Mastering a second or even a third language undoubtedly has its plethora of advantages. It can help expand your career opportunities quite substantially (improve your writing skills as well). It can enhance your perception of culture, make you more appealing to the opposite sex—it can even increase your brain size, latest studies show. But Rosetta Stone and other similar at-home learning products aren’t always as effective and usually come with a hefty price tag.
If you’re interested in a learn-at-home format but rather obtain your information from a more credible source, you might want to check out some open source courseware online. Open source courseware is essentially online “classes” that are composed of old syllabi, course reading lists, lectures, and other materials from previous legitimate college courses that are made available to the public once the course is over.
There are several resources of online open courseware available, but to help point you in the direction to sources that provide quality foreign language classes, continue reading below.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT is one of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. and for years it has graciously made some of its core courses available for free to the public. While there are numerous courses to choose from in the linguistics category what you want to search through is the Foreign Languages and Literature section. Here you will learn the fundamentals of various languages, including Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese.
- The Open University
The Open University is one of the more popular schools in the UK. Similar to MIT, it has a lot of valuable lessons in a variety of subjects but when it comes to languages it offers a few additional and unusual (mostly European) options than other open courseware sources. For example, some of the languages the Open University offers include Welsh, Italian, Tübingen, Leipzig and Graz.
The BBC may not be a college exactly, but it is an excellent resource to use if you’re trying to perfect a language. That’s because the BBC offers coursework that covers more than 30 different languages and includes audio and video supplements to help enhance lesson plans. It truly is one of the better comprehensive guides available on the internet and you should definitely take advantage of it.
- Academic Earth
Last to make the list is Academic Earth. Unlike the other sources mentioned above, Academic Earth does not include course readings or syllabi. Rather, it uses the beauty of recorded video lectures to help users learn. Some of the professors in the videos come from some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world, including Harvard, Yale and Oxford. The only downside is that the lecture library for foreign languages is very scarce—only Arabic and Swedish are the only core languages tackled, but there are some sprinkles of videos that cover communication skills that you can adapt to your new language.
Caroline Ross is an education writer for the online higher education website AccreditedOnlineUniversities.com. Aside from helping learners find resources to maximize their lessons, she has a strong passion for environmental issues. She welcomes your comments.