Note: While many colleges and universities offer a wide variety of free courses online in the form of podcasts, lectures, tutorials and online classes, most of these courses are not accredited or part of an actual accredited degree. However, that does not mean they are not valuable or will not add value to your overall education and/or resume.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was one of the first in the realm of venerated institutions to offer free courses online to anyone who wants to take them. These are all real courses that have been offered at MIT, and there are over 2100 different classes from which to choose from. Classes are available on anything from Architecture to Science, and include free lecture notes, exams, and videos from MIT. No registration is required.
edX is a collaboration between MIT and Harvard that offers classes from MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley online for free. In addition to a whole host of classes offered to students all over the world, edX also tracks how students learn online, keeping on top of research that could impact further class offering. This particular institution does award "certificates of mastery" to students who complete certain courses on a higher level; these certificates are free at the time of this writing, but plans are in place to charge for them in the future.
Khan Academy is a collection of videos on subjects ranging from computer science to test preparation. More than 3400 videos for K-12 and up students are available. In addition to this vast library of videos, free assessments and exams are available so students can make sure they are retaining what they are learning about. Everything here is self-paced, meaning you can go as fast or as slow as you need to, with customized badges and a proprietary points system to show off your progress. Parents and teachers can also participate, since Khan Academy offers the ability to see what their students are doing via real-time report cards. This website has grown into one of the most popular learning destinations on the Web and is well worth a visit for anyone who is looking to learn something new.
Berkeley Webcasts is Berkeley's online hub for audio and video classes streamed all over the globe. Search for a specific class or topic, or, use the search menu to look at information by semester or department. You can also look at the list of recently added classes, or view all classes at once. In addition to online classes, Berkeley also offers students the ability to virtually take part in events (such as guest lectures) on their YouTube page.
Johns Hopkins, one of the world's premier medical learning institutions, offers a wide variety of public health courses and materials. Students can look up classes by course offering title, topics, collections, or images. There are several different ways that courses are presented: with audio, with case studies, core courses for the Hopkins Master of Public Health, and several more. For anyone looking to advance their healthcare career without sacrificing quality, this is the first place to look.
A world-class education online
As you can see, the quality of these different institutions is top-notch. There's no need to sacrifice financially for a college education when you've got Ivy League schools offering all sorts of great courses online for free! For even more on Web-based education, I invite you to read Free Courses, a great collection of even more free classes from all over the Web.