No one doubts nowadays that education matters. Fairly often, the better the education one can afford, both from the perspectives of content and prestige, the more doors will be open in the future. Good for you, if you live in the US/the UK/Canada/Australia where the top rated universities are aggregated (source: university rankings). But what can a person who does not have an opportunity to get there do? One can have lack of money required to cover a tuition fee and accommodation, the inability to study with the normal pace at a given university, or have problems with being enrolled due to poor letter grades.
To address those cases, online and distant education has been introduced by many educational institutes. If we are talking only about top rated universities, many of them offer distant/online education, too. Furthermore, some of them even provide access even to video lectures (i.e., videos recorded during real lectures at classrooms), audio records, lecture notes, etc. This exempts one from being forced to spend money on traveling and frees one’s access to the knowledge. One can study courses based on their own pace and focus on the information that is important.
For example, Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been publishing free online course materials for many years here and now there are more than 1900 courses available. Another great resource of the academia knowledge is University of Berkeley’s webcasts, which amounts to several hundred courses from different terms from fall 2001.
Personally, I have studied some courses from MIT and Berkeley and found them to be extremely well organized and interesting. Regarding free GIS courses, there are not so many available. I was attracted to Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Urban and Environmental Analysis course, available from Tufts University.
To conclude, it is definitely a fascinating experience to listen to lectures of the best teachers gratis. Availability of courses materials allows people to take advantage from it, as the MIT web site stated, “unlocking knowledge and empowering minds”. To learn more about universities with the best free online courses, see here.