Getting smarter online

I nterested in upgrading your skills, or learning a new one? Online training has quickly become one of the best options available for those interested in furthering their education.

In the past, most of the courses available online revolved around computer or software training, but this is quickly changing. Most major universities and numerous trade colleges now have courses available over the Internet. You can even get diplomas and certificates in many fields through courses delivered solely online, which is the ultimate in convenience for those with day jobs or other commitments.

If you're just interested in learning how to use a program or computer application, chances are there's a tutorial or course out there that's inexpensive or free. But, if you're interested in obtaining a full certificate or diploma, make sure you check out the school or company thoroughly. Some things to think about:
  • Is the school accredited?
  • Are there clear contact emails and phone numbers?
  • Is the Web site informative and clear, and do the programs have comprehensive listings (so you know exactly what you're getting)?
  • Is the certification you will receive recognized in your province?
That being said, there are as many options out there for online training as there are interests. Try contacting your local university for info on distance education, and take a look at this sampling of some notable online training Web sites.

Online Courses and Training

Sympatico Web Based Training
Over 410 courses are available, including Microsoft and A+ accreditation. The focus is on computer, networking and software training.

Kaplan College
The venerable Kaplan college has expanded online, covering a diverse set of topics including the legal profession, Computers and Information Technology, Nursing, and business oriented courses.

Ryerson Distance Learning
One of Canada's best known and acclaimed universities. This Toronto-based school offers many online courses in their distance learning program from a diverse subject list.

Humber College Distance and Open learning
This large trades college offers a diverse course calendar online, with subjects ranging from business and legal issues to technology, writing and other soft arts.

Hungry Minds
This massive resource, recently acquired by IDG books (the producers of the world-famous "Dummies" books) could easily be the largest list of online courses and self-education links available anywhere.

Corpedia
This site specializes in corporate training courses, legal training, and professional enhancement studies.

KnowledgePool
This international, award-winning company features courses centering mainly around business, IT, and networking training.

SmartPlanet
Want to learn how to be a better traveler? Want to learn how to use PhotoShop more effectively? This division of ZDnet has tons of courses covering a wide variety of interests.

ElementK
Another collection of courses dealing with office applications (Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.), Web technologies and other related topics.

Some Online Tutorials

Webmonkey
The wily Webmonkey is chock full of free, attitude-laden but insightful tutorials covering all aspects of Web design and development. Essential reading.

LinuxSurvival
This site features a free primer on Linux, the free, open source operating system developed by Linus Torvalds.

DevShed
Another free tutorial site, specializing in Open Source technologies like Linux, Apache Server, scripting languages PHP, and others. Geekdom awaits!

TypingPal
Get free typing lessons at this Web site, which also keeps track of your progress and statistics.

Other Related Links

BrainBench

Think you know your stuff? This Web site offers free (for a limited time) certification tests and certificates covering business, Information Technology, and some medical topics.

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