Knowledge is more accessible than ever through open online courses

May 31, 2018


Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in online education. Many organizations have begun experimenting with Massive Open Online Courses as a new way to offer educational services. Google’s latest initiative involves a new website with a number of resources, as well as a previously internal online learning course. The launch of Machine Learning Crash Course was an inevitable step towards the company’s declared goal to democratize AI and make its tools available for everyone. This same course has been taken by more than 18,000 Google engineers, and this is the first time it’s been made available to the public. Thus, Google joins the trend of making free crash courses available to the public.

Nowadays, there are numerous websites dedicated to online learning, plus coding bootcamps, traditional four-year universities and classes available through vendors.

Discover the best platforms for online education


EdX offers online courses from some of the world’s leading science and technology universities, including MIT, Harvard, University of California, Berkeley, Caltech, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan. Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX has around 14 million students taking more than 1,800 courses online.


Hosting more than 2000 courses, Coursera is one of the biggest platforms where anyone can learn and earn credentials from the world’s top universities and education providers anywhere. The site offers online access to classes from 147 different colleges, universities and other organizations in 29 different countries. Entire sections of the website are devoted to computer science and data science courses. Courses include recorded video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums.

MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. It includes materials for more than 2,400 classes, and the site has been visited by more than 300 million people. The platform is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity. Through OCW, students find supplementary resources to help them succeed, and independent learners enrich their sustainable development.


With the declared mission to “promote openness and innovation in education”, Canvas offers free online courses on a range of topics, from colleges, universities, and organizations worldwide. It provides open entry for learners around the globe and continual access to course content after the course end date. Canvas is currently used by more than 3,000 universities, school districts, and institutions around the world.


In recent years, several “coding bootcamps” have sprouted up, gaining more and more popularity. These intensive programs of software development promise to teach people to become developers in much less time than it takes to earn a traditional computer science degree. Most of these bootcamps charge substantial fees, but Codecademy offers its online courses for free. Their website boldly states: “We are building the education the world needs – the first truly net native education.”


Udemy offers a huge selection (65,000+) of online courses on everything from parenting and cooking to app building and marketing. The platform hosts both free and paid courses, being the world’s largest online learning marketplace. The downside is that at Udemy anyone can create their own course, so the quality of instruction varies widely. Students should check reviews and rankings before signing up.


Lynda is one of the best online video learning resources for mastering software like Adobe Photoshop or AutoCAD. While Lynda is most famous for the exquisite software video tutorials, the platform also offers courses for online marketing, AdWords, Facebook, and more. Now part of Linkedin, serves more than 10,000 organizations.

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Virtual Academy has an extensive lineup of free courses for mobile and Web developers, game developers, network, infrastructure and cloud engineers, database admins, architects, and developers. Students interested in a career in technology can find high-quality online courses.


Open Education Database is the most comprehensive collection of online college rankings and free courses anywhere online. The Advice section is a resource hub for visitors looking for a guide to online learning. Here, the platform breaks down need-to-know issues like accreditation, choosing the right school and transferring credits. Currently, it has more than 10,000 courses available, all of them free. According to a recent study, leaders at academic institutions say that online education is a “critical component of their long-term strategy”. If you are a professional looking to advance in your career or just someone who wants to break into the IT field, there have never been so many options for free online education.