Stanford Open Courses

I am sharing this resource now because I just remembered how great it was while taking about SQL with a friend, and now I honestly feel bad that I haven’t shared it with readers before now. If you aren’t familiar with open courses, they are free, online ways to learn new skills. They vary in structure, but most I’ve taken are open enrollment (you can start at any time) and self-paced (there is no deadline).

Many institutions offer open courses, but I’m highlighting the Standford Online courses for a couple reasons. The first is that the user experience was fantastic– the videos were excellent quality and the test platform was easy-to-use (I hear Harvard and MIT use the same platform, but I haven’t tried them). The second is that they’re a well-respected institution with a ton of course offerings. Whether you want to learn about string quartets or beginning programming, I bet Stanford has a class for you. I took the intro to databases series (here) and had a great experience.

To find open enrollment free classes on Stanford, go here. Search for classes, make a free account, and enroll– it’s all super easy and intuitive.

Thinking about taking an open enrollment class? Here are some things to consider. Most open courses will provide a certificate of completion or the like. You should know before you enroll if they do. But, they don’t count as college credit. If this is a “prereq” class that you don’t need on your actual transcript, you might still be able to take an open course and then test out of the prereq at your main college, but talk to your advisor before you try that. Also, there are tons of institutions that offer similar classes, so if you don’t like the presenter or the format, search for another option. Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite open course option!

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