AI is everywhere today.
The algorithms that drive your Netflix and Spotify recommendations use AI to figure out what you’ll like based on what you’ve already consumed. Every chatbot you’ve ever spoken to, targeted ad you’ve seen, and even the more fanciful ideas floating around (self-driving cars, anyone?) use AI to some degree.
Given that so many businesses use AI already, it stands to reason that taking online courses on the subject will help you get ahead. But for the budget-conscious among you, a course that costs thousands of euros isn’t the route you want to go down. You want a free AI course.
That’s where this article comes in. But let’s get something clear immediately, a free AI course won’t go into as much depth as a paid one. Nor will it give you a qualification that’s as prestigious as one from a formal educational institution. But what it will give you is foundational knowledge, often backed by a certification, which is why we’re looking at four of the best AI courses you can study for free in this article.
Top Artificial Intelligence Course Online Free With Certificate – Four Great Options
Is it really possible to find an artificial intelligence free course with certificate that shows you have actually learned something useful? It is, and these four courses are great examples.
Course 1 – Elements of AI (University of Helsinki)
With over 950,000 students already to its name, the Elements of AI course is all about lifting the veil on the mysterious concept of AI. It includes two modules, the first giving you an introduction to the “whats” and “wherefores” of AI, with the second digging into building your own AI models. It’s set up to run in 170 countries and is ideal for those who want a basic grasp on AI that they can build on with other courses.
Key Topics Covered
- The theory of AI, including what is and isn’t possible with the tech
- Development of basic AI algorithms
- An introduction (and exploration) of using Python to create AI models
- Practical exercises that you can take at your own pace to see how AI applies in real-world scenarios
The certification you get from this free AI course comes directly from the University of Helsinki, which is a recognized and authoritative European institution. But it’s important to note that the certificate is not a degree. Instead, it’s both a demonstration of your grasp of basic AI concepts and a statement of your intent to dig deeper into the topic.
Course 2 – Machine Learning With Python: A Practical Introduction (IBM)
There are three things you want from your AI course – online, free, and practical. IBM’s offering delivers all three, with the focus being on how you can apply machine learning (with Python programs underpinning your models) to the real world. The content is created and delivered by Saeed Aghabozorgi, who’s a senior data scientist at IBM, meaning it comes direct from somebody who understands precisely how machine learning is applied in practical terms.
Key Topics Covered
- Python programming in the context of creating machine learning models
- The theory and application of both supervised and unsupervised learning
- An introduction to the most common machine learning algorithms
- Real-world examples of how machine learning is already impacting society
In return for five weeks of your time (estimated study – four to five hours per week) you’ll earn an IBM “skill badge.” This online credential verifies that you’ve completed the course and can be shared on social media profiles. The course is also part of IBM’s Data Science Professional Certificate Program, making it a piece of a larger jigsaw puzzle of free AI courses that you can complete over the course of a year to get an IBM certificate.
Course 3 – Supervised Machine Learning: Regression and Classification (DeepLearning.AI via Coursera)
You’re getting into specialization territory with this course, which serves as the first of several that make up DeepLearning.AI’s Machine Learning Specialization certificate. It’s a completely online course that allows you to reset deadlines to suit your schedule and takes about 33 hours of studying to complete. Sadly, it’s only available in English (at the time of writing), which may make it less accessible to non-English speakers.
Key Topics Covered
- A wide-spanning introduction to the various types of machine learning
- Explanations of the best practices for AI implementation currently used in major Silicon Valley companies
- Several mathematical and statistical concepts, such as linear regression
- Practical examples and project work for building predictive machine learning models
Coursera provides its own shareable certificates to anybody who completes this course, with those certificates being shareable on social media and printable for your CV. It’s also worth noting that this course is part of a wider three-course program. Combine it with DeepLearning.AI’s Advanced Learning Algorithms and Unsupervised Learning and Recommender Systems to get two more course-specific certificates and a certificate for completing all three courses.
