100 Ivy-League Open Courses for Technology Geeks

By L. Fabry

Thanks to the internet, computers, and mobile devices, it has never been a better time to be a technology geek. Make sure you stay ahead of the trends by checking out these top 100 open courses for technology as taught by Ivy-League and other leading universities.

M.I.T. Open Courses for Undergraduate Technology Geeks

Learn the same way the students at this Ivy-League university do by taking these open courses free of charge and at your own pace.

1. Technology in American History: Consider the ways in which technology has contributed to the building of American society through this course. It also uses history to show students how to be thoughtful and educated participants in the democratic process.

2. American Science: Ethical Conflicts and Political Choices: This course explores the ethical dilemmas of American scientists from the era of World War II to the present. Some of the topics covered include: the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the effects of the Cold War, the space shuttle disasters, genetically modified food, human cloning, and embryonic stem cell research.

3. Energy and Environment in American History: 1705-2005: Take a look at the 300 year history of our country’s efforts to provide affordable and available energy to all of its citizens. You will also learn about the history of energy and its relationship to politics, the economy, technology, labor, culture, and the environment.

4. Technology and Gender in American History: This course centers on the changing relationships between men, women, and technology in American history. Topics include theories of gender, technologies of production, men’s and women’s roles in technology, industrialization effects on sexual divisions of labor, and identity at home or at work.

5. The Structure of Engineering Revolutions: Students of this course research the life cycle of a major engineering project, new technology, or startup company from multiple perspectives. Research involves interviewing inventors, reading laboratory notebooks, evaluating patents, and looking over the shoulders of engineers as they developed today’s technologies.

6. Technologies for Creative Learning: The course showed students how to use everyday objects to create devices that help people learn new things in new ways. It includes hands-on activities, analyses of learning experiences, and design of new tools and activities.

7. Engineering Apollo: The Moon Project as a Complex System: This course is an exploration of the Apollo project as an example of a complex engineering system. There are even guest lectures by MIT-affiliated engineers who contributed to and participated in the Apollo missions.

M.I.T. Open Courses for Undergraduate Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a leader in open courses and has tons to choose from. Below are some of the best. You can even translate some of the classes into Spanish, Portuguese, or other languages.

8. Introduction to Computer Science and Programming: This is the class the undergraduates take to begin a degree in computer science. It helps students, regardless of their experience, to write small programs in Python that allow them to accomplish useful goals.

9. Circuits and Electronics: Topics covered in this course include: resistive elements and networks; independent and dependent sources; switches and MOS transistors; digital abstraction; amplifiers; energy storage elements; and analog and digital circuits. Video lectures and transcripts are also available.

10. Computer System Engineering (SMA 5501): This course covers topics on the engineering of computer software and hardware systems. Extensive project information, student submissions, and lecture notes with video are also provided.

11. Artificial Intelligence: Students are introduced to the basic knowledge representation, problem solving, and learning methods of artificial intelligence. The course also features interactive demonstrations and a list of assignments.

12. Introduction to Electric Power Systems: The material in this course will be useful to students who pursue careers in electric power systems, vehicle electrical systems, development of electric motors, robots, and “mechatronics.” Students are taught an introductory subject in the field of electric power systems and electrical to mechanical energy conversion.

13. Great Ideas in Theoretical Computer Science: This course presents a vision of “computer science beyond computers.” Many historical ideas are discussed and even debated in this class.

14. Hands-On Introduction to Electrical Engineering Lab Skills: Get an introduction to both passive and active electronic components such as op-amps, 555 timers, and TTL digital circuits. The course is aimed at freshmen and others who want an introduction to electronics circuits.

15. Introduction to Software Engineering in Java: Get an introductory lesson on this common and widely used component of technology through this course. Students will learn the fundamentals of Java and how to use third party libraries to get more done with less work.

16. Street-Fighting Mathematics: Learn the art of guessing results and solving problems without doing a proof or an exact calculation through this course. The online readings are accessible to anyone with a knowledge of algebra, trigonometry, and some single variable calculus.

