The Best Online Courses, Free or Cheap


The Best Free (or Cheap) Online Courses

Want to become an entrepreneur or advance your career? Learning new skills is easier than you think!



CreativeLive has been seen in the New York Times and in Forbes. It takes on a different approach to learning online by doing live broadcast session instead of just videos. This means you take classes from a live professional, who you can interact with and ask questions. The cost vary per class, but your first class is free. Plus, they have tons of free classes on an array of subjects. This site is amazing if you want to learn creative skills like photography, design, video, audio, music and crafts, but they also have other categories as well.


Coursera is used by over 8 million people, and consist of only experts and professionals. Many colleges like University of Penn, Sylvia, John Hopkins, Rutgers, Yale, and Stanford post courses on the site. This site is completely free unless you want to get a verified certificate upon completing a course, which costs $49. Coursera is similar to taking an online college course. You learn online, use textbooks, forums and take quizzes. Classes are from 2-6 weeks. The subjects vary from math, engineering, history, English and other college-like courses.

The Best Free (or Cheap) Online Courses


This site is similar to Lynda and Tuts+, but has a heavy background in technical skills. It’s great for learning HTML, creating iPhone Apps and CSS, but they also have business and creative courses. You can learn via live broadcast or videos. They also have member-only forums where you can learn from other students, and meet new people. They also have excellent extras like live workshops, and quizzes to help you learn better. It only cost about $25 a month for basic membership and their pro is $45. There’s also a free 14 day trial.

Academic Earth

This site gives access to college courses for free. Some categories are psychology, sociology, accounting, business, and many other majors. These courses are taught by top colleges like Carnegie Mellon, Yale and NYU. So, if you like the college course learning style, this site is for you!


Udacity is a site run by Stanford University, which posts in-depth college courses that are career-oriented (designed to help you get a job in that field). One of their most popular free courses is the “Introduction to Computer Science”, and they host dozens of courses in web development, software engineering, marketing, and app creation. While some of the courses are free, most run into the high hundreds and up to $1000. and take between 3 and 10 months to complete.

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she spends most of her time in France, NYC, London and Switzerland, and travels extensively around the world. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 128 Comments

  1. Luthi Sanders

    Online courses have been prevalent for many years now, It just needs a little more boost and a little more advertisement for it to really be considered a new mode of education.

  2. Nancy Smith

    My mom always said too much computer will rot my brain, now I’m gonna show her how I can learn from this computer I have now. thank you for this

  3. Maria Rapier

    Is there a course for being a social justice warrior? Seems like It’s booming nowadays, every time I go online social justice warriors are in the comments section spreading their brand of justice.

  4. Mary Beyer

    Maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned, or maybe I just don’t like change. but I don’t want my kids learning through their computers at home. I just feel having other humans to interact with will benefit them more than being cooped up in their room.

  5. Linda Williams

    Having the convenience of learning at home makes it a double edged sword actually. sure you can learn in comfort, but you can also be so lazy you just forget you even enrolled in an online class.

  6. Carol Joyner

    If let’s say I enrolled and didn’t fully consume what I paid for do I get a refund?

  7. Ani Hoker

    Isn’t it kinda scary? like having a 1on1 tutor? speaking behind the keyboard i can handle, having a video call to a stranger i think i can’t :/

  8. Marina Bozek

    Thank you for this great article, I always learn new things from youtube tutorials. It’s good, but I can’t ask something I didn’t understand, now by having an online tutor I can pace my self to get whatever he’she is teaching me.

  9. Selli Coaze

    Constantly improving oneself is such a beautiful struggle. Nobody knows how vast we can learn at the same time nobody knows how much we can retain of that knowledge. such is the way of life.

  10. Maria Bruce

    A question? do we get a certificate if we finish a course? Like do they send it to us?

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