Free Online Courses

Course Title Educational Entity
Open Online Courses

Open online courses provide public access to learning materials, usually organized in an academic format with components like lectures, readings, assignments, discussions and quizzes. The format encourages knowledge sharing among participants who may enter with different levels of experience and skill. Many of these courses are also free to access online, although students may be required to pay a fee for a completion certificate or an evaluation of overall learning by exam.

Online Colleges

 

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Energy 101

Energy 101 focuses on the big energy picture giving perspective and context to the details one reads in the daily onslaught of energy news in the headlines. As the number 101 indicates, there are no pre-requisites and no particular training or background needed. The course will review the driving forces of energy used in transportation, building heating and cooling, electrical loads and manufacturing. The current facts and trends of the resulting demands placed on coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, biomass, solar and wind used to meet these energy demands are then covered.

Georgia Tech Institute of Technology

 

Global Sustainable Energy:
Past, Present and Future

This general education course will cover concepts of work and energy and their relationship with our modern society. Each aspect of this relationship with energy will be analyzed including consumptive patterns for the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors of our economy. Geological sources for fossil fuels will be examined as will the differences between reserves and production. Energy capacities and limitations for new sources of renewable energies will also be examined. All of these topics will be examined within a national and international context.

University of Florida

 

 

 

Climate Change

This course offers you an introduction to different disciplinary perspectives on Climate Change to help you think about how Climate Change affects you as an individual, as a member of your local community, as a citizen of your country and as a member of the global community.

The University of Melbourne

Climate Literacy:
Navigating Climate Change Conversations

This course explores the basic concepts and terms needed to understand the science of climate change, and the available mitigation, adaptation and policy options. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Tell the story of our climate, describing how interactions among atmosphere, ocean, land, and life lead to climatic changes at all timescales
  • Evaluate the likely effect of historical human fossil emissions and land use changes on Earth’s energy balance and climate.
  • Describe the direct observations of climate change in the second half of the 20th century, and articulate the evidence attributing global warming in this time period to human causes.
  • Assess the utility – and limits – of climate models to predict global and regional climate change.
  • Articulate the demographic, economic, technological and political factors that influence both humans’ impact on the climate and humans’ vulnerability to climate change.
  • Express an informed opinion on the scope and urgency of the efforts needed to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The University of British Columbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sustainability of Food Systems:
A Global Life Cycle Perspective

This course will provide you with an overview of our world’s food system and its many impacts from the individual to the global scale. You will gain further appreciation of the complex implications of choices that are made along the food supply chain. You will be challenged to think critically about how th global food system may need to change to adapt to future economic and environmental conditions.

University of Minnesota

Introduction to Thermodynamics:
Transferring Energy from Here to There

This course will provide you with an introduction to the most powerful engineering principles you will ever learn: thermodynamics! Or the science of transferring energy from one place or form to another place or form. We will introduce the tools you need to analyze energy systems from solar panels, to engines, to insulated coffee mugs.

University of Michigan

A Look at Nuclear Science and Technology

The course, “A Look at Nuclear Science and Technology” is aimed at scientifically inclined individuals who want to learn more about nuclear energy and the nuclear power industry. It will address subjects such as: What is nuclear energy? What is its history? Who are its heroes? Why is it controversial? How do nuclear power plants work? What about nuclear weapons? What are the stereotypes and misconceptions? We expect many students who finish this class to want to go on for further study in a closely related field.

The University of Pittsburgh

 

Sustainable Agricultural Land Management

Protecting the state’s water from nutrient contamination depends on adopting best management practices (BMPs) for land and nutrient management in the urban and agricultural settings. BMPs must be based on science and be practical and economical to adopt, while meeting society’s needs.

University of Florida

 

Introduction to Sustainability

This course introduces the academic approach of Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 

How Green Is That Product? An Introduction to Environmental Life Cycle Assessment

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a fundamental method for assessing the environmental impacts of products and technologies from a “cradle to grave” systems perspective. It is an essential tool for anyone who performs environmental analyses or uses the results of such analyses for decision making.
The course will provide an introduction to LCA methods and applications. Students taking this course will emerge with a solid understanding of why an LCA systems perspective is important, basic skills for sound application of the LCA method and proper interpretation of its results, and an appreciation for the strengths and limitations of LCA in practice.

Northwestern University