17. Laboratory in Software Engineering: The course introduces concepts and techniques relevant to the production of large software systems. Students are taught a programming method based on the recognition and description of useful abstractions.

18. Autonomous Robot Design Competition: In this class, students designed and built robots to compete against each other at the end of the course. You can get a video of the final rounds of the contest in addition to lecture notes.

19. Management in Engineering: Topics of this course include financial principles, management of innovation, engineering project planning, human factors, patents, and technical strategy. You can also get a complete set of assignments for the course.

M.I.T. Open Courses for Graduate Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

If you are ready for something truly advanced, then you will enjoy these open technology courses.

20. Principles of Wireless Communications: Wondering how that cellphone, Bluetooth, or wireless camera works? Then take this course to see just how and even get assignments and a class project.

21. Electric Machines: This course teaches an understanding of principles and analysis of electromechanical systems. In addition to design, students learn how to estimate the parameters of machines and the implications on the performance of systems.

22. Design and Fabrication of Microelectromechanical Devices: This course is an introduction to microsystem design. There is an emphasis on modeling, simulation in the design process, and prior fabrication experience is desirable.

23. The Human Intelligence Enterprise: Students learn about progress toward the understanding of human intelligence from a computational point of view. The content is largely based on papers by representative Artificial Intelligence leaders, which serve as the basis for discussion and assignments for the course.

24. Programming Languages: This course provides multiple programming assignments and problem sets, as well as a significant amount of reading. Scheme software is required to take full advantage of the course.

25. Network and Computer Security: Learn how to protect an entire network, or even your own computer, by taking this course. You will learn about techniques for achieving security in multi-user computer systems, cryptography, schemes, viruses, and much more.

26. Development of Inventions and Creative Ideas: Learn the rights and obligations of engineers in connection with educational institutions, government, and large and small businesses with the help of this course. Students also study American systems of incentive to creativity apart from the patent laws in the atomic energy and space fields.

27. Game Theory and Mechanism Design: Emphasis on this course is placed on the foundations of the theory, mathematical tools, and the equilibrium notions in different environments. It also comes with a reading list, homework assignments, and practice problems.

Carnegie Mellon Open Courses for Technology Geeks

Located in Pittsburgh, this university is a melding of a science and a technology institute and offers many open courses.

28. Chemistry: Although divided into three segments, lovers of technology will appreciate the virtual chemistry lab with over 35 assignments. You can also get a section on equilibrium and acid/base chemistry.

29. Engineering Statistics: Students study methods of quantifying the forces between bodies, for example parts of mechanical, structural, and biological systems. The course features structure, exposition, problem solving, and conceptual learning.

30. Casual and Statistical Reasoning: Answer questions such as “do video games cause violent behavior?” by taking this course. It examines the nature of casual clams and the evidence to prove or disprove them.

31. Modern Biology: This course covers topics found in the fields of cellular biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics. Tech geeks will enjoy the publication on improving animation tutorials by integrating various components.

32. Logic & Proofs: Get ready for concepts such as modern symbolic logic, syntax, and semantics of sentential and predicate logic in this course. You can also get the expository text, comprehension tests, computer tutors, and the Carnegie Proof Lab.

33. Computational Discrete Mathematics: Discrete mathematics is the study of structures that are discrete in the sense of not supporting or requiring the notion of continuity. This course presents material in discrete mathematics and computation theory with a strong emphasis on practical algorithms and experiential learning.

34. Visual Communications Design: This short course is intended to teach you how to design successful technical documents. Learn how to establish visual hierarchy and groups of information by consistently using size, weight, and spacing.

Columbia Open Courses for Technology

This leading university offers a ton of e-seminars at no charge. Columbia students, faculty, staff, and alumni can access any of the courses using their network ID. Those who are not can still register for a free trial or preview any of the classes and lectures.

35. Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States.: This course covers the history of the U.S. from 1890-1945. Learn how science and technology played a major role in the shaping of our nation.

36. Small Wonders: The World of Nano-Science: The nano is where the disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering meet and conspire. Learn not only the often bizarre physics of the nanoscale but also explore cutting-edge nano-science research.

