100 Open Courses That Will Make You an Internet Expert

Posted December 2, 2009

Even if you grew up using the web, there is always more to learn as technologies rapidly evolve and change. Here are 100 open courses that will help you build your expertise and knowledge in all aspects of the web, including design and development, security, and using it to communicate with others and learn new skills so you’ll be ready to take on the web head-on. And the most awesome thing about open courses – doesn’t matter where you are: Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico – you can learn anywhere at any time.

Web Basics

Take these courses to learn about some basic web issues, from where it’s headed to how to stay safe when using it.

  1. The Future of the Internet: Learn where the Internet is today and where it will be going in the coming decades from this course. [Stanford]
  2. The Semantic Web: Here you will find an interesting discussion with Tim Berners-Lee, one of the creators of the web. [MIT]
  3. Advanced Internet and Web Services: This course addresses search engines, hyperlinks and other basics of internet architecture. [U of Washington]
  4. Living with the internet: keeping it safe: Take this course to learn how to keep your personal information and family safe when using the internet. [Open University]
  5. Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 Technologies: Learn about key elements and programming behind Web 2.0 and Semantic Web sites and concepts. [Universidad Carlos]
  6. Behind the Browser: Here you’ll be able to learn about the legal and social issues that go along with some of the emerging technologies of the Internet. [Stanford]

Web Design

These courses will give you some insights on how to create webpages that are attractive and easy to use.

  1. Designing Sociable Media: Take this course to learn how to create web programs that allow users to interact with one another. [MIT]
  2. Digital Typography: This course will educate you on the fundamentals of building and using digital fonts and lettering. [MIT]
  3. Information Visualization: In this course you will learn how to better represent information in a visual way. [U of British Columbia]
  4. Fundamentals of Computational Media Design: This class covers the history of 20th century art and design from the perspective of the technologist. [MIT]
  5. Principles of Design: Here, you’ll learn about some advanced topics in design as well as how to analyze and interpret texts and visual elements. [MIT]
  6. Choosing Display Typography: Make sure your web designs are as attractive as possible with this course on choosing the correct typography. [Sessions]
  7. Electronic Publishing and Design: Through this course you’ll learn the basics of creating and publishing content to the web. [College of Charleston]
  8. Computer Graphics: What would a webpage be without a few graphics to go along with it? This course takes an advanced look at how these images are made and utilized. [MIT]

Web Development

These courses will help you learn more about the processes and important aspects of web development.

  1. Software Engineering for Web Applications: Those with a basic understanding of programming can use this course to learn how to better design programs to be used on the web. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Multimedia Programming: From HTML to understanding how to represent information on the web, this course will help you with a range of web development issues. [Monash]
  3. Web Programming: In this course you’ll learn to use AJAX, HTML, CSS, Java and more to create and maintain websites. [U of Washington]
  4. Intermediate Web Development: Take this class to learn what you’ll need to do to take your webpage from the initial stages to completion. [College of Charleston]
  5. Webpage Authoring: This introductory course will help students learn how to build great webpages using HTML. [Sofia]
  6. Web Programming, Development, & Data Integration: Here, you can learn how to create a webpage, make sure it works smoothly and get it up on the web. [Purdue]
  7. Introduction to Web Design: This course covers basic HTML, CSS, Binary, UNIX, color, layout and much more. [Indiana University]
  8. Ontologies and Semantic Web: Those with a more advanced understanding of technology can take this course to learn more about the theories behind the semantic web and learn how to create programs that use these ideas. [Universidad de Madrid]
  9. Introduction to Creating Home Pages on the World Wide Web: Take this course to learn the essentials of good web design and some mistakes to avoid as well. [OpenLoop]

Web Programming

Take one of these online courses to learn a language like CSS, HTML or Java–the codes that form the basis for the webpages you use and see everyday.

  1. CSS: Even if you’ve never used CSS, this course will help to teach you the fundamentals so you can start working with it. [Landofcode.com]
  2. AJAX: In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use AJAX to integrate your webpage and the server to keep everything running smoothly. [W3 Schools]
  3. Application Development & Web Infrastructure with Java Technology: Learn more about using Java effectively from this free course. [Sun Startup]
  4. Introduction to Software Engineering in Java: This course will give you an excellent introduction to using Java to program on the web and beyond. [MIT]
  5. Java Preparation: Beginners should take this course to learn the basics of working with this programming language. [MIT]
  6. Building Programming Experience: The purpose of this course is to help learners like you gain confidence in using these web and software programming languages. [MIT]
  7. Interactive Media Production: In this course you can learn to use Flash to create fancier, more detailed webpages. [USU]
  8. Learn and Apply HTML: Learn the basic language of the webpage through this introductory HTML course. [USU]
  9. Java Programming: Take this course to learn a little bit of both Java and HTML. [Sofia]
  10. Intermediate HTML: If you already know the basics of HTML, this site will help you take your knowledge to the next level. [Suite 101]
  11. XML Foundations: If you’ve never used XML or CSS, this course can be a great way to learn the basics behind them. [Berkeley]
  12. A Gentle Introduction to Programming Using Python: Check out this course if you’d like the opportunity to learn Python at your own pace and level. [MIT]
  13. Multimedia & World Wide Web: This course aims to teach students the fundamentals of programming they need to build their own webpage from scratch. [DePaul]
  14. Essential Coding Theory: Learn a little bit about where all these coding languages came from and how they work in this theoretical course. [MIT]
  15. Programming Languages: This course will examine the principles behind some of the biggest programming languages. [MIT]


Make sure that the pages you’re building are easy-to-use with these courses on usability.

