Are Online Courses Right for Your Development?

The fall 2015 semester found 13 million students in the US working to obtain a four-year degree in various fields, according to the Department of Education. Online courses offer an alternative way to reach new career coals, without taking on any of the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt currently held by American students.

But are online courses right for you? How do you know which ones are worth a second look?

In 2012, the educators behind some of the most prestigious universities in the country banded together to launch edX, an online repository of courses from easily-recognizable names like Harvard University, MIT and Stanford. These MOOC’s (massive open online courses) are free for anyone with an internet connection – some classes even offer the option of verified certificates upon completion.

“With more than 90 global partners, we are proud to count the world’s leading universities, nonprofits and institutions as our members,” the edX site states. “Our students come from every country in the world. Whether you are interested in computer science, languages, engineering, psychology, writing, electronics, biology, or marketing, we have the course for you!”

There were 342 self-paced courses offered by edX at the time of publication, with topics ranging from “Cultural Geography of the World” to “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact on Pop Culture.”

From computer courses, to accounting and even languages, there are a multitude of options available. To view the full course catalog or to sign up for classes, visit

Udemy is another great resource for those looking to fine-tune existing skills. In February, the site exceeded 10 million registered users and now offers more than 40,000 courses that can be accessed from your laptop or mobile device.

Free courses are available, but the majority of content does require a small fee (from $10 to $250 in some cases).

“Udemy is a company whose mission is grounded in helping anyone learn anything. Our courses are all available on-demand so that students around the globe can learn at their own pace and on their own time,” Udemy CEO Dennis Yang told The Huffington Post. “The best teachers aren’t always found in a traditional classroom.”

Users who want to refresh existing business skills can search by topic to find courses on salary negotiation, social media writing, advanced Excel, stress management and even “The Science of Happiness: Hacks and Skills to Flourish.”

To view all available courses,

Did you know that WINiT members also have access to members-only, online educational resources?

The WINiT classroom features themed Webinars developed specifically to meet the needs of our members (check out “Becoming Marketable and Maintaining Marketability”) and “Master Classes” on topics featured at the 2015 WINiT Summit. Be sure to take the “Confidence Code Quiz” to gain an understanding of your own level of confidence and develop the momentum to launch the next phase of your travel career.

To access this resource, visit