Free Online Education for the New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

You might recall that some time back I reported on a number of educational resources available onlinenotably, full courses and other lectures available through iTunes U from such institutions as Stanford, UC Berkeley, Concordia Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. (Go to that post for direct links to each of these resources.) Well, a recent AP article further notes that the trend by top educational institutions to make their academic resources available online is only growing, with more and more materials from these and other prestigious centers finding their way online.

  • Yale University has launched a website where a number of full courses may be downloaded for free; many others will follow shortly. Among the courses currently available are Introduction to the Hebrew Bible with Christine Hayes, and Introduction to Political Philosophy with Steven B. Smith. Outstanding individual lectures continue to be available through their iTunes U platform.
  • Princeton University is still not on iTunes U (surprise! surprise!), but one may access a considerable number of archived lectures from their website, as well as download several unnamed podcasts. (If they ever make it to iTunes U, one hopes that these podcasts will be duly separated and labeled; after all, one is not bound to be interested in every event that happened in a given year simply because it took place at Princeton!) Needless to say, some of the archived lectures will prove of great interest to readers of this blog: for instance, Paula Fredriksen’s three-part “Sin: The History of an Idea” (October 9-11, 2007) and her “Jesus, Paul, and the Origin of Christianity” (September 17, 2000); Mark Noll’s three-part “Race, Religion, and American Politics from Nat Turner to George W. Bush” (Oct 17-19, 2006); Mark Juergensmeyer’s three-part “God and War” (February 21-23, 2006); and Bishop [now Metropolitan] Kallistos Ware’s “Orthodoxy and Western Christianity in the 21st Century” (April 16, 2002).
  • UC Berkeley, which is way ahead of everyone else in these matters, has set up a YouTube page featuring some full courses. YouTube offerings are a bit sparse at the moment, but keep watching if the breadth of their podcast offerings is any indication, this too will become a substantial resource.

Then there are those OpenCourseWare (OCW) resources of which MIT is facile princeps. These are very interesting, but they are almost exclusively text-based, and very seldom do they include recorded audio or video lectures. In fact, these usually do not even include even the full text of lectures, but only class outlines and syllabi. It was for this reason that I did not mention them in my earlier post, even though I was, of course, aware of them; my chief interest is to document full courses available online. Still, there are some very useful OCW materials; if this is something that interests you, do browse some of the best and most complete OCW sites out there: those by MIT, the Open University (UK), Utah State University, and the University of Notre Dame. Again, only a select number of these OCW courses have at least some (and usually rather minimal) audio or video content, and among the institutions linked above, only MIT offers a list of such courses.

And finally, two resources for theological education that are worthy of mention:

Enjoy, my friends, and have a wonderful 2008!

5 responses to “Free Online Education for the New Year

  1. Dude, was nice to see you the other day, it was the first time I lost a bet and didn’t bitch and moan. Anyway, the book I was telling you is Peter, Paul, & Mary Magdalene by Ehrman, I’m getting it next month, and there’s no mention of biblical references to Puff, the magic dragon in the synopsis.


  2. Thanks for the links! You should email these to West when he gets back from England — I’m sure he’d add them to the Biblical Studies Resources page he operates.


  3. Juhem> It was great to see you too! And I hope we can get together at least once more before you leave; we have another day, right? Thanks for the info on the the Ehrman book; I’ll look it up while I’m away! I must say, however, that I’m sorely disappointed that no references to pot, er, I mean, Puff, are to be found in this work.

    Nick> You’re quite welcome! I knew that at least you would be interested. :-) And I hadn’t thought of sending these to Jim, but now that you mention it, I just might!


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