100 Free Open Courseware Classes on Journalism, Blogging and New Media

Mar 2nd, 2009

There was a time when writers and artists were at the mercy of a few decision-makers who said what was published and what was cast aside. The ease of getting your work online has made those days a distant memory. Blogging about your world, reporting what goes on around you, and even publishing your own art is as easy as setting up a blog or purchasing a domain name and creating your own website. The following free open courseware classes will help you learn about new media, writing, reporting, or even just understanding the culture or your rights as an online publisher.

New Media and Comparative Media

Study everything from blogs and wikis to videogame theory to American pro wrestling and how they affect culture in these classes.

  1. Blogs, Wikis, New Media for Learning. Learn about web 2.0 technology in this class that covers such topics as blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, bookmarking tools, podcasts, and more. [Utah State University]
  2. Introduction to Media Studies. Get to know the basics about new media in this class which covers many topics, including blogging, intellectual property, and game modification. [MIT]
  3. New Media Literacies. Examine literacy in the light of new media by exploring online social networking, videogaming, collective intelligence, and other related subjects of media literacy. [MIT]
  4. Workshop I. This graduate-level media studies class provides a hands-on opportunity to learn technical skills from the theories learned in Comparative Media Studies classes. [MIT]
  5. Videogame Theory and Analysis. Learn how video games relate to cultural, social, and educational functions in current society in this class. [MIT]
  6. Topics in Comparative Media: American Pro Wrestling. Explore how new technologies and changes in television helped pro wrestling in America evolve. [MIT]
  7. American Soap Operas. Study the transformation of American soap operas, then make comparisons with recent incarnations of these types of shows by comparing with popular shows like 24 and Friday Night Lights. [MIT]
  8. The Anthropology of Sound. Learn about the human experience of sound and study such topics as sound art, music, and environmental recordings as you explore the relationship between culture, technology, and people. [MIT]
  9. History of Media and Technology: Sound, the Minority Report — Radical Music of the Past 100 Years. Students will examine the history of avant-garde and electronic music from the early 20th century to present day. [MIT]
  10. Popular Narrative: Masterminds. By creating a class "cyberconversation," students will participate in an ongoing reading journal discussing popular literary masterminds. [MIT]

Media Arts

These classes cover digital art, holographs, HTML, Flash, and more to help you gain a great foundation in the media arts.

  1. Media Art I. Explore "time-based art practices" in this class where students will learn sound, installation and video art. [Capilano University]
  2. Media Art II. Study the visual arts while learning black and white chemical photography and digital imaging. [Capilano University]
  3. Media Art III. This class looks at digital sound, digital video art, and performance art as it pertains to the visual arts. [Capilano University]
  4. Media Art IV. Round out this series while creating an independent project in this class that examines both technical and conceptual aspects of media art. [Capilano University]
  5. Special Topics in Multimedia Production: Experiences in Interactive Art. Using visiting artists’ lectures and discussion on the history of interactive art as springboards, students create their own interactive art project in this class. [MIT]
  6. Holographic Imaging. Explore the science behind holographs and learn how to create your own in this class. [MIT]
  7. Relational Machines. Social psychology, human-computer interaction, and design come together in this course where students design their own interactive robot. [MIT]
  8. Ambient Intelligence. Study Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and create your own project in this course. [MIT]
  9. Designing the user interface: text, colour, images, moving images and sound. Discover the best way to incorporate these elements so that users can best interact with websites and software. [The Open University]
  10. Learn and Apply HTML. Learn the basics of HTML and how to use it to help you build a website without needing expensive software. [Utah State University]
  11. Blender 3D Design. Create 3D designs by using Blender software in this class that explores modeling and animation. [Tufts University]
  12. Interactive Multimedia Production. Learn the fundamentals of building a Flash 9 project in this class. [Utah State University]
  13. Flash. Using Flash 8, learn how to create a project for your portfolio. [Utah State University]
  14. Fundamentals of Computational Media Design. Get the basics of media design in this class that offers hands-on design opportunities. [MIT]

Technology and Media

Art and technology meet in these classes that cover topics such as the anthropology of computing and the evolution of the printed word to digital format.

  1. Communicating in Technical Organizations. Focus on both writing in a technical environment as well as using technology-assisted communication in this class. [MIT]
  2. 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]
  3. Art and Technology. Learn about the relationship between art and technology as it is occurring today and as it was throughout history. [Capilano University]
  4. 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 as an example. [MIT]
  5. Media Industries and Systems. Learn about the trends, audience, and creative process as forces shaping content in media industries and systems. [MIT]
  6. Technology for Professional Writers. This course teaches important technology skills with a focus on the writer’s perspective. [Utah State University]
  7. Intro to Tech Communication. This course offers the basics of writing for an information-based audience and is especially valuable if you come from a more technical background than a literary one. [MIT]
  8. Introduction to Technical Communication: Ethics in Science and Technology. Take a look at how ethical dilemmas and how they are handled when they arise in technology-based situations. [MIT]
  9. Introduction to Technical Communication: Explorations in Scientific and Technical Writing. This course offers the basics in technical communications with topics including graphics, web page writing and design, and email. [MIT]
  10. Common Sense Reasoning for Interactive Applications. Study the relationship between humans and computers with an emphasis on increasing communication in this class. [MIT]
  11. The Anthropology of Computing. Take a look at the people behind computing from the early days to the modern world while exploring such issues as hackers, privacy, and more. [MIT]
  12. Affective Computing. Study the relation between computing and emotion in this class that examines how emotions are elicited via the computer. [MIT]
  13. Signals, Systems, and Information for Media Technology. This graduate-level class explores audio/visual signals and how they are received by humans. [MIT]
  14. From Print to Digital: Technologies of the Word, 1450-Present. Study texts, printing technologies, and reading communities from 1450 to the present to learn how printed texts have evolved into the current digital texts so popular now. [MIT]

