ByFrancis Wolfgang Urban, writer at

You want to learn new skills?

You want to supplement your education?

Try The Open CourseWare Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Alison Learning Systems.

The OCW was funded and developed by MIT to further education to help both students and educators. In 1999, MIT Faculty considered how to use the Internet in pursuit of MIT's mission—to advance knowledge and educate students—and in 2000 proposed OCW. MIT published the first proof-of-concept site in 2002, containing 50 courses. By the beginning of November 2007, OCW completed the initial publication of most of the entire MIT curriculum, over 1,800 courses in 33 academic disciplines. (Courtesy of the MIT OpenCourseWare Project). Granted they do not actually grant free college credit, but do offer the lectures, quizzes and homework to further your education on your own.

Allison is like the OCW except with one difference, you can actually get the credentials (for a small fee for the diploma or course completion certificate) to help improve job skills or learn new ones. Learning is free, there are no per credit hour cost. so you can get all of the credentials you want, but if you wants it on paper, you have to pay for the diploma or certificate.

Alison has over 750 courses and you choose what you want to learn. I have already brushed up on my computer programming language skills in C and C++ and am now learning Accounting. I haven't bought the certificates yet, but I have passed the courses. To pass the assessments you have to get at least 80% on every test. Don't worry you cannot progress until you pass that test, so you are allowed to retake the test. Con you actually have to set up an account at Alison where the OCW you can learn anonymously. I plan on doing the Creative Writing Course next.

Check them both out. I would suggest using the OCW at MIT to supplement the courses on Alison. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Remember taking the course are free and will never cost anything to take them. Eventually you will want the certificates, so buy them as you can afford them.


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