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Friday, February 11, 2011

Seven Free Platforms for Teaching Online Courses

More and more high schools are embracing online courses to reach more students and all times of the day. While you can spend a lot of money for online course software, you don't have to. Here are seven free platforms for teaching online courses.

This list cannot begin without mentioning Moodle first. Moodle is an free platform that is commonly referred to as a course management system or virtual learning environment. To use Moodle you have to either install it on your own server(s) or have someone host it for you. If you don't have a server of your own, a quick Google search for "Moodle hosting" will lead you to plenty of companies that will host Moodle for you. To learn more about Moodle watch the video introduction below.


Claroline is an open source program that gives users the freedom to create their own online classroom. Using Claroline teachers can produce assessment activities, post and collect assignments, build a wiki, monitor student activities, and create chat rooms or discussion forums. Claroline is available as a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. Claroline is not a hosted service so you do need to have someone host your installation of Claroline. You can, however, demo Claroline online here.

Udemy is a new free platform for teaching courses online. Anyone can sign-up for Udemy and start creating courses in minutes. Udemy offers a variety of tools for delivering content online. Course creators can publish slideshows, publish videos, and create mash-ups of slideshows and videos synched together. Course creators can also hold live online sessions through Udemy's virtual classroom platform. Watch the video below to learn more about Udemy.


RCampus is a free, web-based, platform for creating and conducting courses online. Using RCampus teachers can create a course, collect students' assignments, and maintain a gradebook. RCampus provides all of the tools you would expect to find in an online course management system. Through RCampus you can post assignments, host discussion forums, post videos, post images, post links, collect assignments, and manage a gradebook. Watch the video below to learn more about RCampus.

Learnopia is a free service that offers hosting for online courses. Learnopia is also a place to find and take online courses. If course creators make their courses free for others to take, then hosting is free.  Currently, there are courses on Learnopia that are free and others that require a payment.

eDhii is a service that allows you to create or take self-study courses online. eDhii course creators can offer their content for free or charge a fee for their course content. Course creators only pay a fee if they choose to charge for their course's content. Course content can include text, images, and videos. People in search of a lesson or course can search eDhii's listing of courses and lessons by topic.

Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is an online community of people sharing their knowledge through university-level courses. Experts volunteer their time and resources to create and facilitate courses in their areas of expertise. The courses and their associated materials are free. However, enrollment in each course is limited in order to provide an environment in which the course facilitator and their students can interact in meaningful ways. Learn more about P2PU in the video below. 

Peer 2 Peer University 2010 from P2P University on Vimeo.

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