Photography and Photojournalism

No matter if you just need to learn the basics of photography and graphic design or want to find out how to make the most from an image for photojournalism, these classes will have you shooting great photos.

  1. Documentary Photography and Photo Journalism: Still Images of A World In Motion. Get an introduction to documentary photographers and photojournalists while also creating your own photo documentary. [MIT]
  2. Multimedia Reporting: Covering Breaking News. Examine the journalism of six online news agencies during Hurricane Katrina to learn more about reporting breaking news in a multimedia environment. [News University]
  3. Photography and Truth. This class examines how photography works to document and communicate as an art form and as a research tool. [MIT]
  4. Language of the Image. Learn the important task of communicating through an image with the lessons in this class. [News University]
  5. Handling Horrible Images: eSeminar Replay. Photojournalism can be a gruesome job. Learn how journalists make difficult decisions when it comes to including some images in their stories. [News University]
  6. Numeric Photography. Photography and computation meet in this class that explores digital art through weekly projects and a final group project. [MIT]
  7. Stories Without Words: Photographing the First Year. Learn to see a new environment through photography with this class that utilizes the freshman experience to teach storytelling with photography. [MIT]
  8. Audiovisual Production Learning Club. Join this community-based class to learn how to produce and distribute a variety of multimedia including photography, videography, music production, and more. [The Open University]
  9. Introduction to Photography. This beginning class covers camera basics, black and white techniques, digital photography, developing, printing, and more. [MIT]
  10. Photography and Related Media. Learn how images are produced both technically and culturally in this photography class that also teaches practical applications appropriate for both beginners and advanced photographers. [MIT]
  11. Sensing Place: Photography as Inquiry. Learn how to see and investigate landscape in order to express ideas with this class. [MIT]
  12. Literary Interpretation: Literature and Photography: The Image. Study literature, photography, and film to explore literary themes and history. [MIT]
  13. Reading visual images. Learn about history and social science through photography in this course. [The Open University]
  14. Picturing the family. This class provides an in depth analysis of historical family photos including technical details as well as several cultural aspects captured in the photos. [The Open University]

Video and Film

Learn to tell a story with video or study films to learn how others have told their stories in these classes.

  1. Producing Films for Social Change. Create your own documentary focusing on social issues while learning the basics of filmmaking in this hands-on course. [Tufts University]
  2. Philosophy of Film. Learn how film creates meaning by exploring such issues as appearance and reality, visual effects, and communication and alienation. [MIT]
  3. The Film Experience. Study the history of film, especially looking at early American works, but with a glimpse into France, Italy, and Japan as well. [MIT]
  4. Studies in Film. Examine the intersection of film and literature to learn about narrative in film. [MIT]
  5. Film as Visual and Literary Mythmaking. Learn how film and literature have contributed to making classic myths of the Western world. [MIT]
  6. Philosophy in Film and Other Media. Take a look at philosophy and some of its important themes by exploring film, as well as literature and opera. [MIT]
  7. Introduction to Video. Work on projects that will develop your skills as a videographer and video editor, including a final assignment of personal storytelling. [MIT]
  8. Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling. Learn about audio, video, and graphics in this class that focuses on recording, taping, and editing for Internet content. [News University]
  9. Advanced Projects in the Visual Arts: Personal Narrative. A continuation from Introduction to Video, this class teaches students about creating a movie through exploring narrative in cinema via student projects. [MIT]
  10. Topics in Cinematic Storytelling. Learn the basics of communicating a storyline through visual mediums. [MIT]
  11. Understanding Television. Explore the cultural evolution of television and its impact on society in this course. [MIT]
  12. Good Shooting Guide: the basic principles. Students will get the basics on shooting video footage that is not only usable, but well-done. [BBC Training & Development]


Writing is integral to any type of journalism, whether it’s newspaper, radio, or blogging. If you never got your English degree, take these classes to become a stronger and more effective writer.