  1. People-centered Designing: This course will help you to consider the human factor when designing anything for use on the web. [Open University]
  2. User Interface Design and Implementation: Your webpage may look great, but if no one can figure out how to use it, it’s useless. This course will teach you to build interfaces that are easy to use and logical. [MIT]
  3. Accessibility in Interaction Design: Learn how to make sure that your web work is accessible to as many people as possible with this course. [Open University]
  4. Human Computer Interaction: Here you can learn about the variety of ways that humans can interact with their computing systems, maybe even doing a little programming yourself. [U of Washington]
  5. Designing the User Interface: From text to sound, this course will help you understand some of the essentials of good interface design. [Open University]
  6. Usability First: The collection of courses on this site will help you learn to consider a wide range of usability issues when doing any kind of web work. [Foraker Design]

Social Aspects of the Web

The web makes it easy to talk with people around the world, so learn how to make the most of what it offers through these courses.

  1. Communicating in Cyberspace: This course will help you to consider the range of issues that come into play when people begin communicating over the Internet. [MIT]
  2. Foundations of American Cyberculture: Listen to these lectures to educate yourself on some of the social implications of the web and how the cyberculture we have today arose. [Berkeley]
  3. Using Internet Communications: This course will help you to more effectively communicate with others using the web. [UMass Boston]
  4. Internet and Society: Here, you’ll learn about the interplay between the mechanisms of the web and the humans who use them, addressing everything from business to privacy issues. [Harvard]
  5. Understanding Online Interaction: In this class, you can learn how individuals use the network to interact, allowing you to better design programs to be used on the web for learning and other purposes. [USU]
  6. Connecting People with Online Resources: This course uses the National Science Digital Library as a starting place in finding ways to bring people together and educate them using online resources. [USU]
  7. Argumentation and Communication: Whether on the web or in real life, this course will teach you how to more effectively communicate with others. [MIT]
  8. Techno-identity: Who we are and how we perceive ourselves and others: Everyone on the web isn’t always who they appear to be. This course will examine the social and psychological issues behind how we represent ourselves on the web. [MIT]
  9. Social and Political Implications of Technology: Learn the role technology has played in society and politics over the years from war to communications, in this course. [MIT]
  10. You’ve Got Mail: Online dating has taken off and is now a pretty normal way to meet a significant other. Here you can learn more about the phenomena and what it means for the future of dating. [Oxford]

Web Law

The web poses many legal issues with copyrights, privacy and freedom of speech. These courses will help you delve further into these complex issues.

  1. Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier: Go through the materials offered in this course to learn about some of the major issues facing the legal field when it comes to addressing the challenges of the digital world. [MIT]
  2. Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Online Publishers: Make sure you’re keeping your materials safe and following all laws on your blog with a little help from this course. [NewsU]
  3. Information Law and Policy: This course will introduce you to copyright law and the range of legal protections for information and data. [UC Berkeley]
  4. Introduction to Copyright Law: Copyright law has been a hot button issue in recent years due to the web and the easy accessibility of information. This course will teach you the basics of copyright law so you can protect your own work and avoid transgressions on anyone else’s. [MIT]
  5. Counsel to the Internet Client: Practical Advice, Strategy and Litigation: Even if you’re not a lawyer, or studying to be one, this course will help you learn some of the big issues that revolve around internet law. [Harvard]
  6. The Future of the Internet: Private Sheriffs in Cyberspace: Here you can look at the people and institutions who currently regulate the Internet and decide for yourself if they should have that right. [Oxford]
  7. Regulating Technologies: This course addresses the large gap between the development of new technologies and the regulation of these technologies by the law. [Oxford]
  8. Freedom of Information: Ensure your voice isn’t silenced by learning your rights for freedom of speech. [NewsU]

Online Learning

Take these courses to gain a better understanding of how the web is being used for learning.

  1. Technologies for Creative Learning: Take this course to learn how new technologies, including the web, can help people learn in new and creative ways. [MIT]
  2. Accessibility of eLearning: Learn why learning online can be such a great option for many in this course. [Open University]
  3. Advanced Topics in Learning Object Design and Reuse: Here you’ll learn about the design, creation, and reuse of learning objects, in real life or on the Internet. [USU]
  4. Producing Distance Education Resources: Learn how distance education resources are developed through this course. [USU]
  5. Regulating Student Created Websites: Free Speech in Cyberspace: Creating websites for classes can be a great way to learn and share information, but this course addresses the necessity to also make sure these sites don’t expose students to threats or violate school rules. [Connexions]
  6. Creating Meaningful Online Discussions: This course will help you to discover new ways that you can motivate others to talk about educational topics in online discussion forums and chat rooms. [Connexions]
  7. Scholarship in the Digital Age: What effect has the digital age had on how people research, collaborate and share information? Here you’ll find an insightful look at the benefits the Internet offers the 21st century scholar. [Oxford]

Web Business

These days, there are few people who haven’t bought at least one or two things on the web. These courses will help you learn more about buying, selling and doing business on the web.