37. The Impact of Technology on the Legal Profession: Discover how the revolution of digital and communications technologies will undoubtedly change the legal profession. An open-ended question at the beginning of each section is designed to allow you to express your ideas and ask questions.

38. Mathematics of Finance: Tech geeks who enjoy math and making money will want to give this course a look. Students learn basic theories of probability and finance, in addition to the Black-Scholes formula for pricing options and the theory of Brownian motion.

39. Digital Video: An Introduction: Michael Rubin and the American Film Institute combine to bring you this e-seminar designed to help students complete a personal video project. You will learn the holistic video philosophy, along with many other professional lessons.

40. Memoirs of the Movies: This seminar consists of interviews with producers, directors, writers, actors, and cinematographers. They discuss first-hand insights on the developments of the motion picture industry throughout the twentieth century.

John Hopkins Open Courses for Technology

Although primarily a medical university, you can still get some technology integrated in their classes.

41. Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Solutions: Students learn the basics of R software and the key capabilities of the Bioconductor project. You can also get lecture materials and labs to help you.

42. How Risky is Breathing?: Want to know how dangerous technology can be to people? Then take this course to find out.

43. Case Studies in Terrorism Response: Learn how to predict and react to an act of terrorism using technology through this course. Case studies illustrate plausible scenarios, typical first response activities, critical issues on-the-fly, and considerations for planning.

44. Radiation Terror 101: Learn how radiation can have positive and negative consequences in this course. It introduces you to general radiation principles, safety, types of radiological terror, and provides guidance on response techniques and countermeasures.

45. Web 2.0: Risks for STI/HIV: This lecture explores the risks and prevention opportunities presented by the emergence of social networking and internet dating sites. Learn how technology can accelerate or prevent the spread of sexually transmitted illness.

46. Biological Agents of Water and Foodborne Bioterrorism: This presentation examines the various biological agents that terrorists could use against food or water supplies. Tech geeks will enjoy learning how to track and combat these agents.

Notre Dame Open Courses for Technology

Primarily a religious university, they offer a few open courses on technology, in addition to those on arts, religion, and culture.

47. Applied Multimedia Technology: This course explores the use of multimedia in communicating information and solving problems. Students create materials that incorporate text, animation, images, sound, and video.

48. Nuclear Warfare: The course begins with the history and emergence of weapons of mass destruction technologies as a consequence of World War I and World War II. The future of this technology is also discussed and you can get a list of lectures.

49. Nature and the Built Environment: Discuss how ideas, beliefs, experience, and human nature animate individuals and societies and thereby give form to the things they make. Get a historical view of past ancient cities in comparison with today’s mega cities.

Yale Open Courses for Technology Geeks

This Ivy-League university continues to add courses to its opencourseware and below are the best in technology.

50. Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics: This course focuses on three advancing areas: Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes, and Dark Energy. Particular attention is paid to current technologies that promise to improve our understanding significantly over the next few years.

51. Frontiers of Biomedical Engineering: Cover the basic concepts of biomedical engineering and their connection with the spectrum of human activity in this course. Case studies of drugs and medical technologies are discussed.

52. Fundamentals of Physics: Emphasis is placed on problem solving and quantitative reasoning in this course. It covers Newtonian mechanics, special relativity, gravitation, thermodynamics, and waves.

Stanford Open Courses for Technology Geeks

This leading university has many online courses available for the viewing on YouTube.

53. Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium (2007-2008): Each class discusses current research and developments in computer systems. Topics touch upon all aspects of computer science and engineering including logic design, computer architecture, software engineering, and financial implications of technology.

54. Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium (2006-2007): This course is an earlier version of the above course. It discusses the same topic, but includes more videos.

55. Convex Optimization: Professor Stephen Boyd teaches this course out of the electrical engineering department. 37 lessons cover applications, uses, and there is even the occasional guest speaker.

56. Human Computer Interaction Seminar: Students are taught how to work across disciplines to understand the intersection between humans and computers. Lessons cover everything from virtual pen and paper to tangible media.

57. Introduction to Robotics: Professor Oussama Khatib teaches this course with many diagrams and models. Students learn about such topics as Spatial Descriptions, Kinematics, and Manipulator Design.

