Students often require homework or assignments to learn science effectively, so consider choosing a MOOC with homework instead of just lectures.
By Christopher Geno
The Internet has a wealth of knowledge for science majors and interested students because dozens of prestigious universities are teaching free college-level science courses online. Maybe you love both chemistry and physics and are trying to decide between the two. Maybe you’ve declared a major in one science field and are looking for additional information on a subject.
No matter the reason, you can find interesting massive open online courses in any field. Check out these science MOOCs and you could become the next Einstein or Oppenheimer from your own bedroom.
Introduction to Solid State Chemistry
Learn about the real world applications of how chemical bonding and electronic structure relates to the field of engineering in this first-year level university course taught by a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students who want to learn more about how chemistry becomes a career will appreciate how the course is taught. According to the professor, understanding the connection between chemistry and its applications is “the most important tool…to come up with new inventions.”
Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computation
Quantum mechanics is one of those intimidating-sounding physics topics that students either love or cringe at. The University of California, Berkeley, through Coursera.org, teaches a massive open online course that requires no previous experience with quantum mechanics that still maintains a rigorous level of work. The fundamentals of quantum algorithms and the building blocks of quantum computers are topics of study in this cross-disciplinary class that students from math, physics and computer science will find engaging and challenging.
The Atmosphere, the Ocean, and Environmental Change
If environmental science is more your field of interest, Open Yale Courses from Yale University has a class on the processes that control the Earth’s atmosphere, ocean and climate. Storms, ocean currents, seasons, atmospheric conditions and global warming are all topics of study in a course that discusses “the physics in how the atmosphere and the oceans move.”
Autism and Related Disorders
For any science major interested in learning more about the autism spectrum and related disorders that affect human socialization, this MOOC taught through iTunes U with Yale University is a seminar course that covers diagnosis, assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with autism. Each lecture is given by a different medical professional, so students are open to a variety of opinions and research on the issue.
Exploring Black Holes: General Relativity & Astrophysics
If you’ve given up on being an astronaut, sometimes studying space is the next best thing. MIT’s OpenCourseWare has selected lectures and course materials and uses the study of black holes and how they affect the physical world around them to teach concepts in general relativity, astrophysics and cosmology. The class discusses well-known physics concepts, but gets into very theoretical territory. The professor even suggests, “You might be able to use certain black holes to travel to another universe.”
- Students often require homework or assignments to learn science effectively, so consider choosing a MOOC with homework instead of just lectures.
- MOOCs from Coursera.org and Edx.org offer certificates for students who satisfactorily complete courses.
- If you’re interested in careers in science, pay special attention to the above MOOCs that use real world applications like computers and engineering to teach the courses.