Self Development By Claire Henderson / May 23, 2016 Do you want to study but have limited funds? Are you living in a place where there’s no access to prestigious institutions? Don’t despair. With today’s technology, higher education is now becoming more and more accessible to anyone who has a computer and an internet connection. Whether you want to study in a virtual classroom with other students or learn at your own pace, these sites offer numerous free online courses and are the ones worth checking out: 1. Udemy Udemy, short for “The Academy of You,” aims to “help anyone learn anything online.”It was founded in 2007 by Eren Bali, who was featured in Forbes’ list,30 ‘brightest stars under 30’, and is currently based in San Francisco, California.They have over 3 million students worldwide, 18,000 courses, 10,000 instructors, and 53 course languages and offer courses from computer programming to Tai Chi. Although most courses are aimed at improving job-related skills, people can learn many other non job-related courses such as Yoga, Meditation, and even a course on ‘How to be a Psychic’. The company attracts both students and instructors who can sign up and offer courses either for free or with tuition fees.They launched an iOS and Android app to make learning on the go.With their wide range of courses to choose from and many free courses available, Udemy is one of the most popular e-learning sites today. 2. Coursera Coursera partners with universities to bring some of their courses online, offering MOOCs or massive open online courses since 2012.Today, Coursera has over 7 million users in 641 courses and is in partnership with a total of 108 institutions. They initially started with only a handful of institutions,which included University of Michigan, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University where founders Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller are from. Some of its courses are eligible for credits. Coursera charges a fee for certification upon completion of a course. 3. Alison Founded in 2007 by Irish Mike Feerick, ALISON stands for Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online. It boasts 3 million learners with more than 600 available free courses to choose from. Alison is one of very few MOOCs based outside the US, and the majority of its learners are coming from developing countries such as India. Alison aims to provide basic education and help students develop skills in the workplace.The courses are free, but if you want to receive a certificate upon finishing the course, then you need to pay a fee. 4. edX edX is a non-profit MOOC provider that aims to provide access to higher education for everyone; it also conducts research by gathering data from its students by posting queries on its forum. edX is funded by donors and accepts donations through their website. They have partnered with schools and institutions from many countries, such as the United States, China, and India, among others. edX is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and affiliated with two top prestigious institutions: MIT and Harvard, who founded edX.All courses are free for anyone who wants to access them, but they charge a fee if you want to receive certification. Unlike Coursera and Udemy, edX does not provide institutional credits. 5. iversity iversity is based in Germany and offers free online courses and lectures in higher education. Most of its courses are offered in both English and Deutsch, but some are also offered in Italian and Russian, and plans are underway to have the courses available in more languages. Unlike its American counterpart, Coursera, iversity partners with professors directly rather than with institutions. It invites students to ‘study anywhere’ and learn from ‘inspiring professors’ for free. Iversity was created by Jonas Liepmann in 2008, a Cultural Studies student at the University of Berlin at that time. He and fellow founder Hannes Klopper secured funding from BMWi and the European Union.Upon completion of a course, certificates are awarded to students depending on conditions and the professor’s decision. Three of its courses are currently eligible for credits. 6. Open2Study Open2study is affiliated with Open Universities Australia, an accredited distance education leader. Open2study offers accredited online qualification and with their Open Training Institute, you can study and acquire business certificates and diplomas online.While Open2study charges tuition fees for most of its courses,they do offer a substantial amount of free courses under varied categories. There are self-paced courses and ones that need to be attended in a virtual classroom along with other students where you allstart the course at the same time. 7. SkilledUp SkilledUp functions as a curator of many different MOOCs.It was launched in 2012 and is currently based in Manhattan, New York. The total number of online courses and training currently being offered on its website totals 127,532 courses, 46,802 of which are free.SkilledUp offers ‘Learning Hubs’ where you can browse articles related to the courses. SkilledUp is part of the Apollo Education Group, founded by Dr. John G. Sperling, who also founded University of Phoenix. Before getting too excited and signing up for multiple courses at once, plan ahead and consider your schedule. Don’t spread yourself too thin by enrolling in far too many classes. Coursera did a study and found out that most people who enrolled in free courses end up not finishing the courses they enrolled in. The ones who tend to finish their courses are the ones who paid a tuition fee from $60 and above. To find out more about online learning and how you can register, simply visit each e-learning provider’s official website.