Course 4 – Learn With Google AI (Google)
Learn with Google AI is less a dedicated course and more a collection of different modules (and even competitions) designed to help you get to grips with AI. Think of it like a resource bank, only it incorporates practical exercises as well as theoretical information. Beyond the courses themselves, you’ll find a useful glossary and some guides for how AI can apply to environmental and social courses.
Key Topics Covered
- Theoretical modules covering machine learning, neural networks, and the ethics behind AI
- Hands-on tutorials that give you practical experience with the course content
- Real-world examples of how Google incorporates AI into what it does
- Competitions that allow you to test your skills against other participants
Learn with Google AI isn’t a traditionally structured course, and that’s reflected in the lack of certification for completing the courses in this resource bank. It’s better to think of these courses as free primers that equip you with the knowledge you need to ace other free (or paid) AI courses.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an AI Course
The price is certainly right with a free AI course, but you’re still investing valuable time into whichever program you choose. Think about the following to ensure you spend that time wisely:
- Course content – Though many artificial intelligence free course will cover the basic concepts underpinning AI, you want to know that you’re going somewhere with what you learn. Think about why you’re studying AI and whether the course will move you closer to your goals.
- Course duration and flexibility – Online courses come with a key advantage over traditional programs – you control your studying. That flexibility allows you to fit your studies around your life, though you still have deliverables (and sometimes tests) you need to complete.
- Instructor credentials – With free courses, the certification you get isn’t as immediately prestigious as one you’d receive from a paid course. A respected instructor can add that prestige. Research the background of whoever creates and delivers the course, specifically checking their reputation as a teacher and experiences in the AI industry.
- Community support and resources – Given that most free AI courses focus on self-learning, you need to know that there are people (or resources) around to help when you get stuck. No learner is an island. If there are other students and instructors around to offer guidance, you have a course that you’re more likely to pass.
- Certificate value – As touched upon earlier, the value of your certificate plays a role in your decision, with specific attention being paid to how employers will see that certificate on your CV. A respected instructor or a course delivered by a major brand (think Google or IBM) adds credibility compared to courses delivered by nameless and faceless individuals.
Tips for Successfully Completing an AI Course Online
No athlete gets a gold medal for running half a race, and the same applies to students who don’t complete the courses they start. Use these tips to see you through when the going gets tough:
- Set clear goals for yourself, which inform the course you choose and help to motivate you if you start feeling discouraged when struggling with the material.
- Dedicate time to learning both in the context of your course and by parsing out personal time for practice.
- Engage with the community that’s evolved around the course to learn directly from peers and qualified professionals.
- Never be afraid of seeking help when needed, as you’re learning some complex concepts that are all too easy to misinterpret.
- Take every opportunity you can find to apply the theoretical concepts you learn in real-world scenarios.
Study AI Courses Free Online
A free AI course is never going to be a direct substitute for a paid course delivered by a recognized institution. But it doesn’t have to be. Free courses can set you up with general skills that you can apply in your existing workplace, in addition to helping you lay a foundation for future study. And in some cases (such as with courses offered directly by major AI players) you’ll get a certification that actually means something to employers.
AI is going to be so much more than a part of future technology. It’ll be the bedrock on which everything to come is built. Your efforts to expand your knowledge in the field will help you become one of the people who lay that bedrock. The sooner you start learning (and applying) AI, the better your position will be when the AI revolution truly takes hold.
Soon, we will be launching four new Degrees for AY24-25 at OPIT – Open Institute of Technology
I want to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Product Definition process that has shaped these upcoming programs.
🚀 Phase 1: Discovery (Late May – End of July)
Our journey began with intensive brainstorming sessions with OPIT’s Academic Board (Francesco Profumo, Lorenzo Livi, Alexiei Dingli, Andrea Pescino, Rosario Maccarrone) . We also conducted 50+ interviews with tech and digital entrepreneurs (both from startups and established firms), academics and students. Finally, we deep-dived into the “Future of Jobs 2023” report by the World Economic Forum and other valuable research.
🔍 Phase 2: Selection – Crafting Our Roadmap (July – August)
Our focus? Introducing new degrees addressing critical workforce shortages and upskilling/reskilling needs for the next 5-10 years, promising significant societal impact and a broad market reach.
