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50 Best Sources of Free STEM Education Online

by Staff Writers

Colleges, online universities, and other educational forums in your community can be excellent places to learn more about a variety of STEM topics, but there is also a wealth of educational material available on the web for those who prefer to learn at their own pace or take a more individual approach. Even better, these resources, whether classes, lectures, or tutorials, are all free of charge, meaning you can improve your knowledge without emptying your wallet. Check out our list (organized by topic, not ranking) for some great STEM resources that can help you build your knowledge about everything from calculus to fire science.

Universities

These universities, many of which are renowned for their STEM programs, offer resources like course materials, videos, and lecture series.

  1. MIT Open Courseware: MIT offers one of the largest collections of OpenCourseWare on the web, with the vast majority covering STEM topics.
     
  2. Princeton WebMedia: You don’t have to attend Princeton to take advantage of the rich collection of lecturers the school brings in, touching on politics, health care, astronomy, and much more.
     
  3. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative: Head to Carnegie Mellon’s OCW site for courses on STEM topics like chemistry, biology, logic, programming, and engineering statics.
     
  4. Oxford Webcasts: Oxford is one of the most prestigious schools in the world and by using their web resources, you can gain access to lectures, symposia, and discussions held on campus.
     
  5. JHSPH OpenCourseWare: If health care is your area of STEM interest then make sure to check out the course materials shared on this Johns Hopkins site.
     
  6. Utah State University: USU might not be the household name that other universities on this list are, but the school offers a very respectable collection of OCW material, including courses in biology, engineering, and physics.
     
  7. Tufts OpenCourseWare: Through Tufts’ online offerings, independent learners can find course materials from the school’s School of Veterinary Medicine, Freidman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, School of Medicine, and School of Dental Medicine — a virtual healthcare smorgasbord.
     
  8. Webcast.Berkeley: Always wanted to attend Berkeley? Well now you can, sort of. Use this site to gain access to course materials and videos of lectures on campus.
     
  9. Notre Dame OpenCourseWare: This prestigious private college offers courses in great STEM-focused subject matter like civil engineering, mathematics, physics, and computer applications.
     
  10. UCI OpenCourseWare: Head to the University of California-Irvine’s site to do a little independent study in engineering, health science, or physical science.
     
  11. UMass Boston OpenCourseWare: You’ll find some really great OCW offerings through UMass, with some touching on just about every STEM topic.
     
  12. LearningSpace: The UK-based Open University makes it simple for students to access free course materials that can help them learn about a wide range of topics including engineering, technology, science, and math.
     
  13. ParisTech: Based in Paris, as you might guess, this technical school shares some of its geeky offerings online.
     
  14. MIT World: On this site, you’ll find MIT alumni, faculty, Nobel Laureates, and famous academics speaking on a wide range of STEM topics.
     

Lectures

Head to any of these resources to find lectures from the best and the brightest in science, tech, and math.

  1. iTunes U: Through iTunes, learners can access thousands of lectures, courses, and symposia from universities and organizations around the world.
     
  2. Forum Network: Visit this PBS site to find lectures on topics like genetics, astronomy, brain science, physics, and even women in science.
     
  3. TED: TED is famous for putting out brain-bending and revolutionary talks and by visiting their site, either on a computer or through their mobile app, you can watch and learn anytime, anywhere.
     
  4. Lecture Fox: Head to Lecture Fox to find an amazing collection of free university lectures, all related to physics, chemistry, computer science, or mathematics.
     
  5. Free Science and Video Lectures Online: This blog sorts through OCW and free educational material for you, giving you instant access to the best science-related ones.
     
  6. Videolectures.net: No matter what you’re interested in learning about, you’ll likely be able to find a lecture on it on this site, with more than 12,492 lectures to choose from.
     
  7. Pop!Tech: For those who can’t get enough STEM education, this site can be an amazing resource. Visit regularly for new and engaging lectures on science, technology, health, environment, energy, and much more.
     
  8. Gel Conference: Can’t attend the Gel Conference in person? No worries! Simply head to this site to find videos of some of the best presentations given, many by Nobel Prize winners, CEOs, and highly esteemed academics.
     
