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.
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
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.
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. 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
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
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
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.
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
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.
10 OpenCourseWare Sites for a Free Education
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 […]
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