A Master List of 1,500 Free Courses From Top Universities: 50,000 Hours of Audio/Video Lectures to Enrich Your Mind


For the past 14 years, we’ve been busy rummaging around the internet and adding courses to an ever-growing list of Free Online Courses, which now features 1,500 courses from top universities. Let’s give you the quick overview: The list lets you download audio & video lectures from schools like Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, Harvard and many other institutions. Generally, the courses can be accessed via YouTube, iTunes or university web sites, and you can listen to the lectures anytime, anywhere, on your computer or smart phone. We haven’t done a precise calculation, but there’s about 50,000 hours of free audio & video lectures here. Enough to keep you busy for a very long time–something that’s useful during these socially distant times.

Right now you’ll find 200 free philosophy courses, 105 free history courses, 170 free computer science courses, 85 free physics courses and 55 Free Literature Courses in the collection, and that’s just beginning to scratch the surface. You can peruse sections covering Astronomy, Biology, BusinessChemistry, Economics, Engineering, Math, Political Science, Psychology and Religion.

Here are some highlights from the complete list of Free Online Courses. We’ve added a few unconventional/vintage courses in the mix just to keep things interesting.

The complete list of courses can be accessed here: 1,500 Free Online Courses from Top Universities. For more enriching material, see our other collections below.

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Blockbuster Courses on the U.S. Presidential Election Getting Started at Stanford Continuing Studies This Week


This fall, Stanford Continuing Studies presents 150+ courses in the Liberal Arts & Sciences, Creative Writing, and Professional Development, including two major courses on the U.S. presidential election. Taught by Pamela Karlan (Stanford law professor) and James Steyer (CEO, Common Sense Media), Election 2020: A Panoramic View of America’s Decisive Election will feature a lineup of distinguished guest speakers–from Bill Clinton and Kara Swisher, to Steve Schmidt, David Plouffe and Andrew Yang. The other course focuses on Technology and the 2020 Election: How Silicon Valley Technologies Impact Our Elections and Shape Our Democracy. Taught by professor Rob Reich and Dutch politician Marietje Schaake, the course will feature visits from Roger McNamee, (author of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe), Alex Stamos (Former Chief Security Officer, Facebook), Shoshana Zuboff, (Harvard author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism), Michael McFaul (former ambassador to Russia), and more.

These live online courses are open to adults. Although the courses aren’t free, they’re timely and bound to engage. Election 2020 starts today. Technology and the 2020 Election starts on Wednesday. Explore the entire Continuing Studies catalogue here.

Note: High school students can also enroll in both of these election courses. To explore that opportunity, follow these links:

Election 2020: A Panoramic View of America’s Decisive Election

Technology and the 2020 Election: How Silicon Valley Technologies Impact Our Elections and Shape Our Democracy

MIT Presents a Free Course on the COVID-19 Pandemic, Featuring Anthony Fauci & Other Experts

Most of us use the terms “coronavirus” and “COVID-19” to refer to the pandemic that has gone around the world this year. We do know, or can figure out, that the former term refers to a virus and the latter to the disease caused by that virus. But do we know the full name “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2,” or “SARS-CoV-2” for short? We will if we take the online course “COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 and the Pandemic,” which MIT is making available to the general public free online. We’ll also learn what makes both the virus and the disease different from other viruses and diseases, what we can do to avoid infection, and how close we are to an effective treatment.

All this is laid out in the course’s first lecture by Bruce Walker, director of the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard. Walker introduces himself by telling us how he graduated from medical school when HIV was at its height in America, timing that placed him well for a career focused on deadly viral diseases.




The course’s complete lineup of guest lecturers, all of them listed on its syllabus, includes many other high-profile figures in the field of epidemiology, immunology, vaccine development, and related fields: Harvard’s Michael Mina, Yale’s Akiko Iwasaki, the Broad Institute’s Eric Lander, and — perhaps you’ve heard of him — the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Anthony Fauci (find his session below).

“COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 and the Pandemic” began last Tuesday, and its lectures, which you’ll find uploaded to this Youtube playlist, will continue weekly until December 8th. Even if you have no background in medicine, biology, or science of any kind, don’t be intimidated: as leading professors Richard Young and Facundo Batista emphasize, this course is meant as an introductory overview.

And as Bruce Walker’s first lecture demonstrates, it’s not just open to the general public but geared toward the understanding and concerns of the general public as well. Taking it may not reassure you that an end to the pandemic lies just around the corner, but it will give you clearer and more coherent ways to think about what’s going on. The virus and disease involved are still incompletely understood, after all — but thanks to these and other researchers around the world, getting better understood every day.

“COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 and the Pandemic” will be added to our list, 1,500 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

via Kottke

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

A Free Stanford Course on How to Teach Online: Designed for Middle & High School Teachers (July 13 – 17)

This fall, many teachers (across the country and the world) will be asked to teach online–something most teachers have never done before. To assist with that transition, the Stanford Online High School and Stanford Continuing Studies have teamed up to offer a free online course called Teaching Your Class Online: The Essentials. Taught by veteran instructors at Stanford Online High School (OHS), this course “will help middle and high school instructors move from general concepts for teaching online to the practical details of adapting your class for your students.” The course is free and runs from 1-3 pm California time, July 13 – 17. You can sign up here.

For anyone interested, Stanford will also offer additional courses that give teachers the chance to practice teaching their material online and get feedback from Stanford Online High School instructors. Offered from July 20 – July 24, those courses cost $95. Click to this page, and scroll down to enroll.

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Take Free Courses on African-American History from Yale and Stanford: From Emancipation, to the Civil Rights Movement, and Beyond

As every American knows, February is Black History Month. And as every American also knows — if the events of 2020 haven’t warped their sense of time too badly — is isn’t February right now. But thanks to online learning technology, we all have the freedom to study any subject we want, as much as we want, whenever we want, irrespective of the time of year. Sources of internet-based education have proliferated in the 21st century, but long-respected institutions of higher learning have also got in on the action. Yale University, for example, has produced the online course African American History: Emancipation to the Present, whose 25 lectures by history professor Jonathan Holloway you can watch on YouTube, or at Yale’s web site. The first lecture appears above.

Originally recorded in the spring of 2010, Holloway’s course examines “the African American experience in the United States from 1863 to the present,” involving such chapters of history as “the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction” and “African Americans’ urbanization experiences.”




It also includes lectures on the “thought and leadership of Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X” — all writers and thinkers Open Culture readers will have encountered before, but a course like African American History: Emancipation to the Present offers the opportunity to consider their lives and work in clearer context and greater detail.

Black history has deeper roots in some parts of the United States than others. But that doesn’t mean the universities of the west have nothing to offer in this department: take, for example, Stanford University’s African-American History: Modern Freedom Struggle, taught by the historian (and editor of MLK’s papers) Clayborne Carson. Available to watch on YouTube and iTunes (or right above), its 18 lectures deliver an introduction to “African-American history, with particular emphasis on the political thought and protest movements of the period after 1930, focusing on selected individuals who have shaped and been shaped by modern African-American struggles for freedom and justice.” Taken together, these online courses offer you more than enough material to hold your own Black History Month right now.

Note: Clay Carson’s course can also be taken as a MOOC on edX. Enroll now in American Prophet: The Inner Life and Global Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. And find the courses listed above in our collection, 1,500 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity–Take a Free & Timely Course Online

The Great Courses has made available a free and rather timely course–Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity. Divided into 24 lectures and taught by Molly Birkholm, the course gets introduced with the following text:

Recent research shows that we grow into our best and most joyful selves not when we avoid our problems but when we embrace them, confident that we are resilient enough to work through them to an appropriate resolution. Our problems are an important part of our path.

Resilience is our ability to physically, emotionally, and mentally bounce back from adverse circumstances. Without it, we would be down for the count every time we ran into a problem. Stuck in traffic and late for a meeting? It’s your resilience that allows you to make the necessary phone calls and keep moving forward, confident that you can handle this stressful situation as it evolves. Without it, you’d make a U-turn and give up. Recovering from the flu or recent surgery? It’s your resilience that helps you take care of yourself appropriately and look forward to a better future. Our capacity to thrive in life depends directly on our resilience.

Sharing her own fascinating journey, as well as the latest research by neurologists and psychologists, trauma specialist Molly Birkholm shows us how to gauge our current level of resilience and improve from there. In Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity, you’ll learn how all of our challenges—from everyday stresses to life-altering traumas—can bring wisdom and growth. In 17 fascinating classes and 7 “hands-on” practice sessions, you’ll learn about and experience the process of building the inner calm and clarity of mind that create greater resilience. With Ms. Birkholm’s warm and optimistic demeanor, you’ll feel her encouragement every step of the way as you move toward building your best and most fulfilling life.

Watch all 24 lectures above, or over on YouTube. Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity will be added to our collection, 1,500 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Find more courses in The Great Courses catalogue here.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

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Nikon Offers Free Online Photography Courses in April

A quick heads up. Through the end of April, Nikon has made its curriculum of online photography courses free. Normally priced at $15-$50 per course, this 10-course offering covers Fundamentals of Photography, Dynamic Landscape Photography, Macro Photography, Photographing Children and Pets, and more. Sign up for the courses here.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

via The Verge

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1,500 Free Online Courses from Top Universities
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