It’s true that learning is a thing that doesn’t HAVE TO take place in the formal (or informal, depending on the instructor) confines of the classroom; nor does it need to be expensive. To that we can say: “Thank you, internet,” and to its generous benefactors, including furthering your education for free from ANYWHERE IN THE ‘VORLD. Some of the nation’s top schools — like MIT and Harvard University — provide free online learning resources for some of that on-your-own-time, at-your-own-pace education, and some even provide self-educators with proof for having completed courses. If you want some info about some free architectural education courses, keep reading after the break!
Launched in 2003, MIT’s OpenCourseWare operates as an online platform where anyone can access the same course content as paying students – for the low price of ZERO! Their architecture section contains well over 100 undergrad and graduate level courses, which come complete with downloadable lecture notes, assignments, reading lists, and (probably) samples of past student work. The program lacks feedback from professors and a certificate of course completion, but having free access to the United States’ oldest architecture department is quite the amazing resource.
Similar to MIT, TU Delft also offers online courses via the OpenCourseWare platform, but it’s not quite as extensive. The website does not have a section dedicated to architecture, however the curious, interested and designer-minded folk can still get some mileage from the prestigious school’s science and technical offerings. Course material available for most of courses includes audio and video lecture recordings, readings, assignments, and even some practice exams to take after leaving a penny on the statue of Sully.*
EdX is the Voltron of non-profit online education initiatives formed by the formidable limbs of MIT and Harvard University. The program offers free interactive classes from some of the top universities in the world, and should you take a course, you can aim for a certificate of achievement, or you can audit it and choose what and how much YOU want to do with it. The best benefit is that you’ll be able to connect with like-minded classmates from around the planet via the website’s peer-to-peer social learning tools. Other than architecture, the class categories also include computer science, music, and economics.
Open Online Academy, founded by Dr. Ivan Shumkov, is fairly similar to Edx, however it provides a more selective range of courses relating specifically to architecture, art, and design. Dr. Shumkov is a New York based architect, curator, and professor who has taught at Harvard GSD, the Pratt Institute‘s School of Architecture, and Parsons The New School for Design, among other places. As of now, Open Online Academy offers six courses, so keep an eye out for the platform’s fall expands, where more additional courses concerning leadership, negotiation, and management will become available.