Free online classes for a better education (Pt. 2)

Great Dome, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Massachusetts. Projected density plot of a redshift  dark matter halo from a cosmological N-body simulation. The visible part of the galaxy (not shown in the image) lies at the dense centre of the halo and has a diameter of roughly 20 kiloparsecs. There are also many satellite galaxies, each with its own subhalo which is visible as a region of high dark matter density in the image.

Study dark matter in “Galaxies and Cosmology,” a free course offered via Cal Tech and Coursera. (Photo Credit: Public Domain/Cosmo0/Wikipedia)

Here are more great free online college courses that you can take to expand your horizons. CLICK HERE if you missed courses 1 through 7.

Free online classes recommendation No. 8: ‘Securing Digital Democracy

Via Coursera, the University of Michigan’s Dr. J. Alex Halderman explores how computers have changed the way citizens raise their voice in a representative democracy (or, more specific for the U.S., a Constitutional Republic). Soon, we’ll have the option of voting via Facebook, and Halderman wants to help you trace the steps toward this future phenomenon. The risks of electronic voting are covered, with close attention paid to hacking, voting machine viruses and related forms of voter fraud. It’s a matter of national security.

Free online classes recommendation No. 9: ‘The Computer Science of Digital Information’

Dr. Harry Lewis of Harvard thinks we should all be up to speed on the ways in which digital information is a valuable resource and a property. Through the Open Learning Initiative, students become familiar with how digital information shape public policy and the laws of society. Whether it’s databases, music, images, VOIP data or anything else that travels the information superhighway, questions of ownership pervades. Lewis dissects the arguments surrounding how personal privacy in the digital age can and should be maintained, and how society benefits from shared digital information.

Free online classes recommendation No. 10: ‘Galaxies and Cosmology’

Dr. S. George Djorgovski of the California Institute of Technology teaches you via Coursera what it means to be a mote amidst the backdrop of extragalactic astronomy. Studies within the field of astrophysics include cosmology, or the study of how the universe came to have its current structure via an evolutionary process. According to the course materials, subjects of study will include:

“Relativistic cosmological models and their parameters, extragalactic distance scale, cosmological tests, composition of the universe, dark matter, and dark energy; the hot big bang, cosmic nucleosynthesis, recombination, and cosmic microwave background; formation and evolution of structure in the universe; galaxy clusters, large-scale structure and its evolution; galaxies, their properties and fundamental correlations; formation and evolution of galaxies; star formation history of the universe; quasars and other active galactic nuclei, and their evolution; structure and evolution of the intergalactic medium; diffuse extragalactic backgrounds; the first stars, galaxies, and the reionization era.”

There’s much to know about the universe in which we live. Sign up for free lectures and get cracking.

Free online classes recommendation No. 11: ‘Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World’

From what scientists believe to be science fact to science fiction, Dr. Eric Rabkin of the University of Michigan uses Coursera to deliver his lectures on how speculative fiction writing plays a key role in human psychology and art. What we make, how we think and desire and whom we serve owe much to stories ranging from “Cinderella” and “Frankenstein” to “Superman,” “Harry Potter” and beyond. Gain insight into the dreams conceived by the human mind.


MIT Open Courseware


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