101 Killer Open Courseware Projects from Around the World: Ivy League and Beyond

by admin on March 01, 2013

How will you obtain a higher education? Some major headlines in 2009 already play on the fears about how to pay for a higher education. Press releases from colleges want to quell those fears about monies for college, and politicians have introduced legislation to make education more affordable.

The desire to lure students into college is strong across the globe, and many colleges have learned that education no longer belongs to a select few who can afford a degree. “Flat education,” or education provided for the masses via the Internet has become commonplace over the past few years, and open courseware projects abound on the Web.

The following list of 100 open courseware projects are designed to offer readers access to supplementary materials for education. They are free (hence “open”) and available to anyone who has access to the Internet. The downside to these courseware projects is that you cannot earn credits; however, a few colleges do offer tuition-paying students a chance to earn credits by completing some projects online.

The list, which also includes a few open source libraries (for textbooks) and some directories (for open source courses only) to expand your tool base, is alphabetized, as each resource offers more than one category; however, a few resources do specialize in one genre. Therefore, we did not break the resources down into what they offered as we wanted to provide as many different resources as possible. This alphabetical method of organization also shows that we do not value open courseware project over another.

  1. ADUni: ADUni.org is the Web site of the alumni of ArsDigita University. This was a one-year intensive post-baccalaureate program in computer science. The site was built to tell the story of ADU and to carry on the school’s mission of supplying free education.
  2. AMSER: AMSER, or Applied Math and Science Education Repository, is a portal filled with educational resources and services. Even thought this site was designed for those in community and technical colleges, it’s free for anyone to use.
  3. Annenberg Media: Annenberg Media uses media and telecommunications to advance excellent teaching in American schools. Although the focus is on Web and print materials for the professional development of K-12 teachers, the resources are excellent for any college student. Begin with the “distance learning” tab for starters.
  4. Berklee Shares: Here you will find free music lessons that you can download, share and trade with your friends and fellow musicians. These lessons are all excerpts from their twelve-week, instructor-led, online courses.
  5. Berkman Center for Internet & Society: This center, located at Harvard University, has a number of online initiatives including the release of the H20 courseware software as open source project material.
  6. Best Online Documentaries: If you missed Al Gore on climate change or all the episodes of Modern Marvels, you can gain access to those episodes online at this site. You’ll discover the depth of the offerings once you begin to browse.
  7. Brigham Young: This university’s independent study section offers free courses in topics such as family history, family life and religious scripture study.
  8. British Academy: The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, champions and supports the humanities and social sciences. This link takes you to their directory of online resources in the humanities and social sciences.
  9. BusiTalks: This link takes you to the featured videos on business topics created from corporate videos to classroom lectures.
  10. Capilano Unversity: Capilano University was founded as Capilano College in North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Howe Sound through referendum in 1968. Now they offer free and open educational resource for faculty, students, and self-learners throughout the world, ranging from anthropology to studio art.
  11. Carnegie Mellon: This college’s open learning initiative provides free learning materials for courses such as engineering statics, modern biology, French and physics. The materials provided enact instruction for an entire course in an online format.
  12. Center for the Study of the Public Domain: The law department at Duke University has compiled an amazing resource for those interested in the realm of material – ideas, images, sounds, discoveries, facts, texts – unprotected by intellectual property rights and free for all to use or build upon. This is the most amazing of all the centers and program materials offered by Duke Law.
  13. Chula Open Courseware: This is the Indian Institute of Technology open courseware project. Some courses are in English.
  14. College of Eastern Utah: From accounting to psychology, an online learner has access to various course tools through many departments at the College of Eastern Utah through their course list.
  15. Columbia Interactive: This is the gateway to selected electronic learning resources developed by Columbia University. Browse through courses listed from architecture to science and take advantage of their learning tools.
  16. Connexions: You can view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc. Anyone may view or contribute, and the topics are wide ranging.
