Web Dev.edu: Top 50 Free Open Courseware Classes to Develop Better Web Sites

by admin on Apr 27, 2009

Have you wanted to have information about Web development, accessibility, design and business acumen at your fingertips? Have you realized that owning a library filled with that information is far too expensive for your budget? If you want to learn more about these topics, then head back to your comfort zone — the online medium. Here you can gain access to university and college-level materials that can put you at the head of the class.

The following list of 50 free open courseware classes can help you develop better Web sites. The university or learning center name is included so you can begin to browse through their other online resources as well. The list is categorized, and each link under those categories is listed alphabetically. This method assures readers that we do not value one resource over another.

Code and Programming

The courses listed below can provide you with the basics of Web development, including some software techniques.

  1. Cucumber Tutorial – Ruby on Rails: This tutorial will show you how to install what is required to run cucumber then work through a simple demonstration. [University of Glamorgan]
  2. Data and processes in computing: In this unit, you can take an introductory look at two key ideas: forms of data handled by a software system, and the processes that may be applied to that data. [The Open University]
  3. HTML Basics: Learn the basic structure of an HTML document, what HTML tags look like, the fundamental document structure, and basic tags found in nearly all HTML documents. [University of Washington]
  4. Introduction to Computer Science I: More than just teach you how to program, this course teaches you how to think more methodically and how to solve problems more effectively. [Harvard College]
  5. Introduction to Computer Science and Programming: Aimed at students with little or no programming experience. [MIT]
  6. Introduction to Flash MX: This course offers an introduction to the Macromedia Flash multimedia authoring environment. [Sofia Project]
  7. Java Programming: Students will learn object-oriented programming, and will create applets which can be incorporated into HTML documents for the World Wide Web. [Sofia Project]
  8. PHP: Anything and everything you’d want to know about PHP. [Landofcode.com]
  9. Server-Side Web Development Distributed Lectures: Instructor Andy Harris offers lectures, files and more on server-side development. [Indiana University / Purdue University at Indianapolis]
  10. Three-Dimensional Modeling, Animation and Rendering Using Blender 3D Software: The DR-21 3D Design course is intended to offer students an introduction to the world of computer generated 3-D modeling and animation. [Tufts University]
  11. Understanding Computers and the Internet: A smorgasbord of lectures, videos and more on programming, software and the Internet. [Harvard College]
  12. Web Developer’s Virtual Library: Connect with Flash, Photoshop and other software tutorials in this library. [Web Developer’s repository]
  13. Web Page Authoring: This is a beginning hands-on introduction to HTML (Hypertext Mark-Up Language). [Sofia Project]
  14. Web Programming, development and Data Integration: Covering various software development such as Dreamweaver MX, ASP and more. [Purdue University]
  15. Web Programming Quick Start: XTHML – Forms: This module discusses how to add forms to your XHTML files. Find many more XHTML articles to the left menu in “related material.” [Rice University Connexions]

Web Design

Learn about type, color, layout and other aspects of visual communication through the courses provided in the list below:

  1. Computer Graphics: An introduction to computer graphics hardware, algorithms and software. [MIT]
  2. Creating Interactive Multimedia: Learn about some technologies, tools and techniques associated with the creation of interactive multimedia. [University of Southern Queensland]
  3. Creative Typography: Exploration and experimentation with letter forms and page layout for expressive communication. [Sofia Project]
  4. Designing the user interface: text, colour, images, moving images and sound: Learn how to use text, colour, images, moving images and sound all interact to produce a user friendly environment within a user interface. [The Open University]
  5. Digital Typography: This class introduces studies in the algorithmic manipulation of type as word, symbol, and form. [MIT]
  6. Fundamentals of Computational Media Design: Expressive examples that illustrate the intersection of computation with the traditional arts are developed on a weekly basis. [MIT]
  7. How Good Visual Design Helps Learning: Improper use of fonts, colors, and graphics can also serve as a distraction and hamper the effectiveness of a course Web site. Learn how to avoid these problems and more. [Rice University Connexions]
  8. Information Visualization: Weekly syllabus, lectures on graphics and elements and principles of design. [University of British Columbia]
  9. Introduction to Multimedia Programming: Learn about information design, labeling, typography, color and much more. [Monash University]
  10. Introduction to Web Design Lectures: Instructor Andy Harris offers these audio instructions. [Indiana University / Purdue University at Indianapolis]
  11. Multimedia & World Wide Web: In this audio course, you’ll learn how to create user-centered documents using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Flash. [DePaul University]
  12. Special Topics in Multimedia Production: Experiences in Interactive Art: Discussions of the history of interactive digital art and contemporary issues in the field will take place. [MIT]
  13. Web Design II: Audio course on Web design. [Miami Dade College]
  14. WordPress Codex: Simply everything you need to know about how to tweak WordPress, including building template designs and shaping them to your needs. [WordPress.org]


