100 Free Online Ivy League Courses You Should Take Just for Fun

Posted by Site Administrator | Posted in College Education, Online Learning | Posted on 08-09-2008

By Alisa Miller

Even those without top notch grades can now go to Ivy League schools. With the the availability of open courseware classes coming out of some of the finest schools in America, the range of subjects is astounding. If you have ever wondered about the beginnings of Hip Hop, wanted to learn a new language, would like to create a film for social change, or are interested in learning about robotics while playing with Legos, then these courses are right up your alley. All you need to do is click on any one of these courses below to have access to free, online education.

Health and Nutrition

From an aging population to autism to creating chemistry in the kitchen, these < ahref="http://www.advantageedu.com">college courses provide interesting perspectives on health and nutrition issues.

  1. Health Across the Lifespan: Frameworks, Contexts, and Measurements. Learn about the various aspects of growth and development of the human from birth through old age.
  2. Adolescent Health and Development. Learn about adolescence, adolescence health, and recommendations for positive change in this course.
  3. Health Issues for Aging Populations. Look at aging and how it affects the individual, families, and society while delving into such topics as public health policies and the ethics of elder care.
  4. Autism Theory and Technology. Find out about autism, children with autism, and current technology to "improve opportunities for people diagnosed with autism."
  5. Critical Analysis of Popular Diets and Dietary Supplements. Learn the science of weight loss and compare this to the structure of various weight loss programs and supplements to analyze their effectiveness.
  6. Principles of Human Nutrition. This course offers a basic overview of nutrition and the role that proteins, energy, vitamins, and minerals play in health and disease.
  7. Kitchen Chemistry. Practice cooking experiments while learning basic chemistry principles.
  8. Physical Intelligence. Explore the relationship between body and mind as you learn about physical intelligence and its connection to cognitive intelligence.
  9. Nutrition and Medicine. This 1st year medical school course is one of the rare nutrition courses taught in medical school. Learn the basics of nutrition and how it relates to the human body.

Fine Arts

From the art of color to theater to music, these courses will expand your knowledge while learning something fun.

  1. Composing Your Life: Exploration of Self Through Visual Arts and Writing. Enjoy using several types of media to explore yourself and your creativity in this course.
  2. Costume Design for the Theater. Drama fans will love this course designed to build off a working knowledge of costume design while enhancing your ability to create costumes while incorporating the psychology of clothing.
  3. Dance Theory and Composition. This class covers both the aesthetic and technical aspects of dance while students create their own project.
  4. Hip Hop. This course is described as "students trace[ing] the musical, corporeal, visual, spoken word, and literary manifestations of hip hop over its 30 year presence."
  5. Music Perception and Cognition. Learn how people perceive and process the various aspects of music in this course.
  6. Music of Africa. Looking specifically at West Africa, learn about the traditions of music in this region while studying drumming, song, and dance.
  7. Music of India. Learn about the rich traditions of music and dance in India with a focus on the Hindustani classical music of North India.
  8. Popular Musics of the World. Study popular world music found on mass media such as reggae, Afro-pop, bhangra, and more.
  9. Feeling and Imagination in Art, Science, and Technology. Study philosophy, psychology, and literature to learn about the ways emotion and imagination play into the creative process involving science and technology.
  10. Art of Color. Learn about the use of color in visual arts, the psychology of color, and more in this course focusing on several interesting aspects in the use of color.
  11. Playwriting I. Learn the basics while finding your voice and strengthening your skills as a playwright.

Child Development and Psychology

Whether you are a parent, someone who works with children, or just interested in psychology and child development, these courses are sure to provide you with something you didn’t know.

  1. Child Development. Learn about the major child development theories and theorists focusing on the range of development from infancy through adolescence.
  2. A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain. This course is geared for all types of students wanting to explore the nature of the human brain and cognition.
  3. Psychology of Gender. Learn about the gender differences and social influences of them within several social realms.
  4. Human Memory and Learning. Learn about the exploration of the relationship of memory to learning in this course.
  5. Psycholinguistics. Focusing on the connection between thought and memory on language acquisition, this course examines several areas of language learning such as self-paced reading, eye-tracking, and more.
  6. Infant and Early Childhood Cognition. Learn how infants and young children’s mind perceive the world while also focusing on the research within this field.
  7. Social Psychology. Take a look at how the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the individual affects group dynamics in this course.
  8. Human Growth and Development. A 1st year medical course, this class examines the physical and cognitive development of children and potential abnormalities in development.

Foreign Language

Don’t spend tons of money on expensive foreign language lessons until you’ve given these courses a try. From Spanish to German to Mandarin, you can find both language and culture lessons in these courses.

