Thursday, March 13, 2008

Learn a Foreign Language...For Free!

I came across this today while browsing the internet. It's an excellent listing of OpenCourseWare programs that are available from various universities for no cost to the student.

This listing came from and is ranked in order of quality:

#1 MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers more than 100 free foreign language courses through the university's OpenCoureWare program. Offerings range from undergraduate to graduate level and include everything from Japanese and Chinese to German and Spanish. Courses consist mainly of PDF files, but are sometimes supplemented with audio, video and slide presentations.

#2 BBC

The BBC offers extensive foreign language instruction through their website. Some of the languages users can learn include French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, Greek, Japanese, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, English and many others. Text, audio guides, video guides, quizzes and games like crossword puzzles actually make learning a complicated language fun.

#3 Open University

The UK's Open University makes several different modern language courses available to the general public. Course materials include massive amounts of text, as well as multimedia elements. The three main language offerings are German, Spanish and French, but there are additional courses that focus on culture and history in addition to foreign language instruction.

#4 eLanguage School

The eLanguage School offers a huge repository of foreign language learning materials. Users can choose from ten different languages, including Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Dutch and Spanish. Vocabulary lists, videos, audio files and links to other language resources supplement the text-based lessons and tutorials.

#5 Mango Languages

Mango Languages offers foreign language instruction in 11 different foreign languages, including French, Greek, Russian, German and Italian. Registration is required to access more than one lesson, but it is free and fast. Lessons include text, audio and video so users can learn the correct pronunciation for every new word they learn.

#6 FSI Language

FSI Language is a community site that distributes the Foreign Service language program documentation and audio-tapes created and used by the Foreign Service Institute, a U.S. Government training institution. The courses offered by FSI feature extensive text and audio materials. Users can choose from 31 different foreign languages, including Arabic, Finnish, Hebrew, Hindi, Swahili, Thai and many others.

#7 Utah State University

Utah State University publishes courses in languages, philosophy and speech communication through their OpenCourseWare program. Current foreign languages course offerings include first year Chinese I and II. Course materials are comprehensive and include PDFs, audio files, video files and supplementary textbooks.

#8 U.S. Institute of Languages

The U.S. Institute of Languages offers a custom Spanish language course that has been used by individuals in more than 130 countries. The course uses a unique teaching method to help users build a larger vocabulary faster. Interactive lessons are meant for Spanish language beginners and focus on grammar, conjugation and word order.

#9 Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon offers an excellent French course online through their Open Learning Initiative. The high-quality video-based course includes a whole slew of interactive features, such as activities and an online tutor. Fifteen lessons in all.

#10 Wikiversity

The Wikiversity Centre for Foreign Language Learning gives users a chance to learn more about a foreign language or culture. Most of Wikiversity's courses, a.k.a. learning projects, consist mainly of text, but there are also links to guide you to additional education resources. Languages include Chinese, German, English, Spanish and many others.

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