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November 18, 2015 - Posted to Study
Making the Grade: 20 Online Resources to Boost Your Career Opportunities
One of the best ways to increase your career opportunities is to further your education. Unfortunately, if you are a working adult, going back to college can be nearly impossible once you consider the cost of tuition, travel to and from school, and meeting stringent attendance requirements. In spite of all of these roadblocks, many adults are successfully finding ways to further their education. They are doing this by eschewing the idea of traditional college, and pursuing online educational opportunities instead. Thanks to the expansion of open source learning initiatives around the world, many of these educational offerings can be taken advantage of for little to no cost to students like yourself. If you would like to learn more, and boost your career opportunities, check out these great online learning resources.
If you are interested in taking free courses offered by Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, Stanford, UC Irvine, and other well respected universities. Take look at Coursera. You can choose from nearly 1500 courses in a wide variety of academic disciplines. As you finish each course, you are given a certificate of completion that you can show to your employer and include on your resume.
Khan Academy is a website featuring free online courses for students of all ages. The wide variety of courses offered on the website include core academic course pathways, coding, Business, Economics, Finance, medicine, and much more. You can take individual classes at Khan Academy, or you can progress through series of courses.
If you are interested in what higher education and educational technology have to offer you , the getting smart website is an excellent source of blog posts, videos, and articles all dedicated to the topic of improving education for students of all ages. Getting Smart provides the infrastructure for many free online learning programs, so learning as much as possible about their offerings is sure to serve you well once you select an online learning program.
If you don't have years to dedicate to earning a degree, why not dedicate a little time to earning a nanodegree. A nanodegree is a specialized certification program that has been designed by industry leaders such as Google and other Silicon valley corporations. When you complete a nanodegree program, you earn a credential. Currently, there are nanodegree programs in Android app development, Data Analysis, Machine Learning, and more. You can learn valuable technical skills through this program and earn credentials that are sure to impress your employer.
If you want to learn web design for free, check out W3 Schools. You can learn HTML, Java scripting, and other languages and technologies required to design and build websites. The coursework at W3 schools is free. However, if you want to receive a certificate of completion when you finish a course or series of courses, you will have to pay a small fee. W3 schools continually updates its course offerings to reflect changes in web development technology. If you are interested in learning web development while working at your own pace, this might be the educational option for you.
Ted.com- Ted Ed Initiative
Think of a topic that you want to learn more about. Chances are, the Ted Ed initiative has at least one educational video on that topic. If you want to learn how the brain works in time of stress, or how to use science to calm your nerves before giving a speech, you're very likely to find the information you want on Ted. Because the videos are both informative and entertaining, you'll find that learning via Ted is a real pleasure.
Whether you are tackling an online degree program at a well known university, or taking a few open source technology courses to develop the skills you need to earn that next promotion, you need an reliable note taking app. Most students agree that the best app for this purpose is Evernote. You'll love the ease at which you can take notes, organize them, and then find them when you need them.
Did you know that virtually every course offered by MIT can be taken for free via their Open Courseware Website? It's true. There are nearly 3000 courses currently available for students to take for free, and each course comes with a certificate of completion.
Edx consolidates open source courseware from a variety of prestigious universities including Berkeley, Harvard, and MIT. If you take and successfully pass courses from Edx, you will receive a certificate stamped with the seal of the university offering that course. This is a great addition to any resume. If you would like to pursue a degree, you can also take courses for academic credit through the website.
Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative
This open learning initiative connects students interested in taking technology related courses with those interested in teaching technologies to others. The way that this OLI is designed makes it an excellent option for the very independent learner.
iTunes University is located on the iTunes store and it contains free videos, lectures, courses, and other educational offerings that have been created by colleges, universities, and other entities from around the globe. This is a great resource for adult learners who want to be able to cherry pick courses from a variety of institutions.
Many adult learners are unaware that they qualify for federal student aid. If you are interested in returning to school to earn a degree or certificate, fill out out your application for federal student aid as soon as possible. You may find that you qualify grants, loans, and work study funds.
OWL is the online writing laboratory that was originally designed for students attending Purdue University. It has morphed into the “go to “ website for information on academic writing.
In order to successfully complete many online courses, you will need access to the appropriate textbooks. Why bother purchasing these books when you can simply rent them instead. Chegg allows you to comparison shop for the books you need to rent, and when you are done with them they provide free shipping, making returning them as easy as possible.
Desmos is a free online graphing calculator that is perfect for adult learners taking advanced math classes. Not only can you perform the calculations you want, you can record yourself creating graphs, and save your graphs for later. If you are interested in even more advanced functions, you can use Desmos to view graphs that have been created by advanced mathematicians.
Not only is learning to code fun, you can use those skills to advance your current IT career or to make a desired career switch. Codecademy is a website that provides free instruction and support to anybody who wants to learn how to code.
Wolfram Alpha is described by its creators as a computational knowledge engine, and not a search engine. Users can enter in text searches or mathematical questions, and the intelligence behind Wolfram Alpha will generate an answer, or provide links to the websites that it determines will answer the question that is being asked.
NYU Open Education
NYU has launched a pilot open education program. They are currently offering free, open source classes on Literature, Sociology, Science, Genomes, Public Economics and Finance, and more. This provides adult learners with academic talent to take classes for free from one of the United States' most prestigious universities.
World Education University
World Education University currently offers free, higher education courses to adult learners. It also currently offers students the opportunity to earn a global AA degree. In the near future, World Education University plans to offer Bachelor's and Graduate degree programs. Degree programs are also offered at no charge.
Google Apps for Education
This is a free suite of tools for both students and educators that facilitates collaborative learning. If you are pursuing an online degree or simply taking advantage of open source education, you can use these utilities to work with other students on group projects or other collaborative efforts.
Hopefully, if you are interested in pursuing higher education in order to pursue a new career or to get ahead in your current career, you will find at least a few of these resources to be useful. We wanted to provide a variety of resources including apps and tools for adult learners, open source coursework, more traditional educational programs, corporate learning initiatives, and even an option for obtaining funds for attending school. We believe that no matter what your educational or career goals are, there is at least one valuable resource on this list. What do you think? What innovative approaches are you taking to further your education? Has open source learning been an asset to your career? Which tools and utilities have helped you to be successful as you further your education?