Twenty years ago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) set itself the ambitious goal of making the bulk of their courses available online to learners worldwide. On April 4th, 2001, MIT announced they’d published core educational materials for free through their MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) platform.
“The idea is simple: to publish all of our course materials online and make them widely available to everyone.” Dick K.P. Yue, Professor, MIT School of Engineering.
A decade later, Harvard and MIT launched the course platform edX. Online course platforms typically offer more interactive learning experiences than OCW platforms, often allowing students to sign up, complete assignments, interact with peers, review course, and earn badges or certificates of completion.
Class Central has been monitoring the development of the modern online course movement for more than a decade. Nowadays a substantial part of the course content is lockedbehind a paywall. OCW platforms, by contrast, give educators an opportunity to freely share high quality educational resources, but also leverage them in their own courses.
So we did some research and compiled the following a list of OCW platforms launched by institutions worldwide. They offer some of the best teaching and learning materials available for free online.
If you find an important source missing, please leave a comment below. We’d be happy to include it in our compilation.
For your convenience, we’ve listed all the institutions that maintain an OpenCourseWare platform below. Click on one to jump to the corresponding section:
Most of Stanford’s on-campus computer science courses have a companion website. Many are only open to Stanford students. But others are open to everyone, giving access to course materials such as slides, readings, and assignments. Some even provide video lessons — for instance:CS106B,CS107, CS110, CS221, CS229, CS231n, andCS224N.
Since 2007, Open Yale Courses (OYC) provides selected lectures and other learning materials from Yale College courses, free of charge. Millions of learners from around the world have watched them on the OYC website, and through YouTube and iTunes U. Yale’s YouTube channel has accumulated over 135M views. The courses offered include:
It provides free access to over 2,100 courses in engineering, basic sciences, and selected humanities, social science, and medicine.
The videos of these courses can also be found on their YouTube channel, which since 2007 have accumulated 420M views, making NPTEL one of the most popular OCW resources on the planet. Their courses include:
Open Michigan is the home for all things open at the University of Michigan, including Open Educational Resources. Learners are free to access a range of course materials, videos, lectures licensed under Creative Common. Courses include:
70+ Carnegie Mellon University Free Online Courses
The Open Learning Initiative (OLI) provides textbook-replacement courseware in some of the domains of research of Carnegie Mellon University. Most of them are paid (albeit often reasonably price), but some are entirely free. There are 80+ courses, including:
TU Delft launched its OpenCourseWare (OCW) website with three master’s degree programs: Water Management, Micro-electronics, and Offshore Engineering in October 2007. Today, they have offered 100+ courses. These include:
USU’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) provides open access to educational resources in different subjects like Anthropology, Biological and Irrigation Engineering, and Education. The latest material is from 2008 and the lectures are audio recordings. It does allow reuse. Courses include:
National Tsing Hua University is a research university in Hsinchu City, Taiwan. They host 170+ courses in Chinese language on their OCW platform. The videos are also uploaded on their YouTube channel which since 2008 has received 5.3 million video views.
It is one of the rare OCW platforms still creating and uploading new content. You can switch between Chinese and English to browse the course information and video lectures are taught in Chinese. The latest courses include:
National Taiwan University (NTU) is one of the most prestigious universities in Taiwan. NTU OCW now offers 230+ courses in traditional Chinese language on the website and some course videos are also on its Youtube channel. 6 new courses have been launched in 2021. The 10 most popular courses on the platform have got a total of 14 million views:
National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU) is a national university in Taiwan. NYCU OCW hosts 220 courses on its websiteand videos are also available on YouTube. As far as we can tell, the courses are mostly in Chinese language. NYCU OCW Youtube channel has garnered ~16 million views since 2012.
35+ University of Tsukuba Free Online Courses
The University of Tsukuba, located in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, is one of the prestigious national universities established by Japanese Government. Tsubaka OCW offers a number of courses and lecture videos in the field of Maths, Psychology, Physics, and many others. The videos are hosted on their YouTube channel which since 2013 has accumulated ~1 million video views.
200 METU Free Online Courses
Middle East Technical University (METU) is a public technical university located in Ankara, Turkey. METU OpenCourseWare offers ~200 courses in Turkish and English. The videos are hosted on its YouTube channel which since 2013 has received ~2 million video views.
140 Hanyang University Free Online Courses
Hanyang University is a private research university in South Korea. Their OCW Platform hosts 140 courses in Korean and English. Their YouTube channel has received 630k views since 2008.
140+ UTokyo Free Online Courses
The University of Tokyo is a public research university located in Bunkyō, Tokyo, Japan. On their OCW platform, they offer 140+ courses in Japanese Language. In 2018, they launched a Youtube channel which has since then accumulated 100k views.
55+ Kyoto University Free Online Courses
Kyoto University OpenCourseWare (OCW) actively publishes and publicly shares the videos and materials from the courses, open lectures, and international symposiums at Kyoto University. They offer 55+ courses, but also keep uploading lectures to their YouTube channel, which since 2008 has accumulated over 10+ million views.