Stanford University is dedicated to providing an avenue to pursue a lifetime of learning. You can register for free Stanford online courses, or enroll in a number of advanced degree opportunities and professional certificate programs. The acclaimed California school offers more than 100 exclusive, free online courses or MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).

There are also Stanford online courses offered in conjunction with other universities, such as Harvard. All opportunities allow you to study at your own pace. Here are seven excellent Stanford online courses to apply towards a degree or to expand your knowledge. Each course is offered free, without any enrollment requirements.

1. Open Knowledge: Changing the Global Course of Learning

An excellent place to begin is with a course that will establish a foundation for all types of learning. This course exposes students a global conversation about why learning is important and how it differs across cultural boundaries.

  • Open Knowledge: Changing the Global Course of Learning does not have any prerequisites.
  • The standard format for completing the course takes 13 weeks and all text materials are available for free.
  • You are eligible for a certificate of achievement once you have completed the course. These certificates do not cost you anything and are great for documenting your learning experience.

2. Adventures in Writing

Perfecting your communication skills can be helpful in your social life and especially towards advancing a career. Understanding how to present your ideas in written form is essential. This class helps you better appreciate how language is used to convey messages through writing.

  • You will learn the difference between passive and aggressive writing structures.
  • Adventures in Writing will expose you to sound grammar skills and give you tips on how to expand your vocabulary.
  • You will develop techniques that will help you express your ideas in written form, so they engage the people who are reading your communications.

3. Thinking Critically: Interpreting Randomized Clinical Trials

Developing the skill to think critically is important in both the pursuit of a college degree and life. While this class centers on the clinical analysis of research, it is will give you tremendous exposure into how to improve your thinking skills.

  • This is a self-paced format that allows you to study and interpret a variety of clinical research documents.
  • Thinking Critically: Interpreting Randomized Clinical Trials is an excellent way to build a strong foundation in data analysis or clinical research.
  • You can earn continuing education credits from successfully completing this course and all graded materials with a final grade of 75%.

4. Introduction to Logic

Improving your writing and learning to analyze critical data, will give you the tools necessary to learn how to reason with logic. This class will provide an excellent overview of how logic is used in mathematics, business, science, engineering, and life in general.

  • Introduction to Logic is one of the Stanford online courses that will help you build diverse knowledge for future learning.
  • You will need to have some basic understanding of algebra, plus the knowledge you learned by taking the Critical Thinking course will prove valuable.
  • This course provides an online textbook, but you can purchase a printed copy if you wish.

woman with eyeglasses studying in library with tablet, notebook, open dictionary

5. Computer Science 101 (Self-Paced)

There aren’t many steps in any continuing education program, which will not benefit from knowing how to competently use a computer. This is a great place to either improve existing knowledge or master some basic computer skills.

  • Computer Science 101 is one of the self-paced Stanford online courses. You can take as long as you want to finish this course. This makes it great for professionals or students who want to study computer basics in their free time.
  • You may not be ready for a job as a programmer or developer when you finish this course, but you will understand code, digital analysis, and other important computer functions.
  • This course has a dedicated section on computer security, including strong password development, virus and how to protect your information from malware.

6. Presentations! Present Your Ideas and Turn Them Into Action

There will be hundreds of opportunities to present yourself and your ideas in both life situations and on the job. Learning how to give strong presentations and get action from them can be valuable. You not only learn how to give successful business presentations, but you will develop the confidence to make a presentation about anything.

  • Presentations! Present Your Ideas and Turn Them Into Action will teach you how to give constructive feedback about any topic, without appearing to be overly arrogant.
  • You will learn how to engage any audience, so they listen with an unbridled interest in what you have to say.
  • This course teaches how to give presentations that generate the desired outcome, so the tools are also fantastic for presenting yourself in a multitude of situations.

7. Designing Your Career

The last selection in this list of Stanford online courses is one you can use to propel any career. This is excellent for professionals who want to improve their standing, or possibly look to change careers. It is also a great tool for recent or soon-to-be graduates as they prepare to enter their new career.

  • Designing Your Career will help you apply the necessary motivation to being successful at whatever you do, plus balance your career ambitions with a productive life.
  • There are no prerequisites for this class, other than an ambition to improve. You will gain the experience of faculty members who have been successful in their own career endeavors.
  • Through the use of videos and reflection exercises, you will learn how to work through job problems, career change decisions and other troubling aspects of your chosen vocation.

In Conclusion

The Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning oversees the Stanford online courses program. It is a great way to absorb valuable knowledge or learn new skills. Each of the courses will provide you with a certificate of achievement to document your successful completion of the material.

Whether you’re just starting a college journey, want to improve your career standing, or just like learning about interesting things, you will find these courses very rewarding. You can start at the beginning, or pick one in the middle. The nice thing about these Stanford online choices is they are all free.

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