Opensource Education: Why MIT, Yale and Big Players Are Giving Away Course Content for Free

Barry Lenson

In what could be the biggest educational give-away in history, a growing number of colleges and universities are making their course content available for free online. If you poke around the Internet, here is some of the free content you will discover .  . . 

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is offering dozens of courses for free. Topics include anthropology, architecture, foreign languages, urban studies, writing, and many more. (Some lectures are made available through links to YouTube.) To review the courses offered, CLICK HERE

Yale University, through its Yale Open Courses program, offers a growing number of full lecture courses.  Topics include art history, astronomy, classics, economics, psychology, religion, and more.  To review the courses offered, CLICK HERE

To review hundreds of sources of opensource distance learning classes, CLICK HERE browse the Online Education Database. 

What’s the downside to educating yourself this way? Yes. Opensource courses do not earn credit.  To quote from MIT’s page:


  • OCW is not an MIT education.
  • OCW does not grant degrees or certificates.
  • OCW does not provide access to MIT faculty.
  • Materials may not reflect entire content of the course.

So for credit, you need to avail yourself of courses like those that at StraighterLine. But if you’re only interested in exploring a course topic, opensource could be your chance. Why not take advantage of the biggest educational handout in history?

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