October 17, 2006
By Elisabeth Grant
No login? No membership? No fees? No problem! The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare site, is a free online collection of materials from 1,400 MIT courses, including a number in history. These are complete courses that can either be read online, or downloaded all at once as a zip file. Each course includes a syllabus, readings, and assignments. Some courses also include lecture notes, related resources, exams, discussion group questions, video lectures, course calendars, and more.
The site covers technical subjects, like Aeronautics and Astronautics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and Nuclear Science and Engineering, but also includes the liberal arts, with courses in History, Linguistics, Philosophy, and more. There are currently 1,400 courses available online, but MIT plans to have all its undergraduate courses posted by 2008, adding at least 400 more courses to the site!
MIT offers its OpenCourseWare to educators, students, and others interested in continuing their education. All material on the site may be “used, copied, distributed, translated, and modified” as long as it’s used for educational, non-commercial purposes (see the MIT OCW legal notice for more details).
OpenCourseWare in the History field includes resources from 49 undergraduate and 4 graduate courses, and one seminar, covering the areas of Ancient, North American, European, East Asian, and Middle Eastern history. Here are just a few of the undergraduate courses included:
- American Consumer Culture, Fall 2001
- Introduction to Environmental History, Spring 2004
- Race and Gender in Asian America, Fall 2002
- American History to 1865, Fall 2005
- East Asia in the World, Spring 2003
For more information, check out the master course list of all 1400 course resources offered online, and visit the site’s Frequently Asked Question section. Sometimes the best things in life (and education) really are free.