  1. The Creative Spark. This course teaches about the creative process–what it is, how it’s valued, and how it grows–through journal writings and studying artists of various media. [MIT]
  2. BBC News Style Guide. This class covers the style guide used at BBC News to help writers become better storytellers and more effective writers. [BBC Training & Development]
  3. Cleaning Your Copy. Learn to correct your grammar, spelling, and stylistic mistakes with the information in this class. [News University]
  4. Beat Basics and Beyond. Find out the basics about working a beat and get tips from veteran reporters as well. [News University]
  5. Writing and Experience: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace. Practice writing for an online audience through an exploration of American pop culture. [MIT]
  6. Writing about Nature and Environmental Issues. Learn traditional nature writing and the environmentalist essay in this class where you will keep your own nature writing blog. [MIT]
  7. Principles and Practice of Science Communication. If you plan to do any science writing in your journalism career, this class is a must-have where students learn to develop skills to bring together "authors, audiences and media." [MIT]
  8. The Science Essay. Study how segments of popular science evolved, how they relate to the general population, and how to write about science so that the concepts are clear and understandable to those without a science background. [MIT]
  9. Communication Skills for Academics. This class teaches how to craft a well-written academic papers as well as other academic communications. [MIT]
  10. 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]
  11. Expository Writing – Food for Thought: Writing and Reading about Food and Culture. Strengthen writing skills while also studying the impact of food on culture in this class. [MIT]
  12. Consumer Culture. Practice writing while also taking a look into the world of American consumerism. [MIT]
  13. Becoming Digital: Writing About Media Change. This class explores the shift to digital media, exploring the shift in such areas as business, communication, and entertainment have changed significantly. [MIT]
  14. Digital Poetry. Students study digital poetry in various forms including soundscapes, hypertext poetry, animation, code poems, and interactive games. [MIT]

Exploring Self and Others

Reporting on the world around you requires that you learn to take a good look at people, cultures, and even yourself. These classes will help you learn to do that.

  1. Composing Your Life: Exploration of Self through Visual Arts and Writing. Using a variety of media, students will explore and express themselves in this class. [MIT]
  2. Understanding media: the celebrity in the text. Whether you plan to produce, analyze, or just learn about celebrities, this class takes an in depth look at how the information about celebrities is disseminated. [The Open University]
  3. Social Visualization. Practice visualizing the online user audience and learn about the psychology behind this crowd through their online activities and interactions. [MIT]
  4. Special Topics in Vision Science. Learn about both human and computer vision in this class that explores the psychology of vision. [MIT]
  5. Understanding Online Interaction. Explore how people communicate online and also learn how to design environments on the web that are conducive to learning. [Utah State University]
  6. Communicating Across Cultures. As globalization has become a reality, learn its effects on society and find out how you can become more culturally sensitive to those around you. [MIT]
  7. Visualizing Cultures. This course examines cultural perceptions with regards to racism, nationalism, war, propaganda, and more through the exploration of the opening of Japan by Commodore Perry as a real-life example. [MIT]
  8. American Dream: Exploring Class in the U.S.. This course looks at class in American and how it relates to other differences such as race and gender. [MIT]
  9. Media in Cultural Context. Learn how culture defines itself through TV programs and how international markets are impacted by these media identities and the perceptions of others. [MIT]
  10. Seminar in Deep Engagement. Learn about human engagement, how it works, and how to create the deeper engagements people strive to obtain through various forms of media. [MIT]
  11. Media in Cultural Context: Popular Readerships. Explore popular reading genres ranging from the Oprah Book Club to comics and their relationships with western culture. [MIT]


Stay up on current events and learn important elements of politics with these classes so that you have a solid background to speak knowledgeably about what’s happening in the world.

  1. International Politics in the New Century – via Simulation, Interactive Gaming, and ‘Edutainment’. Learn about politics through such media as political gaming, blogging, and simulations. [MIT]
  2. Current Events and Social Issues. The topics covered in this class from 2004 are still relevant and offer an opportunity to explore important social issues as they relate to current events. [MIT]
  3. Feminist Political Thought. This course studies the evolving roles of women in society touching on such topics as politics, equality, sexuality. [MIT]

Copyright, Ethics, and Freedom of Information

Anyone who is writing on the Internet should polish up on legal and ethical issues so that costly mistakes are avoided. These classes will help you learn about copyright, ethics, and your rights.

  1. Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Online Publishers. Bloggers and other online writers will appreciate learning about defamation, privacy, and copyright as it pertains to online publishing in this class. [News University]
  2. Introduction to Copyright Law. This course covers the basics of copyright law with a heavy emphasis on Internet-related topics. This is an important class for anyone writing or working on the Internet. [MIT]
  3. Information Law and Policy. Learn about copyright law, protecting databases, licensing of information, privacy and more in this course. [UC Berkeley]
  4. Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier. Law, policy, and technology come together in this course that discusses several topics concerning the Internet and law. [MIT]
  5. Introduction to Ethical Decision-Making. Learn about ethical choices journalists sometimes face through this class that includes more than 30 case studies. [News University]
  6. Communications and Information Policy. Study public communication policy and its history in this course. [MIT]
  7. A Fair(y) Use Tale. This video introduces copyright and fair use policy. [Novell]
  8. Freedom of Information. Learn about the Freedom of Information Act, Public Records Laws, and your rights to information. [News University]
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