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Are good online certification courses available in the UK?

I’ve read that some accredited certificate programs are available in the USA through universities like MIT and UC Berkeley. Courses that interest me include IT, also all mathematics, algebra, geometry, calculus, and also ASE and personal trainer courses if applicable. I’m interested in online math courses for college credit, as maths is so impersonal it seems as if it might be best taught by computer. Which are the best online course platforms? Are any free distance learning courses available internationally, and if so are they in any way accredited, or worthwhile?

Naomi Doyle

in Online Courses

3 answers

3 answers

Anna on January 18, 2019


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Chelsea Hayes on May 30, 2018

Online certification courses are available from a variety of institutions in the UK. Officially, good ones cost money, but some students and employers are negotiating mutually satisfactory ways to work around that.

Free courses in lots of subjects are available from websites like Open University. For purposes of personal growth, or supplementary material that can help students qualify for exams, these may be useful. Accredited certificate or degree programs from the Open University cost money.

MIT and Harvard are currently recruiting qualified students (internationally, if students can come to the US) through their “EdX” site, or Harvard Online Certificates. Like free OU classes, these free online courses don’t apply to credit toward a degree; they’re used to recruit students into degree programs at MIT. Other top US schools are following their lead. Yale and Brigham Young University also offer 3 month or shorter programs to help steer qualified students toward these schools. Berkeley, offers a free online course in “the Science of Happiness,” but math courses for college credit online cost the same as courses on campus. serves as a platform for the best online courses from other schools testing the “free course as recruitment” option . These courses may help people negotiate pay raises or qualify for company scholarships.

Within the UK, several respectable distance learning courses are available internationally. They do cost money, but that cost may be offset by the opportunity to do a job while studying—especially if you’re interested in job-related courses. Information technology, mathematics, engineering, and mechanical sciences (including ASE, “automotive service excellence”) might be considered to relate to a lot of jobs.  Resource Development International facilitates “flexi study” plans that allow people who need to go directly to work, after secondary school, to take courses toward university degrees. The universities of Leeds, Leicester, London, Sheffield, Birmingham, Wales, and many others offer accredited classes and certification courses.

If the company won’t pay for you to go back to school, correspondence courses online can add up to university level qualification if a working learner can focus on the useful material among the free “fun” courses offered. The Guardian reports that just five online courses, offered free from good schools, allowed a talented, motivated automotive industry worker to pass the test in maths.

Patching together their own free distance learning courses can become profitable for determined students. 

Cynthia Bakera year ago

What fun! Can the Internet bring us closer to what Ivan Illich called “deschooling society”? Maybe not. Few people have the discipline to keep plugging away with the kind of serious, goal-oriented approach to “fun courses” that would allow them to pass tests of professional qualification. In the US, free online certification courses would not add up to a degree because it’s all about profit. Even to take certification exams for things like real estate sales, personal trainer, or even hair care licenses, we are supposed to have paid for a certain number of hours in a physical classroom. Some things I see on the Internet suggest that a corrective backlash may be underway, but it has not gone very far yet. In Tennessee a lawsuit was filed to penalize a man for daring to continue working as an experienced barber without having finished high school or earned a GED! 

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