By Emily Thomas
The recession has forced millions of people to reconsider their career options. Not only has technology made finding your next job easier, but self-education sites are training workers for their next jobs faster and more efficiently than ever before. Whether it’s brushing up on coding skills or learning how to write, the Internet is full of self-education sites ready to offer valuable job training, for those who prefer methods outside of, say, the typical online colleges for creative writing or medical billing and coding. Here are the 100 best self-education sites for switching careers.
Tired of accusations of elitism, universities have begun to offer courses online and free to the public. While these courses are available from accredited schools, none earn credit. Instead, the online resources provided by these schools are invaluable to continuing education and job training. Here is the best OpenCourseWare for switching careers.
- MIT: The elite technical school was one of the first to make courses available online. Prospective students may choose from hundreds of classes ranging from creative writing or modern media techniques.
- Notre Dame: The Catholic university based in Indiana has courses in over 24 fields of study. See other online colleges in Indiana.
- University of California-Irvine: The public California school has a long history of social engagement and makes available quality courses to follow in that tradition.
- Utah State University: This pioneering OpenCourseWare site from USU has been around since the late nineties. Users can take classes in engineering, media and humanities.
- Yale University: Yale has educated princes and presidents for centuries. Now the school’s prestigious courses are available online for free.
- University of Washington: The online course catalog from UW is a little limited but contains interesting and useful classes.
- John Hopkins University: John Hopkins is one of the most renowned medical schools in the world. (Dr. House went there.) The courses available from this school are related entirely to health topics such as AIDS and refugee help.
- Brigham Young University: An independent study program provided by the private Mormon university in Utah. This school’s great program has classes in everything from accounting to theater.
- Tufts University: Great tools, tips, advice and courses from this university in New Orleans.
- Carnegie Mellon University: Get free materials, assignments and exams for guiding your self-education. This resource is especially good for students looking to better their understanding of technical topics.
- University of California, Berkeley: Get started on your self-education with podcasts and lectures from one of the most respected public schools in the country.
- Harvard University: Harvard is the richest school in the world. Fortunately, they’ve decided to give back to the public with dozens of continuing education courses.
- Stanford University: Apple and Stanford have teamed up to offer lectures and faculty interviews through iTunes.
- Kutztown University of Pennsylvania: This continuing education resource focuses primarily on education for small business owners.
- University of Southern Queensland: This Australian university gives self-learners around the world access to a range of classes in technology and media.
- Columbia University: Quality distance learning from an Ivy League source, this site has classes in music, literature and journalism.
Just because a course is online and free doesn’t mean it’s easy. Distance education requires discipline beyond most people’s normal abilities. These tools for self-education will help make your online classes a breeze.
- Scholar.com: This is a great tool for research papers and assignments for any subject.
- Springnote: An online note taking application, Springnote organizes thoughts, projects and classes.
- incollector: This information collectors stores notes, data and other information for quick recovery later.
- Evernote: Access task lists, assignment managers and research on any device.
- EasyBib: Never be concerned with proper citation again. This handy little resources generates citations in a number of professional and academic formats.
- iTunes University: Get lectures and other information in convenient podcast format.
- TeacherTube: This community of users shares educational and “how to” videos on everything from algebra to carpentry. See online colleges in education for a higher education in, well, education.
- WiseMapping: Some people are better visual learners. This great resource allows users to create their diagrams and flow charts.
- AcademicEarth: Recorded lectures from leading scholar at the world’s top universities, this site puts anyone, anywhere in an Ivy League class room.
- Graspr.com: High quality content on a range of topics, this site motivates users to learn new skills with educational videos.
- ViewDo: The one stop shop for on the go know-how, this site offers videos for any device such as the iPod or PSP.
- eHow: Learn how to do just about anything with this clever site that includes a social network.
- Dictionary.com: One of the largest online dictionaries, this site also includes professional and legal terms.
- Citizendium: Started by a Wikipedia founder, this “citizens’ compendium of everything” is an open source project aimed at creating a more reliable online encyclopedia.
- InfoMine: An internet collection of scholarly articles available for subjects such as agriculture, biotechnology and the humanities.
- Wikipedia: The collaborative online encyclopedia has been a bane to teachers everywhere since it was introduced in the nineties. Wikipedia contains millions of articles on pretty much any subject imaginable.
- Scholarpedia: With articles written entirely by experts in their fields, Scholarpedia is reliable but offers much less than the other, more famous online encyclopedia.
- The Open Video Project: An online shared digital video project, this site aggregates educational resources and documentaries.
- Self Education Motivation Tools: This guide to staying positive during your self-education is a must for any online student.
Social networking sites are great for self-education, and helpful even for those students at online colleges for social work. Students can interact with others, share useful notes and information or even offer tutoring assistance. Find your virtual shoulder to lean on at these social networking sites for self-learners.
- LearnHub: A community of experts and students seeking to help self-educators manage their course loads.
- e-college: An e-learning network of professionals seeking advice and support as they continue their education.
- Classroom 2.0: A free, community-supported network of people just starting their self-education online.
- Creating Learning Communities: This network is dedicated to ongoing education for adults and working professionals.
- Wikiversity: This community of students has an interface similar to the popular online encyclopedia. Discuss courses and trade notes with this community for continuing education.
- Creating Learning Opportunities: A social site discussing the multitude of ways technology can help better education.
- ClassScene: This social network is set up to add schools and courses by users as their needed.
- Gather: Meet individuals taking the same or similar online courses with this intuitive social interface.
- Classes Online: Connect with students and education professionals seeking to use networks and technology to improve online course quality.
- College 2.0: An online higher education social network aiming to better its members understanding of Web 2.0 technologies.
