Free Online Course Info

Free online courses in journalism are available from several real colleges and universities as non-credit courses. While some schools may require registration to access a course, most schools don’t have that requirement. Students can see PDF files of course lectures and materials, but may need to download a media player, such as Flash, to access videos.

Massachusetts Institute Of Technology

The OpenCourseWare initiative at MIT offers a variety of the institute’s courses through a free publication. Students can see projects completed by previous students or download PDF files of course materials. The Introduction to Media Studies course utilizes assignments and lecture notes to teach students how media impacts modern culture. The course examines the printed word, television, radio and digital technology. Sample student work is available in PDF form.

Documentary Photography and Photo Journalism: Still Images of a World in Motion utilizes image galleries, projects and assignments to show students the work of documentary photographers. Future journalists can find out how other races, classes and genders are portrayed in the media through the Gender and Media Studies: Women and the Media course. Students can view study materials, including video clips, advertising videos and blogs.

The Open University

Understanding Media: The Celebrity in the Text is a course that demonstrates how the media shapes celebrity status and shows how to analyze information the public receives about celebrities. Students can download readings and answer questions on their own about the materials.

The Key Skills Assessment: Communication course at The Open University exposes students to how humans process information and communicate. Journalists might be interested in knowing how to effectively receive and respond to information and how to evaluate that information. The course was designed for students to study for one hour each week over a period of 50 weeks, though online students may study at their own pace.

Poynter’s News University

Poynter’s News University courses require students to register in order to access the materials, however these courses are still free. Registration typically requires providing the student’s name, e-mail address and a zip code. Students also need to have Flash version 7.0 or newer in order to access information. The Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More class teaches Associated Press (AP) style and helps students learn about basic problems with grammar and mistakes in punctuation.

Prospective photojournalists may be interested in the Best of Photojournalism: What Makes a Winner class, where they’ll watch videos and interviews on a photojournalism contest. Students have the chance to demonstrate what they’ve learned through a judging activity.

The Freedom of Information materials introduce students to the First Amendment and the Freedom of Information Act. The course covers state laws and how to tell if a document is within the public domain.

Utah State University

Utah State University provides free courses online through open source software. Learning materials are available as PDF files. Its Technology for Professional Writers course teaches established writers to properly utilize software and new technology related to writing. The course is a variation of one previously offered by the university that was founded on research conducted in the 1990s. Students learn through a combination of lecture notes, assignments and additional resources.