Top 5 Free Online Learning Platforms

In light of recent events, you might have found social distancing has left you with some extra time. Rather than let your boredom get the best of you, this might be the time for some good old PD or personal development. We agree it can be hard to finding online learning platforms that don’t require your credit card information. But surprisingly enough, there are a lot of free courses available, especially for those looking to jumpstart their careers into the blockchain world.

Since there is no formal cryptocurrency university, you might be wondering where and what courses you should be taking to learn about this industry. That’s why we compiled not only the top online learning platforms to take or create your own online courses, but also some of the courses available on each of these platforms for aspiring crypto enthusiasts.

1. Stanford Online Learning Platform

Ever dreamed of having an Ivy League education? Let’s be honest, who hasn’t? But, what you probably didn’t know is that you can get one or at least part of one for free. Unfortunately, the cryptocurrency specific courses are few in number and were not in the free course selection. However, so you know your options, there is a Blockchain and Cryptocurrency course. Although it isn’t free and is priced at $195.00, this course will cover everything you need to know about the foundations of this industry. This cost may seem daunting so don’t worry if this is a little out of your budget. This platform is still a great place to explore free online courses! 

E-Learning Courses For Web Security

Perhaps you are more interested in learning the background to blockchain and where security improvements can be made. If so, you might be interested in an Introduction to Web Security course that is free. This is a beginner’s course, however, it is recommended for those who already have some technical background. The course assures us that you will learn the fundamentals of web and browser security, the latest emerging cyber threats, tools for solving common web vulnerabilities, employing new defense techniques and architectures. For those who are interested in improving the open-source code of the blockchain, you might find this course of particular interest.

Cryptography II is another great free course. The content will give you a good explanation of the inner workings of public-key systems and cryptographic protocols. This is a level two course which means that more advanced topics will be covered. Some of these include multi-party computation and elliptic curve cryptography. The course itself is online and self-paced but also includes written homework and programming labs. Let’s face it. We are talking Ivy League now. 

Our third recommendation is for those who may see a future in development on their horizon. If so, you might want to consider Computer Science 101. This is a square one course. Its content will help you navigate some of the computer basics and requires no previous knowledge. Although there are no specifics, the course will teach students what a computer can and cannot do and some of the fancy jargon programmers typically use today. 

2. EdX

Next on our list is EdX. We recommend this site as another of the great online learning platforms for accessing high-quality content. This online platform was originally founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). However, the courses available have now come to include Boston University, Berkeley and Caltech just to name a few. Keep in mind that you can take all of these courses for free, but if you want a certificate for your completion there will be a cost associated with taking this course.

This platform is especially great if you aren’t tied to courses from a specific school. Since many schools have allowed their courses to be accessed from here, the options for what you can take are limitless (well almost).

Courses For Developers

First things first, for those soon to be developers who know the computer basics you might be ready to get your hands dirty with a programming language used in the industry. If so, you might consider learning the language of Python. 

Thanks to the University of Michigan, we also have a free course in programming in python. This introductory course will teach you about variables, conditional execution, and repeated execution. Although you may have no idea what we are talking about right now, the course assures us that anyone with moderate computer experience should be able to master this course.

For those who are interested in a follow-up course, you might be interested in the Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science through MIT. This course is a little more advanced and covers the writing of programs such as the simulation of a robot vacuum cleaning a room. 

online learning platforms

3. Harvard Online Courses

The one and only Harvard also offer free courses. Similar to the other online universities the content itself is free, it’s the accreditation that will cost you. These Harvard based courses are also available on a number of other platforms such as EDX. Don’t worry these classes won’t be that harvHARD.

Free Programming Courses

First on our recommended list is CS50’s Web Programming with Python and JavaScript. This 12 week-long course is a little more intensive requiring 6-9 hours per week. This Harvard class is actually available through EDX and offers such topics including database design, scalability, security, and user experience. By the end of this course, the description promises that you will have the ability to design and deploy applications on the Internet. This means that you might just be ready for the blockchain developer world.