58. Machine Learning: Professor Andrew Ng provides an introduction to machine learning and statistical pattern recognition. Topics include supervised learning, unsupervised learning, learning theory, reinforcement learning, and adaptive control.

59. Einstein’s Theory: Arguably the first technology geek, learn about his theories through this course on physics. You will learn about quantum mechanics, the Theory of Relativity, and more.

60. Programming Abstractions: This course is taught using the C++ programming language, which is similar to both C and Java. Students are taught subjects such as recursion, algorithmic analysis, and data abstraction.

61. Programming Methodology: This is an introduction to the engineering of computer applications emphasizing modern software engineering principles. They include object-oriented design, decomposition, encapsulation, abstraction, and testing.

62. Programming Paradigms: The class aims to teach students how to write code for individual languages and to understand the programming paradigms behind them. Languages include C, Assembly, C++, Concurrent Programming, Scheme, and Python.

63. Stanford Challenge: Students and faculty took up the challenge to see how they can help tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues. Watch the videos to see how technology plays a part.

Oxford Open Courses for Technology

The Internet Institute is part of the world renowned University of Oxford and is a leading center for the study of the internet and society. If you enjoy the below, there are many other short seminars to choose from.

64. The Future of the Internet: Private Sheriffs in Cyberspace.: In this video course, Professor Jonathan Zittrain discusses how online life will be regulated largely by institutions bearing no badges. Do private sheriffs help more than they hurt?

65. Scholarship in the Digital Age: Capturing data for reuse is a key challenge of cyberinfrastructure. This course compares developments in scholarly information infrastructure and cyberlearning, reflecting on the implications for scholarship in the digital age.

66. Regulating Technologies: Roger Brownsword argues that the emergence of developing technologies should be of major concern to the legal community. Two sets of questions set the tone for the debate and recommendations for the future are given.

67. The Changing Business of Software: Michael Cusumano focuses on how both the enterprise and consumer software businesses have been changing over the past decade. The basis for his observations were compiled from a ten year study of annual financial data on publicly listed global software product firms and IT firms.

68. The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: This short course evaluates online audiences and the paradox of web traffic. Using three years of daily traffic data and new models adapted from financial mathematics, this talk examines large-scale variation in web traffic.

69. You’ve Got Mail: Monica Whitty and others discuss meeting, dating, marriage, and the internet. They provide a critical perspective on the history and future of the internet’s role in relationships.

70. Future Directions for US Public Media: Public radio and television broadcasters face formidable challenges resulting from rapid technological change, audience fragmentation, and declining viewership. This seminar will describe some innovative efforts underway in the U.S. that may help public media organizations embrace participatory models and practices.

71. From Digital Photography to Fine Art Painting: Examine the role of technology for the artist in the 21st century in this seminar. Artist Jeremy Sutton demonstrates how state-of-the-art digital media can be used to transform digital photographs into fine art paintings.

72. Beyond Byron: Towards a New Culture of Responsibility: Tech geeks with children will want to pay special attention to this seminar. It examines the new dangers to children being brought up in the digital age and how to counteract them.

73. Networked Journalism: Charlie Beckett looks at how new media practices and platforms are changing journalism. He also examines the editorial, political, and social opportunities they offer.

74. Social Networking Conference: Three sessions looked at a wide range of perspectives on social networking. They included online networks, intimate relationships, and business networks.

University of California – Irvine Open Courses for Technology

The university offers a list of free and open courses, some of which are helpful with technology.

75. Astronomy: Cover fifteen topics in astronomy by taking this course. They include the solar system, evidence for other planets, stellar balance, and more.

76. Earth Resources: Instructor Leila Belkora gives six lessons on the resources on the planet. Learn more about water, fossil fuels, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and recycling with this course.

77. Electricity and Magnetism: Tech geeks interested in creating their own devices will enjoy this course. It will teach them how to build a compass, measure voltage, and much more.

78. Forces and Motion: Go beyond the basic principles of gravity with this free course. You will also learn about graphing motion, Newton’s laws, and even levers in the human body.

