Yale Expands Free Online Courses

Ten fascinating new college courses — ranging from organic chemistry to ancient Roman architecture to the psychology and politics of food — have been added to “Open Yale Courses,” the University’s free educational initiative, available to anyone with access to the Internet.

Each course, recorded in its entirety as it was presented to Yale College students, is taught by one of the University’s most distinguished faculty members. Open Yale Courses may be accessed at http://oyc.yale.edu/.

The courses are available in high definition video and audio formats. All of these offerings are multi-media and provide the fullest experience of the Yale classroom to date, with rich visual elements on the screen, supplementary slide presentations, and extensive music clips, as appropriate. Closed captioning is provided for each course, as well as searchable transcripts, syllabi, reading assignments, problem sets and other materials. Yale has partnered with Google/YouTube and Apple iTunes U to make the courses even more accessible and to allow faster downloads. Open Yale Courses content can be accessed through our partner platforms by visiting http://www.youtube.com/yalecourses and http://itunes.yale.edu/.

Interested individuals may download the video and/or audio files of Open Yale Courses and watch and listen to them at their convenience. No registration is required for these courses, and participants do not earn academic credit from Yale nor do they interact with the professors.

Open Yale Courses is one of the most frequently visited Yale websites: more than one million unique visitors from 191 countries have accessed the site since its debut in December 2007. Faculty members around the world use content from Open Yale Courses in locations as far-flung as the classrooms of the University of Bahrain, the University of Ghana, Bogazici University in Turkey and the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala. Tec de Monterrey in Mexico has added segments of Open Yale Courses to their “Knowledge Hub,” an index of open education resources that members of Tec’s faculty use in their classrooms. In China, the Ministry of Education has uploaded courses to the Chinese University Outstanding Courses Sharing System, available to students and faculty at all universities in China.

Regional Educational Advising Coordinators for the U.S. State Department featured Open Yale Courses in their annual advising workshops. The department’s American Corners program has made Open Yale Courses available throughout its network of more than 300 locations around the world.

“We are pleased that so many people around the world have explored Open Yale Courses, whether they are students, teachers or individuals with a passion for the subject being taught,” said President Richard C. Levin. “Making the Yale classroom experience accessible online allows us to share our extraordinary resources with an audience far beyond the campus.

Paul Brest, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a major funder of Open Yale Courses, said the program’s growing breadth and richness are precisely what the foundation envisioned when it began funding open educational resources projects in 2001.

“A far-flung location or the lack of money should be no barrier to acquiring knowledge and education, if a person wants to learn,” Brest said. “Yale’s broadening offerings affirm what we believe: that knowledge is a common good that should be freely shared.”

Diana E. E. Kleiner, the Dunham Professor of the History of Art and Classics and the director of the project, said that the 25 courses currently available allow anyone with an Internet connection to sample the breadth of Yale’s liberal arts education.

“This initiative is a significant aspect of Yale’s growing digital presence,” Kleiner said. “We are maximizing the use of these courses through a ‘Creative Commons’ license and our outreach efforts to academic institutions around the world.”

To encourage the widest possible use of the courses, the license that covers most of the lectures and other material on Open Yale Courses is a “Creative Commons’ Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0” license. This license permits the free use or repurposing of the Open Yale Courses material by others. Under this license, users may download and redistribute the Open Yale Courses material, as well as remix and build upon the content to produce new lectures or other educational tools. The only restriction is that commercial use of the Open Yale Courses material is not allowed.

The new courses and their instructors are:

Chemistry 124: Freshman Organic Chemistry I, taught by J. Michael McBride, the Richard M. Colgate Professor of Chemistry;

History 202: European Civilization, 1648-1945, taught by John Merriman, the Charles Seymour Professor of History;

Italian 310: Dante in Translation, taught by Giuseppe Mazzotta, the Sterling Professor of Humanities for Italian;

Music 112: Listening to Music, taught by Craig Wright, the Henry L. and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Music;

Psychology 123: The Psychology, Biology, and Politics of Food, taught by Kelly Brownell, Professor of Psychology;

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 122: Principles of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, taught by Stephen Stearns, the Edward P. Bass Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology;

English 300: Introduction to Theory of Literature, taught by Paul Fry, the William Lampson Professor of English;

History of Art 252: Roman Architecture, taught by Diana E. E. Kleiner, the Dunham Professor of History of Art and Classics;

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology 150: Global Problems of Population Growth, taught by Robert J. Wyman, Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; and

Religious Studies 152: Introduction to New Testament History and Literature, taught by Dale Martin, the Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies.

The production of these free courses for the Internet was made possible by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Open Yale Courses project is produced and supported by the Yale Center for Media and Instructional Innovation (CMI2), which promotes the innovative use of technology to enhance learning at Yale and beyond. In recognition of the initiative’s achievement, Yale was awarded an Innovation Prize at the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnership’s 21st Annual Conference on Quality and Innovation in November 2008. The CQIA partnership is a nonprofit corporation that brings together the private sector, state and municipal government, and the educational community to recognize organizations for their accomplishments.

Members of the media may download broadcast-quality video clips and high- resolution photos from the courses via the media kit on the Open Yale Courses website.

Courses Posted Previously and Still Accessible from the Yale Site
Astronomy: Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics, Charles Bailyn
Classics: Introduction to Ancient Greek History, Donald Kagan
Biomedical Engineering: Frontiers of Biomedical Engineering, W. Mark Saltzman
Economics: Game Theory, Ben Polak
Economics: Financial Markets, Robert Shiller
English: The American Novel Since 1945, Amy Hungerford
English: Milton, John Rogers
English: Modern Poetry, Langdon Hammer
History: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877, David Blight
History: France Since 1871, John Merriman
Philosophy: Death, Shelly Kagan
Physics: Fundamentals of Physics, Ramamurti Shankar
Political Science: Introduction to Political Philosophy, Steven Smith
Psychology: Introduction to Psychology, Paul Bloom
Religious Studies: Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), Christine Hayes

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