Free Courses with the Best User Experience:'s People's Choice Award Winner

Be careful. Our nominees for the Best User Experience are all sites that might pull you in with their boundless and captivating content. If you don't want to end up reenacting the movie 'Tron,' tread carefully into these standout sites.

Winner: American Museum of Natural History

Best User Experience

The American Museum of Natural History is located in New York City. Taking the whole family on an educational trip to the Big Apple in order to visit the museum may sound like fun, aside from, you know, all of the time, money and stress involved in traveling to the city that never sleeps. Fortunately, you can experience many of the great experiences and educational opportunities that the museum has to offer from the comfort of your own home.

On the museum's website, explore natural history by reading articles, watching videos and playing games. You can look deep into the past and study the flexible skulls of our ancient ancestors. You can also look into the future and learn about how private companies are venturing into space travel. For educators, there are teaching guides and suggestions to help you plan lessons around the museum's content.

Our voters praised the 'great exposure to their collection' and 'excellent interactivity.' They described the site as 'easy to navigate,' 'easy to search' and 'amazing.' Like them, you may find yourself getting lost in the seemingly endless variety of topics to explore. Fortunately, you won't need a subway map to get out.

Finalist: Flat World Knowledge

Our voters described Flat World Knowledge as 'innovative,' 'ground-breaking,' 'cutting edge,' 'awesome' and 'the future.' It's hard to argue with that praise. This is a textbook publisher that makes textbook publishing exciting. How? By offering textbooks with open licenses, online and for free. That not only means widespread access by students, it also means that faculty can personalize the textbooks for their needs. If this is the future, then the future is, indeed, awesome.

Finalist: UC Irvine OCW

The OpenCourseWare initiative at the University of California, Irvine began way back in 2006. In OCW terms, that makes it an elder statesman. In practical terms, that means it's had time to develop an awe-inspiring library of courses and a time-tested user experience. Our voters sure think so. They called it 'user-friendly' and a 'great way to gain university-level knowledge in various areas for free.' Current courses include everything from organic spectroscopy to white-collar crime. And, with ten new courses added each month, the site is sure to offer something for everyone.

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