Free Online Business Courses
A business owner’s education is never over, but how does one find the time and money to stay up-to-date? Thanks to Dan Colman, Director and Associate Dean of Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program, you can quench your thirst for knowledge online. Colman created Open Culture, a website offering free access to classic films, language lessons, ebooks and courses. The site also has an extensive collection of business courses from respected institutions such as Oxford University, Stanford, MIT and Columbia University. You will also find a selection of websites that have a variety of free courses on every topic. Warning: These sites will interfere with your social networking and TV time. Have fun!
University of Oxford professors present this 20 session podcast series, which features topics such as raising capital, future proofing, protecting intellectual property and more. Although focused on technological enterprises, the material is relevant to most business practices. Oxford also features another free course titled Building a Business: Moving Your Product to the Market. This eight-session podcast series focuses on topics such as social media, networking and website design.
MIT sponsors this undergraduate video course that introduces the basic principles of microeconomics.
Columbia University hosts Real Estate Finance 1 and Real Estate Finance 2. This iTunes audio course covers topics such as leases, taxation, construction, appraisal and others.
Taught via YouTube video, this Stanford University Course focuses on ways to earn start-up capital. The university also offers a course in Technology Entrepreneurship. Both courses focus on the fundamentals of technology entrepreneurship that were pioneered in Silicon Valley.
The Small Business Association offers this introductory course for women over the age of 50 who are interested in pursuing a second career and launching their own business. It includes topics such as business you can start with minimal cash, developing a business plan, real life stories and where to find business assistance.
Warning! Visit the ALISON website and you’re going down the rabbit hole. Prepare to stay there for a few hours. ALISON, an acronym for Advance Learning Interactive Systems Online, offers over 600 free courses, in business, science, math, health and fitness and anything that you can imagine. Some even offer a certificate of completion or a diploma, such as this tourism studies course. The first part of the course details the history of the tourist industry, along with its employment opportunities. Part 2 differentiates the needs of business and pleasure travelers, and explores means of generating sales, as well as marketing strategies.
Saylor.org offers this course in organizational behavior, which describes how people interact within a company. To quote the website:
An organization is a collection of individuals arranged in a particular way and embedded in an ever-changing environment in order to achieve a common goal. In this introductory unit, you will learn about organizations in business, focusing on how the individual plays a role in the success of the organization. You will learn that you must understand what influences individual behavior before you can study how individuals interact with organizations. As in psychology and sociology, the individual person is the focus of organizational behavior. Because sciences like psychology and sociology are older, more established fields of study than organizational behavior, we will take a look at them in order to better understand the purpose and applications of OB. This unit will provide you with an introduction to OB, including the history and emerging trends of OB. In addition, we will identify the micro-level factors that contribute to our understanding of the OB field. You will also learn about how OB is connected with other sciences. Finally, you will be provided with information on how to properly evaluate research in OB.
You don’t get it about adwords? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. This course demystifies the adwords ordeal, and helps you select the best keywords for your product. Another online learning site like ALISON, Udemy, which hosts the course, offers a variety of free and online classes.
Harvard Extension School’s Computer Science program hosts this 30-session course, which uses a combination of MP3 and PDF format. At first glance, you might wonder why anyone from Harvard might need a course on computers and the Internet, but read the description:
This course is all about understanding: understanding what’s going on inside your computer when you flip on the switch, why tech support has you constantly rebooting your computer, how everything you do on the Internet can be watched by others, and how your computer can become infected with a worm just by being turned on. Designed for students who use computers and the Internet every day but don’t fully understand how it all works, this course fills in the gaps. Through lectures on hardware, software, the Internet, multimedia, security, privacy, website development, programming, and more, this course “takes the hood off” of computers and the Internet so that students understand how it all works and why. Through discussions of current events, students are exposed also to the latest technologies.
Thinking of going global with your business? This course is for you. It covers topics such as effects of offshoring, how trade has shaped the economies of China, Mexico, and Korea, when foreign direct investment is desirable, and the history of free trade. Don’t let the name of the host site Marginal Revolution University, scare you. It’s actually run by professors from the legitimate George Mason University in Virginia.
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