Want An MBA For Free? Check Out These Illinois University MOOCs

Want An MBA For Free? Check Out These Illinois University MOOCs Massive Online Open Courses, better known as MOOCs have long been known for their silly name and idealist view on democratizing the college education.

This week, one Illinois university gave MOOCs a little bit more cred. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign announced it would offer all its MBA courses online, for free. That means you can essentially get an MBA from UIUC, ranked in the top 50 nationwide, without paying a dime. Unless you actually want the degree-- that will cost you about $20,000, the university said.

Regardless, opening up their MBA program as a MOOC is a great way for you to gain a lot of knowledge, on the cheap. And UIUC is not the only Illinois university offering popular online courses for free. Whether you've got some extra time on your hands, or are just looking to gain a new skill, MOOCs from a top university can be the way to go.

Here are the top MOOCs from universities in Illinois:

iMBA from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The flagship University of Illinois school made headlines for offering its MBA program online on Coursera, and rightfully so. Starting in June, MOOC-only students get to sit in on classes such as managerial accounting, and focus on specializations such as Leadership and Management, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

What's even better is that you can actually get a degree from the university via Coursera, but you will have to be admitted to the certificate program and pay about $1,000 per course. That's a total of $20,000, which may seem like a lot, but the on-campus price ranges from $50,000 to $100,000. You also get special support from faculty and advisors that students who don't pay won't get. Right now UIUC is only accepting 200 students to its inaugural iMBA class, but may expand in the future depending on demand.

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"Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare" from Northwestern University

Thinking about changing fields? This course, taught by Dr. Melissa A. Simon, a professor at Northwestern's Feinberg College of Medicine, will get you up to date on how to switch to the healthcare world. Course material includes over 50 guest lecturers, and covers career paths, your employment elevator pitch, and how to network within healthcare. The course covers six weeks, requires about three to five hours of your time per week, and you are eligible for a certificate at the end of the course.

Specialization: Content Strategy for Professionals in Organizations from Northwestern University

This two-part course option is the first time Northwestern is offering a specialization for its MOOC offerings. In part one, students learn best strategic practices for content engagement using special tools and techniques. In part two, students will learn to grow an audience. The final part of this specialization is a project, in which students put their skills to the test with a real world scenario. These projects will then be judged, and a prize will be given to the winner. Each part takes about six weeks, requires two to four hours of your time, and you are eligible for a certificate at the end.

"Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life" from University of Chicago

The brain is the most important, and most misunderstood, part of the body. This MOOC is like a crash course in all things brain. Students begin with neuroanatomy, neurodevelopment and mechanisms of neural communication, then look at decision-making through the neuroscience lens. The course is taught by Peggy Mason, professor of neurobiology at UChicago. The course is 10 weeks long, requires four to six hours per week, and you are eligible for a certificate at the end.

"Asset Pricing" from the University of Chicago

The course description begins with "Are you curious about quantitative academic finance?" but don't be scared off: the course will help you understand important, everyday concepts such as beta, risk premium, equity premium, and discount factor. The course will help students get an idea of how investors should structure their investment portfolios. The class is taught by John H. Cochrane, finance professor at UChicago's Booth School of Business. The course takes seven weeks, requires about ten hours of your time, and you are eligible for a certificate.

Read full story: Chicago Inno

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