Free sites like Open Yale, Coursera, and Udemy all allow students to take courses for free just by browsing courses or registering, according to Teach Thought. On the other hand, University for the People is a free online university with accreditation, but students must apply and be accepted.
Open Yale provides recordings of lectures and courses taught by Yale professors, according to its website. Students pursuing these courses can take them at their own leisure. Registration is not required to review these courses.
According to its website, Coursera also provides recordings of lectures and classes, but some of its classes are set up more like traditional courses, where students must log in each week to view lectures, as well as complete assignments. Students must register for these courses and each one has a defined start date. These classes are taught by professors from around the world. Some classes are available on demand.
Udemy has more generalized classes on everything from guitar to yoga, according to its website. All classes are available on demand. Students register with Udemy and then pick the classes they want to take, working at their own pace.
The University for the People is slightly different than the others, according to Teach Thought, as it actually confers degrees to its students. It is accredited through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, according to its website. It offers degrees in business administration and computer science, as well as credit for general courses that can be transferred to other schools.