September Back to School for Grown-Ups?

As long as I can remember September meant back to school time. As a student myself it was a time of newness. New school clothes, new teachers, new classmates and fresh new notebooks ready to be filled.

As a parent the last 20+ years has also meant newness. New clothes, teachers, classmates, school supplies as well as getting back into the routines after a summer without alarm clocks or agendas.

As the kids go back to school this month I realize I’m restless and I’m wanting to start something new despite the fact that not only am I not a student (and haven’t been for many years) … it’s September and it’s time to learn something new.

Online Education: Back to School for Grown-Ups

These days we all have the opportunity to learn constantly, for the rest of our lives, through online options, books, courses, etc. Whether it’s formal university level education or learning new hobbies and skills through Youtube and other sites there has never been a time when education was so easily accessed. This is far from a complete list of online education options but hopefully it’s a place to start for those of you who, like me, are looking for something new to learn during this back to school season.

University Type Programs

  • University of the People – believes that access to Higher Education is a basic right and should be available to all regardless of geographical, social or financial barriers. Degree programs are currently available for Business Administration and Computer Science, tuition free with some small fees for exams.
  • Coursera -an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. Course subjects include computer science, math and logic, personal development, social sciences and more offered via a number of different universities for free with very low fees.
  • Open University – another university offering free or low fee diploma, certificate and degree programs in a wide variety of subjects.
  • EdX – EdX was created for students and institutions that seek to transform themselves through cutting-edge technologies, innovative pedagogy, and rigorous courses. EdX is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is governed by MIT and Harvard.

Skills and Hobbies

  • Craftsy – this is a personal favourite of mine. Learn everything from cooking skills to photography, cake decorating, jewellery making, knitting and much more. Several free courses (the free knife skills class is wonderful) and most courses are $15 to $50 for several hours of professional video instruction that you can watch as many times as you want, whenever you want. Instructors are skilled professionals and are available answer your course related questions.
  • Universal Class – everything from hobbies (arts, crafts, cooking, fitness, gardening, more) to entrepreneurship to writing skills and much more is available through Universal Class for affordable fees.
  • – offers a variety of free and membership (low annual fee) only drawing courses
  • Livemocha – 35 languages, free online learning, and a worldwide community of native-speaking language learners just like you.

These are just a very few places to get you started. If you have any favourite online education resources just add them in the comments below!

Merlene Paynter

Merlene Paynter is a freelance writer and content consultant. When she's not working as the Managing Editor at Her City Lifestyle she's mixing up cocktails over at , designing websites, writing, and selling yarn at her new online yarn shop and drinking too much coffee.

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