A Growing List of Free Online Courses from the World's Top Universities

Open Culture has put together an excellent list of free online courses from leading universities, covering a wide range of subjects. Everything from Roman Architecture to Astrobiology is covered, so click on the link above to find out what else is on offer.

One of the greatest benefits of the information age, as it gradually makes traditional education models obsolete, will be the emphasis on learning how to learn, empowering people and making it ever easier for individuals to add to their professional knowledge and skill-set in their own time, and throughout their lifetime - all while pursuing their own curiosities. This should also lead to a more dynamic workforce that is far quicker to adapt and innovate.

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

Albert Einstein

Sadly, from the outset, our education models are built around spoon feeding children with information, all the way up into young adulthood. Arguably, the only point at which self-learning is emphasised, is a research degree, which funnily enough is often both the final point in the formal education process and a type of degree that few take on. Given how incredibly empowering such a skill will be throughout a person's lifetime, one can argue that it would make far greater sense to cultivate the mastery of this ability at a far earlier stage.

While I highly doubt that the future will see quality education that comes without a monetary price, I believe that over time, the cost of education will be driven down, owing to greater global competition (particularly from developing countries) and a move towards intelligent virtual models that do away with costly and inefficient usage of human and physical resources.


Above all, few will argue with the benefits of removing physical barriers to education, allowing people from the farthest reaches of the earth, equal access to knowledge. At that point, the only thing standing between a person and the opportunity to learn something new, will be a simple matter of motivation.

Photo: Don Shall

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