8 Sources for Free Online Software Tutorials

Learn about computer software with these free online courses. See the full list of free computer software courses and find the one that's right for you.

Online Computer Software Courses for Credit

Courses available online for free don't generally offer college credit. Students looking to gain credit can take courses provided by Study.com for a small fee, generally much less than what a student would pay for that course at a traditional campus. Registered members can watch short video lessons led by subject experts and take quizzes that test their knowledge of the subject matter.

Students with an interest in software might find Business 104: Information Systems and Computer Applications helpful, with relevant chapters including:

Free Online Non-Credited Software Tutorials

Some educational sites and universities offer non-credit, self-guided tutorials that focus on the development or use of computer software. These can take the form of lectures, PDF files and video presentations. Students don't need to register to view the materials. Although some resources may include the original assignments or projects, students won't have access to an instructor. In general, current Web browsers and Adobe Acrobat Reader are needed in order to access these materials; individual classes may require additional software.

Bowling Green State University

  • Adobe Illustrator CC 14 Tutorial shows students how to work with the program's toolbox and create professional-looking graphics for print and Web-based materials. Aspiring designers can learn how to draw simple digital shapes, format text and insert pictures.
  • Adobe Photoshop CC 14 Tutorial is designed for Mac and PC users and teaches students how to crop, edit and enhance images for a variety of applications.
  • Adobe InDesign CC 14 Tutorial offers a basic introduction to the popular desktop publishing program. The manual covers a variety of organizational topics, including groups, layers and placements.
  • Dreamweaver CC 14 is an 18 page tutorial detailing operations such as inserting and using tables, adding design elements, creating hyperlinks, and more.
  • Microsoft Word Tutorial is for both Mac and PC users, and it covers the basics of word processing software. Formatting topics include those related to essays, reports and resumes. New bloggers who want to learn about Web-based publishing may also take a look at the 12-page
  • WordPress tutorial is a short but comprehensive guide shows online writers how to navigate the dashboard, design a blog and manage reader comments.

Harvard Extension School

  • Understanding Computers and the Internet is designed to provide the everyday computer and Web user with an inside look at the technology. The course has video lectures that cover a variety of areas, including computer hardware, software and security, the Internet, programming and website development.
  • Intensive Introduction to Computer Science course includes recorded presentations on software development, programming languages and related topics. Lectures are available in Flash, QuickTime and mp3 formats.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's OpenCourseWare (OCW) program provides students with free access to lecture notes, video tutorials and exams.

  • Elements of Software Construction shows students how to write adaptable, bug-free and easy-to-follow programs. Areas of focus include concurrent, functional and object-oriented programming, specifications and invariants, abstract data types and testing.

The Open University

  • Modeling Object-Oriented Software is an introductory, 20-hour course that takes intermediate-level students through the phases and organizational cycles of software development. This is a print-based course, and online learners find out how to identify conceptual attributes and classes, understand associations and invariants, analyze a requirements document and structure a system.

Tufts University

Blender 2.6x - 3-D Design introduces students to the basics of three-dimensional modeling and animation using Blender software. Some of the topics covered include lighting, mesh modeling and rendering. Blender can be downloaded for free; students also need Adobe Flash Player in order to view video lectures.

Utah State University

  • Computer Applications for Instruction and Training requires Adobe GoLive, Adobe Photoshop, Apple iMovie and Microsoft PowerPoint. This self-directed course covers the Macintosh environment, and students learn how to use these four software programs for instructional and training purposes.
  • Flash also requires specific computer software in order to complete optional assignments; students need either Adobe Flash 8 or Adobe Studio 8. Class topics include basic organizational structures, commenting code, code re-use and variable types. Lecture notes are available as PowerPoint presentations or PDF files.

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