  17. Conversations with History: Guests in these unedited interviews include diplomats, statesmen, and soldiers, economists and political analysts, scientists and historians, writers and foreign correspondents and activists and artists. The interviews span the globe and include discussion of political, economic, military, legal, cultural, and social issues that shape the world.
  18. CORE: CORE – China Open Resource for Education – is on a mission to promote closer interaction and open sharing of educational resources between Chinese and international universities, which CORE envisions as the future of world education.
  19. Delft University of Technology: TU Delft in the Netherlands provides high quality educational materials that have been organized into courses through their OpenCourseWare program. Their initial courses include water management, microelectronics, offshore engineering, sustainable development, nanoscience and biomechatronics. If you don’t know what any of this means, then go find out!
  20. Dixie State College of Utah: Dixie State OpenCourseWare has an interesting collection of free courses that range from artificial intelligence to calculus. They also offer a full course in human development from 2007.
  21. Doshisha University Open Courseware Project: The materials actually used in classes of Doshisha University in Japan are made openly available through the Internet. Courses range by schools, such as the School of Theology or the Institute for Language and Culture.
  22. EduFire: Join thousands of individuals who are learning languages and preparing for exams in live, one-on-one video chat tutoring sessions. Their goal is to create a platform to allow live learning to take place over the Internet anytime from anywhere.
  23. EduNet: This is the OpenCourseWare and e-Learning community site for the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training. As part of the program to enrich resources at the universities, several Vietnamese universities have used the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s free and open educational resource OpenCourseWare (OCW).
  24. Fathom: Fathom’s member institutions present their immense wealth of knowledge across every area of interest–from business to global affairs, from arts to technology. This archive, provided by Columbia University, offers access to the complete range of free content developed for Fathom by its member institutions.
  25. Fulbright: FETP OpenCourseWare is not a long distance learning project, rather it is a resource for people working or studying in policy-related fields to increase their knowledge and explore new approaches to learning and curriculum development.
  26. Glasgow University: It’s a bit difficult to read the course names on this page, but if you click on any link you’ll discover downloads for entire courses, lectures, RSS feeds and more from this Scottish university.
  27. Gresham College: Gresham College, founded by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1597, is an independently funded educational institution based in Barnard’s Inn, Holborn, in the center of London. They provide free public lectures by its eight professors online. The college does not award degrees or teach courses.
  28. Harvard Medical School: Browse through hundreds of online resources offered by this open courseware initiative. You’ll discover everything from medical student handbooks to a number of resources under the “Virtual Patient” category.
  29. HippoCampus: HippoCampus is a free, public website for high school and lower-division College Students that offers NROC (National Repository of Online Courses) content indexed to popular textbooks.
  30. HumTalks: Gain access to videos on the humanities, created from various resources like the TED conference and more.
  31. IBM University Relations: The IBM University Initiative helps faculty and researchers at higher education institutions worldwide use and implement the latest technology into curriculum and research. By joining, you may gain access to software, hardware, training, course materials, and more.
  32. iLumina: iLumina is a digital library of sharable undergraduate teaching materials for chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, and computer science. It is designed to quickly and accurately connect users with the educational resources they need.
  33. Intute: This is a free online service providing you with access to the best Web resources for education and research, selected and evaluated by a network of subject specialists. There are over 21,000 Web resources listed here that are freely available by keyword searching and browsing.
  34. Johns Hopkins: From students to parents, this college’s open courseware project provides ample information about everything from adolescent to refugee health. They continue to add information, making this site one of the most comprehensive health education sites available online.
  35. Learning Space: The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302). But, you can learn about anything from arts and history to technology from anywhere in the world through their online courses.
  36. London School of Economics and Political Science: Listen to podcasts and watch videos of past events at LSE.
  37. Merlot: Find peer-reviewed online teaching and learning materials. Share advice and expertise about education with expert colleagues on topics ranging from biology to world languages.
  38. MIT: MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is recognized for innovation and discovery in many academic fields of study, and their open courseware project is considered a monumental feat in making all 1800 courses offered at MIT available online. This link takes you to their index of courses, which range from aeronautics and astronautics to writing and humanistic studies.
