100 Free and Useful Open Courseware Classes for Web Workers

Today’s web workers need to have a well-rounded set of skills and knowledge to succeed. Expected to know their way around a computer, understand the invisible nature of Internet audiences, have the skill to communicate with words and graphic images, and be able to maintain their own business, it’s understandable that web workers may be seeking ways to continually improve their knowledge base. These free open courseware classes can help any web worker get a step up on the task with courses including web design skills, media arts, photography and video, writing and communication, technology, and even classes to help freelancers get ahead with marketing and entrepreneurial topics.

Web Design

Whether you are learning the basics, need a refresher course, or would like to learn a bit extra, these classes offer skills necessary to become a great web designer.

  1. Weekly Web Design Class. Learn what truly makes a website outstanding in this class that takes you beyond simply learning HTML to learn web design. [About.com]
  2. Flash. Create a Flash project for your portfolio while learning to use Flash 8. [Utah State University]
  3. Interactive Multimedia Production. If you want to get the basics of Flash 9, complete a project in this class. [Utah State University in Logan, Utah]
  4. Learn and Apply HTML. If you need to learn more about HTML, take this class to build a solid foundation. [Utah State University]
  5. Blender 3D Design. Explore modeling and animation while creating 3D designs by using Blender software in this class. [Tufts University, Massachusetts]
  6. Designing the user interface: text, colour, images, moving images and sound. Discover the best way to incorporate text, color, images, and sound so that users can interact effectively with websites and software. [The Open University]
  7. Blogs, Wikis, New Media for Learning. Find out how to use popular Web 2.0 tools and applications in this class. [Utah State University]
  8. Adobe Photoshop Basics. If Photoshop has you baffled, subscribe to 8 weekly lessons here to learn the basics. [About.com]
  9. Adobe Sample Courses. Get free courses in Photoshop, InDesign, and Acrobat from Adobe with 7 days of free online training. [Adobe Online Training]
  10. QuarkEd Training Files. Whether you are just learning Quark or are an old pro, these free files will have something for you to learn. [Quark]
  11. DHTML Animation. Using HTML, CSS, and Javascript, learn the how to animate web pages. [About.com]
  12. Graphic Design Basics. These free classes will teach you the basics of graphic design. [About.com]
  13. Beginning Web Design Course. Whether you are new to web design or would like a fresh approach, take this course to learn the basics for designing eye-catching websites. [About.com]

Comparative Media and Media Arts

Understanding culture, art, and the technology of new media is at the heart of these comparative media and media art classes.

  1. Media Art I. Students will learn sound, installation and video art in this introductory class. [Capilano University]
  2. Media Art II. Part two of this series offers a study of visual arts with lessons in black and white chemical photography and digital imaging. [Capilano University]
  3. Media Art III. The third class examines digital sound, digital video art, and performance art as it pertains to the visual arts. [Capilano University]
  4. Media Art IV. Complete this four-part series with an independent project that allow students to examine both technical and conceptual aspects of media art. [Capilano University]
  5. Special Topics in Multimedia Production: Experiences in Interactive Art. Students will make their own interactive art project after hearing visiting artists’ lectures and participating in discussion on the history of interactive art. [MIT]
  6. Ambient Intelligence. Create your own project after learning about Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in this course. [MIT]
  7. Fundamentals of Computational Media Design. Get the basics of media design while taking advantage of hands-on design opportunities here. [MIT]
  8. Introduction to Media Studies. Cover topics including blogging, intellectual property, and game modification in this class which teaches the basics about new media. [MIT]
  9. New Media Literacies. Explore online social networking, video gaming, collective intelligence, and other related subjects of media literacy. [MIT]
  10. Workshop I. Get a hands-on opportunity to learn technical skills in this graduate-level media studies class. [MIT]
  11. American Soap Operas. Examine the transformation of American soap operas and take a look at popular shows such as 24 and Friday Night Lights and explore their roots in daytime soap operas. [MIT]
  12. Videogame Theory and Analysis. Learn about the impact of videogames on culture, society and education in this class. [MIT]
  13. Topics in Comparative Media: American Pro Wrestling. Whether you are a wrestling fan or not, this class offers an interesting and entertaining look at how new technologies and changes in television helped pro wrestling evolve in America . [MIT]
  14. The Anthropology of Sound. Learn about the relationship between culture, technology, and people and the human experience of sound while studying topics as sound art, music, and environmental recordings. [MIT]
  15. Popular Narrative: Masterminds. Students will study popular literary masterminds and create a class “cyberconversation” of their findings. [MIT]
  16. History of Media and Technology: Sound, the Minority Report — Radical Music of the Past 100 Years. Explore the history of avant-garde and electronic music from the early 20th century to present day in this course. [MIT]

