I’m currently taking the free Intro to Databases course taught by the excellent Professor Widom. The course consists of video lectures with homework exercises, quizzes and midterms. There is also a helpful Q&A forum for students when you get stuck.
In the beginning of 2012, there are more free online courses available, including:
The classes are high quality and perfect for you if you can spend more than a few hours a week per course. As they are free, the courses don’t offer any official Stanford certificates, grades, or credit. You do get a Statement of Accomplishment from the instructor.
I’d recommend these courses to anyone as they are free, and any investment in your time will be easily rewarded with an understanding in increasingly relevant present-future topics.
A bold experiment in distributed education, “Introduction to Databases” is being offered free and online to students worldwide, October 10 – December 12, 2011. Students have access to lecture videos, are given assignments and exams, receive regular feedback on progress, and participate in a discussion forum. Those who successfully complete the course will receive a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Professor Jennifer Widom, the curriculum draws from Stanford’s popular Introduction to Databases course.
If you’re interested in software or technology, databases are incredibly relevant to modern day computing. This free course may be technologically tough, but it will reward you with insights that you will be able to apply somewhere.