In my writing for this site, I’ve been pretty focused on coursework going toward a degree. But there are a lot more types of classes out there, ways to enrich your life and expand your knowledge without worrying so much about grades, tests, or getting a degree. Many universities, school, and private programs offer “personal enrichment” distance classes.
A “personal enrichment” course is done for the sake of learning. It costs money like a class, but gives you no college credit for the class. But let us never forget that Ben& Jerry learned to make ice cream from a $5 distance learning program. That wasn’t about grades or college credit either, and look how it changed the waistline of America.
For example, let’s take a look at the enrichment courses offered through University of Wisconsin-Madison. For personal enrichment they offer courses in Wine, French, Writing, Dance, and Art. But they also offer several interesting options under “Professional Enrichment” – Human Services and Teaching Online. For Teaching Online, they offer a Distance Education Certificate Program and a Professional Certificate in Online Teaching.
A very different type of school, the Moody Bible Institute, is an undergraduate school that has made available dozens of different courses on religion and bible study. In addition to classes on many individual books of the Bible, there are courses on Christian doctrine, money management, and the basics of prepping and teaching a Sunday school class.
San Diego State University has one of the most diverse enrichment programs through its College of Extended Studies. There are dozens upon dozens of classes, in different disciplines, offered as non-credit six week long online courses. Some of the classes offered include college prep, computer design, programming, and applications, business writing, general law, paralegal, accounting fundamentals, accounting software, personal finance and investments, and a series of courses for aspiring teachers, including Classroom Computing, Languages, Mathematics, Reading and Writing, Science, Test Prep, and Tools for Teachers.
These are just three examples of thousands of online enrichment courses offered through hundreds of different schools. Other prominent schools that offer online enrichment courses include Brigham Young University, Temple University, the University of Virginia, California State University, Bismarck State College, and National University.
Be aware, there are also popular websites that offer enrichment courses, many of them for free. Some of these courses on sponsored by advertisers, and most of them feature advertisements, but still have the same approach to distance learning, albeit with a more limited scope.
Bizymoms.com offers a handful of free e-classes, aimed at stay-at-home moms. Bookkeeping, personal finance, business courses, and effective selling are all available through the site, and can be started at any time, by anyone who signed up for the free site.