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24 Online Websites Set to Replace the Traditional College Education

24 Online Websites Set to Replace the Traditional College Education

It’s without question that this generation has and will see the biggest shift in education in the past century.

Top universities like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford are sharing their courses online for free, and it’s no longer necessary to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to receive a paper degree.

With the rise of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course), now anyone with expertise can teach to millions of people around the world looking for their specialized knowledge.

Not only is it easier to get access to quality education online, but the value of a traditional degree is worth questioning, with the rise of unemployment among recent college graduates increasing to 8.5% in 2014 from 5.5% in 2007.

Not to worry. Here are 24 websites you can use instead of taking a college course. Learn anything from languages, finance, computer science, and more.

General Subjects

1. EdX — A non-profit provider that offers online courses from the world’s best universities, including MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, and more.

2. Wikiversity — Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to learning resources, learning projects, and research for use in all levels, types, and styles of education from pre-school to university. It also includes professional training and informal learning.

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3. Lynda — Now under Linkedin, Lynda is known as one of the best online video learning resources for learning nearly any skill — from Photoshop to Video Editing. While Lynda is most famous for their premium software video tutorials, they also offer free courses online.

Computer Science and Engineering

4.  Codeacademy — A fun, simple, and gamified method of learning how to code, from HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ruby on Rails, and beyond. Great to get the basic knowledge of learning how to code

5. W3school — Great resource to find specific tutorials, answers to problems you’re struggling with, and a community of fellow coders.

6. Google Code University — Provides sample course content and tutorials for Computer Science (CS) students and educators on current computing technologies and paradigms.

Branding, Creativity & Marketing

7.  HubSpot Marketing Library — A free library of anything inbound marketing related, from ebooks to templates and more goodies for you to download.

8.  CreativeLIVE — A unique proposition: Enroll into live classes online for free, and purchase only the courses you want to keep. Learn everything from photography and design, to money and marketing.

9.  Skillshare — An online website to learn anything from anyone, Skillshare has insightful courses on branding and marketing that are taught by knowledgeable experts including Guy Kawasaki, Gary Vaynerchuk, and more.

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Foreign & Sign Language

10.  Rype — Known to language lovers as “Your Personal Language Coach,” Rype is reinventing language learning by integrating the advantages of coaching, including personalization and coaching accountability, to help you reach fluency faster. Check out their free course on How to Learn a Language in 90 Days or try out a 14-day free trial for Rype Club.

11.  Duolingo — With over 50M users around the world, Duolingo has become the mobile app for language lovers to begin their language journey.

12.  American Sign Language Browser — Teach yourself American Sign Language on the most popular sign language website online.

Economics & Finance

13.  Investopedia Financial Investing Tutorials — An abundance of detailed lessons on money management and investing.

14.  TheStreet University — Whether you’re just starting out as a stock and bond investor or you’re in need of a refresher’s course, this is the place to learn what you need to know.

15.  Fool.com — Learn everything from getting started in investing, real estate, taxes, managing your personal budget, and more — all from experts.

Science & Health

16.  MIT OpenCourseWare — A free online publication of MIT course materials, including nearly all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT.

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17.  Harvard Medical School Open Courseware—Harvard’s online courseware exchanging knowledge from the Harvard community of scholars to other academic institutions, and the general public.

18.  Khan Academy — Over a thousand, insightful video lessons covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to physics, chemistry, and biology.

19.  Open Yale Courses — Open Yale Courses provide lectures and other materials from selected Yale College courses to the public, free of charge, via the internet. The courses span the full range of liberal arts disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences.

English & Communications

20.  Open Yale Courses (English) — Open Yale Courses provides lectures and other materials from selected Yale College courses to the public free of charge via the internet.

21.  Lifewriting — A full guide of the nine-week writing class that a highly profiled professor taught in UCLA.

History & World Culture

22.  Bio’s Best — Biography.com’s most popular biographies on notable historical figures that you can learn from.

23.  MIT OpenCourseWare (History) — The MIT History Faculty offers over seventy subjects in the Undergraduate and Graduate level in the diverse areas of history

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24.  Have Fun with History — A resource for students, educators and all lovers of American History.


Will the increasing rise of MOOCs and specialized online learning websites replace the 4-year traditional degree?

It’s hard to say today. However, as the quality of education and learning experience improves through the use of technology, it will become more and more difficult for the traditional education system to compete.

The social college experience will always be a hard component to replace. If that’s a priority for you, it’s recommended you use these learning websites as a complementary resource to your traditional degree.

However, the state of the education industry is changing faster than ever, and it’s without question that online learning will continue to be a major component in the future of learning.

More by this author

Sean Kim

Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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Last Updated on November 3, 2020

20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

  • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
  • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
  • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

1. Todoist

    Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

    Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

    If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

    Download: Todoist

    2. 1Password

      You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

      1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

      You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

      Download: 1Password

      3. Bear

        Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

        It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

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        Download: Bear

        4. Hazel

          Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

          For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

          Download: noodlesoft

          5. Alfred

            Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

            For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

            It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

            Download: Alfred

            6. TextExpander

              TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

              For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

              An individual account is $3.33 per month.

              Download: TextExpander

              7. Backblaze

                If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                Download: Backblaze

                8. Keyboard Maestro

                  Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                  Download: Keyboard Maestro

                  9. Snagit

                    There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                    Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                    10. Bartender

                      Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                      If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                      Download: Bartender

                      11. Otter

                      Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                      Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                      Download: Otter

                      12. Flux

                        Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                        Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                        Download: Flux

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                        13. PDFpen

                        If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                        PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                        Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                        14. OmniFocus

                          OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                          It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                          A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                          Download: OmniFocus

                          15. Franz

                            It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                            Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                            Download: Franz

                            16. MindNode

                              If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                              The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                              Download: MindNode

                              17. Focus

                                The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

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                                This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                Download: Focus

                                18. CleanMyMac

                                  Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                  Download: CleanMyMac

                                  19. Grammarly

                                    A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                    This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                    A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                    Download: Grammarly

                                    Focus To Do

                                      Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                      There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                      Download: Focus To Do

                                      The Bottom Line

                                      These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                      Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                      More to Boost Productivity

                                      Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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