  39. MIT World: Not only does MIT offer a vast array of online materials, they provide videos of significant events that occur at MIT. The topics range from architecture to technology, with plenty of material on the environment and history as well.
  40. Nagoya University Open Course Ware: You have access to notes and materials from lectures given at Nagoya University. Most of the information you see here are usually not seen by anyone but the students of the university.
  41. NCSU Open Courseware Lab: The Open Courseware Laboratory was founded at North Carolina State University in 1998 by Professor Michael Rappa. The mission of the Lab is to invent novel ways of using the Internet to promote the open exchange of knowledge within the academic community.
  42. NCTU Open Courseware: This is the open courseware site for National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, which focuses on physics, chemistry and calculus.
  43. Notre Dame OpenCourseWare: Notre Dame OCW does not grant credits or degrees, and does not provide access to faculty. What Notre Dame OCW does give you is open access to the materials used in a variety of courses that range from Africana studies to theology.
  44. NPTEL: The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning is based in India, but is global in nature. Although the focus is on engineering, the variety of content available here can hold anyone interested in “how things work” spellbound.
  45. OCWFinder: This is one of the coolest open source projects around – an open courseware finder that allows you to search for courses alphabetically and by subtopic.
  46. OER Commons: This is an open educational resource that offers learning contest on topics from the arts to social sciences in the primary to post-secondary levels of education. Don’t let the primary educational matter fool you – some of the lesson plans are tough!
  47. Open Content Alliance: The Open Content Alliance (OCA) is a collaborative effort of a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that helps build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia material. An archive of contributed material is available on the Internet Archive website and through Yahoo! and other search engines and sites.
  48. Open Educational Resources: This site, part of dgCommunities, offers educators, students and self-learners a wide range of subjects and course materials aggregated from leading schools and OER portals.
  49. OpenCourse: This is a free collaboration platform for educators, but it also allows the building of communitie. For example, the HarveyProject is an international collaboration of educators, researchers, physicians, students, programmers, instructional designers and graphic artists who are working together to build interactive and dynamic human physiology course material – which you can peruse for free.
  50. OpenCulture: Open Culture explores cultural and educational media (podcasts, videos, online courses, etc.) freely available on the Web, and that makes learning dynamic, productive, and fun. They sift through it all and highlight the good and jettison the bad.
  51. OpenUniversiteitNederland: Open courseware projects aren’t limited to English-speaking countries. This is a global effort to make education available to all, and this project in The Netherlands is one example of that effort.
  52. OpenUW: The University of Washington provides free courses in particulars such as the Civil War and in Heroic Fantasy: Tolkien .
  53. OpenVault: Gain online access to important content produced by public television station WGBH for individual and classroom learning. You’ll discover video excerpts, manuscripts and a select number of complete interviews in topics ranging from the arts to social sciences.
  54. Oxford Internet Institute: Find Webcasts of the Internet pioneers, scholars and regulators who have spoken at the Oxford Internet Institute, covering areas such as social media, Internet regulation, safety and security online, e-government and more. Browse by category for easy discoveries.
  55. Paris Tech “Graduate School”: Don’t let the Paris part turn you off – much of this site is in English. And, the courses offered are wide-ranging, from mathematics to physics to earth sciences and more.
  56. PEOI: Professional Education Organization International (PEOI) was created and is run by volunteers who believe that it is time for open postsecondary education be made available to all free of charge. All PEOI courses are developed by teams of writers, and any faculty member or member of the general public can use PEOI’s course materials at no charge.
  57. Podcast Directory: This UK resource provides podcasts from over 400 channels for educational use, for teaching and learning activities with children, young people and educational professionals.
  58. Princeton University Archived Lectures: By archived, Princeton means from 2008 back to 1998. The topics are various, as are the speakers.
  59. Project Gutenberg: No list of open couseware projects would be complete without mention of this site. No matter which course you delve into, Project Gutenberg may have materials for you to use. There are, after all, over 27,000 free books available at this site and over 100,000 titles available at their partner, afilliate and resource sites.