Our decision? To channel our energies on full BScs and MScs, and steer away from shorter courses or corporate-focused offerings. This aligns perfectly with our core mission.
💡 Focus Areas Unveiled!
We’re thrilled to concentrate on pivotal fields like:
- Advanced AI
- Digital Business
- Metaverse & Gaming
- Cloud Computing (less “glamorous”, but market demand is undeniable).
🎓 Phase 3: Definition – Shaping the Degrees (August – November)
With an expert in each of the above fields, and with the strong collaboration of our Academic Director, Prof. Lorenzo Livi , we embarked on a rigorous “drill-down process”. Our goal? To meld modern theoretical knowledge with cutting-edge competencies and skills. This phase included interviewing over 60+ top academics, industry professionals, and students and get valuable, program-specific, insights from our Marketing department.
🌟 Phase 4: Accreditation and Launch – The Final Stretch
We’re currently in the accreditation process, gearing up for the launch. The focus is now shifting towards marketing, working closely with Greta Maiocchi and her Marketing and Admissions team. Together, we’re translating our new academic offering into a compelling value proposition for the market.
Stay tuned for more updates!
Far from being a temporary educational measure that came into its own during the pandemic, online education is providing students from all over the world with new ways to learn. That’s proven by statistics from Oxford Learning College, which point out that over 100 million students are now enrolled in some form of online course.
The demand for these types of courses clearly exists.
In fact, the same organization indicates that educational facilities that introduce online learning see a 42% increase in income – on average – suggesting that the demand is there.
Enter the Open Institute of Technology (OPIT).
Delivering three online courses – a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and two Master’s degrees – with more to come, OPIT is positioning itself as a leader in the online education space. But why is that? After all, many institutions are making the jump to e-learning, so what separates OPIT from the pack?
Here, you’ll discover the answers as you delve into the five reasons why you should trust OPIT for your online education.
Reason 1 – A Practical Approach
OPIT focuses on computer science education – a field in which theory often dominates the educational landscape. The organization’s Rector, Professor Francesco Profumo, makes this clear in a press release from June 2023. He points to a misalignment between what educators are teaching computer science students and what the labor market actually needs from those students as a key problem.
“The starting point is the awareness of the misalignment,” he says when talking about how OPIT structures its online courses. “That so-called mismatch is generated by too much theory and too little practical approach.” In other words, students in many classes spend far too much time learning the “hows” and “whys” behind computerized systems without actually getting their hands dirty with real work that gives them practical experience in using those systems.
OPIT takes a different approach.
It has developed a didactic approach that focuses far more on the practical element than other courses. That approach is delivered through a combination of classroom sessions – such as live lessons and masterclasses – and practical work offered through quizzes and exercises that mimic real-world situations.
An OPIT student doesn’t simply learn how computers work. They put their skills into practice through direct programming and application, equipping them with skills that are extremely attractive to major employers in the tech field and beyond.
Reason 2 – Flexibility Combined With Support
Flexibility in how you study is one of the main benefits of any online course.
You control when you learn and how you do it, creating an environment that’s beneficial to your education rather than being forced into a classroom setting with which you may not feel comfortable. This is hardly new ground. Any online educational platform can claim that it offers “flexibility” simply because it provides courses via the web.
Where OPIT differs is that it combines that flexibility with unparalleled support bolstered by the experiences of teachers employed from all over the world. The founder and director of OPIT, Riccardo Ocleppo, sheds more light on this difference in approach when he says, “We believe that education, even if it takes place physically at a distance, must guarantee closeness on all other aspects.” That closeness starts with the support offered to students throughout their entire study period.
Tutors are accessible to students at all times. Plus, every participant benefits from weekly professor interactions, ensuring they aren’t left feeling stuck on an educational “island” and have to rely solely on themselves for their education. OPIT further counters the potential isolation that comes with online learning with a Student Support team to guide students through any difficulties they may have with their courses.
In this focus on support, OPIT showcases one of its main differences from other online platforms.
You don’t simply receive course material before being told to “get on with it.” You have the flexibility to learn at your own pace while also having a support structure that serves as a foundation for that learning.
