Continuing education is ideal for those who want to excel and improve their skills in a relevant field. Continuing education online includes courses that let a person develop his knowledge and skill in a specific area. A person can lag, if he doesn’t keep his skills and knowledge up to date. Many colleges and universities are offering continuing education courses. In this day and age, internet-based education is becoming popular for people who want to learn online. In the United States, more than 50 universities offer to continue education online. When the options are so many, it becomes a daunting task to choose the best option.
Further Reading: TOP 10 ONLINE COURSES FOR YOUR CAREER IN US
The Current State of Continuing Education Online
Online education is a need of the hour. Because a college education is getting expensive day by day. In the U.S., the tuition fees of institutes have gone up by 4% in the last few years. Recently, student debt has reached a whopping $1.3 trillion. If one compares the cost of online learning to the cost of on-campus learning, the cost difference is staggering. In a 2016 study, Georgia Tech found that a Georgia resident paid $20,000 per year to attend an on-campus program, while tuition fees of online classes were $7000 per year.
According to Class Central, the total number of online learners has reached to 81 million. Now, more than 800 universities offer continuing education online with new course additions. The growth rate of continuing education online is rising exponentially. However, there is a lack of a standard certification body, and that is one of the biggest flaws of online education.
Top Online Continuing Education Programs in the US
Let’s identify and rank online continuing education programs in the U.S. We can rank based on affordability, variety of courses, and the quality of a program. Read on to know about the best online continuing education programs in the United States.
1. Harvard University
Extension School offers courses through its Open Learning Initiative or OLI. Several courses through open learning are free, while others available at reasonable tuition rates. Faculty from diverse disciplines teach these courses. The courses which are available through OLI include courses on probability, computer science, and world literature. Most of the courses at Harvard are available at edX. These courses are related to Buddhism, biochemistry, statistics, classical music, earth science, and world literature. The medical school of Harvard has an open courseware (OCW) initiative. This initiative includes materials from chemical biology, genomic medicine, human pathology, virology, and oral physiology classes.
2. Yale University
In 2001, Yale University launched Open Yale Courses or OYC. This initiative aimed to provide free and open access to courses taught by scholars at the university. Yale has been offering lectures and classes in the OYC. These lectures are recorded in the classroom at Yale College. These classes require no registration. No degree or certificate is available through Open Yale Courses. These classes are available in social sciences, humanities, and biological sciences. It also offers courses in modern poetry, financial theory, Roman architecture, biological engineering, and much more. Through Coursera, Yale offers courses in political morality, classical music, religion, and global finance.
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers courses through edX. These courses are available in the field of supply chain design, entrepreneurship, synthetic biology, probability, and quantum mechanics. MIT also provides video lectures and course materials through its Open Courseware or OCW. The materials are for over 2,000 classes previously taught at MIT. The OCW is open to the world and is a permanent MIT activity. The idea behind OCW is to publish all the course material online and make them available. So that people can take benefit from it and enrich their lives. Students interested in continuing education online can benefit from these courses.
4. Stanford University
Stanford University has an Open Courseware (OCW), known as Stanford Online. The university offers free courses through its OCW. These courses are in areas such as fitness, finance, quantum mechanics, science writing, logic, and statistics in medicine. Stanford University also provides its courses through Coursera. These courses are related to cryptography, mathematical thinking, machine learning, game theory, organizational analysis, and child nutrition. Stanford Online program is for individuals, who want to enhance their skills and study new and emerging topics.
5. University of California, Irvine
The University of California, Irvine has been a pioneer in providing continuing education. The university has an OCW system called UCI Open. That carries hundreds of courses in various fields. These courses are in social sciences, arts, education, humanities, management sciences, biological sciences, and library science. Interested individuals have an opportunity to pursue continuing education online through this OCW initiative. University also offers courses on Coursera. On this MOOC’s platform, students can study subjects like microeconomics, conflict management, law, and trigonometry.
6. University of Michigan
The University of Michigan provides continuing education online. It has an OCW initiative, which is also known as Open Michigan. Through this platform, the university provides courses from its 19 colleges. These courses are available to people online. The classes offered are in education, medicine, law, literature, dentistry, public policy, and statistics. The University of Michigan also offers free online courses on edX, as a MOOC platform. People can browse free online courses in a variety of subjects. These subjects are related to grant writing, education, social work, physics, neuroanatomy, and public library marketing. Students can pay a small fee for receiving a certificate after completing a subject.
7. University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This university is the fourth oldest institution in the U.S. The university’s MOOCs are available on Coursera. Through Coursera, the university covers various subjects. Such as calculus, media literacy, dental medicine, virtual marketing, contemporary poetry, and dental medicine. Just like the Coursera, the university’s MOOCs are also available on edX. On this platform, the school offers classes on robotics, CSR, intellectual property law, big data, and software development. These subjects are available free of cost. Although, for a certificate, one has to pay a minimal fee.
8. Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University has a Bloomberg School of Public Health. This school has an OCW also known as JHSPHOpen. Its Open Courseware provides a variety of courses on health-related topics. Such as global health, nutrition, obesity economic, epidemiology, infectious diseases, and industrial hygiene principles. Similarly, the university provides courses through Coursera. These courses are related to dementia, neuroscience, prostate health, international travel safety, and psychological first aid. Students who want to take online continuing education in public health can choose these courses.
9. Berklee College of Music
Berklee College of Music has its OCW, which is known as Berklee Shares. Through this OCW, the college offers free resources of music. These free lessons come from Berklee’s degree and certificate program. The topics available through OCW are songwriting, jazz improvisation, music arrangements, and harmony. The college offers its courses through the edX platform as well. These courses are related to vocal recording technology, the music of wellness, the music business, and music theory. Similarly, through its Coursera MOOCs, people can take courses in music-related subjects. Such as electronic music, guitar, vocal production, and musicianship specializations. These courses are suitable for people who want to take continuing education in the field of music.
10. Columbia University
Columbia University is one of the oldest higher education universities in the U.S. It is also playing its part in offering continuing education online. The university offers its courses on Coursera. It provides a variety of courses on different topics. For example, topics like economics, financial engineering, construction management, health informatics, and environmental science. Similarly, the university’s MOOCs are available on edX. Through edX, it offers classes in corporate finance, artificial intelligence, statistics, investigative journalism, and data science.
Other Notable Online Platforms
EdX is a project of Harvard University and MIT. It offers more than 2,000 online courses to over 1.5 million students worldwide. Most of the courses offered on EdX are free. The online platform hosts university-level courses. EdX offers a flexible learning schedule and uses videos and animated tabs during a course.
Coursera is one of the most used online education platforms. It offers 2400 courses to more than 33 million users. Coursera provides a variety of degrees in business, medicine, engineering, computer science, and many more. It offers a self-paced learning experience to its users. There is no fixed schedule for a course.
Udemy is the most used online study school in the world. It offers more than 80,000 courses. One of the unique features of Udemy is that it allows anyone to create a course. Udemy delivers lectures in the ‘talking head’ style. The courses are affordable, and they usually charge $10 to $20 per course.
Online continuing education is provided by more than 50 universities in the United States. The above-mentioned programs are some highly-ranked online continuing education programs. However, one must understand all facts about online continuing education before starting. These programs are ideal for those who want to excel in a field or polish their skills. In short, continuing education is essential for a person to keep himself abreast of recent development.