Congratulations: You’re alive in 2014, a staggering bit of good luck. Even better: it seems like you have Internet access.
Because of this, you – unlike literally billions of humans across time – can access college-level courses, free of charge. Seriously: what do you want to learn? Because you can. Web design, world history, physics, psychology – it’s all within grasp, if you’re willing to work at it.
And, of course, if you know where to look.
Which brings me to SlideRule. This site acts as a search engine for online classes, with over 18,000 courses indexed. Some happen in real time, others are on-demand; some are from universities, others from nonprofit organizations. You can search classes, or browse them by category, until you find something worth spending your time learning.
DO you remember when we post about How to take free college courses online. If you want to take an online course, but aren’t sure where to start looking, check Slide Rule first.
Find Online Courses About Almost Anything
To get started, just head to MySlideRule.com and start typing any subject. You’ll see a few suggested categories immediately:
Pick one, if you want, and you can explore a variety of courses – some from universities, some from other entities such as Khan Academy. Most, but not all, are free.
If you prefer browsing to search, simply pick a subject. There are a few broad categories you can use as starting points, from Computers & Technology to Self Improvement to Humanities.
You can also filter by difficulty level, teaching method (whether the courses offer videos, text or audio, and whether they’re interactive), and credentials offered. Courses are also reviewed and rated by users.
Learning Paths Combining Course With Other Sources
Sometimes one course isn’t enough, which is why SlideRule also provides “Learning Paths”. These are compilations of online courses and other resources, designed to teach you specific skills.
Paths offered right now revolve around technology, which readers of this site should find useful. A great example is the web development learning path, which combines references from around the web to create a sort of curriculum.
Time estimates are provided for each resource, and they very widely: a resource could be an article to read, or it could be an interactive exercise. Sometimes the resource is an online course to sign up for and take on another site. The idea is that all these resources combined will give you mastery over a specific skill.
There aren’t many such Learning Paths at present; the site is looking for contributors to add more. Thousands of people have signed up for the existing ones, though – if you try one out, let us know what you think.
What Do You Want To Learn?
Of course, there are more ways to find online courses. Bing added online courses to its search results, and there are educational search engines. Check those out if SlideRule doesn’t work for you, though I think it’s a pretty great starting point.
So please tell us: Where is the best place for free online courses? Which one you use?