Senior Education

Best Free Online Courses for Senior Education

Written by Liam

Have you ever wanted to pursue a reputable and highly esteemed university? While today’s seniors used to be the younger generation exploring college choices, most of them used to find schools like MIT, Harvard, and Yale beyond their means of access due to the affordability and the long distance.  But today, with the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) movement and general access to fast internet, nearly any person is able to afford to study at the best schools in the country at little to no cost. 

Retiring from your job shouldn’t be a reason to abandon the pursuit of knowledge and find new interests in your life, but it should mean that you have the opportunity to benefit from your time and freedom to learn and discover new things. You can pursue your own passions on a much larger scale. Thankfully, technology has empowered us with the online tools we need to keep on studying and expanding individually. Ongoing education through online courses helps you stay active, knowledgeable, and committed to the bigger picture. In addition, a lot of the online resources available to you are free of charge. 

The MOOC initiative provides tuition-free course offerings which can be accessed by almost any person, from anywhere in the world. With Internet access, you can attend courses from top American universities, such as Georgetown and Brown, or even the world’s best institutions, such as Oxford and the Sorbonne. 

University of Southern Maine:

You can register for courses in the fall and spring terms, which are each 8 weeks long, and for winter and summer courses which last 6 weeks. While these courses are typically available at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus, at this special time of year, they provide a summer distance learning program to enable you to access this highly beneficial social and academic experience from your home. The OLLI program is extremely well attended by many of graduates – some of whom have actually become teachers of the program.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Southern Maine Senior College is a highly successful and very local lifelong learning opportunity. You may select from among a variety of liberal arts or science courses that are professionally tutored by other students. No college education or other admission qualifications are necessary; all you need is a passion for studying and learning to succeed. 

edX: Sign in and Begin to learn new skills:

On the edX website, you are able to anonymously search and navigate through courses, but in order to attend a course, you must register with edX and sign up for whichever course you choose. To sign up for edX, you could choose to have a social media profile or you could make a new account that is designed especially for the purpose of completing free online courses. From this account, you’ll be able to access a personal control panel with access to hundreds of free online courses. 

The easiest and most efficient way you can think of to access and engage with MOOC courses is most likely to use edX, which is an online education platform that was started in 2012 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

Harvard University:

Harvard University has an entire portfolio of online courses, ranging from free to fee-based. Courses last from 2 to 12 weeks and usually require a 2-4 hour weekly assignment requirement for the work to be completed. The choice is apparently unlimited; no matter if you are attracted to American politics, Beethoven, world literature or other subjects, there is definitely something to interest everyone. 


If you’re interested in computer programming, Codeacademy may be a good choice for you. You can take advantage from its free courses to learn anything related to coding and programing such as creating a website, learning programming languages, how to make mobile applications and so on.

Coursera Free:

Coursera is a paid online university that provide degrees in various fields. The duration of the degrees ranges from two to four years.

Coursera also offers some courses at no extra cost. Here are some examples:

  • The Science of Wellbeing
  • Financial Markets
  • Machine Learning
  • Successful Negotiations: Essential Strategies and Skills
  • Financial Engineering and Risk Management
  • Algorithms
  • Introduction to Philosophy

Open Learning Initiative:

Open Learning Initiative is presented by Carnegie Mellon University. These courses don’t actually provide credit if you complete them, but they do offer an opportunity to learn new things and broaden your horizons. Some of the courses available right now are:

  • General Chemistry 1 and 2
  • Introduction to Programming in Java
  • Elementary Chinese 1
  • Environmental Technology
  • Visual Design
  • Modern Biology


If you’ve been around the internet you’ve probably heard of TEDTalks, the nonprofit lecture series presenting ideas from prominent minds around the world.

Now they have a series presenting lessons on a variety of subjects in an easy-to-digest video format!

Stanford Free Courses:

Stanford offers free courses at no cost in Medicine, Engineering, or their School of Humanities and Sciences.

Khan Academy:

Khan Academy aims itself at students from preschool to college, but there’s no age limit on learning! Started as a tutorial series focusing on mathematics, Khan has expanded to cover any subject you care to name.

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