If people cannot interact with your Web site, you won’t develop a following. The list below covers a wide gamut of learning from accessibility to usability and user interaction psychology:

  1. Accessibility in interaction design: Learn about individual impairments and how you can design to meet these challenges. [The Open University]
  2. Designing Sociable Media: This course is about social life in the on-line world. Its focus is on how the design of the interface influences people’s interactions with each other and shapes the cultural mores and structures they develop. [MIT]
  3. Full Web Building Tutorials: At W3Schools, you can study everything you need to learn, in an accessible and handy format. [W3Schools]
  4. Instructional Technology & Learning Sciences: Learn how to use technology to the best advantage of any project, including blogs, wikis, new media and open education. [Utah State University]
  5. People-centered designing: One of the primary considerations in all fields of design is ‘usability’ and, increasingly, the phenomenon of ‘user-centered design.’ Learn more here. [The Open University]
  6. Seminar on Deep Engagement: This class explores what underlying principles and innovative methods can ensure the development of higher-quality “deep engagement” products that appeal to a broad audience and that have lasting value over the long term. [MIT]
  7. Social Visualization: In this course you can examine ways of visualizing people, their activities and their interactions. [MIT]
  8. Techno-identity: Who we are and how we perceive ourselves and others: In this seminar, Professor Judith Donath examines the impact of science and technology on identity. [MIT]
  9. User Interface Design and Implementation: This course introduces the principles of user interface development, focusing on three key areas: Design, Implementation and Evaluation. [MIT]
  10. Visual Design for Distance Education Content: This course covers many tips to help you successfully create the navigation, layout, colors and design of course content. [Rice University Connexions]
  11. Web Accessibility 101: The University of Wisconsin-Madison requires that web pages be made accessible, so they shared their knowledge about how they do this here. [University of Wisconsin-Madison]

Business, Marketing and Advertising

Learn how to conduct a Web-based business, including marketing and advertising for yourself or for your clients through the lessons listed below:

  1. Completing the project : Explore some aspects of bringing any complex project to completion. [The Open University]
  2. Entrepreneurial Finance: This class examines the elements of entrepreneurial finance, focusing on technology-based start-up ventures, and the early stages of company development. [MIT]
  3. Entrepreneurial Marketing: This course clarifies key marketing concepts, methods, and strategic issues relevant for start-up and early-stage entrepreneurs. [MIT]
  4. Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier: This course considers the interaction between law, policy, and technology as they relate to the evolving controversies over control of the Internet. In addition, there is an in-depth treatment of privacy and the notion of “transparency.” [MIT]
  5. Information technology: a new era?: Debates concerned with the new economy and innovation of information and communication technologies. [The Open University]
  6. Marketing communications as a strategic function: Learn how to emphasize the strategic importance of marketing communication, rather than seeing it as merely a tactical process of promoting the other elements of the marketing mix. [The Open University]
  7. Planning a project: This unit will help you to develop the skills required when planning any project. [The Open University]
  8. Pricing: This course, primarily discussion based, provides a framework for understanding pricing strategies and tactics. [MIT]
  9. Search Engines: Technology, Society and Business: Webcast courses on how search engines work so you can make them work for you. [University of California]
  10. Social marketing: Learn about the nature of social marketing and how the adoption of marketing concepts, frameworks and techniques developed for commercial marketers can be applied to social interactions. [The Open University]

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