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5 Great Sites for Free Online Learning

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I was always taught that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but apparently there is. If by “lunch”, you mean food for your mind.  There are thousands of free online sources of education material being posted for anyone and everyone to take advantage of. If you’re looking to get a first-rate education for free, check out some of these resources (I’ve been doing the same this weekend, and I gotta say, I’m amazed at the quality and diversity of resources out there!)

1. Academic Earth

Over 3,500 video lectures by professors at America’s top universities, Academic Earth gives you (free) access to some of the best and brightest minds in America. You can take one of more than 125 full-length courses, or just enjoy a few ‘on-off’ lectures. My favorite so far? Why not?

2. Open Culture

It calls itself the best free cultural & educational media on the web, and that’s no exaggeration.  The content on Open Culture is nothing short of dizzying: 2,700 lectures, 270 audio books, more than 100 ebooks in 37 different languages.

3. MIT Video Lectures

Who cares if you don’t have the grades, the money or the wherewithal to get into MIT. All you need to get an education at one of America’s preeminent universities is a computer and an ISP. That’s because MIT makes available thousands of its lecture notes, exams, and videos for free online, and there’s not even a registration form to complete.

4. iTunesU

Download the newest Top 40 hit? $.99

Access more than a quarter of a million free lectures, videos, films, and other resources from universities and think tanks around the world? Priceless.

Check out iTunes U for more info and to start learning for free. (Come on, you know you’re getting tired of your old playlist anyway!)

5. About.com’s Guide to Distance Learning has an extensive list here of some of the best (or at least the most unusual) free online learning environments on the web. I love this site for all things “online learning,” so definitely check it out if you are thinking of starting, finishing or just continuing your degree outside of the traditional classroom.

Do you have a favorite source for free, college-level, online learning — whether for credit, or just your own edification? Share a link in our comments section. We’d love to hear from you.

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