Reason 3 – OPIT Can Adapt to Change Quickly
The field of computer science is constantly evolving.
In the 2020s alone, we’ve seen the rise of generative AI – spurred on by the explosive success of services like ChatGPT – and how those new technologies have changed the way that people use computers.
Riccardo Ocleppo has seen the impact that these constant evolutions have had on students. Before founding OPIT, he was an entrepreneur who received first-hand experience of the fact that many traditional educational institutions struggle to adapt to change.
“Traditional educational institutions are very slow to adapt to this wave of new technologies and trends within the educational sector,” he says. He points to computer science as a particular issue, highlighting the example of a board in Italy of which he is a member. That board – packed with some of the country’s most prestigious tech universities – spent three years eventually deciding to add just two modules on new and emerging technologies to their study programs.
That left Ocleppo feeling frustrated.
When he founded OPIT, he did so intending to make it an adaptable institution in which courses were informed by what the industry needs. Every member of its faculty is not only a superb teacher but also somebody with experience working in industry. Speaking of industry, OPIT collaborates with major companies in the tech field to ensure its courses deliver the skills that those organizations expect from new candidates.
This confronts frustration on both sides. For companies, an OPIT graduate is one for which they don’t need to bridge a “skill gap” between what they’ve learned and what the company needs. For you, as a student, it means that you’re developing skills that make you a more desirable prospect once you have your degree.
Reason 4 – OPIT Delivers Tier One Education
Despite their popularity, online courses can still carry a stigma of not being “legitimate” in the face of more traditional degrees. Ocleppo is acutely aware of this fact, which is why he’s quick to point out that OPIT always aims to deliver a Tier One education in the computer science field.
“That means putting together the best professors who create superb learning material, all brought together with a teaching methodology that leverages the advancements made in online teaching,” he says.
OPIT’s degrees are all accredited by the European Union to support this approach, ensuring they carry as much weight as any other European degree. It’s accredited by both the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and the Malta Qualification Framework (MQF), with all of its courses having full legal value throughout Europe.
It’s also here where we see OPIT’s approach to practicality come into play via its course structuring.
Take its Bachelor’s degree in computer science as an example.
Yes, that course starts with a focus on theoretical and foundational knowledge. Building a computer and understanding how the device processes instructions is vital information from a programming perspective. But once those foundations are in place, OPIT delivers on its promises of covering the most current topics in the field.
Machine learning, cloud computing, data science, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity – all valuable to employers – are taught at the undergraduate level. Students benefit from a broader approach to computer science than most institutions are capable of, rather than bogging them down in theory that serves little practical purpose.
Reason 5 – The Learning Experience
Let’s wrap up by honing in on what it’s actually like for students to learn with OPIT.
After all, as Ocleppo points out, one of the main challenges with online education is that students rarely have defined checkpoints to follow. They can start feeling lost in the process, confronted with a metaphorical ocean of information they need to learn, all in service of one big exam at the end.
Alternatively, some students may feel the temptation to not work through the materials thoroughly, focusing instead on passing a final exam. The result is that those students may pass, but they do so without a full grasp of what they’ve learned – a nightmare for employers who already have skill gaps to handle.
OPIT confronts both challenges by focusing on a continuous learning methodology. Assessments – primarily practical – take place throughout the course, serving as much-needed checkpoints for evaluating progress. When combined with the previously mentioned support that OPIT offers, this approach has led to courses that are created from scratch in service of the student’s actual needs.
Choose OPIT for Your Computer Science Education
At OPIT, the focus lies as much on helping students to achieve their dream careers as it does on teaching them. All courses are built collaboratively. With a dedicated faculty combined with major industry players, such as Google and Microsoft, it delivers materials that bridge the skill gap seen in the computer science field today.
There’s also more to come.
Beyond the three degrees OPIT offers, the institution plans to add more. Game development, data science, and cloud computing, to name a few, will receive dedicated degrees in the coming months, accentuating OPIT’s dedication to adapting to the continuous evolution of the computer science industry. Discover OPIT today – your journey into computing starts with the best online education institution available.