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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Free Ivy League Education with Open Yale Courses

There's a great deal of prestige and mystery surrounding Ivy League education. For those of us who never had the chance to attend some of the finest universities in the United States, we're left to wonder what it would be like to be taught by some of the greatest academics of our time.

Fortunately there's a way for curious intellectual to watch entire semesters of class lectures online, and for free. Believe it or not, Yale University hosts a wide array of recorded in-depth courses online. The series is called "Open Yale Courses" and it boasts over 30 complete courses ranging from those on Biomedical Engineering to those on the economics behind Game Theory.

Once you choose a course, you can choose from any of the lectures given during the entire semester of the course. Every class is taught by a prestigious Yale professor who engages the students and their material with a zeal that will make you feel as if you're in the classroom yourself. Below are ten of my favorite classes offered by Yale's free service.

This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at accredited online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @

Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior

Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior Course

If you're intrigued by environmental sciences, you'll want to check out Professor Stephen C. Stearns's lecture series on the biological process that shaped the landscape of our environment and the creatures that inhabit it. His lecture on the evolution of Earth's geology offers an exciting glimpse into our planet's formation, while another lecture investigates the biodiversity in all ecosystems. In another lecture, Professor Stearns deftly traces the genealogy of the human race all the way back to its humble origins in current day Africa! There's a lot of material to sift through, but all of it will prove fascinating to a environmental science enthusiast.

Game Theory

Game Theory Course

Those with an inclination towards strategic thinking—whether in the workplace or on a game board—would find much to learn from in Professor Ben Polak's course. In it, you'll gain insight to complex strategies employed by today's top politicians, market analysts, and businesspeople. It's an engrossing course for those interested in the psychology of decision making.

The Psychology, Biology, and Politics of Food

The Psychology, Biology, and Politics of Food Course

In the very beginning of his first class lecture, Professor Kelley Brownell offers a startling insight into the food culture that dominates American society. He presents a list of fifty-six ingredients that make up a popular food, prompting his class to guess the name of the product based on its components. Surprisingly, the food is a standard Pop Tart, which leads Professor Brownell into a compelling lecture about the nature of highly processed foods, questioning their benefits and postulating their potentially harmful physical and psychology effects on the human body. Professor Brownell's course focuses on the complicated world of food, and there's no shortage of rich material that may forever change your mind about what you eat.

Modern Poetry

Modern Poetry Course

Yes, Open Yale Courses actually hosts an entire semester worth of Modern Poetry lectures. This series taught by Professor Langdon Hammer focuses on poets mostly from the early twentieth century, including Ezra Pound and Wallace Stevens. His keen insight towards literary criticism helps him understand the most seemingly simplistic poem as a true work of art.

Fundamentals of Physics

Fundamentals of Physics Course

If you didn't get a firm grasp on physics in high school or in introductory college courses, try the Open Yale Course on physics. Professor Ramamurti Shankar manages to make the often tedious subject engaging and easy to understand. It's a great foundation course for those interesting in engineering or mathematics.

Introduction to Theory of Literature

Introduction to Theory of Literature

For the more analytically minded among you, I highly recommend Professor Paul Fry's lecture series about Literary Theory. The course examines the various types of literary theory applied to texts that try to bring a greater depth of meaning to what we read. Professor Fry makes the case that literature can be defined, assessed, and enjoyed through any number of critical lenses not immediately obvious to the everyday reader. Among the types of literary theory that Professor Fry investigates are Deconstruction, Post-Colonial Theory, and Psychoanalytic Theory. The material seems intimidating at first, but the instructor does a fantastic job of unpacking and explaining big concepts on a relatable scale.

Frontiers of Biomedical Engineering

Frontiers of Biomedical Engineering Course

Are you interested in the particulars behind genetic engineering, biomechanics, and the intricacies of the human physiology? If so, you'd find Professor W. Mark Saltzman's lecture on biomedical engineering immensely satisfying. Professor Saltzman discusses complex biological processes and innovative biomedical engineering technologies with ease and finesse.

Financial Theory

Financial Theory Course

If you want a better idea as to how financial crises in one country can affect the global market, watch Professor John Geanakoplos's lectures on Financial Theory. During the course of the class, Professor Geanakoplos explains the intricacies of the financial system and how their successes and failures affect monetary policies on a global scale.

Global Problems of Population Growth

Global Problems of Population Growth

There are more people on earth today than at any other time, and the global population shows no signs of slowing its rise. Professor Robert Wyman takes this premise and examines the real world repercussion throughout his lecture series. Among other topics, he discusses population density, the environmental effects of a concentrated population, and the adaptation of communities to an ever-growing populace.

Capitalism: Success, Crisis and Reform

Capitalism: Success, Crisis and Reform Course

If you're interested in the mechanics of capitalism, you should watch Political Science Professor Douglas W. Rae's class on the history and impact of capitalism upon modern society. He investigates and dissects capitalist enterprises as if they were living organisms, explaining each part that makes them work in vivd detail. Professor Rae looks the part of a stereotypical college professor, sporting a bowtie, horn rim glasses, and a wry sense of humor towards his students.


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