Audit a College Course Free Online


Audit a College Course Free Online

Many prestigious colleges are posting classwork on the Internet.

Ever wish you could go back to school? Now you can, without spending a dime. Colleges and universities worldwide are posting course materials on the Internet. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which pioneered the so-called open-courseware movement, will have at least some teaching materials online from all 1,800 undergraduate and graduate courses this fall. Other schools with a free online presence include the University of California at Irvine, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Notre Dame, Michigan State University and Harvard Law School.


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But access to materials is just that. You don't get credit toward a degree, nor are you able to interact with professors or other students. And the utility of what you can access varies greatly. You might get little more than a syllabus and reading list for one course, but another might have a full complement of lectures -- via audio podcasts or video webcasts -- complete with exams and answer keys. What is posted is often left to the teachers.

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Larkin Fessenden, 53, was surfing the Web when he found UC Irvine's "Fundamentals of Financial Planning." Fessenden, a computer programmer who happens to live in Irvine, got "a good overview" of investing, insurance, taxes and retirement at "I don't know if I hit every part. I like that you can jump around." Easy to do in a virtual classroom.