Penn State through Coursera is offering a FREE course to get you started in GIS and the related new spatial technologies. No prerequisites are required; you just need an internet connection and some time. The online classes will start March 25 and end on May 6th and even include “hands on” labs for creating maps. Penn State says “students who successfully complete this class will be prepared to continue their education in more advanced GIS and Mapping classes”. This looks like a great opportunity to learn the new technologies right at your desk at home.
You can learn more about this and register for the course at https://www.coursera.org/course/maps