Online Education Database has this finder to locate free classes for credit.
They have this to say:
When else have you ever heard of free classes for credit? Online education has opened up countless numbers of doors for Americans everywhere, and offering free classes to students is only one of the many. Online education began with free courses through Ivy League schools like MIT and Harvard, although these classes were never offered for class credit. Since this point, however, many courses have begun to be offered free of charge, allowing students to earn minimal degrees without the added expense of tuition. It seems almost unbelievable, but many schools have been able to make this type of degree program work to their advantage – not losing money in the process.
While most free courses continue to be offered not for credit, but simply for the curious student, there are others through certain online colleges that provide minimal certificates for students who are interested in a specific degree program. Many certificates of this nature are so basic that there is no need for the college to charge a rate for a semester “hour”, and it is helpful that most online colleges receive much of their funding from the federal government rather than on student tuition. Free online courses work in the same manner that regular online courses work, although students are researching past courses for the most part and listening to previous lectures. Free online classes are offered in a variety of subjects – the classes are typically comprised of past lectures, notes, and assignments.
The courses that lead to certificates or small degrees typically have professors presiding over the classes, rather than allowing students to simply pick and choose the material. However, free courses still give students the opportunity to learn a great deal without the high cost of education and any additional time commitments – you can basically learn all you want as slow or fast as you want. Most free courses can help supplement your current knowledge about a specific topic, and can be vastly beneficial in the work world. After completing this type of online course, even if you do not receive credit, you can still put on your resume that you are trained in this subject. Free classes online provide the flexibility of expanding your knowledge in a cost efficient manner – something online education constantly strives for within its many degree programs.
While free online classes remain limited to certain subjects (some extremely broad or specific), this is a rapidly expanding idea that has taken root in some founders of online schools around the world. Some schools now offer free online classes for degree programs, allowing students to enroll for free and only pay a minimal application fee. We probably won’t reach the point where education is free, especially considering the rising rates of college tuition, but it is nice to know that there is someplace online where we can always supplement our knowledge on history, science, math, or any subject!