Monday, June 7, 2010

Free Online Courses From an Ivy League School

The Internet offers a wealth of learning materials for independent learners. Last fall, I discovered Open Yale Courses, a website from Yale University, which offers online lectures of some of their courses for free. Although the school doesn't offer credit for these courses, it's an excellent way to get access to instruction that many people pay $120,000 over the course of four years to get. The lectures are offered in video format, but if you have a slow computer that "puffs" a lot like mine does, there are also transcripts of the lectures. I've read through the two religious studies courses, Introduction to the Old and New Testaments. One warning about these courses for conservative Christians: They do present the Bible through a secular lens, ie, they presume that the book of Daniel was written after the events he predicted had already taken place. However, they do present an interesting view of Biblical history and little-known facts about the world in which the Bible was written. One of the professors also teaches a course on the historical Jesus, and I'm hoping that it also is placed on this website. I'm currently studying the course on Financial Markets. As the world economy plays such a major role in the world, it would be good if more people had a good understanding of how the economy works. There are also courses offered in chemistry and physics which require a good knowledge of mathematics, along with courses in biology. Some of these courses would be a good aid in preparing for CLEP exams, and as they often put new ones online, it's well worth checking back periodically to see what's on offer.

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