To combine with this course, you may also consider taking CS50: Introduction to Computer Science. This course is a little shorter than the previous recommendation at a whopping 11 weeks and requires an estimated 10-20 hours a week. By the end of this course, you will be granted a verified certificate and the familiarity in languages such as PHP, Javascript plus SQL, CSS, HTML, and C.

4. Coursera

We really like the Coursera platform which also links you to courses taught by Ivy League institutions. The best part? It, like our favorite online shopping platforms, gives us an overall rating out of 5 stars and a number of reviews. This gives us a bit of an idea of what we are getting ourselves into before we start taking this course

The platform combines 190+ of not only the top schools but the top organizations to give you an education that also reflects expectations of the working world.

Blockchain Foundational Classes

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency technologies through Princeton University. With an overall rating of 4.7/5.0, this is a great beginner course to get you started. The course sets out to answer some of the technicalities behind the one and only Bitcoin. This includes answers to questions such as, “How does Bitcoin work? What makes Bitcoin different? How secure is Bitcoin? And are cryptocurrencies regulated?

A part of the (ISC)² Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) program, you might also consider the first course in Cryptography. This beginner-level course assures users they will come out with a basic understanding of cryptographic concepts. This includes how to implement secure protocols, key management concepts, key administration and validation, and Public Key Infrastructure.

A final recommendation is a course in Blockchain: Foundations and Use Cases from ConsenSys. This course has an overall rating of 4.7 stars based on 401 ratings. Like similar introductory courses, the first few modules cover the basics of blockchain and technology. However, once you understand the basics of the modern blockchain you get to the application side of things. It is then that you will get a behind-the-scenes look at the people and companies that are currently making advancements in this space.

5. OpenLearn

Similar to the other platforms, OpenLearn is a great platform for those who are interested in a variety of subjects. The courses also vary in difficulty levels. However, the best part of this platform is that even if you don’t want to work towards a certificate or degree you won’t leave empty-handed. Upon completion, you will receive a participation certificate to prove you completed a course from this UK based institution.

online learning platforms

The Security Side of Things

As we have learned and come to love, the Blockchain assures us a certain level of security that we didn’t necessarily utilize before. To get a basic understanding for what problems crypto has solved you might consider taking the learning from major cybersecurity incidents course. After completing this course, you will have a basic understanding of the key concepts and technologies associated with cybersecurity and analyze any incidents in this space. Best of all, you’ll understand just how one hack can escalate and affect a network at large.

Blockchain Specific Resources

If blockchain specific platforms or accreditation are what you are looking for you might try one of these free resources.

UNIC Blockchain Programs

UNIC Blockchain Programs might just be the first free massive open online course (MOOC) and is just one of many courses in a master’s in digital currency. This platform is available specifically for learnings in the blockchain realm and has many great subject matter experts as a result.

FIN-511: Introduction to Digital Currencies is a great beginner’s course on cryptocurrencies and the global use of blockchain technology in a degree program format. The course also makes application to the context and application in the real world.

Online Blockchain Blogs

Perhaps, an online course isn’t what you are after but rather all of the learning that are involved. If this is the case, we recommend starting your learnings on blogs. 

For starters, there are a few blogs that have tons of modern finance information. These might include; Cointelegraph, Blockchain Business Magazine, Medium or even our very own Hedgetrade blog. This can give you a great beginner overview of topics including a guide to blockchain architecture, how bitcoin works, what is bitcoin mining and just about any other topic you can think of. For those who know the basics, you might also enjoy some of the more advanced topics such as what is a Merkle tree or hash rates.

You might also want to try and read as many WhitePapers as possible. These will cover topics such as the implications and general knowledge of what is already out there. To get you started, you might consider Deloitte’s Breaking Blockchain Open paper. This paper considers which industries are currently looking at leveraging these technologies. You might also enjoy PWC’s Building Block(chains) For a Better Planet. That is if the social implications are of interest to you.

The Next Blockchainpeneur

With a variety of resources available and a little bit of extra time on your hands, we know the time for learning is now. Who knows with this newfound knowledge you might just launch yourself into a new career in this industry?

So what are you waiting for? Start reading up on your favorite topics or enroll in a course of your choice. Be ready to wow your family and friends with your new Ivy League education.

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