Free online learning

Pub date April 12, 2011

Some of the nation’s — and the world’s — top universities now make classes available free on the web. You won’t get credit or a degree — but you can, in effect, audit classes on a wide range of subjects.

UC Berkeley has an official YouTube channel. Catch up with students taking classes this semester on astrophysics, computer science, or the “Dynamics of Romantic Core Values in East Asian Premodern Literature.” One of the top rated and most viewed videos is a class on gravity and satellites. One viewer frankly commented, “Thank you for making me less dumb.”

It’s easy enough to hop over to other coast if you are curious about what Ivy League classes look like — and Yale’s online access offers more than just video. You even have the syllabus as well as the actual homework assignments.

Popular among Yale undergraduates is a philosophy class titled “Death.” You can also check out an advanced Literary Theory class with on lecture focusing on Queer Theory and Gender Performativity.

Universities all over the world are plugging in to the open education movement. At the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, the selection is slimmer, but who can pass up the opportunity to take “Object Oriented Programming in C++.” Seriously, though, how about “Creating Interactive Media”?