The 25 Best Places To Take Free Online Computer Science Classes

These days, computers dominate our lives, providing the platform by which we work, play, and communicate with others around the world. As such, knowing how to work with and engineer these often quite complicated systems is a pretty solid skill to have in the modern workforce.

While a college degree is the most direct route to a career in computer science, students can start building their skills for free with some of the great resources offered on the web. We’ve listed just a few of the best sites for free computer education here, offering lessons in everything from programming to theory for students to take in whenever and wherever they like.

  • MIT OpenCourseWare: MIT has one of the largest collections of open courseware out there, including numerous offerings in computer science from some of the leading minds in the field.
  • Stanford Engineering Everywhere: Head to this site to take courses in basic computer science, artificial intelligence, linear systems, and other engineering topics.
  • Academic Earth: There are a dozen or so free lectures on computer science from big-name colleges like Stanford, MIT, and Berkeley on this site.
  • MIT World: MIT World is another offering from MIT that shares lectures, conferences, and demonstrations on a variety of topics, including computer science.
  • Harvard Extension School: Harvard shares some of its Ivy League educational resources for free on this site, which collects course materials from a number of different computer science courses held in past years.
  • UC Berkeley Engineering: Head to UC Berkeley’s iTunesU archive for a great collection of computer science and engineering lectures.
  • The Open University: The Open University is an excellent place to look for free educational resources on just about any topic, and as you might imagine they carry a fair amount of computer science material as well.
  • UC Irvine: Looking to take a few courses in computer science on your own time? Through UC Irvine’s online resources you can take Intro to AI, Machine Learning, Kernel-Based Learning, or Bayesian Statistical Analysis.
  • w3schools: For those looking to learn a programming language, there are few better resources than w3schools. On their site, there are tutorials for learning HTML, CSS, AJAX, and dozens of other programming languages.
  • Wikibooks: Supplement any of the courses you take for free online with textbooks from Wikibooks. You’ll find great titles that can serve as reference points for a variety of CS subjects.
  • Google Code University: Google has created a number of resources to help computer science students, including courses on programming, web security, algorithms, and much more.
  • ArsDigita: Modeled after the undergrad computer science program at MIT, this online learning resource offers up some really great courses any CS student should check out.

  • Grinnell College: Find course materials and syllabi for dozens of computer science classes taught at Grinnell between 1997 and today when you head to this site.
  • Codeacademy: If you need a little help learning a coding language, check out this site for some step-by-step guidance that will make everything a bit easier.
  • Swinburne University of Technology: This Australian school offers up free courses on topics like HTML, web graphics, higher level math, Java, and more.
  • iTunesU: Head to iTunesU and search for computer science to find hundreds of lectures on the subject to choose from.
  • UMass Boston: Those who want to learn about artificial intelligence should head to UMass-Boston’s OCW site, for free course materials from this Fall 2008 class.
  • Udacity: Started by a professor at Stanford, this site is a must-see resource for any CS student. Currently, it offers courses in cryptography, web application engineering, computer program design, programming languages, and even programming robotic cars!
  • Caltech: This prestigious technology school is offering computer science enthusiasts a chance to see what its classes are like, tuition-free, for a limited time. From April 3rd to May 31st, anyone can get access to a streaming video of a Machine Learning course.
  • Sofia: On the Sofia site, students can take a course in Java programming, Macromedia Flash, statistics, network security, or webpage authoring.
  • Carnegie Mellon OpenLearning Initiative: Currently, Carnegie Mellon is only offering a couple CS-related courses, but over the next year they plan to add several more, so check back for updates.
  • University of Notre Dame OCW: Among the OCW offerings from Notre Dame are two computer science courses, Applied Multimedia Technology and Applied Multimedia.
  • Saylor.org: Go through, unit-by-unit, an introductory course in computer science using amazing free resources on this site.
  • Khan Academy: This popular site hasn’t neglected computer science, offering numerous courses that cover topics like Fibonacci functions, Python programming, and binary numbers.
  • Higher Computing for Everyone: This site is currently offering a course in writing basic programs, a great introduction for anyone just getting into programming.

9 Comments

  1. AnkammaRaoRavuvari

    April 12, 2012 at 4:48 am

    That is a huge collection. Check this list 20+ computer programming courses http://freevideolectures.com/blog/2010/07/20-cs-programming-online-courses-with-video-lectures/

  2. Pingback: The 25 Best Places To Take Free Online Computer Science Classes | Edudemic « RobertZwick.Com

  3. atgrauer

    April 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Also check out Course Hero at http://CourseHero.com for 22 courses in web programming, business, and entrepreneurship

  4. JenntheGeek

    May 12, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Great information! I might take a few of these courses during the summer just for fun. 

  5. bantu

    July 23, 2012 at 11:47 am

    sema super class …

  6. bantu

    July 23, 2012 at 11:48 am

    you can come whenever you want learn and enjoy the class… nice one

  7. Sarah Omar

    December 27, 2012 at 8:37 am

    hello there, if you could only tell me where i can get classes of microsoft office 2003,2007?

  8. George Gregory

    January 5, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Great list. Thank you for publishing! But: Not to mention Coursera? How is that even possible? They have tons of great CS classes from Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton. Video, free, with grading, and everything. From some of the best CS professors in the world.

  9. Stefan Edlich

    January 7, 2013 at 9:28 am

    True, coursera.org should be on top of this list.
    Strange how this could slipped away…