  1. Spanish 1 and Spanish 2. Learn Spanish through a series of soap opera videos that offer culture, language, and an entertaining story line.
  2. Spanish III. This intermediate-level course delves more deeply into Spanish language, writing, and Hispanic culture.
  3. Spanish 4. Go even further into the culture of Spanish-speaking communities by studying literary and non-literary texts.
  4. Advanced Spanish Conversation and Composition: Perspectives on Technology and Culture. Learn about the impact of technology on Hispanic cultures on relationships between the sexes, personal identity, in the natural world, and more while strengthening both written and oral proficiency.
  5. French I and French II. Learn basic communication skills in this class taught completely in French and drawing off real-life resources.
  6. Introduction to French Culture. Learn about French culture from the revolution to the modern era in this course taught in French.
  7. German I. Learn basic German in this workbook and lab-based course.
  8. German II. Expand your German with audio, video, and Web-based content as well as short literary texts.
  9. German III. This intensive class offers the chance for exploration of German culture through drama and literature while building vocabulary and developing grammar.
  10. German IV. Refine your German in this course which looks at German social, political, and historical issues through literature and contemporary texts.
  11. German Culture, Media, and Society. Taught in German, this course examines current trends and topics in Germany through exploration of German short films.
  12. Beginning Japanese I and Beginning Japanese II. Study chapters 1-12A of Japanese: The Spoken Language in this course. You should be able to carry on an everyday conversation in Japanese at the end of these two courses.
  13. Intermediate Japanese I. Build fluency and learn 80 more Kanji in this continuation of Beginning Japanese I and II.
  14. Advanced Japanese I and Advanced Japanese II. These courses focus on grammatical and social correctness, increased spontaneity, and independence with both written and spoken Japanese.
  15. Chinese I, Chinese II, and Chinese III. Learn the basics of Mandarin with these lessons specially created for open courseware.
  16. Chinese IV. Continue your lessons while focusing on strengthening your reading skills and gaining confidence with the spoken word.
  17. Chinese V: Chinese Cultures and Society. This course combines text lessons with real-life explorations of Chinese culture.
  18. Chinese VI: Discovering Chinese Cultures and Society. Focusing on sharpening the sophistication of your written and oral Mandarin, this course explores various real-life resources to further your studies. Conducted in Mandarin only.

Foreign Culture

Step outside your world to discover other cultures without spending a dime on travel with these fascinating courses. It beats working towards a boring MBA.

  1. East Asian Cultures: From Zen to Pop. Examine premodern and modern culture while exploring literature, art, food, and more.
  2. A Passage to India: Introduction to Modern Indian Culture and Society. This course takes a look at current issues in India through film, writings, and newspapers.
  3. Topics in South Asian Literature and Culture. Through literature and film, study the culture of south Asia–especially focusing on newer writers and artists.
  4. Traditional Chinese Literature: Poetry, Fiction, and Drama. Learn the basics of traditional Chinese literature in this class.
  5. Visual Histories: German Cinema 1945 to Present. Take a look at how German cinema evolved through the works produced after WWII.
  6. Japanese Literature and Cinema. Follow the works of Japanese greats from classic to samurai to modern times.
  7. Germany and Its European Context. Jumping off from Nietzsche’s philosophy, this course examines arts and thought in Germany as well as other European cultures.
  8. Paradigms of European Thought and Culture. Examine the history of European thought and how it has shaped current European thinking and culture.
  9. Smashing the Iron Rice Bowl: Chinese East Asia. This course follows the lives of ordinary Chinese citizens as they live through the enormous changes of 19th and 20th centuries.

Literature, Film, and Media

Go beyond the English classes you took in high school with these interesting topics such as modern drama, videogames, photography, and making films for social change.

  1. Medieval Literature: Medieval Women Writers. Learn about this exciting newer genre of literature in a realm that has not traditionally featured women.
  2. Modern Drama. This course focuses on major modern playwrights and their works.
  3. The Film Experience. Study the history of film, especially looking at early American works.
  4. Introduction to Media Studies. Examine the role media plays in society in this class. For the same subject matter, but a different topic focus, try Introduction to Media Studies Fall 2005.
  5. Videogame Theory and Analysis. Learn about how video games relate to cultural, social, and educational functions in current society.
  6. Understanding Television. Watch TV for class? You certain can in this course while you learn about the cultural evolution of television.
  7. Photography and Truth. Actually an anthropology class, this course examines how photography works to document, communicate, and as an art form.
  8. 20th Century Fiction. Take a look at some of the big names in early modern fiction as you explore such themes as psychology and sexuality in literature.
  9. Studies in Film. Examine the link between literature and film while studying both current and traditional filmmakers and authors.
  10. Modern Poetry. Study poets and their works from such greats as Yeats, Eliot, and Frost.
  11. Producing Films for Social Change. Learn the basics of filmmaking in this hands-on course where students create their own documentary on social issues.

American Society and its Relation to the World

Whether examining changes at home or how American society has affected or been effected by other cultures, these courses offer interesting perspectives on society.

