How to Get Your Degree Online for Free (or very nearly): Wrap-Up

Participant(s) in the Wikipedia in Higher Educ...
Participant(s) in the Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit in Boston, Massachusetts, 7-9 July 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Christopher Lotito

This article is part of a multi-article series about the evolution and democratization of learning, online education, and the challenges and choices our children will face in their education over the next decade.  Pequannock News is proud to provide this personal account of experiences with online education providers (including Udacity, Coursera, edX, and others) for the value of parents, students, and the general public.


Online Education Wrap-Up

Here's a brief list of online education sources for free or nearly that I have experienced at least in part over the years and would endorse:

Massive Open Online Content Schools:

  • edX - http://www.edx.org - Harvard, MIT, & Berkeley provide free online versions of the college courses with Certificates of Completion.
  • Coursera - http://www.coursera.org - Numerous colleges partner to provide online courses, usually an online version of their on campus course, for free and offering a Certificate of Completion.
  • Udacity - http://www.udacity.com - Udacity cultivates a community of college professors and experts in a variety of fields who develop their own college level course material.  Courses at Udacity are free, enrollment is on a constant, rolling basis, and Certificates of Completion are issued.


Certificate Providers:

  • Brainbench - www.brainbench.com - Affordable IT and office skill certification tests which can be used to improve your resume.  A number of tests, especially new ones, are offered FREE of charge.
  • Cisco - http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le31/le29/learning_recommended_training0900aecd800bba3c.html - Computer Networking. Some free exams and classes may be available, website is unclear.
  • HP - http://h20546.www2.hp.com/eshop/ - Free online HP product training with transcript, but you need to get an HP training access code from a HP sales rep or another source.  This is what major electronics retailers' employees use.  Other certification options, many of them priced, here: http://www.hp.com/education/certification/
  • Microsoft - Several options: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com , offers FREE online training from beginner to advanced Microsoft product use and administration, transcript seems to consist of an online points system which COULD be printed or emailed to an human resources person.  Microsoft sometimes offers free exam vouchers for their pay certifications at this link: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/offers.aspx - Microsoft offers more information about their education services here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hh533232.aspx -- Historically, Microsoft has ocassionally offered free certifications, but few if any are available as of this writing.
  • Novell - http://www.novell.com/training/ - A producer of the popular Netware networking software suite, Novell offers some free training and a free skills assessment.  No free certificates at this time.



Other Certificates:

  • Alison - http://www.alison.com - Provider of free online technology & business certification courses.
  • Flinn Scientific - http://labsafety.flinnsci.com/Home.aspx - Free online courses for certification in laboratory safety.
  • International Association of Certified Home Inspectors - http://www.nachi.org/certificatesofcompletion.htm - Free certifications in home inspection.
  • Six Sigma - Six Sigma White Belt Course FREE: http://www.sixsigmaonline.org/six-sigma-white-belt-training/ - Free Green Belt Training (No Certificate?): http://www.sixsigmadigest.com/six-sigma-green-belt-training.shtml - Six Sigma certifications can be even more subjective in their value than some of the others listed on this page, so do your research before you enroll, especially if money is involved.
  • United States Institute for Peace - http://www.usip.org - Free Introduction to Conflict Analysis certificate and more.  Brush up on your diplomacy skills.




Thanks for reading this series which examined, at some length, non-traditional options for higher education (with options for high school students as well).

Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Historic District, Open Space, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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