Open educational content and resources for teachers and others interested in lifelong learning abound on the web. The sites referenced in this document are examples of the growing availability of web-based educational resources. Beyond content, these websites include instructions on how to link or download content and tools, reviews of content, frequency of page viewing, length of viewing time, and resources in multiple formats and languages.

If this seems like one way technology delivering video lectures and presentations, consider the sites also provide linked professional discussion forums, blogs, virtual “office hours” with experts in their field, comments from viewers and the opportunity to experience various forums such as key international conferences and interviews conducted by students and reporters from other countries.

With the addition of an instructional “architect” and coach (teacher) weaving together these resources and guiding students through thoughtful discussions of the content, fostering critical thinking and creating meaningful assessments, we can shift students’ academic experiences and make them not only better prepared for college but better prepared for life.


Minnesota Learning Commons (MnLC)

The Minnesota Learning Commons offers P-20 educators across the state a one-stop, low-cost (mostly free), high-tech solution to their digital content needs, including the robust multimedia learning objects from the National Repository of Online Courses (NROC).

National Repository of Online Courses (NROC)

NROC is an Open Educational Resource (OER) that is made available at no cost via public websites like The content at these sites is intended for individual use only. Institutions (e.g., schools and agencies) can gain access to NROC content by becoming members of the NROC Network. Membership fees from the NROC Network are used to support OER websites and provide access to quality educational content to everyone. Minnesota has a license to the NROC Network through the MnLC.


An example of an online lesson about the Japanese Internment during WWII is available in online AP History through HippoCampus.

Free Technology for Teachers

A review (Blog) of free technology resources and how teachers can use them. Ideas for technology integration in education.

For example, here are the seven most popular items of the week of January 11, 2010:

1. Google Earth Layer About the Earthquake in Haiti

2. Creating Podcasts from Soup to Nuts

3. More than 100 Editorial Cartoons Lesson Plans

4. Need Storage? Get a Google Docs Account

5. Steering Clear of Cyber Tricks

6. ShoutEm - Create Your Own Microblogging Network

7. Biology Animations Library

Google for Educators

Google supports teachers in their efforts to empower students and expand the frontiers of human knowledge. They have assembled information, resources and tools including a teacher’s guide to innovative ways to use Google Tools, a quarterly newletter, and an educator’s blog and discussion group.

NASA Educational Resources

Educators and students may explore and experience unique space and aeronautics content through NASA's education opportunities including interacting with NASA engineers and scientists in the programs that emphasize attracting and retaining students in STEM disciplines.


Apple has been building this online “university” and filling it with free content—at last count, more than 100,000 educational video and audio files—from top universities (London School of Economics), NPR stations (Minnesota Public Radio’s “Grammar Grater,” a weekly podcast about English words, grammar and usage), famous museums and other cultural institutions all over the world.

Academic Earth

Here you’ll find thousands of video lectures from the world’s top scholars—from Yale’s Shelly Kagan on the “Philosophy on Life and Death” to investment banker Stan Christensen and former San Francisco 49er quarterback Steve Young on “Football vs. Business Negotiations.”


The rapidly expanding default site for user-generated video now includes an education “channel” called YouTube EDU, with content from top universities and other institutions.

Venomous prehistoric raptor discovery
Larry Martin – Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Kansas University
3:28 minutes - 5,882 views


Giving voice and visibility to discovery that is changing the world

ResearchChannel was founded by a consortium of leading research and academic institutions to share the valuable work of their researchers with the public. ResearchChannel is now available to nearly 38 million satellite and cable television subscribers and our Web site is visited by 2 million visitors each year. The channel is also available on more than 80 university-and school-based cable systems in the United States and in other countries. The University of Michigan, the George Mason University and the National Science Foundation are just a few of the world-renowned institutions that participate and whose programs are featured.

Example 1:
From Cell Phones to Smart Phones to Smart Books - An Exciting Journey
University of Washington
Irwin Jacobs, co-founder of Qualcomm, will touch on the history of the wireless telecommunications research and development company, and explore further developments in wireless technology, devices and applications.

More than one billion cellular devices are now shipped each year to more than four billion subscribers worldwide. More than half will soon support wide-area broadband access to the Internet with devices that are increasingly more powerful, more compact and less expensive than their predecessors.

Example 2:
Avian Flu and HIV/AIDS
University of Maryland at College Park
Hear from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health on initiatives to bolster preparedness against emerging infectious disease threats such as pandemic influenza.


The site offers video lectures presented by distinguished scholars and scientists at conferences, seminars, workshops and the like. A project of the Jožef Stefan Institute in Slovenia has a decidedly international feel.

Example 1:
IAPSS Annual Academic Conference 2009 "Stand up for Peace: Truth and Reconciliation Process" - Belgrade
"Stand up for Peace: Truth and Reconciliation Process", was held July 2009, at the University of Belgrade in Serbia. Inquiry for the conference was within the framework of the following themes: Reconciliation Process, Process of Stabilization and Association and Youth impact.

Example 2:
The World is Flat 3.0
author: Thomas Friedman, New York Times

Thomas Friedman, author and columnist for the New York Times, gave the keynote presentation at MIT’s recent event in celebration of reaching 1800 published OCW courses. The speech was insightful and timely, but also very well delivered.

The World Is Flat 3.0 is Thomas L. Friedman's account of the great changes taking place in our time, as lightning-swift advances in technology and communications put people all over the globe in touch as never before-creating an explosion of wealth in India and China, and challenging the rest of us to run even faster just to stay in place.