Photography and Video

Learn the basics of photography and video or step up to more complex skills with these classes.

  1. Introduction to Photography. This class covers camera basics, black and white techniques, digital photography, developing, printing, and more for students who are just learning about photography. [MIT]
  2. Photography and Truth. Examine how photography facilitates communication and documentation as an art form and as a research tool. [MIT]
  3. Language of the Image. Learn how to communicate with a photographic image in this class. [News University, Florida]
  4. Picturing the family. Old family photos are rich in technical details and culture that may not be apparent upon first glance. Learn the details of what these photos say in this class. [The Open University]
  5. Photography and Related Media. Beginners as well as advanced photographers can learn technical and cultural photography lessons in this class. [MIT]
  6. Reading visual images. Explore history and social science through photographic images in this course. [The Open University]
  7. Introduction to Video. Students complete projects to develop skills as a videographer and video editor, including a final assignment of personal storytelling. [MIT]
  8. Advanced Projects in the Visual Arts: Personal Narrative. The second part of Introduction to Video, this class teaches students about creating a movie and exploring narrative in cinema through student projects. [MIT]
  9. Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling. Learn about recording, taping, and editing for Internet content with a focus on audio, video, and graphics in this class. [News University]


Learn about technology strategies, search engines, art and technology, and more in these classes that are rooted in technology.

  1. Technology Strategy. This course covers investment planning and behavior of competition, suppliers, and customers for those who will invest in or run a business where technology plays a major role. [MIT]
  2. Internet Technology in Local and Global Communities. Examine programming, Internet technology, open source programs, and entrepreneurship in this class that is part of the MIT-African Internet Technology Initiative. [MIT]
  3. Search Engines: Technology, Society and Business. Learn about Internet searches and how they relate to business from a distinguished group of lecturers in this course. [UC Berkeley]
  4. Feeling and Imagination in Art, Science, and Technology. Study philosophy, psychology, and literature to learn about the ways emotion and imagination play into the creative process. [MIT]
  5. Art and Technology. Learn about the relationship between art and technology from its historical roots to current day. [Capilano University]
  6. Technologies for Creative Learning. Examine ways new technologies can help stimulate learning and creativity in this hands-on course that uses the Lego Programmable Brick and Computer Clubhouse to facilitate learning. [MIT]
  7. Media Industries and Systems. Learn how trends, audience, and the creative process are important forces shaping content in media industries and systems. [MIT]
  8. Technology for Professional Writers. This course teaches important technology skills for writers who may need an extra boost in tech savvy. [Utah State University]
  9. Common Sense Reasoning for Interactive Applications. Study the relationship between humans and computers while learning to increase communication in this class. [MIT]
  10. Affective Computing. Learn how emotions are elicited via the computer and the relationship between computing and emotion. [MIT]
  11. Signals, Systems, and Information for Media Technology. This graduate-level class explores audio/visual signals and how they are received by humans. [MIT]


Practice and improve your writing skills with these classes that also offer a glimpse into important topics such as social and ethical issues, consumer culture, creativity, and media.

