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Free online courses to boost studies during Covid-19 lockdown

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures put in place in most countries provide a great opportunity to online studies. Below is a list of online course providers, many of them are offering learning content for free during Covid-19. Normally, verified certificates (after you complete a course) require a fee but some teaching materials are free. I rank them based on number of free courses they offer, the range of subject areas, and their reputation.

1. edX (US) is the best free online course provider and the second largest MOOC provider in the world. It doesn’t have as many courses available as Coursera, but all edX courses can be audited for free because edX is a non-profit organisation. It focuses on natural sciences and humanities. Popular subject areas are languages and computer science.

2. Coursera (US) is the largest MOOC provider in the world. Coursera offers over 1,000 free courses across 11 subject areas on beginner, intermediate, mixed and advanced levels. The reason I rank it as no. 2 is because the majority of Coursera content is not free.

3. FutureLearn (UK) is a UK-based organisation. Most of its university partners are in the UK and Europe, but it also has a few university partners in US, Australia and S Korea. There is a wealth of free short online courses at FutureLearn. Subject areas include creative arts and media, healthcare and medicine, teaching, science and engineering, and maths.

4. Udemy: offers a huge number of free online courses. Udemy encourages users to search for courses with a prominent search box, and the platform feels less formal than others. Courses are run by experts rather than through direct association with universities.

5. Udacity (US): provides nanodegrees focus on certain innovative topics such as AI, self-driving cars. Although Udacity has stopped releasing free courses, it still has some courses in its catalog that are free to audit.

6. Linkedin Learning (previously known as lynda.com): doesn’t offer the same amount of degrees and certifications provided by edX and Coursera. Linkedin Learning is used by many employers for employee training and CPD. There are limited numbers of free courses on Linkedin Learning. However, you can access Linkedin Learning paid courses for free by registering for Linkedin Learning free trial, which will give you 1-month free access to all premium courses, and you can take this 1-month free trial again after 12 months.

7. Pluralsight: provides 7,000+ free tech courses during Covid-19, including programming, machine learning, and cybersecurity. A subscription normally costs $29 per month, now only requires simple sign-up.

8. iTunesU: is a convenient place for free online education on any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app. The tool offers online courses with full lectures. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts, videos, and paid content.

9. TED-Ed: is a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less. Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings and entertaining ways.

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