Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Free Online Education

Distance learning is part of a growing trend that makes it easier for people to learn online, often in very flexible formats that accommodate busy schedules. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) is amongst a number of educational institutions that are offering free education online. Others include Academic Earth, Khan Academy and the Open University (OU). These schools provide a number of courses in a great many different disciplines including those that relate to the environment.

M.I.T.x was launched in 2012, it offers free online teaching of M.I.T. courses. For a nominal fee, participants are even eligible to receive an official certificate of completion. The new online platform will be more interactive than the university’s original free online platform called OpenCourseWare (OCW). OCW has been used for 10 years by over 100 million students and contains course material for roughly 2,100 classes. What makes M.I.T.x distinct from OCW is the fact that it provides an interactive experience as opposed to simple videotaped lectures.

Academic Earth was picked by Time Magazine as one of the 50 best websites of 2009, it has cornered the market on free online education by making a smorgasbord of online course content – from prestigious universities such as Stanford and Princeton – accessible and free to anyone in the world.

Khan Academy is for K-12, and it offers free interactive educational experience that include assessments and exercises.

Open University (OU) is one of the best places to find free online environmentally oriented courses. OU is a world leader in modern distance learning, the pioneer of teaching and learning methods which enable people to achieve their career and life goals studying at times and in places to suit them. The OU’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. Their efforts to widen participation in education and make learning resources available free of charge, do not sacrifice quality.

Here is a summary of some of the dozens of environmentally oriented courses available from OU:

An introduction to sustainable energy (T206_2)
Environment: Following the flows (U116_2)
Environment: Treading lightly on the Earth (U116_1)
Global warming (E500_11)
Health and environment (SK220_2)
Sustainable Scotland (T123_1)
Urban and rural waste in China (U116_3)
Why sustainable energy matters (T206_1)
Working with our environment - an introduction (T172_1)
Claiming connections: A distant world of sweatshops? (DD205_2)
Climate change (U316_1)
Climate change (S250_3)
Earth's physical resources: petroleum (S278_1)
Living in a globalised world (DD205_1)
Managing coastal environments (U216_1)
Nuclear power: Friend or foe? (DU311_1)
Systems practice: Managing sustainability (T306_4)
Systems thinking: Understanding sustainability (T306_3)
Diagramming for development 1 - Bounding realities (TU872_1)
Diagramming for development 2 - Exploring interrelationships (TU875_1)
Integrated safety, health and environmental management: An introduction (T835_1)
Introducing international development management (TU870_1)
Logframe planning (TU870_2)
Developing countries in the world trade regime (DU321_1)
Introducing environmental decision making (T863_1)
Managing Complexity: A Systems Approach (T306_1)
Managing complexity: A systems approach – introduction (T306_2)
Nature matters: caring and accountability (TD866_2)
Nature matters in conversation (TD866_1)
Nature matters: Systems thinking and experts (TD866_3)
Rights and justice in international relations (DU301_1)

To learn more about OU's free environmental courses click here.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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