40 Enlightening Opencourseware Classes on Distance Learning & Online Education

If you’re ready to dive into online learning, then you might check out these 40 enlightening open courseware classes on distance learning and online education. From theory to “how-to” information and a short list of search tools and practice areas, these links could help you gain traction in your self-learning ventures. While these courses are free, you gain no credit — but, they can help you in making decisions about what you want to study if you plan to pay for future online courses.

Learning TheoryTheory

  1. Cognition & Learning in Educational Settings: The purpose of this course is to introduce some of the many theories of learning and related topics useful to the design of instruction and to teaching practice [University of California Irvine].
  2. Communicating in Cyberspace: This class covers the analysis, design, implementation and testing of various forms of digital communication based on group collaboration [MIT].
  3. Computer Games and Simulations for Investigation and Education: In this project-based course, students from all disciplines are encouraged to understand how to learn from interactive computer environments [MIT].
  4. eCommunities: Analysis and Design of Online Interaction Environments: This course gives students a background in theory and practice surrounding online interaction environments [Open Michigan].
  5. Information Economics: This course provides a strong grounding in the economics of information goods and services [Open Michigan].
  6. Instructional Games: The goal of this course is to explore the field of instructional gaming through a survey of readings, existing products, and those in development [Utah State University].
  7. Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice: This course explores the properties of non-linear, multi-linear, and interactive forms of narratives as they have evolved from print to digital media [MIT].
  8. Introduction to Open Education: Learn all there is to know about open learning through this course, which begins with the basics and ends with current practices and possible alternative practices in open education [Utah State University].
  9. Introduction to Information Studies: This course provides foundational knowledge necessary to begin to address the key issues associated with the Information Revolution [Open Michigan].
  10. Media and Methods: Seeing and Expression: This class examines frameworks for making and sharing visual artifacts using a trans-cultural, trans-historical and constructionist approach [MIT].
  11. Media, Education, and the Marketplace: Learn harness the emerging forms of interactive media to enhance the learning process [MIT].
  12. New Media Literacies: These new media literacies include the practices and concepts of genres from fan fiction writing to collective intelligence [MIT].
  13. Teach Global: This unit provides a resource for primary and secondary school teachers to understand the importance of the global dimension in the school curriculum [The Open University].
  14. Technologies for Creative Learning: This course explores the design of innovative educational technologies and creative learning environments [MIT].
  15. Understanding Online Interaction: This course is designed to provide an introductory level of understanding of the manner in which individuals interact with one another via the network [Utah State University].


  1. Accessibility of eLearning: This unit introduces the challenges for disabled students who take part in eLearning [The Open University].
  2. Advanced Topics in Learning Object Design and Reuse: This course is designed to help you understand and apply advanced topics in the design, creation, and reuse of learning objects [Utah State University].
  3. An Intellectual Property Primer for Online Instructors: This course serves as a guide to some of the pertinent issues surrounding intellectual property rights in the context of post-baccalaureate distance education academic programs [University of California Irvine].
  4. Blogs, Wikis, New Media for Learning: This course is designed to help you understand and effectively use a variety of “web 2.0” technologies including blogs, RSS, wikis, social bookmarking tools, photo sharing tools, mapping tools, audio and video podcasts, and screencasts [Utah State University].
  5. Columbia Interactive: This page holds some courses on information technology and how it works with online learning and academia [Columbia Interactive].
  6. Computer Applications for Instruction and Training: In this course, students will orient themselves to the Macintosh environment, get a brief overview of Macintosh-specific software, and learn the fundamental basics of the following tools available to assist in instruction and training [Utah State University].
  7. Connecting People with Online Resources: The purpose of this module is to help you find high-quality online resources, learn strategies for incorporating them into a free software tool called the Instructional Architect, and use these projects in an instructional situation [Utah State University].
  8. Creating open educational resources: This unit will help you to write a learning unit and provide you with links to various resources for open-learning materials [The Open University].
  9. Digital Libraries and Archives: Learn more about the current state of “digital libraries” from a multidisciplinary perspective [Open Michigan].
  10. eLearning: This link leads to a wide variety of resources in all media types on eLearning, including how to manage eLearning, learning about barriers and more [Internet Archive].
  11. Finding information in education: This unit will help you to identify and use information in education, whether for your work, study or personal purposes [The Open University].
  12. Game Design: Topics include a large breadth of genres and types of games, including sports, game shows, games of chance, schoolyard games, board games, role-playing games, and digital games [MIT].
  13. Intro to Instructional Design: Learn a systematic way of designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating the processes of learning and teaching with specific objectives based on research in human learning and communication [Utah State University].
  14. Online Instructor Training: Enhance your knowledge with the 10 areas of study included in this self-access training program [University of California Irvine].
  15. Outcome-Based Evaluation of Programs and Services: This course provides an overview of the purposes and uses of outcome-based evaluation approaches and methods, and provides an opportunity to conduct a focused outcome evaluation of a user-focused service in a library, a nonprofit organization, an archive, a museum or other service-focused organization [Open Michigan].
  16. Producing Distance Education Resources: This course focuses on the production of resources (broadly interpreted) for use in online education (including formal and informal settings) [Utah State University].
  17. Understanding Records and Archives: Principles and Practices: This course provides an understanding of why societies, cultures, organizations, and individuals create and keep records [Open Michigan].


  1. ArchiveGrid: Thousands of libraries, museums, and archives have contributed nearly a million collection descriptions to ArchiveGrid.
  2. iBerry: This academic portal is filled with information and resources for learners, educators, researchers and anyone else with an interest in adult education.
  3. InfoMine: This is a virtual library of Internet resources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level.
  4. Merlot==: Find peer-reviewed online teaching and learning materials at this site and share your own work.
  5. OpenCourseWare Finder: This search engine lists open courseware classes found throughout the Web.
  6. OpenContentOnline: Find open content by topic at this search page, including video and audio lectures.
  7. P2PU: Peer 2 Peer University is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements [P2PU].
  8. Wikiversity: This open source project is devoted to learning resources, projects and research for use in all levels, types, and styles of education from pre-school to university, including professional training and informal learning.
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