79. Optics and Waves: Wondering how the eye or a camera lens works? Then take this class to see just how, along with other related lessons.

80. Physics 21: Delve into scientific theory on everything from superheroes to global warming. Movies, real world issues, and other examples are used to separate fact from fiction using the scientific method.

Berklee Open Courses for Music Technology

There are currently 35 open courses for this subject available for free download. You can also get loads of other music relates free courses on this site. Here are some of the best.

81. Logic Pro – Changing Presents in Logic Instruments: In this short video lesson, the instructor describes how to change presets in Logic Pro instruments. You can also get other related courses as links.

82. Adding Drum and Percussion to Hip Hop Beat Using Reason: Are you a technology geek that can’t find the beat? Then take this course to see how math and Reason software can help you.

83. Essential Mixing Tricks in Pro Tools: Jeff Baust describes how to master the mixing window in Pro Tools. You can also learn how to optimize your mixing time by using cool short cuts like creating Track Groups for all the faders.

84. Mixing Basics in Propellehead Reason: Learn how to use a mixing board and the software to create music. Tips include EQ, compression, and reverb.

85. Convert: Now that you know how to make music, learn how to export audio files in digital performer into MP3s. MOTU’s Digital Performer software is used as the example.

86. Transpose MIDI Data in Digital Performer: Benjamin Newhouse explains how to change the key of a certain section or the pitch of a note using the Transpose options in MOTU’s Digital Performer music software.

Best Video Open Courses for Technology Geeks

Learn even more about technology by checking out these technology videos from leading universities.

87. Distributed Intelligence: M.I.T. also contains a ton of lectures by alumni, faculty, and even Nobel Laureates. The technology section alone has 108 videos and you can get many more on other subjects.

88. Innovation: Harvard Business School provides many video lectures. This series on innovation can help technology geeks on subjects such as thinking inside the box, making the world a better place, and how to spot opportunities.

89. Center for the Study of Public Domain: The people at Duke Law have put together an impressive list of speakers for their lecture series. You can get some technology information on Microsoft, the geography of innovation, and more by checking out these free webcasts.

90. Department of Mathematics: Another video lecture series by Duke, videos are divided by seminars or classes. The most recent is on falling spheres in stratified fluids.

91. Columbia Video Network: The graduate students at this university can take online classes in engineering education by visiting this site. Tech geeks can preview a ton of lectures for free by scrolling down the page.

92. Studio KSG: The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard has many videos available to the public. You can get videos on how to do a briefing, write a memo, or take on a challenge just as the students of Harvard do.

93. Princeton University WebMedia: This leading university has a ton of lectures, podcasts, and events available for instant online viewing. Get loads of lectures on current events, politics, history, and even a little technology.

94. Podcasts from the University of Oxford: Popular podcasts from this leading university include building a business, Darwin 200, and Tolkien and the Oxford dictionary.

95. Best Online Documentaries: Technology geeks have a whole section devoted to them on this site that lets you watch documentaries over your computer for free. You can choose from subjects such as airplanes, computing, modern marvels, and many more.

Best Open Courses for Kids who are Technology Geeks

Kids with a future in technology or an afternoon to kill will enjoy the free lessons offered below.

96. Smithsonian Education: Get lesson plans on science and technology from this leading museum. Choose from courses such as podcasting, how things fly, and many more.

97. Bill Nye The Science Guy: Get a ton of fun home science and technology experiments to do with the kids. You can choose from bending light, burn rubber, eggs-speriment, and many more.

98. NASA TV: NASA offers many channels on its various endeavors. You can get shuttle launches, an education channel for students, and much more.

99. Fun Science Experiments and Activities: “National Geographic” contains many fun activities for kids. Activities include making a groovy lava lamp, living in a green world, and a 4-H national experiment.

100. How to Build a Solar Powered Car for your Kids: In this article you can learn how to use items around your home and at the hardware store to build a solar powered car. There is even a helpful video.

Whether you have more time than money, or the other way around, all you need is an internet connection and a love of technology to utilize these best 100 open courses for technology students, kids, and geeks.

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