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Online Learning & Educational Resources For 2012


A few weeks ago, my co-worker, Tim Lupo, took the time to write a detailed email to our entire team about the amazing opportunities for learning  & self improvement that await us on the web in 2012—many of them for free.  He shared a bunch of great new sites with us that offer courses in UX/UI, along with a slew of other subjects.  His email incited an active thread of replies from various team members, who went on to share even more web based learning resources.

Here they are:

Online Learning 2012

Coursera offers free online courses from some of the top universities, including the big names like Stanford and Princeton. Coursera course topics range from Human-Computer Interaction to Gamification to Quantum Mechanics to Poetry and Computer Science. You can review their full course offerings here:, to see if anything strikes your fancy.

Skillshare is a slightly different concept than Coursera in the fact that you can actually get out and meet people face-to-face by attending local workshops in your chosen area of study. There are a lot of classes being offered in Boston. They have courses in the area of design/development and a variety of other topics including Creative Arts, Culinary Arts, Entrepreneurship, Lifestyle and Technology. You can check out the full list here and select multiple filters to narrow your search results down to an area of interest. There is typically a fee associated with these courses and the price point really depends on the course. If you’re looking to venture out and about in Boston and learn something new, then this might be just the perfect format for you.  You can also post your own hosted events on this site.

Academic Earth
Academic Earth you can earn a degree online or can access a robust library of  courses and lectures, including videos from ivy league universities like Harvard and Yale.  Topics available range form Art & Design, to Medicine, to Entrepreneurship, to Chemistry.

iTunes U
Apple has released university courses as well. If you download the iTunes U app you will have access to a plethora of courses. As of right now the courses are free and if you do a search for ‘design’ they have a lot of design related courses that seem worth a view.  I like to multitask and listen to lectures on my headphones at work while I write emails or do research.
Open Culture advertises as being “the best free cultural and educational media on the web.” This site offers much of the same as the other courses listed here, but uniquely offers “language lessons” in languages & dialects like Spanish, English, Fresh, Russian, Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, and more. also has a bunch of free educational movies and films onsite, including a notable collection of noir films.  If you are looking for some free classic audiobooks, look no further—on open culture you can download Dickens, Jane Austen, Chaucer, George Orwell, Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, Yeats, Walt Whitman, and even some more modern works like Virginia Wolf.  (Wish this existed when I was an English major!)

These are just a few of the big sites that are great educational resources but there are a ton more out there. Please leave a comment and share any other good ones I may have missed here!

Author Alex Stetson

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