Introduction To Creative Thinking

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Free Online Courses Through the OpenCourseWare Project

Employees who want to advance their career or students who want to supplement their college education can do so through cheap online courses.

Learning never goes out of style. However, education can be an expensive venture for those who would like to attend institutes of higher learning such as MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Carnegie Mellon, Tufts University or the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Well, there is a way that will allow eager students to partake in courses offered by such prestigious institutes, but without the associated high-dollar cost. In fact, they can take a variety of courses for free.

OpenCourseWare Concept Comes to Life

OpenCourseWare Concept Comes to Life

It all started about ten years ago when many colleges were trying to figure out how to integrate online learning into the school curriculum and make money doing it. Instead, MIT faculty members proposed that classes be offered for free. Once funding was obtained, the concept was placed in motion.

The first 50 classes were offered in 2002, and today the school has reached the 2000-class mark. It is virtually the entire curriculum. In the meantime, many universities and colleges have followed, including schools in Europe and Asia.

What OCW Can and Cannot Offer to Students

Naturally, OCW cannot replace, nor does it offer, a four-year degree or any type of certificate program. Yes, students can read the assigned books, watch the lectures, even take the tests, but without paying tuition, they will not receive a degree. However, they can learn much from courses such as MIT’s Mechanics and Design of Concrete Structures or Introduction to Project Management from the University of California at Irvine.

What OCW offers to employees is the opportunity to learn at a college level without the high cost of education. These courses can supplement other classes that students are already enrolled in, offering different perspectives as well as more in-depth knowledge and advanced-level learning without the cost or the pressure of passing the class.

Another benefit from partaking in OCW courses is the benefit of having access to the course materials. Many programs allow access to video lectures, tests, presentations, lecture notes, reading lists and more. It provides participants with everything they would get in the regular course except for the student-professor interaction and credit toward graduation.

How Employees and Students Can Access OpenCourseWare Classes

Because of the abundance of free courses currently available across the internet, it can become overwhelming to choose. So one of the best ways for students to start a search for the course that they might be interested in reviewing is to visit the OCW Consortium where they can search courses or browse by institution. For employees and students who have the self-motivation to learn independent of a classroom setting and want to study a topic or at an educational level they might not otherwise have access to, OpenCourseWare might just be the perfect solution.