RedHoop

Summary

RedHoop has built a directory of 7,608 courses with 1,657 offered free by the following vendors.

The database is fully searchable with results returned in one second.  For example, inserting the word “infographics” led to 12 course descriptions.  Most of them were free or were free trials with three ranging in price from $15 to $45 by Skillshare and Udemy.

ALISON

From its website

ALISON* is the world’s leading free online learning resource for basic and essential workplace skills. … Through the ALISON learning platform we can assist people around the world in educating themselves, thereby creating a more equitable and sustainable global society.

We believe that all certifiable or standards-based learning for every subject can be made available for free online. We also believe that Article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free…” will, through ALISON, become a reality.

* ALISON stands for “Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online”.

Summary

ALISON started in 2007 in the UK.  Information Week reportedly called it “the original MOOC.”  (MOOC–Massive Open Online Course)

It offers courses in major groupings including Business and Enterprise Skills; Financial and Economic Literacy; Health Literacy; Digital Literacy and IT Skills; Personal Development and Soft Skills; as well as Language and Diploma courses.  The courses are FREE (but larded with advertisements and time for them to load and clear before you can get to your learning).

After completing the registration, I (Doris) completed an introductory module on Adobe Connect, the same-time meeting application.  It took 40 minutes to complete the module and do the assessment.   The video lecture, offered by a teacher in Great Britain with his own online teaching studio, was clear but might have been better if he had had participants in the room to interact with.  The follow-up assessment was a standard read the question, click on the answer, with immediate feedback on right/incorrect choices.  There could be variations on course teaching methods because there are many different instructors and topics.

ALISON can be used to introduce you to topics via the short modules.  If you like them and are learning, then you could continue with ALISON offerings or one of the many fee-based training/learning options advertised on the same page with ALISON course material.  Do check to see when the ALISON course was launched because it may be outdated.  Second, the advertising distractions mentioned earlier, can be eliminated entirely for a 50Euro annual subscription or reduced to popups between modules for 15Euros a year.    But I would only pay the subscription if I were absolutely sure that ALISON would give me exactly what I wanted.  Why pay a fee when there are many heavy-weight university-based MOOCs that  are free of cost and advertising from the get-go?

Rheingold U

From its website

Rheingold U. is a totally online learning community, offering courses that usually run for five weeks, with five live sessions and ongoing asynchronous discussions through forums, blogs, wikis, mindmaps, and social bookmarks. In my thirty years of experience online and my eight years teaching students face to face and online at University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, I’ve learned that magic can happen when a skilled facilitator works collaboratively with a group of motivated students. Live sessions include streaming audio and video from me and from students, shared text chat and whiteboard, and my ability to push slides and lead tours of websites. Future classes will cover advanced use of personal knowledge tools, social media for educators, participatory media/collective action, social media issues, introduction to cooperation studies, network and social network literacy, social media literacies, attention skills in an always-on world.

Summary

Howard Rheingold teaches “Introduction to Mind Amplifiers,” “Toward  New Literacy of Cooperation,” and “Think-Know Tools” among other courses offered on a rotating basis.  Rheingold tells prospective students that the courses will demand them to devote significant time to reading, conversation, live session participation, and collaboration on group projects. All courses are based on peeragogy–a learning model–that places as much value on peer-to-peer interaction as on teacher-learner interaction.  Rheingold is also a prolific and respected author known for groundbreaking books such as The Virtual Community (1993); Smart Mobs (2003), and Net Smart (2012).

 

Powerful Learning Practice

From its website

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, PLP co-founder, coined the phrase connected learning communities to describe the PLP experience.

