Open Learning Sites

I think that education is a very important part of human growth and that it should be accessible to all, as much as possible.  With recent developments in open sources and creative commons licensing, there are many non-profit and for-profit organisations out there developing resources for everyone to access.  Many of these are first class and as I have recently found out from posting a simple status update on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, many people already know about these sites and use them frequently, but at the same time, many people don’t know about these sites.

So, I would like to keep a list of these open learning sites here to help as a referral point for everyone.  I also include some points on the sites where I have used them before.  If you have more points or new sites to add on, please message me or comment on this page to keep the list growing.  I will keep this page updated as much as possible.

Harvard Open Learning Initiative
A short list of free courses from Harvard University, including videos and course materials.

The Khan Academy
Fully video based, Salman Khan (founder of the Khan Academy) aims to provide short, structured and clear clips showing students all over the world solutions to problems.  There are over a thousand videos available now, from basic mathematics to algebra, to physics.

MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Open Courseware
Free university online learning resources, including lecture notes, exams and videos, all accessible without the need to register.  Courses are listed by university departments and easy to search.

Open Learn (Open University)
Free online courses by Open University.  This seems to be mostly (if not all) written resources.  Courses are laid out with learning outcomes, which would speak better to the educator rather than the learner.  Still, there are over 600 courses available with full access to course materials.

Open Yale Courses
Free and open access to introductory courses taught by Yale University tutors and scholars.  Video, notes and transcripts are available.  Courses are listed by university departments and easy to search.

RSA Blog
An organisation dedicated to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges.
There are many articles written on current issues by professionals and specialists, although more famously, there are animated lectures (RSAnimate) which helps make a lecture more memorable.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)
It is devoted to Ideas Worth Sharing and is exactly that.  You can watch video podcasts (our favourite), read their blogs, write-ups, follow events, competitions and much more on their website.  If you are new to TED, then it may be overwhelming to begin with.  Start by looking at areas of your interest or skills, and work outwards.

I think that TED Talks is a great platform in which to learn about new groundbreaking inventions, science ideas or just to listen to some inspirational talks from professionals from all walks of life.  There are also some quirkier talks or performances where, like me, you might find to be cringey and perhaps a waste of time.  Some smaller companies do try and use TED as a platform to sell their product, but where this happens, there would at least still be justification towards the creativity of the product at least (and not some straight sales effort).
Here are some of my favourite TED Talks:
JK Rowling – The Fringe Benefits of Failure (Harvard, 2008)
Sheena Iyengar – The Art of Choosing (TEDGlobal, 2010)
Morgan Spurlock – The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold (2011)

There has also been mentions of Cambridge and Oxford Universities putting up free podcasts of lectures on iTunes.


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