  60. RAI OpenCourseWare: Rai OpenCourseware is yet another milestone in Rai Foundation Colleges’s quest of bringing world-class higher education within the reach of one and all. They soon will be offering the Rai opencourseware in 10 Indian regional languages so that knowledge can reach both to the English-speaking and to the millions of Indians residing in the remotest parts of india
  61. Research Channel: ResearchChannel was founded by a consortium of leading research and academic institutions to share the valuable work of their researchers with the public. Viewers access programs online via a live Webstream and an extensive video-on-demand library.
  62. SciTalks: This link takes you to the featured videos on every science topic known to mankind, from corporate videos to classroom lectures.
  63. Smithsonian: This link takes you to the ‘educators’ section, where lesson plans and specialized search engines can find anything you want on the Smithsonian site.
  64. Sofia: This open content initiative provides course modules in the arts and Web design, along with a little physical geography for excitement. The Sofia project is an open content initiative launched by the Foothill – De Anza Community College District with funding support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
  65. Stanford on iTunes: Download courses, lecture, interviews and more and play them on your iPod, Mac or PC or burn a CD for your open courseware collection. It’s all free.
  66. TED: Want to learn how to think? The ideas that flow from this site will expand you mind and lead you to directions you never dreamed about before. The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). All videos are here, free.
  67. Textbook Revolution: This is a student-run volunteer site that began in response to the textbook industry’s constant drive to maximize profits rather than educational value. To that end, you can gain access to numerous textbook materials online for your own private education.
  68. The Assayer: The Assayer is the web’s largest catalog of books whose authors have made them available for free.
  69. The Global Text Project: Do you need a textbook? Perhaps you can find it here online through this open content project. The goal is to make textbooks available to the many who cannot afford them. Or, to make them free to the many who want to read them all!
  70. Tokyo Tech: Tokyo Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare (TOKYO TECH OCW) is a platform for providing free access to course materials for users around the world. And, it’s offered in English.
  71. Tufts University: Tufts OpenCourseWare’s initial course offerings demonstrate the University’s strength in the life sciences and medicine. Tufts University Sciences Knowledgebase (TUSK) is currently used by Tufts’ Medical, Veterinary, Dental and Nutrition Schools as well as three African, one Indian, and three United States medical schools.
  72. UCIrvine University of California: The University of California, Irvine has a long history of social engagement. As a leading public research University, an important part of its mission is to showcase and disseminate the research and scholarship of the University to the public. Their online courses are varied, and range from Physics 21 to Spa Operations.
  73. UCLA OID: The Office of Instructional Development at UCLA holds surprising resources. You can find Webcasts of lectures, software tutorials and publications for faculty and teachers’ aides.
  74. UMass Boston: This is just the beginning of an ambitious project for the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Their open courseware already ranges from biology to special education, with plenty of material for inquisitive prospective students or faculty members.
  75. United Nations University: UNU is committed to providing open access to all educational materials used in capacity development and training programs covering a wide range of topics including fisheries, geothermal energy, biodiversity, water resource management, economic and policy studies, innovation studies, comparative regional studies, software engineering and e-governance.
  76. Universia OCW: This site is a combination effort among ten Spanish, Catalan and Galician universities to offer open courseware online. Other languages offered include English, French, Italian and Portuguese, among others.
  77. Universidad Nacional de Columbia: National University, Columbia offers a wide array of free courses available for Spanish speaking students. Subjects that can be studied include administration, science, nursing, art, agronomy, engineering, architecture, medicine and dentistry.
  78. University of Oxford Podcasts: Can’t attend Oxford? No worries. You have access to numerous podcasts at this site, ranging from art history to Medieval English lectures and more.
  79. University of Southern Queensland: USQ initially is offering sample courses from each of the five faculties and also courses from its Tertiary Preparation Program. From tourism to object-oriented programming in C++, you can find it online here as an open courseware initiative for this down-under unversity.
