Get Free College Courses on Your iPod

Personally, my brain is completely full and I’m starting to toss out childhood memories to fit in new material, so this isn’t for me. But if you have a little gray matter to spare, taking college level coursework is becoming easier all the time.

A lot of colleges are starting to publish courses online for free download, many available as video or audio podcasts. And when I say colleges, there are some elite names in the list: Harvard, MIT, John Hopkins, Princeton, Stanford, UC Berkley - a long and rapidly growing list. There’s another great list here.

While there is a lot of GIS-related coursework you can find, GIS-specific courses are starting to pop up too, like Spatial Database Management and Advanced Geographic Information Systems from MIT. A page-turner I’m sure.

The rub? Well, what you are paying a university for isn’t so much the education, but having them certify that you received the education and are prepared to weave baskets professionally out in the workforce you’ve been steadfastly avoiding for a year past your original graduation date. Downloading free classes online gets you the education, but unfortunately, not the certification (as a result I don’t think it would count for your GISP requirements either, if you are in to that sort of thing).

Still, from what I’ve checked out the education is really, really good, and the trend in the technology industry as a whole is away from certifications and more toward real life experience. Plus, you can out-geek people at conferences when you drop “Oh yeah, I studied that in a MIT course last month,” in to your conversations.

If you are in to that sort of thing, send me $50 and I’ll certify you as anything you want - just write it in the memo field on your check. $100 if you plan on performing surgery.