The connected learning community model is based on empirical research and years of experience. It represents a three-pronged approach to professional development. Connected learning communities weave together

1. Learning communities that happen face-to-face at school.

2. Purposeful learning networks where we harvest and share resources.

3. Global, online communities of practice and inquiry where we dig deep.

Traditional professional development models (like in-services and one-day conferences) fail to focus on the realities of daily classroom life and the skills needed to serve today’s iGeneration learner. Our Connected Learner Experience is grounded in job-embedded activities where professional learning becomes a regular part of the educator’s work day. We help you integrate technology, content, and the best pedagogy in ways that excite student interest and advance school improvement goals. We advocate for professional learning that builds collective responsibility for student success and shifts the culture within the school to one of learning first, teaching second.

Summary

Even though Powerful Learning Practice is oriented to educators, at least one of its courses–Connected Coaching–has application in myriad online settings where adult learners congregate.  Two of the three Women’s Learning Studio founders have taken this course and savored its focus on using the Appreciative Inquiry framework for coaching other adults to reach their practice improvement and career goals.  Co-learners define their learning pledges in week 2 of what has been an 11-week experience.  Co-learners participate in weekly 90-minute synchronous sessions with the course facilitators and each other in the Blackboard Collaborate environment.  The course is highly experiential with multiple asynchronous discussions each week, collaborative projects, and quick trust and perspective building exercises delivered through a variety of usually free social media tools that we all gain experience using.

CPsquare

From its website

CPsquare is like a town square, a place where people gather to connect and learn together. We are from corporate, private, non-profit, and academic organizations; we hail from many nations across the globe; we are involved in consulting, research, and direct support of communities of practice; and we join together to create our own community of practice. We are a non-profit organization, registered as a 501(c)(6) organization in the US.

Our purpose:

  • Finding the social in learning: We learn in ever more diverse ways as we connect for diverse purposes, across social divides, through technology, and in new circumstances. CPsquare experiments with and seeks to understand traditional as well as emerging social formations where people learn: whether labeled communities of practice or not.
  • Helping CoP practitioners: We help each other become better in all the practices involved in supporting communities of practice. We cultivate a range of competencies which help communities of practice thrive in diverse settings. We serve both newcomers and leaders in the field.
  • Helping CoP researchers: We support the scholarly activities of members by providing a forum where research on the subject of communities of practice can be shared, supporting their access to the growing body of research on communities of practice.
  • Bridging the scholar-practitioner divide: We engage in and monitor both research and practice in and about communities, so that scholarly work can inform practice and practice can inform scholarship. We believe these collaborations can enable continuous learning and improvement over time.
  • Making a difference in the world: By serving the needs of members, CPsquare is a vehicle making a difference in the world. We believe that the formation and support of communities of practice will help give energy to a broader social movement for positive world change.

Summary

CPsquare (aka CP2) has been around since 2002 and incorporated for the last 6 years.  Two of the three founders of the Women’s Learning Studio started with the CP2’s Foundations workshop and have been CP2 members ever since.  Participating in CP2 activities has given us a wealth of learning connections (aka curious friends), ideas, and new knowledge and skills.  In 2012 and 2013, we convened  international discussions in CP2 on the changing roles of online learning facilitators and online learners. A group of us synthesized the first discussion (second is in progress) and published it on the CPsquare blog site here. CPsquare maintains a password protected conversations space for its discussions and extensive archives on social learning.  The annual fee to belong is $150.

Venture Lab – Stanford University

From its website

Venture Lab is one of the primary platforms used by Stanford University to offer free online courses. Venture Lab’s philosophy is to make online courses more fun and engaging by making them more experiential, interactive, and collaborative. On our platform, you will not only have access to lectures by Stanford professors, but you will also be able to form teams with people around the world and work on projects that have an impact.

Our first class on technology entrepreneurship attracted around 40,000 students from over a hundred and fifty countries. We are thrilled to offer more courses across a wide range of academic disciplines, and we invite you to join Venture Lab today!

Summary

The Venture Lab at Stanford University offers courses on entrepreneurship, creativity, finance, technological entrepreneurship, and new learning environment design among others. One of the courses that educators and other curious learners might want to consider enrolling in is on Designing a New Learning Environment. Instructor Paul Kim, Chief Technology Officer and Assistant Dean, for the School of Education, Stanford University will teach the class in 2013.  He invites us all to ponder these questions in the course description.

