Enhance your Knowledge with Online Sources

There are an abundance of online sources available today to enhance learning. You may want to start with the librarians at your university before looking further afield. They should be able to assist you with locating helpful online resources to enhance your knowledge of a particular topic. Additionally, a large number of universities and other organizations around the world offer podcasts of lectures and seminars. For example, you can access University of Oxford podcasts on iTunes or on the university’s parallel site. There, you can search for resources by university name or by subject area. Keep in mind that the content, as well as sight and sound quality, can vary greatly depending on the institution.

YouTube can also be a valuable site for learning. A few years ago I was grappling with statistics as part of my coursework and was introduced to the book Discovering Statistics using SPSS by Andy Field. I was pleasantly surprised to find YouTube videos of Andy Field teaching, as well as a number of other helpful videos on statistics. It is certainly worth checking YouTube for useful sources. However, keep in mind not all sources are credible.

If you’re looking for more structured university resources, then check out the open courseware (OCW) offerings at the University of Oxford Mathematical Institute, MIT, and Yale. You can download selected course content free of charge. You may also be interested in massive open online courses or (MOOCs). One popular MOOC provider in the UK is FutureLearn, a private company owned by the Open University. They partner with over 70 universities and offer a range of courses in various subject areas. In the U.S., two popular MOOC providers are Cousera, which started in 2012, and EdX, also started in 2012 and founded by Harvard and MIT. Both have a large number of university and organization partners around the world. The MOOCs are free. However, for a fee, you can receive a certificate for certain courses. Additionally, EdX has partnered with Arizona State University to create the Global Freshmen Academy which offers college credit for courses. While a MOOC cannot replace the full classroom learning experience, some do offer opportunities to participate in online discussions with peers. Also, many students find the audio and video aspects of MOOCs appealing and enjoy taking advantage of anytime anywhere learning.

The University of Oxford does not offer MOOCs. However, the Department of Continuing Education offers a number of fee-based online courses.  Additionally, the University of Oxford IT Services department has partnered with lynda.com to provide members of the University with free online courses to develop IT skills. Also, see the University of Oxford IT Services site for free downloadable IT course materials available to everyone.