Education has always been an integral part of the Church since its creation. Now, before you get all uppity and retort with something like, “yeah, whatever! The Catholic Church repressed Galileo and . . . blah blah” just humor me when I say that the Church is really a friend of education and not its oppressor. I think that the Catholic Encyclopedia at newadvent.com says it best when they assert “This history of education records no greater undertaking; for the task was not one of improving or perfecting, but of creating and had not the Church gone vigorously about her work, modern civilization would have been retarded for centuries.” (I love that quote. Yes it’s real).
Photo by Shaylor
Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to argue about the importance of education in the Catholic Church, but to give you some fantastic resources that you can use to enrich your religious and/or intellectual aspirations without paying a dime! Whether you are a home school or high school student that wants to get a head start on undergraduate courses, or a Catholic that wants to learn more about your faith, these resources will help you to reach your educational goals without any monetary investment.
- St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology – Founded by the very popular theologian Scott Hahn, the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology is a “non-profit research and educational institute that promotes life-transforming Scripture study in the Catholic tradition. The Center serves clergy and laity, students and scholars, with research and study tools — from books and publications to multimedia and on-line programming.”
- Catholic Home Study Service – The Catholic Home Study Service has 8 courses in which they send you a free book of your choice and study materials that you complete at your own pace. After you are finished, you can then mail them your hard work and they’ll correct it and answer any questions you have. The books used in the courses are really good, and free! I think your time is worth a free book.
- CIS Catechism and Faith Formation Courses – Two instructional courses about the Catholic faith are available. Each uses text from printed or online booklets in the Hart and Veritas series. A required login aids in tracking test results and keeps a user’s place in the course upon return visits. The same login can be used for both courses.
- Stanford on iTunes – Stanford is technically a Catholic University (again, i say “technically”), and they offer a whole range of video and audio courses! Their course offerings have been growing exponentially, and I definitely recommend their science courses – they are great.
General Higher Learning Online
- MIT Open Courseware – Go to MIT without having to be an über nerd. MIT’s Open Courseware gives you access to a plethora of classes that were once available only to students of the university. It’s much better than taking out loans that rival a home mortgage. Plus, you can tell all of your friends that you studied at MIT (well, sort of).
- OpenLearn – The OpenLearn website gives free access to Open University course materials. Study independently at your own pace or join a group and use the free learning tools to work with others.
- Open Learning Initiative – This resource is for independent learners and include self-guiding materials and activities that are freely available for you to use! Plus, they are available all the time so you can learn at your own pace.
- UCI Open Courseware – Similar to MIT’s open courseware, UC Irvine offers a wide-range of material from courses offered at their institution.
- Academic Earth – Bonus from Martita: Another great place for complete courses offered via video instruction from the top schools in America.
Now – with all of these free options at your disposal – you have no reason to not increase your knowledge like a good Catholic should. As more and more institutions jump on the open source bandwagon, maybe one day we’ll be able to get a free degree along with the free education.
Do you know of any other good free online Catholic or general education courses? If so, let me know in the comments!
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