Each year Class Central publishes a ranking of The Top Free Online Courses of All Time, based on thousands of reviews written by learners. We first published the ranking in 2016, and have updated it every year since. In 2019, we increased the number of courses in the list from 50 to 100, drawing on more than 100,000 learner reviews.
The latest iteration of the rankings can always be found on its dedicated collections page here. Badges and other digital assets can be found here.
About Class Central
Our goal is to make online education work for everyone. 40+ million learners around the world have used Class Central to decide which online course to take.
Class Central is a listing of online courses. We aggregate courses from many providers to make it easy to find the best courses on almost any subject, wherever they exist. We focus primarily on free (or free to audit) courses from universities, offered through massive open online course (MOOC) platforms. Whatever you are interested in learning, it is more than likely that our catalog includes a course that will meet your needs.
Through Class Central, you can find courses; review courses you’ve taken (and read other people’s reviews); follow universities, subjects and courses to receive personalized updates; and also plan and track your learning.
Here are some quick stats about the 2019 edition of Class Central’s Top Courses rankings.
- The Top 100 List features courses from 53 universities in 18 countries.
- Three universities have 5 courses in the top 100
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
University of Sheffield (UK)
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
- Three other universities have 4 courses in the top 100
Stanford University (US)
University of Michigan (US)
University of Pennsylvania (US) each have four;
- And six more universities have 3 courses in the top 100:
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Hong Kong)
Galileo University (Guatemala)
Georgia Institute of Technology (US)
University of Tasmania (Australia), Monash University (Australia)
Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain).
- Coursera is the top course platform with 45 courses, followed by edX (24) and FutureLearn (17).
Millions of prospective learners around the world are interested in online learning but have never taken an online course. With more than 13,000+ MOOCs from almost 1000 universities globally, it can be overwhelming to try to sort through and find a place to start or know which courses are high quality.
In providing a small but well-reviewed list of courses, our hope is that new learners will not be overwhelmed when entering the MOOC space. Reviews will help new learners figure out if a course is right for them, based on other learners experiences.
The methodology we used for this list is simple. Using thousands of reviews written by our users, Class Central was able to sort courses by the Bayesian average of their ratings. Then we removed all the courses with fewer than 30 reviews (the low threshold helps smaller providers to compete on quality) and courses that are unlikely to be offered again. If a course has multiple parts, we only included the first part in the Top 100.