Here are a selection of online resources for learning and general interest. Some are general and some provide very specific and sometimes advanced study. This will be updated from time to time. This is just a selection of courses available. There are too many to list them all.
Coursera is a platform that has (as at April 2020) 47 million participants from 29 countries taking over 2000 online courses from over 200 institutions around the world, including several prestigious Universities such as Stanford, Yale, Princeton and the University of Edinburgh (as at March 2015). There is usually a charge to earn a certificate but most courses can be accessed free. These are called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Most provide a certificate but you are not obliged to do the graded quizzes and assignments to earn a certificate. You are welcome to just watch the videos (audit the course). Courses cover a very wide range of topics from Public Speaking to Quantum Physics. Some courses are self-paced but most of them run to a timetable with weekly lectures and quizzes. Some run in parallel with the equivalent on-campus course. Courses vary from 4 to 10 weeks long and the weekly commitment can vary from 3 to 15 hours per week (if you do the quizzes and assignments). You need to create a free personal account to access courses.
edX is a platform that provides over 2,200 online courses from over 70 academic institutions including several prestigious Universities such as UC Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and Stanford. Courses are free. Most provide a certificate but you are not obliged to do the graded quizzes and assignments to earn a certificate. You are welcome to just watch the videos (audit the course). Courses cover a very wide range of topics from The Ancient Greek Hero to Principles of Written English to Combinatorial Mathematics. Courses run to a timetable with weekly lectures and quizzes. Courses vary from 4 to 10 weeks long and the weekly commitment can vary from 3 to 15 hours per week (if you do the quizzes and assignments). You need to create a free personal account to access courses.
FutureLearn is another MOOC platform founded in December 2012 as a company wholly owned by The Open University, UK. It is the first UK-led MOOC platform, and as of March 2017 included 80 UK and international University partners and—-unlike similar platforms—-includes four non-university partners: the British Museum, the British Council, the British Library and the National Film and Television School. Auckland University is also a partner.
MIT Open Courseware provides over 2000 online courses from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Undergraduate and graduate programmes that are run at MIT are available for download, many of them free. Many of their courses are also available on edX. You don’t need to create an account to download courses. Course quizzes and exams are available but they are not graded. You can choose to work through them or just watch the videos. Many of the courses also use a text book. Courses are provided under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial-Share Alike licence.
open.michigan is a University of Michigan initiative that enables faculty, students, and others to share their educational resources and research with the global learning community.
Lynda.com provides 5,800 courses and 260,000 tutorials, especially relating to computers. It has a paid subscription but you can get free access through the Selwyn or Christchurch libraries.
kanopy provides streaming of a large numbers of movies and videos. Most are educational , typically about half-an-hour and ideal for a discussion group. It has a paid subscription but you can get free access through the Selwyn or Christchurch libraries.
OpenLearn is UK’s Open University educational website. It has a range of courses games and other activities.
Stanford online provide their courses using the edX platform.
U3A Online is an Australian-based virtual U3A that makes courses available to U3A groups and to individuals. The courses have been developed by Griffiths University. Individuals can join for A$25 pa for any number of courses or U3A groups can join for A$15 pa plus A$20 for each course run each year. The courses are delivered by course notes that are downloaded.
Udacity provides course in computers and technology. Fees are charged, typically US$200 per month.
iTunes U is an online “university” designed for the iPad. It is designed for qualifying schools, colleges and universities to distribute courses.
U3A UK provides a list of several UK resources
The Royal Society of New Zealand runs public lectures
Many can be viewed on their website at:
Or they can be viewed in high quality on their vimeo site at:
The Royal Society, London, runs public lectures, scientific meetings and exhibitions throughout the year and the Summer Science Exhibition in July. Many are video recorded.
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.