I’m a huge fan of Coursera, but have been waiting for awhile for an Introduction to Sociology course to start-up. When I was looking around online for other free sociology self-study options, I stumbled upon the Saylor Foundation, a DC-based nonprofit dedicated to providing and supporting free education. In 2008, Saylor started an initiative to provide free educational resources online. I hadn’t heard of the project before, so I was pleasantly surprised to find such a range of high-quality educational content on their website.
At http://www.saylor.org, you can set up your eportfolio for free and then choose from more than 300 online courses. Unlike Coursera, Saylor courses do not have a start and end date and are not led by a professor, though they are designed and vetted by qualified educators. Instead, courses are independent self-study lessons that give you a comprehensive introduction to a topic and access to opensource textbooks and resources via Openstax™ college. They also break down the work and readings into digestible units and give you a time estimate for each section, to help you pace yourself.
I signed up for the Introduction to Sociology Course and was immediately thrilled by the ease and volume of material – the course time projection was 95.25 hours! The course textbook is accessible and well-written, a combined effort from a long list of faculty at small universities and community colleges. Each unit also has an associated test, in addition to the final course exam. If you earn hit above the 70% passing score, you get your certificate for the course.
I haven’t gotten too far in my first course yet, but am excited to keep working!
If you’re not looking for college-level courses, Saylor also offers a few K-12 and professional development courses. Check it out!