Example 3:
The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life
author: Philip Zimbardo, Stanford University

In The Time Paradox, Drs. Zimbardo and Boyd draw on thirty years of pioneering research to reveal, for the first time, how your individual time perspective shapes your life and is shaped by the world around you. They demonstrate that your and every other individual's time zones interact to create national cultures, economics, and personal destinies.

Open Culture

Podcasts, videos, courses, language lessons, and free eBooks,
The best free cultural and educational media on the web
250 Free Online Courses from Top Universities

Example 1:
“What would MLK say about the USA today?” (YouTube) 2:14 minutes
Stanford University – Professor Clayborne Carson, Historian
Professor Carson holds open office hours on the Stanford Facebook Page
Free downloadable course “African-American History: Modern Freedom Struggle”
Available on YouTube and iTunes

Example 2:
Vladimir Horowitz plays Mozart’s Sonata in C Major in the USSR in during a 1986 recital in Moscow and Chopin’s 2nd Piano Sonata at the White House
4:55 minutes

Standalone university sites

webcast.berkeley. The University of California-Berkeley records in lecture halls and classrooms equipped with video- and/or podcast-capture systems. In addition to hundreds of courses, the site offers on-campus lectures, debates, symposiums and other events.

Harvard@home. The site features more than 60 multimedia-rich programs on topics ranging from stem cells to Beethoven.

OpenCourseWare. Here you’ll find 1,800-some academic courses—complete with syllabuses, assignments, exams, and, in many cases, audio or video lectures—that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has put online.

How-to ...

Learning center. Acquire lots of different skills—from organizing your daily life to mastering Google Desktop—from Hewlett Packard’s online classes. Each class includes up to 10 lessons and may also include interactive demos, assignments and quizzes.

WonderHowTo. Curators scour more than 1,700 websites and hand-pick instructional videos—from how to live longer (with University of Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey) to teaching your dog to roll over and play dead.

Howcast. Its videos run the gamut from “How to Look Great in Photographs” to “How to Jump-Start Your Car.” Make your own how-to shorts in Howcast’s Emerging Filmmakers Program.

Videojug. This British entry features thousands of “how to” and “ask the expert” videos on a seemingly endless array of topics.

Deep thinkers and featured speakers

TEDTalks. Since 1984, the annual conference that goes by the acronym TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) has brought together some of the world’s top thinkers and doers and challenged them to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. This site aggregates the best of those, including Australian science writer Margaret Wertheim’s presentation about the beautiful mathematical links among coral, crochet and hyperbolic geometry.

Nobel Prize winners. The online home of the Nobel Prizes is packed with interviews with and lectures by some of the world’s smartest people. There’s an interview, for example, with Italian neurologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, the first Nobel laureate to reach the age of 100. (She and a colleague won the 1986 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their discovery of nerve growth factor.) In it, Levi-Montalcini talks about why this latest period of her life has been the best.

Forum National Network. A consortium of public television and radio stations offers live and on-demand lectures by some of the world’s foremost scholars, authors, artists, scientists, policymakers and community leaders. Recent lecture webcasts included Harvard sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot discussing her new book, The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50. The best starting point for accessing all the multimedia content is through the website of one of its members, the Boston-based WGBH Forum Network.

Big Ideas. This site, courtesy of TVO, Canada’s largest educational broadcaster, presents lectures on a variety of thought-provoking topics that range across politics, culture, economics, art, history, science, and other fields. There’s even a “Best Lecturer Competition.”

Specific Disciplines and Areas of Study

Health. Three trustworthy stops: WebMD’s Videos A-Z library, which has thousands of videos, catalogued by topic;’s Video Library; and the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Audio/Video Library, which includes interviews with UMMC experts, patient success stories and surgical webcasts.

Languages. The BBC offers audio and video language courses for beginners and intermediates in more than two dozen languages–French, German, Japanese ... even Urdu.

Cooking. Tempting sites: “Around the World in 80 Dishes” is a series of video-based cooking classes at; the Culinary Institute of America, the famous school for chefs in Hyde Park, N.Y., offers classes on its YouTube network and its podcasts on iTunes; the Food Network, and the Williams-Sonoma Video Library and Look and Taste, have lots more recipes and how-to videos.

Literature. LibriVox’s goal is to make all books in the public domain available as free audiobooks. Volunteers record the books, chapter by chapter, and release the audio files back onto the net.

Jazz profiles. Take the I-Train to the archive of NPR’s Jazz Profiles, a documentary series hosted by singer Nancy Wilson. You can listen to the shows as podcasts, read profiles of the performers featured in the series and download the playlists for each show.

Finding Your Ancestors. The Mormon Church is well known for its repository of genealogy records, so it makes sense that Brigham Young University would offer online courses in how to research your family history.

History. The online counterpart of television’s History Channel, has a video library well worth checking out.

Computer programming. Maybe you’ve read about Ethan Nicholas, who earned $800,000 by writing an artillery game called “iShoot” for the iPhone. If you want to try your own hand, consider auditing Stanford’s Computer Science 193P: iPhone Application Programming. The 10-week undergraduate course attracted 150 students for only 50 spots when it was introduced on campus last fall. Online viewers see the same lectures as classroom students.


Adapted from referenced websites andHow to Learn Just About Anything Online…For Free (AARP Bulletin Today January 1, 2010)

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