  80. University of Tokyo: The UT Open Courseware project provides access to both lectures and data at the University of Tokyo in a program that might well be called “the opening of the gates of knowledge.” While not MIT, this project is serious and growing quickly.
  81. University of Western Cape: This African university is making course materials available for biology, law and their school of public health. Expect more as they grow.
  82. University Surf: This is a huge free and open educational resource center for French-speaking communities throughout the world.
  83. Utah State OpenCourseWare: Utah State has expanded its open courseware project dramatically over the past year. Online readers now have access to materials that range from anthropology to wildland resources.
  84. UV Open: Utah Valley State College provides numerous online courses for guests that don’t include the quizzes or other complete activities. The links for most of these courses don’t work, as they’ve moved the site to a registration page where you can log in for free to examine the materials.
  85. VideoLectures: The main purpose of the project Videolectures.Net is to provide free and open access of a high quality video lectures presented by distinguished scholars and scientists at the most important and prominent events like conferences, summer schools, workshops and science promotional events from many science fields. Categories range from architecture to technology.
  86. W3 Schools: Online tutorials, references, examples and even a forum to help anyone learn how to build online sites. They handle everything from HTML to ASP.NET, CSS and XML – all for free.
  87. Wales University Examination Papers: Gain access to past examination papers on topics such as computer science education, English, European languages, history, Welsh history, maths and physics and more.
  88. Waseda University: Rated as one of the top universities in Japan, Waseda is beginning to place their course materials online. Courses vary in whether they’re offered in Japanese or English.
  89. Webcast Berkeley: What better way to learn than with your eyes closed? The Webcasts offered here range from biology to statistics, and they often broken into sections for various lectures.
  90. Weber State University: Although this site doesn’t match something like MIT’s initiative, it’s a start…you can log into courses on automotive electronics and stress management or study global issues on Information Technology.
  91. wePapers: This site was created to help students and “other knowledge-thirsty folks” share their wealth of information. You can read and download class notes and articles, connect with others to get help and organize your learning experiences. You have a fairly broad range of topic categories to peruse.
  92. Western Governors University: You can tap into a wide range of liberal arts studies from this list on this page. Several courses, such as anatomy and physiology and language and communication provide several parts and they’re based on very recent materials.
  93. Western Kentucky University: This distance-learning module provides podcasts of lectures from a wide range of topics including poetry, architecture, history and engineering.
  94. WikiBooks: Wikibooks is a Wikimedia community for creating a free library of educational textbooks that anyone can edit. Browse through a fantastic range of categories to build your online library.
  95. WikiEducator: WikiEducator aims to build a thriving and sustainable global community dedicated to the design, development and delivery of free content for learning in realisation of a free version of the education curriculum by 2015. Peruse numerous projects and content and connect with chats in a site where educators believe that learning materials should be free and open to all.
  96. Wikiversity: Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to learning resources, learning projects, and research for use in all levels, types, and styles of education from pre-school to university, including professional training and informal learning.
  97. Wolfram Demonstrations Project: Conceived by Mathematica creator and scientist Stephen Wolfram as a way to bring computational exploration to the widest possible audience, the Wolfram Demonstrations Project is an open-code resource that uses dynamic computation to illuminate concepts in science, technology, mathematics, art, finance, and a remarkable range of other fields.
  98. World Lecture Hall: World Lecture Hall publishes links to pages created by faculty worldwide who use the Web to deliver course materials in any language. Some courses are delivered entirely over the Internet. Others are designed for students in residence. In all cases, they can be visited by anyone interested in courseware on the Internet. This site is sponsored by Texas University.
  99. Yale: “Open Yale” courses provide free and open access to a selection of introductory courses that reflect a liberal arts education. All lectures were recorded in the Yale College classroom and are available in video, audio, and text transcript format. Registration is not required and no course credit is available.
  100. YaleGlobal Online: YaleGlobal Online is the flagship publication of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. Their aim is to analyze and promote debate on all aspects of globalization through publishing original articles and multi-media presentations. They also are developing an archive of academic papers on globalization as well as book excerpts and reviews of books on the same subject.

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