  1. Expository Writing: Social and Ethical Issues in Print, Photography and Film. This course teaches students to expand their writing skills to create well-reasoned arguments and a polished product through the study of film and literature,. [MIT]
  2. Expository Writing: Analyzing Mass Media. Take a look at the impact mass media has had on American culture while learning to write a strong, persuasive essay. [MIT]
  3. Expository Writing – Food for Thought: Writing and Reading about Food and Culture. Strengthen writing skills while studying about culture through food in this class that will have your mouth watering. [MIT]
  4. The Creative Spark. Learn what is creativity, how it’s valued, and how it grows through journal writings and studying artists of various media. [MIT]
  5. Consumer Culture. Practice writing while also taking a look into the culture of American consumerism in this class. [MIT]
  6. Writing and Experience: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace. Through an exploration of American pop culture, this class helps practice and improve writing for an online audience. [MIT]
  7. Becoming Digital: Writing About Media Change. With the shift to digital media, business, communication, and entertainment have changed significantly. This class explores that shift while strengthening writing skills. [MIT]
  8. Digital Poetry. Students explore digital poetry in various forms including soundscapes, hypertext poetry, animation, code poems, and interactive games. [MIT]
  9. Argumentation and Communication. This writing class teaches to present and persuade the written word effectively. [MIT]


Being an effective communicator is a vital part of being a successful web worker. No matter if you’re using the written word or images, these classes will help you learn ways to improve your communication with any type of audience.

  1. Management Communications for Undergraduates. Focus on writing, speaking, team work, and interpersonal relationship skills in this communications class. [MIT]
  2. Understanding Online Interaction. This course examines the psychology of communication on the Internet and includes student participation in several types of interactive media. [Utah State University]
  3. Communicating in Cyberspace. Examine the ways information is communicated on the Internet and learn how to effectively communicate in cyberspace. [MIT]
  4. Intro to Tech Communication. If you come from a technical background rather than a literary one, this course offers the basics in writing for an information-based audience. [MIT]
  5. Introduction to Technical Communication: Ethics in Science and Technology. Take a look at how ethical dilemmas are approached and dealt with when they arise in technology-based situations in this class. [MIT]
  6. Introduction to Technical Communication: Explorations in Scientific and Technical Writing. This course provides the basics in technical writing with subjects ranging from graphics, web page writing and design, and email. [MIT]
  7. Communicating Across Cultures. Learn how to improve intercultural communication and interactions in this class. [MIT]
  8. Key skill assessment: communication. Designed to improve speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, this class offers an opportunity to practice communication skills. [The Open University]
  9. Social Visualization. Learn how to visualize the invisible crowd of Internet users, their activities, and interactions so better connect with them. [MIT]
  10. Using Internet Communications. Study theories of communication as they relate to the Internet in this class. [UMass Boston]
  11. Foundations of Language and Communications. Reading, writing, and presentation skills are emphasized in this communications course.. [Western Governors University]

Copyright, Law, and Ethics

It’s a foolish web worker who doesn’t know a few things about copyright, ethics, and legal issues surrounding the Internet. Protect yourself by taking these classes and becoming an expert in this area.

  1. Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier. Discusses several timely topics and policies concerning the Internet and law in this course. [MIT]
  2. Information Law and Policy. Find out about copyright law, protecting databases, licensing of information, privacy and much more in this course. [UC Berkeley]
  3. Introduction to Copyright Law. Learn the basics of copyright law with an emphasis on Internet-related topics. [MIT]
  4. Patents, Copyrights, and the Law of Intellectual Property. Learn US laws as they pertain to patents, copyrights and intellectual property in this seminar-style class. [MIT]
  5. Innovative Businesses and Breakthrough Technologies–the Legal Issues. This introduction to business law covers several areas of legal concerns ranging from the legal framework of R&D to intellectual property protections. [MIT]
  6. Literature, Ethics, and Authority. Study ethics through an examination of literature and films in this class from the Sloan School of Management. [MIT]
  7. International Law. Learn the basics of International Law in this course that covers topics like dispute settlements, state responsibility, and international resource management. [Professional Educational Organization International]
  8. Ethical Practice: Professionalism, Social Responsibility, and the Purpose of the Corporation. With a focus on business management, this class looks at the ethics and social responsibility of businesses. [MIT]
  9. Ethics Part 1 and Ethics Part 2. Study the early history of ethics and make your way to modern ethical theories in this two-part class. [Western Governors University]


Whether you are marketing yourself or a client, learn the basics as well as more complex marketing theories with these classes.

