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10 OpenCourseWare Sites for a Free Education

2017%2f01%2f03%2f3f%2f2014031766denisedslu.b5f10.9dc04By Denise Lu2013-08-06 13:37:06 UTC

10 Best OpenCourseWare Sites

  1. While not the first university to adopt OpenCourseWare (OCW), MIT's initiative started the movement in 2002. Many other universities followed suit.  Still one of the best OCW programs out there, MIT offers materials from 2,150 courses in business, engineering, math and science. MIT also offers in-depth courses about design, music theory and the fine arts. With video and audio lectures, interactive simulations and online textbooks, all courses in MIT's OCW program feature calendars, syllabi, exams and supplementary materials.  MIT has also partnered with various other organizations for translated courses in seven languages. You can download all the course materials in one package.  Image: MIT

    1. MIT

    While not the first university to adopt OpenCourseWare (OCW), MIT's initiative started the movement in 2002. Many other universities followed suit.

    Still one of the best OCW programs out there, MIT offers materials from 2,150 courses in business, engineering, math and science. MIT also offers in-depth courses about design, music theory and the fine arts. With video and audio lectures, interactive simulations and online textbooks, all courses in MIT's OCW program feature calendars, syllabi, exams and supplementary materials.

    MIT has also partnered with various other organizations for translated courses in seven languages. You can download all the course materials in one package.

    Image: MIT

  2. The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a worldwide collaborative initiative that brings together OCW from universities across six continents. Browse courses by language or source; there's also a course catalog (currently in beta mode) to browse classes by subject.   The Consortium also has a OCW Toolkit Initiative of resources to help institutions set up the initiatives on their own.  Image: OpenCourseWare Consortium

    2. OpenCourseWare Consortium

    The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a worldwide collaborative initiative that brings together OCW from universities across six continents. Browse courses by language or source; there's also a course catalog (currently in beta mode) to browse classes by subject.

    The Consortium also has a OCW Toolkit Initiative of resources to help institutions set up the initiatives on their own.

    Image: OpenCourseWare Consortium

  3. Yale's OCW only offers 42 courses, but the streamlined, easy-to-navigate platform provides a rich environment for learning. There's a wide variety of humanities and sciences, from a philosophy class on death to an economics class on financial markets.  Each course is equipped with downloadable video lectures, notes and searchable transcripts for each class. Skip within video lectures to a specific chapter, too. All video classes are hosted on YouTube and iTunes. The school also offers audio-only MP3s of each lecture -- perfect for learning on the go.  Image: Yale

    3. Yale

    Yale's OCW only offers 42 courses, but the streamlined, easy-to-navigate platform provides a rich environment for learning. There's a wide variety of humanities and sciences, from a philosophy class on death to an economics class on financial markets.

    Each course is equipped with downloadable video lectures, notes and searchable transcripts for each class. Skip within video lectures to a specific chapter, too. All video classes are hosted on YouTube and iTunes. The school also offers audio-only MP3s of each lecture -- perfect for learning on the go.

    Image: Yale

  4. Open.Michigan, University of Michigan's OCW initiative, features a giant collection of courses from 19 of the university's schools, colleges and units. Ranging from literature to dentistry to public policy, the extensive list hosts a variety of courses -- all complete with syllabi, course lectures and supplementary material.  There's also a useful guide for sharing and using openly licensed content. Access all of the course files in a categorized list; each file has links for downloads or YouTube videos alongside Creative Commons licensing information. View materials by session or all at once.  Image: University of Michigan

    4. Open.Michigan

    Open.Michigan, University of Michigan's OCW initiative, features a giant collection of courses from 19 of the university's schools, colleges and units. Ranging from literature to dentistry to public policy, the extensive list hosts a variety of courses -- all complete with syllabi, course lectures and supplementary material.

    There's also a useful guide for sharing and using openly licensed content. Access all of the course files in a categorized list; each file has links for downloads or YouTube videos alongside Creative Commons licensing information. View materials by session or all at once.

    Image: University of Michigan

  5. John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health offers comprehensive materials for dozens of courses on topics like chronic diseases, global health and injury prevention. Browse by course, topic, curated collections or the school's library of images and graphics.    Image: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

    5. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

    John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health offers comprehensive materials for dozens of courses on topics like chronic diseases, global health and injury prevention. Browse by course, topic, curated collections or the school's library of images and graphics.



    Image: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  6. Harvard Medical School's OCW initiative includes dozens of materials from its course catalog. It's more of a library of resources than a list of full courses -- the collection includes classes with video clips, lecture slides, notes and projects. Others offer "simulations," via an app,  of surgeries and diagnoses.  Image: Harvard Medical School

    6. Harvard Medical School

    Harvard Medical School's OCW initiative includes dozens of materials from its course catalog. It's more of a library of resources than a list of full courses -- the collection includes classes with video clips, lecture slides, notes and projects. Others offer "simulations," via an app, of surgeries and diagnoses.

