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Universities Offering Free Science Courses Online

Higher Education Articles April 8, 2013

Several colleges and universities offer free online science courses to students. In this article, students will learn which ones lead to real college credits, what type of topics are covered, and the science courses that are available.

Free Online Science Course Requirements and Information

Colleges and universities with free online courses in science, such as OpenCourseWare (OCW) programs, do not usually require students to register in order to gain access to courses, and typically do not award college credits upon completion of the course. There are a few courses that will prepare students for the CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) examinations, which can qualify for college credits at some colleges and universities. The free online courses on this list are self-taught and will require students to have up-to-date computer systems to properly view course materials, such as PDF files and slides.

Yale University

The university offers free online courses in scientific fields such as geology, physics, chemistry, ecology and astronomy. Audio and video elements via YouTube are made available in the course on The Atmosphere, the Ocean, and Environmental Change offered by Yale. Ocean currents, convective storms, the greenhouse effect and the hydrostatic balance are among the lecture topics included. Lecture videos ranging in duration from five to fifty minutes are offered through the course. Students who have proper preparation in physics and mathematics can enroll in the program titled, the Fundamentals in Physics I that covers topic areas such as waves, gravitation, Newtonian mechanics and quantitative reasoning. The course content is offered partly on iTunes and YouTube; students can join virtual study groups. The parallel axis theorem, fluid dynamics, harmonic motion, relativity and laws of motion are among the lecture topics covered.

Utah State University

A range of courses in the science fields are offered at this school; they include physics, biology, and ecology. In the General Ecology course, subject areas such as food webs, mutualism, population dynamics and natural selection are covered. In addition to audio lectures, access to twenty-one lectures is given to enrolled students. Students enrolled in the physics course in Quantum Mechanics learn how to comprehend the subject at a research level and enjoy access to PDF files containing thirty-seven lectures.

University Of Texas at Austin

Advanced geography students who seek to learn about compiling field data can enroll in the university’s Field Techniques course. Environmental data, making of professional judgments and various levels of supervision are among the subject areas covered in the course that includes notes on hydrology, vegetation, describing soils and hand leveling. Access to additional readings on various topics is given to students.

University Of Southern Queensland

Students worldwide are offered free online courses by the University of Southern Queensland, which is located in Australia. The scientific method, science safety, the human body, scientific measurements, and the fundamentals of science are covered in the General Science course, which is a preparatory class that uses modules, each with its own set of tests, topics, key concepts and objectives.

University Of Massachusetts at Boston

Many OCW courses are offered by University of Massachusetts at Boston; these relate to several scientific areas of study such as the environmental, ocean and earth sciences, chemistry and biology. Various online materials are offered to students depending on the course they are enrolled in. For example, access to lecture handouts, tests and pre-lab assignments are given to students in the General Biology I class. An overview of various life processes is included in this course.

In the Introductory Oceanography course, students are taught about the history of oceans and their geographical context. Students are taught about types of tides, marine ice, slope types and continental shelves. Final exam, images, and lecture notes are provided online.

Tulane University

Students enrolled in Tulane’s online science course in Mineralogy can use PDF files of lecture notes to learn about identifying various mammals and about arrangements of atoms. A list of links to mineralogy-related sites is also included in the coursework.

Tufts University

Multiple science-related OCW courses are offered by Tufts University. PDF files and an image gallery are accessible by enrolled students in the Agricultural Science and Policy I course that focuses on livestock production, ecological agriculture, policy analysis and natural resource conservation. Assignments can also be completed by students who desire to do so. The microscopic study of cells and various body systems can be looked at by students taking the Histology: Study of Cells, Tissues and Organs course.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Dozens of graduate-level and undergraduate courses related to science are included in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare initiative. Video clips, exams, assignments and lecture notes are included in many of the courses. In Organic Chemistry I, which is an undergraduate course, learners are taught organic chemistry vocabulary and given instruction about the structure of organic molecules. Students are also trained in writing transformations and drawing aromatic compounds and structural representations. The course includes examinations and their solutions for students to look over if they want.

The history of science is studied by the Rise of Modern Technology in the process of examining folk knowledge, magic, social structure and philosophy. Readings from Freud, Darwin, Einstein and Aristotle are included in the course. Most of these works must be purchased by enrolled students who also get free downloads of some readings. The course website offers information on class assignments and lecture notes.

African Virtual University

Many online courses in English are offered by this international university aimed at learners located worldwide. In the Inorganic Chemistry course, lecture notes are in PDF format and QuickTime videos are included in order to teach students about the periodic table of elements and configuration of elements.

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