Knowledge is Power!
I wear many hats and one of the things that I enjoy doing is teaching students computing skills. However, I have to stay on my toes and ahead of the pack. There is no excuse in this day and age for people to say, “I don’t have the time to go to school.” I have encouraged students of all ages to take these online courses and they are over the moon excited once they get started. There are so many opportunities to learn new skills online without taking a student loan or worrying about how to pay for classes. Keep in mind though this is not going to get you a Doctorate Degree or the credentials to be a Brain Surgeon.
In our fast paced society, people’s lives get busy and Online Education has become very popular. I have taken advantage of many of these opportunities and would like to share some of my own experiences.
Class is in Session now, sit back and learn about the many opportunities and doors that are open to you. Understand there are so many more than I am presenting here. Microsoft even offers free classes online, but I am not including them in my article.
GCF Learn Free is based out of Raleigh NC. GCF stands for Goodwill Community Foundation. You can take classes without logging in. However, if you create a FREE account, you can keep track of everything you do and maintain an online transcript. I personally have used GCF Learn Free and acquired continuing education credits in all the Microsoft Office products versions 2007, 2010 & 2013. I encourage my students to get CEU credits here. You can take classes for certificates or just to add to your online class transcript. The classroom is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week and serves people from around the world. All you need is an Internet connection. You can take the classes on your own time for no credit or register for classes where there are constraints set on your time. Courses generally consist of a pretest, 3 assignments, a post test, and complete a survey. Classes include choices of both video and textual presentations.
Coursera partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. I stumbled upon Coursera and took a Songwriting class thru Berklee College of Music and a class on “The Music of the Beatles” thru the University of Rochdale. The classes are great and the interaction with the other students in the class makes you feel as though you are actually on a College Campus. It is very social and they also have Meet up Groups in your area to get together with other people taking the courses. I highly recommend it as my #1 Choice.
The Web Academy
The Web Academy was founded in 2009 as a 501c3 organization by Eric Hamilton. It is based out of New York. Eric created the program out of the desire to serve. The Web Academy provides FREE online courses to the community and low cost web development services to non profit organizations and low income businesses. 100% of the online course work is distance learning taught by live instructors in real time. In exchange for offering FREE web classes to the students, you are required to take on at least 3 web development projects. Working on these real life web projects with real clients gives students practical work experience in the web industry. They do not push you to complete your 3 websites within a certain time. If you know of any suitable local agencies that you can create a website for, they encourage you to approach them and offer your services. If you don’t know of any, they will offer you 3 from their own resources. I chose local folks so I could make a difference here where I live.
I took all the classes offered thru The Web Academy. The classes were on WordPress & Adobe PhotoShop and Gimp. I learned so much, but it is a much different environment than most online classes. Students meet weekly in a Chat Room type environment. You can hear the Teacher talking and see his screen. You respond and are answered as if you were in a queue and they send you a log after each class. However, when I took the class there were a lot of technical difficulties as it was a new program and they were still working out the bugs.
Open Education Database
Looking for free, college level lectures and courses? Check out the Open Education Database. This resource connects online learners to thousands of free online courses. Many of these classes are offered by leaders in the educational community, such as UC Berkeley, MIT, and Yale University. You learn at your own pace without having student loans or commuting to deal with.
Alison – A new world of Free Certified Learning
Alison was founded in 2007. Alison is for anyone taking their first step to a new job, and for everyone taking their next step to a better job. The materials they provide will help you to develop your creativity, confidence and competence level.
Every course is standards-based and certified. That means bragging rights with family and friends, an edge in your first job or new job, and inspiration to be all you can be.
What are your experiences with Online Learning? Are you a traditional learner and do better in a classroom with the teacher there in front of the class?
As life marches on, things change and the best way to stay sharp is to keep your mind active. It is never too late to learn.