    Image: Harvard Medical School

  7. Carnegie Mellon only has a handful of courses, mostly in the STEM fields. However, the courses are comprehensive and the layout is conducive to a streamlined learning experience. Though there aren't any video lectures, the classes are laid out like online courses. All notes are completely digital, and there are interactive practice problems for students to self-check their understanding of each lesson.  You need to register for an account to save your work, but if you just want to take the course without saving anything, just don't register. All courses have useful diagrams and illustrations. The lessons are formatted in a linear flow, too -- so it's chapter-by-chapter, not slide-by-slide Skip ahead to whichever chapter or lesson you choose.  Image: Carnegie Mellon

    7. Carnegie Mellon

    Carnegie Mellon only has a handful of courses, mostly in the STEM fields. However, the courses are comprehensive and the layout is conducive to a streamlined learning experience. Though there aren't any video lectures, the classes are laid out like online courses. All notes are completely digital, and there are interactive practice problems for students to self-check their understanding of each lesson.

    You need to register for an account to save your work, but if you just want to take the course without saving anything, just don't register. All courses have useful diagrams and illustrations. The lessons are formatted in a linear flow, too -- so it's chapter-by-chapter, not slide-by-slide Skip ahead to whichever chapter or lesson you choose.

    Image: Carnegie Mellon

  8. Browse classes from eight schools at Tufts University's OCW initiative. Choose from schools of dentistry, medicine, nutrition policy, veterinary medicine, arts and sciences, engineering and international relations. There are a handful of courses within each school.  Each course contains a variety of materials: PDFs of lecture slides, homework assignments and exams. While the navigation isn't the most streamlined, and not all courses contain complete materials, the courses are rich with searchable text and detailed lessons.   Additionally, Tufts offers a guide to Open Education Resources for even more useful links and libraries for teachers.  Image: Tufts

    8. Tufts University

    Browse classes from eight schools at Tufts University's OCW initiative. Choose from schools of dentistry, medicine, nutrition policy, veterinary medicine, arts and sciences, engineering and international relations. There are a handful of courses within each school.

    Each course contains a variety of materials: PDFs of lecture slides, homework assignments and exams. While the navigation isn't the most streamlined, and not all courses contain complete materials, the courses are rich with searchable text and detailed lessons.

    Additionally, Tufts offers a guide to Open Education Resources for even more useful links and libraries for teachers.

    Image: Tufts

  9. Notre Dame's OCW program offers courses across two dozen of its departments, from aerospace engineering and classics to mathematics and theology. Each course includes a syllabus; others have class structure outlines. Classes also include professor biographies -- so you know you're learning from an accredited source.  Audio lectures, PowerPoint slides, illustrations and texts are all free to use. Courses have a range of categories, like exams and solutions, lecture slides and sample final projects.  Image: Notre Dame

    9. Notre Dame

    Notre Dame's OCW program offers courses across two dozen of its departments, from aerospace engineering and classics to mathematics and theology. Each course includes a syllabus; others have class structure outlines. Classes also include professor biographies -- so you know you're learning from an accredited source.

    Audio lectures, PowerPoint slides, illustrations and texts are all free to use. Courses have a range of categories, like exams and solutions, lecture slides and sample final projects.

    Image: Notre Dame

  10. UC Berkeley webcasts offers a large selection of courses in a comprehensive list of departments -- bioengineering, Japanese, legal studies, public health. Since the webcasts are more or less recordings of actual lectures, as opposed to courses optimized for web, they lack lecture notes and supplementary materials.   However, each course has audio recordings of lectures via iTunes or video recordings of lectures via YouTube.  Image: UC Berkeley

    10. UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley webcasts offers a large selection of courses in a comprehensive list of departments -- bioengineering, Japanese, legal studies, public health. Since the webcasts are more or less recordings of actual lectures, as opposed to courses optimized for web, they lack lecture notes and supplementary materials.

    However, each course has audio recordings of lectures via iTunes or video recordings of lectures via YouTube.

    Image: UC Berkeley

Going back to college is a reminder that tuition can cost more than a house. But what if you could access almost the same education without the charge? MIT's OpenCourseWare, while not an exact replica of a college course, is the closest thing you'll get to going to school for free.

See also: Cultivate Your Creativity With These 4 Fair Use Libraries

Since 2002, OpenCourseWare has published and digitized course materials from private and public universities. Materials vary from complete syllabi and lecture slides to video lectures and assignments. Unlike MOOCs, OpenCourseWare lets students learn at their own pace and have more control over their areas of study. It typically has structured lesson plans, too, so students register the material as they would in an actual classroom setting.

MIT isn't the first university to freely offer its course materials (the University of Tübingen in Germany did so in 1999), but it has inspired many schools to follow in its footsteps. Since its founding, more than 250 universities and organizations around the world have adopted OpenCourseWare principles to freely publish materials — most of which are licensed under Creative Commons.

We've rounded up some of the best in the gallery above. Take a look and let us know which ones are your favorites.

Image: Flickr, UIBK

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