  9. MSRI Videos: You’ll find an impressive collection of math lectures on the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute’s site, many given by some of the 20th century’s best minds.
     

Tutorials

For tech topics, sometimes a tutorial is the best way to learn. You’ll find a great collection of them on all of these sites.

  1. w3schools: Billed as the world’s largest web development site, w3schools is a great destination for anyone who wants to learn more about building web pages.
     
  2. How-to-Geek: This great site will help you learn how to do a wide range of nerdy things, from navigating a new program to understanding how Google works.
     
  3. MuppetLabs: Those who want to learn more about programming will find an amazing collection of tutorials here on just about every programming language imaginable, plus a few other science and tech resources as well.
     
  4. NetTuts: If you want to conquer the web or work in IT, head to this site to learn how to do some programming, maintenance, and design.
     
  5. Tweako: Read up on a wide range of tech topics here, including hardware, networking, and security.
     

Educational Media

Videos, articles, interactive media, and more are at the heart of these STEM-centered resources.

  1. Nobel Prize Media Player: Hear from some of the most impressive Nobel Prize winners when you head to the NobelPrize.org website.
     
  2. NASA Multimedia: Space geeks will find plenty of educational materials on NASA’s website, including videos, interactive media, podcasts, and TV shows.
     
  3. National Science Foundation: Who better to educate you on science than the National Science Foundation? Through their site, students can find videos, publications, stats, and more.
     
  4. National Geographic: You don’t have to be a cable or magazine subscriber to learn what’s new with National Geographic. Just visit their site for loads of free educational and entertaining media.
     
  5. Discovery Channel: Take advantage of the videos of the Discovery Channel programming on this site. Some are just fun, but others are highly educational.
     
  6. Nature: Nature, a journal of science, gives access to some of its great educational material from its website, including new research, recordings, and videos.
     
  7. LiveScience: Through LiveScience you can keep up with the latest research being done in STEM, read articles, and watch videos that will ensure you always know what’s on the cutting-edge.
     
  8. ResearchChannel: This educational television network based out of the University of Washington is a great place to find science-related videos that cover a variety of topics.
     
  9. BigThink: Does your brain need a workout? Head to the BigThink site to find articles and videos on everything from space travel to tattooing.
     
  10. Science 3.0: This amazing online community offers learners a chance to share what they know with others and learn collaboratively about pretty much any science topic known to man.
     
  11. Wikiversity: From lecture materials to collaborative communities to research materials, you’ll find it all on Wikiversity.
     

Free Courses

Universities aren’t the only ones offering free course material. Head to these sites to find syllabi, reading lists, and more for a range of courses.

  1. NROC: The National Repository of Online Courses, or NROC, offers learners a chance to find videos and other educational materials related to math.
     
  2. Sofia: With courses on topics like Java programming, stats, and geography, this site is a great place to find some interesting free materials.
     
  3. PEOI: The Professional Education, Testing and Certification Organization International offers access to a wide range of course materials here, covering topics like biology, botany, electrical circuits, HTML basics, and a whole lot more.
     
  4. Khan Academy: If you need to brush up on K-12 topics in mathematics, science, and more, then head to this site for a free and quick refresher.
     
  5. Connexions: This community of learners allows users to create their own content and take advantage of that created by others.
     
  6. Academic Earth: Get a sneak peak at what courses are like at some of the world’s top universities by watching lectures and reading through course materials found on this site.
     

Reading Material

Prefer to get your information in written form? Here are some great sources for scientific articles, lesson plans, and more.

  1. Google Scholar: Search on this site to find scholarly articles on any topic you can think of. Some are free to read online, but others may require logging into your school or library account.
     
  2. Fathom: At Fathom, you’ll find seminar materials for a wide range of UK-based courses, from the British Museum, Cambridge, and more.
     
  3. PLoS: You won’t find any shortage of science-y reading material here. This open-access organization provides amazing papers on a wide range of topics that anyone can download and read.
     
  4. Wolfram Math World: Need help with a type of math? Don’t understand math terminology? Head to this site for all the guidance and materials you’ll need to master any mathematical problem.
     
  5. OER Commons: Visit this site for thousands of lessons and other educational resources for teaching and learning at the K-12 level and beyond.