  1. SEO Training Course: If you’ve got a web business, make sure you’re promoting the best you can with this free course on search engine optimization. [GNC Web]
  2. Strategies for Technology-Based New Business Development: Those thinking of working on the web should take a look at this business course on the subject. [MIT]
  3. E-Commerce and the Internet in Real Estate and Construction: Learn what role the web has to play in buying and selling real estate from this course. [MIT]
  4. Economics and E-Commerce: In this course, you can learn about economic issues from the standpoint of the Internet and discover businesses that have developed effective online commerce models. [MIT]
  5. Social Visualization: Ever wonder who is visiting your webpages and is interested in what you have to offer? This course will teach you how to visually represent the users of the web. [MIT]
  6. Search Engines: Technology, Society and Business: Learn more about how search engines work and how they can affect your business in this course. [Berkeley]
  7. Trademarks in Cyberspace: Take this course to learn how to protect your trademarks and copyrights on the web. [Connexions]
  8. Internet Marketing Strategy: Internet marketing can be a bit different than other media, so learn more about how to do it right from this link. [Stanford]
  9. Media Education and the Marketplace: Take this course to learn about the role the web has played in helping people around the world get their ideas off the ground. [MIT]
  10. The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Online Audiences and the Paradox of Web Traffic: This lecture will teach you about the larger scale trends in Internet traffic–some of which may be surprising. [Oxford]
  11. Clicks and Customers: New Technologies and Online Advertising: In this course you’ll gain a better understanding of advertising online and the methods that will get you the most sales. [Stanford]


Blogs have become a powerful force in the online world, and these courses will help you learn to be a better blogger and use the technology more effectively.

  1. Blogs, Wikis and New Media for Learning: Take this course to learn how blogs and wikis can be used in the classroom to promote new and creative ways to learn. [USU]
  2. Writing on Contemporary Issues: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace: This course will address the issues surrounding publishing your work on the web. [MIT]
  3. FlashVlog QuickStart Guide: If you’ve ever wanted to start a vlog, this course will teach you the basics. [Open University]
  4. Blog Traffic eCourse: Learn how to improve the traffic to your blog with this quick tutorial. [Emoms at Home]
  5. 31 Days to Building a Better Blog: This course will take you through, step-by-step, to make your blog content, traffic and profitability better. [Problogger]
  6. Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Online Publishers: Make sure the content you’re publishing to the web stays safe, secure and legal with advice from this course. [NewsU]
  7. Becoming Digital: Writing About Media Change: This course will ask students to critically analyze the way that digital media have changed the way we think and interact. [MIT]

Web Security

Make sure your information stays private with these courses on web security.

  1. Cryptography and Cryptanalysis: This course will touch on issues like public-key encryption, digital signatures, and pseudo-random number generation. [MIT]
  2. Advanced Topics in Cryptography: If you’ve already grasped the basics, this course will help you address some of the more complex issues in keeping networks and databases secure. [MIT]
  3. Network and Computer Security: This course is a fairly advanced one, looking at the architecture and programming needed to eliminate the vast majority of threats to network security. [MIT]
  4. Selected Topics in Cryptography: From cryptographic protocols to building secure electronic voting systems, this course focuses on some more specific issues in securing data. [MIT]
  5. Network Security: Take a pretty basic look at what it takes to keep a network secure in this course. [Open University]
  6. Towards a New Culture of Responsibility: This course will educate you on some of the important social and psychological issues that come up when trying to protect children from the new dangers digital technology poses. [Oxford]


Take these courses to get insights into everything from online gaming to writing online.

  1. Historical Foundations of Visual Technology: In this course, you’ll take a critical look at visual technologies throughout history. [DePaul]
  2. A Serious Take on Internet Gameplay: Take a look at some of the real issues behind interaction and gameplay in the online setting from this lecture. [Stanford]
  3. New Global Agenda: Exploring 21st Century Challenges through Innovations in Information Technologies: This course will help you to see how information technologies like the web have changed international politics. [MIT]
  4. Internet Technology in Local and Global Communities: Learn what a difference Internet and computer access can have in the African communities addressed in this course. [MIT]
  5. Digital Poetry: Ever want to publish your poetry online? This course will show you the way. [MIT]
  6. New Media Literacies: This course will take students from ancient Greece to the modern day, looking at the literacy levels in regard to new technologies. [MIT]
  7. Introduction to Media Studies: Learn to be a more intelligent consumer of all media out there, including the world wide web, with this course. [MIT]

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