What constitutes learning in the 21st century? Should reading, watching, memorizing facts, and then taking exams be the only way to learn? Or could technology (used effectively) make learning more interactive, collaborative, and constructive? Could learning be more engaging and fun?

Udemy

Summary

Udemy offers the opportunity for experts to craft, sell, and deliver online courses from the Udemy home platform and for learners to take them!  Courses range in topic, price, length, etc.

On the front page alone, its top 20 courses (as indicated by the number of students who have taken or are taking the courses and # of positive reviews) range from a $9 course (46 minutes–12 lectures) on Making PDFs Interactive from InDesign by Paul Cracknell, a  UK expatriate now residing in New Zealand to a course on Making iPhone and iPad Apps  Without Any Programming (185  lectures and 10.5 hours of content) by John Bura  for $497.  A different kind of course also on the front page is Discover The 1 Thing You Were Born To Do In 5 Easy Steps! by Steve Olsher ($49).  Udemy even offers yoga courses and American Accent Training for IT Professionals.

TU Delft OpenCourseware

From its website

…largest and most comprehensive university of engineering sciences in the Netherlands. TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality.

Summary

It is a member of the United States OpenCourseware Consortium.  See explanation below:

Delft University of Technology has joined the OpenCourseWare Consortium in offering the world free access to certain course content online. TU Delft OpenCourseWare (OCW) seeks to capitalize on the potential of the internet to eliminate borders and geographic distance as obstacles to the instantaneous exchange of knowledge and new ideas. Unlike distance learning programs that charge tuition, provide formal instruction and limit participation, OpenCourseWare offers all course materials free to everyone with online access. Educators from around the world may upgrade their classes; students may enhance their coursework or pursue self study; the general public may glimpse the depth and breadth of what leading universities are offering and benefit from reading lists and lectures.

Rector  Magnificus Prof. ir. Karel Luyben also explains U Delft’s mission:

U Delft is dedicated to making a significant contribution to finding responsible solutions to societal problems, at both national and international levels.  Our mission is to deliver Science to Society.  OpenCourseWare is an important way to spread our mission around the world. 

It offers courses from high school to master’s degree college level programs.

TrainingDirectoryUK.com

From its website

  • Network of 5000+ UK training providers offering 37,000+ UK courses covering 100,s of course subjects
  • 16+ years of experience in the UK training industry helps us to help you find the training courses you need
  • We search and email you training course quotes to review and compare course prices
  • If you want to proceed then we can book training course for you

Summary

These courses are fee-based with many of them categorized as “distance education”  or “e learning” meaning they are offered online.  Many rely on tests to demonstrate mastery in an area such as “safe food handling” for servers, cooks, etc. and offer certificates of completion to meet regulatory requirements.  Note:  these courses convey standards used in the United Kingdom and may not transfer to practices regulated in other countries.  They also offer management and train the trainer courses of different lengths, from one hour webinars to 3-4 month long courses.

Stanford Engineering Everywhere

From its website

Stanford Engineering Everywhere is an online portal offering ten courses from Stanford’s School of Engineering— including the three-course introductory sequence in Computer Science— free of charge.

SEE offers course content available to Stanford students including instructional videos, reading lists and materials and class assignments. And SEE allows you to communicate with fellow SEE students online.

SEE encourages fellow educators to use Stanford course materials in their own classrooms.

Note: SEE courses cannot be taken for credit and do not include access to Stanford-restricted computers, libraries, or services. Content may not include all the material used in the campus offering and cannot be used for commercial purposes.

… A computer and an Internet connection are all you need. View lecture videos, access reading lists and other course handouts, take quizzes and tests, and communicate with other SEE students, all at your convenience.

SEE programming includes one of Stanford’s most popular sequences: the three-course Introduction to Computer Science taken by the majority of Stanford’s undergraduates and seven more advanced courses in artificial intelligence and electrical engineering.