  1. Introduction to Marketing. An excellent start for those just beginning to study marketing, this course from the Sloan School of Management covers all the basics. [MIT]
  2. Marketing Management. This introductory course offers a basic overview of the concepts of marketing and is another place to start before moving to more advanced marketing courses. [MIT]
  3. Special Seminar in Marketing: Marketing Management. Take this seminar to get the basics of marketing ideas and phenomena as well as learning market analysis and planning. [MIT]
  4. Marketing communications as a strategic function. This class goes over the basic arguments for marketing communications as an important strategy, the changing role of communications, and customer preferences. [The Open University]
  5. Marketing Strategy. Examine marketing in conjunction with company strategy in this course specifically recommended for entrepreneurs, consultants, and project managers. [MIT]
  6. Entrepreneurial Marketing. Focus on general concepts of marketing problems in order to learn about basic marketing and new venture issues. [MIT]
  7. Strategic Marketing Management. Learn to understand the market in this course, which will teach the skills necessary to complete a marketing research survey. [MIT]
  8. Listening to the Customer. This course, the companion course to Strategic Marketing Management, approaches marketing from the needs of the customers rather than the market. [MIT]
  9. Pricing. Learn important pricing strategies and tactics in this class. [MIT]
  10. Innovative Product Development. Explore new product development in the context of technology, the innovation process, and more in this course. [MIT]
  11. Too unimportant to fail? Innovations and competitive selection in markets. Learn about innovation and creativity in economies, the changing role of research and development, and much more in this class. [Gresham College]


Many web workers are freelancers, but even if you aren’t, you may need to understand the unique perspective of an entrepreneur in dealing with clients. Take these classes to find out everything from raising capital to behavior of an entrepreneur to successful women entrepreneurs.

  1. Developmental Entrepreneurship. Through examination of real-life examples of both failed and successful businesses in developing countries, this class explores developmental opportunities and business models. [MIT]
  2. Entrepreneurial Finance. Entrepreneurs will enjoy the lessons in this course that examines raising money for technology-based companies and the early stages of development. [MIT]
  3. Early Stage Capital. This course offers lessons on start-ups and early stage capital generation with a focus on building relationships with investors and advisors. [MIT]
  4. Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning. Learn the basics of getting personal finances in order and planning for the future to positively impact your business as an entrepreneur. [UC Irvine]
  5. Investment Risk. Entrepreneurs are smart to learn about risk. This course focuses on risk aversion, qualifying risk, risk factors, and discounted cash flow and the net present value rule. [The Open University]
  6. Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager. This class strives to educate entrepreneurs in the basics of the legal issues that affect a business from start-up to going public. [MIT]
  7. Special Seminar in Management The Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans. Specifically designed for entrepreneurs, this seminar looks at the basics of creating a business plan. [MIT]
  8. Entrepreneurial behavior. Explore the definitions, qualities, function, and work styles of entrepreneurs in this class. [The Open University]
  9. Managerial Economics. Learn the basics of microeconomics as it pertains to management decisions in this class that is important for any entrepreneur. [Utah State University]
  10. How to Develop “Breakthrough” Products and Services. This course teaches how to create breakthrough products and services through concrete, systematic concepts. [MIT]
  11. Entrepreneurship in Contemporary America. Learn what several successful American business women have faced in a field that has typically been viewed as a man’s world. [Harvard University]