Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some Free Open Courseware from Top American Colleges

I found this easy to use listing of free open courseware today (dated 2007). If the links are dead at least you know what the college is, google it and I'm sure you will find the new, current URL.

Top 10 Universities With Free Courses Online by Jimmy Ruska

Any person of any age can use these. Homeschoolers in high school may find them useful.

I have been using some source material from some of these courses to guide me to good books to use when developing custom courses for my ninth grader. I am still working to develop a thorough "History of Comic Books and the Graphic Novel Storytelling Format" which relies not on teacher lectures delivered by me but uses either books as teachers, online text articles written by subject matter experts, or video lectures. I am also trying to determine reasonable assignments to go along with the course so it is not just a read and learn course.


dstb said...

Hi Christine,

Thanks for the link. I also like a site called Academic Earth. It lists on-line courses, as well.

Next year, I would like to do US History with my now 7th grader. I have been looking at what is available at Hippocampus. They have a number of other subjects. They give a syllabus, reading assignments, short videos, writing assignments, chapter tests. I'm not sure this is what I will use, but it is worth looking into.

Thanks for the link.

ChristineMM said...

Hi Sarah, I have not looked at HippoCampus for middle schoolers. When I looked at the site for high school they were using boring school textbooks. Some people say HC is free but the texts for the courses will cost $100-150-250 depending on the course. Sometimes people were looking for totally free online courses, where they'd pay nothing for the reading material.

I don't know what you are after for history, how exciting you want it to be.

For grade 7:
For US History consider Joy Hakim's series with other readings. For that age there is a lot of historical fiction and you can flesh out the Hakim books with more supplemental readings. Some of the picture books, you'd be surprised, are meaty and have a ton of info in them.

You might want to (but don't feel rushed to) read the Albert Marrin biographies.

Also check out Genevieve Foster's books if your son has not read them yet then grade 7 is still okay.

I had wanted to keep history not high pressure for my 6th grader then use high school to get more serious. My gr 9 son is reading some adult history books to go along with Hakim (he is late in reading those) and Hakim also has another book for high school or adult called Freedom a History of US.

Some like to use The Teaching Company lectures for high school.

I think I am trying to say there is a ton of stuff for middle school and junior high no need to rush to use high school materials since you will cover US history and at least some aspects of world history (depending on how you do your history studies) so there will be time in high school for the textbooks and even more meaty material.

Good luck and thanks for reading my blog and commenting so much!

Xa Lynn said...

I'll have to check those out - I want to thank you again for the Khan Academy info you blogged about awhile ago. My 10 year old was struggling with long division - and the Khan Ac videos worked for her much better than the Math-U-See we've been using. We are still going to use the Math-U-See workbook, but with the Khan Ac videos, since she says they make a lot more sense to her. She also says she would rather do her math on the computer, instead of writing it by hand. That gives me 3 months to find something...

And my husband has been watching all the statistics videos there, too. Someday, I'm going to have time for the Chemistry...probably about the time I have to start teaching it to the girls!

Xa Lynn

ChristineMM said...

Xa Lynn, are you aware of the login part of Khan Academy? You login for free using either a (free) gmail google email account or a Facebook account. Once you login they give you math problems to do that go with the video lesson.

The lessons are scored and they keep giving you new problems until you reach a certain mastery level.

There is a huge visual map thing that shows all the math topics and what links to what. Once you pass through certain levels you choose what to do next, it tells you what your options are.

It is amazing and so my DS11 has quit Teaching Textbooks 7 to do only Khan Academy!

dstb said...


Thanks for your comments about the US History. All great suggestions.

I think you are correct about the boring textbooks. I think what I liked about the site was that it would give me an outline of topics to follow.

I have used hippocampus before just for the short videos they have.

I would welcome more comments (if you have any) on the Hakim books. I have the whole set and also have Freedom. I have not looked yet to see how they compare.

I have all but one of the Foster books, but do you think we have read them yet?

I agree that there are some wonderful resources like picture books that we can supplement with. I usually do. My problem is getting a syllabus/outline I can stick with and this is where I thought hippocampus might be of some help.

Thanks for your input. I'll have to look at the Hakim books again and see how I want to proceed.


ChristineMM said...

I have not read all of the Hakim series yet, just too much to do, had thought I would.

The Freedom book is written on a higher level.

In Hakim's long interview on BookTV she said that the series starts off easier for younger kids then gets more word count and also the topics of war in the 1900s and the Holocaust etc are harder to deal with so for older end of the middle school years.

dstb said...

Thanks for the info on the Hakim books. I'll have to read some of the later books in the series and see how they are.