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25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless. Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free education awaits on the following 25 sites.

1. Coursera

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    Coursera.org is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database. Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses. Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

    2. Khan Academy

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      Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects. Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

      3. Open Culture Online Courses

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        If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site. Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

        4. Udemy 

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          Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons. Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

          5. Academic Earth

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            Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects. Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

            6. edX

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              Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

              7. Alison

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                Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses. A great option if users need certification for their learning, Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                  A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app. Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes. Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content. ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                  9. Stanford Online

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                    Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser. Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                    10. Harvard Extension

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                      Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites. Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                      11. Open Yale Courses

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                        Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                        12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                          Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                          13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                            Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                            14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                              Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                              15. Codecademy

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                                Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material. The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

                                16. Code

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                                  Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids. In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript. Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                  17. University of London Podcasts

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                                    The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                    18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                      Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available. The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                      19. BBC Podcasts

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                                        For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events. Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                        20. TED-Ed

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                                          Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes 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, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

                                          21. LessonPaths

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                                            LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                            22. Memrise

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                                              Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content. Part of what makes Memrise speacial is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                              23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site. National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                24. Fun Brain

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                                                  Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention. Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                  25. Whyville

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                                                    Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens. Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Bill Selak via flickr.com

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                                                    Published on October 8, 2018

                                                    13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

                                                    13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

                                                    Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

                                                    Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

                                                    So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

                                                    1. Choose a major category each month to attack

                                                    As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

                                                    Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

                                                    By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

                                                    2. Only make major purchases in the morning

                                                    If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

                                                    Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

                                                    Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

                                                    3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

                                                    Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

                                                    The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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                                                    Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

                                                    4. Read one-star reviews for products

                                                    Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

                                                    By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

                                                    Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

                                                    5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

                                                    If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

                                                    The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

                                                    Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

                                                    This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

                                                    6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

                                                    One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

                                                    While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

                                                    The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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                                                    7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

                                                    Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

                                                    That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

                                                    That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

                                                    8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

                                                    Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

                                                    If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

                                                    Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

                                                    Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

                                                    This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

                                                    9. Budget using cash and envelopes

                                                    As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

                                                    Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

                                                    This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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                                                    The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

                                                    10. Join a like-minded group

                                                    Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

                                                    You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

                                                    Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

                                                    No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

                                                    For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

                                                    This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

                                                    11. Reward Yourself

                                                    When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

                                                    Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

                                                    With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

                                                    But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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                                                    Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

                                                    12. Take the Buddhist approach

                                                    You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

                                                    Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

                                                    Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

                                                    The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

                                                    13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

                                                    If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

                                                    It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

                                                    Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

                                                    Conclusion

                                                    Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

                                                    However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

                                                    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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