- Global Classroom: A fantastic social network for self-education linking students and educators with unique web tools. This site also features resources for teachers to use in their real world classrooms.
- Connecting Online CO10: This is a social network of online students sharing their experiences with various courses.
- Adda: A social site for Indian self-educators, this network offers invaluable advice on getting valuable training online.
- SPEMFS: The goal of this network is to provide knowledge, mentorship, and networking opportunities to online students.
- Apprendre 2.0: A social site for French students, this network is not for beginners. This community of students is a great way to start using French in everyday ways.
- WebTools: A collaborative hub for educators to bring social media as a way to engage self-learners and promote 21st century skills for learning.
- EduBloggerWorld: Education blogs have become a sizeable presence in the blogosphere. This education site seeks to boost communication between education bloggers.
- Teaching Content 2.0: This social site is a platform for teachers to meet teachers and discuss online education techniques.
- socialstudents: A network for students, this site focuses on tech issues and electronic education.
- FieldFindr: This social network aims to connect teachers with students and volunteers to improve educational quality.
Blogs are a great way for prospective online students to learn more about self-education and others’ experiences. These are the best self-education blogs on the Web today.
- Academic Blogs: This portal offers blogs on nearly any academic discipline.
- Education Notes Online: Provides information on current issues and organizing activities for improving public education around the world.
- Web Education Online: A blog for free online education advice and information. The helpful posts available on this blog are particularly great for electronic tutoring.
- The Self-Education of Pat: This blogger details his trial and tribulations with online education.
- iLearn Technology: An edublog about innovative education technology and real world applications.
- Blogging About Web 2.0 Education Technologies: An unbelievable amount of information on using Web 2.0 education technologies in everyday life.
- EdTech Live: A blog with a massive interview archive, EdTech Live is a great resource for computer education.
- Weblogg-ed: This blogger offers valuable insight into online self-education by sharing his experience.
- Selfmade Scholar: This blogger is a former English teacher who offers advice and helpful tips for self-learners.
- The Art of Self-Education: A blog that understands the finer points of educating oneself, The Art of Self-Education has posts giving great motivation.
- The Best Free Training: This blog discusses the best places to get free education online.
- Pick The Brain: Motivation for self-education, this blog offers helpful and inspirational posts.
- Stingy Scholar: A blog offering advice for how to learn online for free.
- Clive on Learning: This technology consultant is obsessed with spreading technology assisted learning. Check out his blog pulling from over 25 years of experience.
- Connectivism: A blog discussing the uses of social networking in education.
- E-learning Queen: This bloggers writes about distance training and education, from instructional design to e-learning and mobile solutions.
- Speed of Creativity: This blogger is a published author with numerous books and articles about the benefits of educational technlogy.
- The Knowledge Tree: An Australian blogger discusses the opportunities afforded by e-learning and distance education.
- Digital Chalkie: This blog focuses on informing users of the latest in education technology.
- Xplanazine: A blog about the future of education and education technology.
Learning a New Language
Learning a new language is a quick and sure fire way to improve your job prospects. Check out these tools, resources and books for
- italki: This site offers everything you need to learn a language and has a unique networking interface for practicing with partners.
- busuu: A community for learning new languages, busuu has networks for dozens of languages.
- LiveMocha: An online social network for language learning, LiveMocha is an extremely easy and useful tool.
- BBC Languages: The BBC offers this resource for learning a new language and has over 36 to choose from.
- Google Translate: Google applications are slowly becoming a way of life, this translator has languages from Armenian to Vietnamese.
- Selfmade Scholar Language Classes: This site has resources for learning Middle Eastern languages such as Hebrew and Arabic.
- Radio Lingua Network: This great site provides free audio materials for learning new languages such as German and Spanish.
- How to Learn Any Language: Rather than simply give you the material, this site teaches users how to actually learn a language.
- Open Culture: This site offers audio and text resources for learning any of 36 different languages.
- WordLingo: One of the Web’s best online language translators, this site is invaluable for any student learning a language online.
- Free Translation: This great online translator is fast and reliable for dozens of languages.
- Translation Guide: This site guides users through accurate translations for 28 different languages.
- Free Translation Online: Get an accurate translation fast with this great language resource.
- Language Online: A site for materials and resources aimed at learning a new language.
- Foreign Language Lesson Plans: Get a simple to follow lesson plan to ensure you actually learn the language your studying.
The best education begins with a book. While traditional schools have massive libraries, there are dozens of fantastic online resources to get the texts you need. Here are the best library resources for your self-education.
- Project Gutenberg: One of the greatest projects being undertaken on the Internet today, Project Gutenberg is a non-profit effort to create the world’s largest online library. This site offers classics from Plato, Twain and Shakespeare.
- Google Books: This site allows users to read whole books and excepts representing a variety of genres from non-fiction to poetry anthologies.
- Wikisource: A source site from the makers of Wikipedia, this resource allows for quick access to literature and primary source documents such as speeches.
- Scribd: An online network of readers sharing books and information for self-education
- Bartleby: One of the world’s largest publisher of textbooks for students offers this free reference resource.
- ManyBooks: Browse through popular titles, make recommendations, or read user reviews from over 20,000 books..
- Read Print: Search famous works by famous authors with this amazing database of electronic books.
- Havard Classics Bookshelf: Older works are available in the public domain, meaning they can be legally read without payment. This great collection of famous public domain works was put together by Harvard professors as must reads.
- Sacred Texts: Does paying for a holy book make you uncomfortable? Get religious texts from major and not so major religions with this sacred site.
- Daily Lit: This search engine for classic works of literature makes reading online fun and easy.