using these free, online courses, you can maintain your competitive edge without breaking the bank … or leaving your home.

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