Directory

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  Do check to see when the ALISON course was launched because it may be outdated.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?

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.

 

 

MIT OpenCourseware Initiative

From its website

OCW is a revolutionary approach to sharing educational resources. The site presents the core academic content–including lecture notes, syllabi, assignments and exams–from substantially all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate curriculum freely and openly to support formal and informal learning around the world. Many of the site’s more than 1,900 courses also include rich media resources such as video lectures, simulations, and animations. OCW has inspired a worldwide movement that now includes hundreds of universities sharing materials from more than ten thousand courses.

Through OCW, educators improve courses and curricula, making their schools more effective; students find additional resources to help them succeed; and independent learners enrich their lives and use the content to tackle some of our world’s most difficult challenges, including sustainable development, climate change, and cancer eradication.

 

 

 

 

Harvard Medical School Open Courseware Initiative

From its website

The mission of the Harvard Medical School Open Courseware Initiative is to exchange knowledge from the Harvard community of scholars to other academic institutions, prospective students, and the general public. Through the MyCourses initiative, Harvard has created a web-enabled distance learning environment for the four years of medical school. Mycourses is being expanded to support residencies and fellowships during the summer of 2002. By the end of 2002, MyCourses will be expanded to include Continuing Medical Education. By serving the needs of the medical school, graduate medical education and continuing medical education, the Mycourses platform provides lifelong learning for those associated with the Harvard community. Recognizing our moral obligation to share this knowledge with other academic communities and the general public, we have launched the Open Courseware Initiative. Every faculty member at Harvard, in every course, may share course content with the public by simply checking a box on a web page to identify course resources to post to the Open Courseware Initiative. The Academy at Harvard Medical School, a community of scholars encouraging innovation and quality teaching, will encourage the use of the Open Courseware Initiative Platform among all the faculty.

Summary

If you have ever wanted to say that you have studied at Harvard, this Initiative might be the right opportunity for you.

Open Culture

From its website

Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it. Free audio books, free online courses, free movies, free language lessons, free ebooks and other enriching content — it’s all here. Open Culture was founded in 2006.

Dan Colman, the lead editor, is the Director & Associate Dean of Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. He previously served as the Managing Director of AllLearn, an e-learning consortium owned by Stanford, Oxford and Yale.

Summary

This site offers entree to over 650 FREE courses online from major universities such as Stanford, Penn State, University of Michigan, UC Berkley, Harvard, and Oxford.  Many of these are “evergreen” courses, meaning that one can start them at any time.  The site also lists 200 FREE online courses (Massive Open Online Courses-MOOCs) that start throughout the year.  Most MOOCs offer “certificates” or “statements of completion,” though typically not university credit.  If you wish to take these as credit classes, you would need to check with your partnering institution.

Open Culture does not build or create the courses.  Instead, “the site highlights MOOCs and online courses created by other educational ventures.” The website also identifies free language lessons, K-12 teaching resources, free online movies, Harvard classics, and life changing books that one can obtain online.  It even lists a philosophy course delivered via Twitter!  Class categories are from A (Archaeology, Architecture, Art and Art History) to P (Psychology and Public Health) to T (Theater and Twitter) to Uncategorized (a grab bag of learning options).

 

 

Women's Learning Studio Directory - Udacity

Udacity

From its website

Udacity courses include lecture videos, quizzes and homework assignments. Multiple video short video sections make up each course unit. Each video is roughly five minutes or less, giving you the chance to learn piece by piece and re-watch short lesson portions with ease. Quizzes are embedded within the lecture videos and are meant to let you check-in with how completely you are digesting the course information. Once you take a quiz, which could be a multiple choice quiz, a fill in the blank quiz or a programming quiz, you will receive immediate feedback. Quizzes don’t count towards your grade, and you can try them as many times as you want.

Summary

Udacity’s FREE beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses “prepare students for positions as software developers, web developers, IOS developers, Android developers, QA professionals and Machine Learning Experts.”

Beginning courses include college algebra and introduction to computer science; intermediate–web development and software testing, advanced–design of computer programs and applied cryptography. Udacity courses are self-paced and organized with a syllabus, videos of the instructor, homework, and exams.  Discussion boards and wikis are used to support learning with peers.  Udacity advertises that it promotes learning by doing, uses real world examples, offers active communities for learning support.  By studying at Udacity, learners are building their opportunities for academic and career advancement. So far everything is free; it remains to be seen how Udacity will monetize its services in the future.

Udacity emerged from experiments in teaching computer science classes online at Stanford in 2011.  Sebastian Thrun, a  Research Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, a Google Fellow, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the German Academy of Sciences converted to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) when he realized he and other educators could reach many thousands of learners in one course.  He set up Udacity along with with David Stavens and Mike Sokolsky at the beginning of 2012.  Thrun has been joined in the 100,000 student virtual classroom by Peter Norvig from the Google Research Division and NASA Ames Research Center and educators from the University of Virginia and San Jose State University among others.

 

women's learning studio directory - Khan Academy

Khan Academy

From its website

The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.

All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge….

Our library of videos covers K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even reaches into the humanities with playlists on finance and history. Each video is a digestible chunk, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for viewing on the computer.”

Summary

For people accustomed to learning from videos, Khan Academy could be a godsend because one can play the videos and review resources, ask questions and offer tips to co-learners in discussion forums associated with videos, anytime you want, as often as you want, as many times as you want.  Your progress is tracked in your profile to document your learning accomplishments.  As you complete more units of study, points are added to your profile and if you accumulate enough points, your initial avatar is upgraded to progressively new images to signify your attainment levels.  You can also accumulate badges proclaiming your mastery from apprentice to master levels of achievement.  Khan Academy has over 4,000 videos and offers instruction in math, science and economics, computer science, humanities, and college test preparation.  It’s free.

EdX

From edX’s website

edX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that features learning designed specifically for interactive study via the web. Based on a long history of collaboration and their shared educational missions, the founders are creating a new online-learning experience with online courses that reflect their disciplinary breadth.

Along with offering online courses, the institutions will use edX to research how students learn and how technology can transform learning–both on-campus and worldwide. Anant Agarwal, former Director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, serves as the first president of edX. edX’s goals combine the desire to reach out to students of all ages, means, and nations, and to deliver these teachings from a faculty who reflect the diversity of its audience. EdX is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is governed by MIT and Harvard.

Summary

Courses are started throughout the year.  All edX courses are free. The lectures, homework, simulations, and textbook are all available online.  Each course overview reviews the content and methods; time required; prerequisites (if any); faculty profiles, etc. Below is the description of the  course titled The Ancient Greek Hero scheduled for Spring 2013.  It does not have prerequisites.

“The Ancient Greek Hero” will use the latest technology to help students engage with poetry, songs, and stories first composed more than two millennia ago; this literature includes the “Homeric Iliad and Odyssey,” a selection of lyric poetry (including the songs of Sappho), excerpts of prose history, seven tragedies, two Platonic dialogues, and the intriguing but rarely studied dialogue, “On Heroes” by Philostratus. Through English translations that have been carefully prepared and arranged for this course, as well as through supplementary comparative material drawn from cultures other than the Greek, and featuring a wide variety of media such as vase painting, European opera, and cinema—from Ingmar Bergman’s version of Mozart’s “Magic Flute” to Ridley Scott’s science fiction classic, Blade Runner—the course provides students who have no previous background in classical Greek civilization with a fully engaging and immediately accessible introduction to the most beautiful moments in this ancient literature, its myths, and ritual practices.