Why You Should Consider These Free Online Courses

Did you know that anyone with an Internet connection can get an Ivy League education? The degree isn’t included, of course, but neither is the lifelong debt. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) provide everyday people access to college classes through an affordable format: the Internet. With the growth of free online courses, online education is extending beyond degree programs. If you’re considering returning to school but haven’t found a program that makes you want to take the next step, read why we think MOOCs are worth considering (did we mention they’re free?):

Focus on Digital Literacy

It seems contradictory at first glance, but one of the primary goals of institutions both on- and off-line is to promote digital literacy. This means taking full advantage of the many technologies available, from social media to video editing. Common Sense Media is a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting digital citizenship, including how to manage your online identity and the etiquette of emailing. The Internet is its own society, and real-world success requires professionalism and adroitness in both realms.

Growing Social and Professional Acceptance

Used to be, online education was presented as somehow inferior to an education received from a traditional institution. It’s important to practice discretion when choosing a program, but generally speaking, educators and employers approve of online degrees. According to U.S. News & World Report’s 100 Best Jobs of 2014, there are several quality careers available to online degree-holders. For example, nurse practitioners earn a median annual salary just under $90,000. The report cited the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst as the top online graduate nursing programs.



Accessibility of Tech Tools

According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, more than three-quarters of American adults own a laptop or desktop computer. Another Pew study revealed that 90 percent of American adults have a cell phone, 58 percent own a smartphone, 32 percent own an e-reader and 42 percent own a tablet computer. Constant Internet access is also becoming more affordable for the average American. For example, T-Mobile gives you 200MB of free mobile data on your tablet every month, just for signing up.

With this overwhelming accessibility to the Web, both the speed and convenience of higher education has increased. Technically speaking, free online courses will call for the same amount of total time studying, attending online classes and completing assignments. However, its easy accessibility can save you several hours per week. Just consider how much time goes into traditional higher education: transportation, scheduling around set class times, getting ready for class, etc. An online education maximizes your time, so you can attend class while traveling overseas for work or during late nights after the kids are asleep.

Degree Program Selection

As you might assume, the development of online education programs has led to an increase in degree options. Most online programs offer associate degrees, with slightly fewer offering bachelor’s degrees as well. Online master and doctorate degrees are most commonly offered by the online education chapter of a traditional educational institution or from popular online institutions, such as the University of Phoenix and Strayer University.