  1. Promoting Positive Development Among Youth. This version of this course focuses on the incorporation of youth in civic society in order to promote positive changes in the youth as well as the community.
  2. The Linguistic Study of Bilingualism. Learn about the roots of bilingualism as well as various implications of bilingualism, and even educational repercussions of bilingualism.
  3. Out of Ground Zero: Catastrophe and Memory. This course examines the ways many people memorialized the events of 9-11 and explores other methods of paying homage by looking at other catastrophic events in Germany and Japan.
  4. Communicating Across Cultures. Learn about the effects of globalization on society and find out how you can become more culturally sensitive to those around you.
  5. After Columbus. Using fiction from three different times, this course examines the image of the New World from people at the time of European arrival, stories created afterwards, and modern fiction’s retelling of events.
  6. Visualizing Cultures. Using the opening of Japan by Commodore Perry, this course examines cultural perceptions with regards to racism, nationalism, war, propaganda, and more.
  7. Topics in Culture and Globalization. Explore how globalization has shaped cultures in both First and Third world countries by looking at their pop music, advertisements, film posters, and political cartoons.
  8. Introduction to Asian American Studies: Literature, Culture, and Historical Experience. Learn about the Asian-American experience in American society from the 19th century to present day.
  9. Current Events and Social Issues. Event though this course is from Fall 2004, the topics covered are still relevant and offer an opportunity to explore important social issues.
  10. Feminist Political Thought. This course studies the evolving roles of women in society with topics touching on politics, equality, sexuality, and more.
  11. The Contemporary American Family. Take a look at the American family of today and examine such topics as day care, the "Family Values" debate, same-sex marriage, and more.
  12. American Dream: Exploring Class in the U.S.. Typically considered a classless society, this course looks at the potential of class in American and how it relates to other differences such as race and gender.

Law and Civil Liberties

Find out how the law applies to the individual as well as society in these illuminating courses.

  1. Law and Society. Study the function of law within society by examining the relationships of law makers, law enforcers, and the public.
  2. The Supreme Court, Civil Liberties, and Civil Rights. While studying the civil rights of citizens in America, this course also looks at privacy issues and the law of criminal procedure.
  3. American Constitution Society for Law and Policy podcasts at Stanford. Listen to this collection of podcasts to hear lectures from "leading figures in the legal community" as they discuss various topics relating to their progressive vision of the Constitution.
  4. Violence, Human Rights, and Justice. Take a look at how human rights has evolved to protect citizens from abuses from the state.


Whether you would like to learn about technology and creativity or enjoy finding out about robotics while using Legos, these courses are designed to teach you about various aspects of technology.

  1. Technologies for Creative Learning. Examine the ways new technologies can help stimulate learning and creativity with this hands-on course. Lego fans will love this.
  2. How to Learn (Almost) Anything. Look at the relationship of technology and hands-on learning and explore what can be learned through these experiential learning activities.
  3. Creativity, community, and ICT. Learn about how creativity works, about collaborative creativity, and how technology can assist in both the collaborative and creative aspects of learning.
  4. Information Technology Essentials. This basic course offers an overview of technology concepts and trends, concepts, and hardware and software.
  5. Internet Technology in Local and Global Communities. This course looks at programming, Internet technology, open source programs, and entrepreneurship and is a part of the MIT-African Internet Technology Initiative.
  6. The Anthropology of Computing. Take a look at the people behind computing from the early days to the modern world with issues such as hackers, privacy, and more.
  7. New Global Agenda: Exploring 21st Century Challenges through Innovations in Information Technology. This course examines how IT development has affected globalization and international politics.
  8. Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier. Law, policy, and technology come together in this course that discusses several timely topics concerning the Internet and law.
  9. Introduction to Copyright Law. This course covers the basics of copyright law with a heavy emphasis on Internet-related topics.
  10. Information Law and Policy. Find out about copyright law, protecting databases, licensing of information, privacy and much more in this course.
  11. Lego Robotics. Use Legos to explore robotics, programming, and more in this fun class.

Digital Libraries

These digital libraries from Ivy League institutions offer some of the finest material available to instruct and enlighten you.

  1. Columbia University Libraries Digital Collection. Browse through one of over 10 different digital collections that range from medieval and early Renaissance manuscripts to architectural drawings or visit the online exhibitions for even more.
  2. Harvard University Library. Browse through 24 different collections ranging from cultural images of eastern Asia to 19th century American trade cards.
  3. Yale University Library: Digital Collections. Find ancient manuscripts or read a classic all preserved digitally courtesy of the Yale University Library.
  4. Brown University Library, Center for Digital Initiatives. This collection includes such interesting topics ranging from Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon, and African American and Yiddish sheet music.
  5. Princeton University Library Digital Collections. This growing library offers digital collections of maps, 19th century sheet music, and ancient manuscripts.
  6. Cornell University Library Windows on the Past. The digital collections here provide a look at the history of such varied topics as historical literature of agriculture, home economics archives, and a witchcraft collection.
  7. The Online Books Page. Hosted by Penn Libraries, this site offers over 13,000 digital books available for anyone to read.

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