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Open Online Courses in Information Technology

What is Information Technology?

Information technology is the study and practice of utilizing computers and other communication systems to transmit, organize, access, and manipulate data. Information technology is a broad term that is used in several industries, including in the business, engineering, and medical fields. Because the study of information technology is so broad, most college information technology programs are broken down into specific areas of focus such as the following: application development (also known as software development), systems analysis (the study of analyzing and determining the feasibility and functionality of information systems), and health informatics (the study of data and information management systems used in the healthcare industry). Regardless of the path of study a student chooses, the core idea behind all information technology studies is learning how to properly organize and store data using various telecommunication systems.

What Can Online Courses in Information Technology Actually Teach Me?

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the professional agency that accredits both traditional and online courses in information technology. Choosing accredited information technology classes is essential for ensuring that you receive an education that regularly undergoes evaluation and provides instruction in the latest technology. All ABET-accredited traditional and online courses are required to meet minimum curriculum standards and must be taught by experienced professors who hold a Ph.D. in information technology or another closely related field. Online information technology courses are a great alternative to traditional classes since nearly all work is done with computers.

An online information technology class can be useful for learning about computer programming, database design, systems analysis, and data security. By taking online information technology courses, you will learn how to answer questions like:

  • How can I secure a computer network so outside users cannot access important stored data?
  • In what ways can computer networks and systems be tested to ensure proper functionality?
  • What information technology systems are best for storing high volumes of information?
  • How can you design information technology applications tailored to the specific needs of a business?
  • How is information transmitted and shared between different computer networks?

If you are considering taking an online information technology course, you should first do your research about available courses. What concentrations or majors are available in the program? Do the professors have prior industry experience? It may also be helpful to read prior students’ reviews to get a feel for what the program has to offer.

Free Online Courses in Information Technology From Around the Web

Below you will find a directory of open courseware from online information technology programs around the world. These files, class lectures, and exams allow you to learn free of charge; however, you will not have direct access to a professor for guidance. Open courseware is available to students who want to experience firsthand what taking online courses is really like before enrolling in a degree-granting university program.

Subjects

Information Technology (15)

Internet History, Technology, and SecurityUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

IT Security, Cyber Security
Taught by: Dr. Charles Severance

Course Description:

Published in 2012, this information technology online course presents you with the history and technological background of the Internet, from the origins of electronic computing to modern e-commerce and the nuts and bolts of how networks operate. Geared towards undergraduates, this seven-week course has no pre-requisites other than an Internet connection and is recommended whether you wish to become an IT professional or an informed "network citizen."

Ethics and Information TechnologyUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

Ethics, Cyber Security
Taught by: Paul Conway

Course Description:

If you have ever been curious about the ethical side of Internet interaction, this IT security online course is ideal. You will learn about the dilemmas that come up when people, information and social networking software like Facebook come together, as well as studying the underlying technology of social media and other networked social activities. This course is written on the graduate level, although most of the texts are well-referenced and can be found in libraries or other journal collections.

Libraries & Community Info - A Look Back and A Peek at Library Engagement ModelsUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

Library Science
Taught by: Prof. Joan Durance

Course Description:

Libraries don't exist in a vacuum, and if you are curious about the role libraries play in a community, this library science online course is just for you. Published in 2010, this course discusses how you can consider a library as a source for public information, community and political life, educational support and more. This course is written for graduate students of library science, and you may need to do some independent reading to follow along with all of the concepts presented.

SI 640/ SI740: Digital Libraries and ArchivesUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

Library Science
Taught by: Paul Conway

Course Description:

Digital libraries and archives are covered in this library science online course, which is aimed at a graduate-level audience. You will learn about the history of the idea of the digital library and various projects that have set out to achieve it. You will also learn about the infrastructure for digital libraries and some of the unique technical challenges involved. This course is targeted towards library science students, and you may need to do some independent reading if you are not familiar with the field.

SI 657/757: Information Technology and Global DevelopmentUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

Instructional Technology, Information Policies
Taught by: Steven J. Jackson

Course Description:

This graduate-level instructional technology online course – published on September 21, 2010 – will teach you about different IT networking frameworks and elaborate on which political and economic factors are determining the growth of information technology systems in developing countries. There are no academic prerequisites for this course beyond an undergraduate degree, but grading criteria and assignments differ between masters and doctorate students. For example, a masters student is required to complete an IT design project and a policy assessment paper while doctorate students need to complete a small seminar and a critical literature review.

SI 615: Seminar on Digital LibrariesUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

Library Science
Taught by: Paul Conway

Course Description:

This graduate seminar informs you about the idea of the digital library. Published in 2012, this library science online course takes a multi-disciplinary approach, so that you will be taught about the challenges of operating a digital library, as well as the academic and public policy implications of the entire project. No particular special software other than a web browser is needed to use this course, although you may need to use an academic or public library to access some of the readings.

SI 643: Professional Practice in Libraries and Information CentersUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

Library Science
Taught by: Prof. Joan Durance

Course Description:

If you have considered working in a library, this library science online course from 2009 will give you the information you need to succeed. You will learn about how to provide good service to all segments of the public in different libraries, from academic institutions to public libraries. Geared for an audience of graduate-level library science students, some of the reading may be difficult to follow if you do not have some familiarity with the field.

SI 626: Management of Libraries and Information ServicesUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

Library Science, Management, Public Relations
Taught by: Tiffany Veinot

Course Description:

This library science online course teaches you that the management of a library is more than shelving the books, focusing on instructing you in financial and personnel management, working with stakeholders and public relations. Created in 2009, this course is aimed at graduate-level students in library science, and some parts of it may be difficult to follow if you are not familiar with that field. No special software is needed, but you may need access to an academic database to find some of the readings.

Leadership and Management: Managing Change in Healthcare IT ImplementationsUniversity of Michigan

Open Courseware

Management Information Systems, Healthcare Management
Taught by: Sherrilyne Fuller

Course Description:

Produced in 2011, this management information systems online course introduces you to the challenges in using information technology in the health care field. In particular, it discusses the outlines of how introducing new IT into a health care setting - whether a small clinic, a large hospital or a government office - can present unique challenges, as well as how to overcome them. Presented in slideshow form, this course assumes some familiarity with both information technology and health care, but is written for a general audience.

Workflow and Business Process Management for Electronic GovernmentCapilano University

Open Courseware

Organizational Management, Business, Technology
Taught by: Gabriel Oteniya

Course Description:

With a focus on the technological solutions used by bureaucracies and businesses in the e-governance field, this organizational management online course is a good choice for students interested in technology and politics. Presented as a series of modules, the content made available here is only available in PDF format, so you should have a PDF reader installed before attempting to use the content. Some of the topics covered include workflow management, business process management, and applications for electronic government.

Database SystemsMassachusetts Institute of Technology

Open Courseware

Database, Systems, Technology
Taught by: Prof. Samuel Madden, Prof. Robert Morris, Prof. Michael Stonebraker, Dr. Carlo Curino

Course Description:

This course was originally presented in 2005, and again in 2010 by professors Samuel Madden, Robert Morris, Michael Stonebraker, and Carlo Curino. Offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, it introduces students to the foundations of database systems, via primary readings from the database community. The course focuses on basics such as the relational algebra and data model, schema normalization, query optimization, and transactions. It is designed for students who have taken MIT course 6.033 (Computer System Engineering), or equivalent; no prior database experience is assumed, though students who have taken an undergraduate course in databases are encouraged to attend.

Network and Computer SecurityMassachusetts Institute of Technology

Open Courseware

Network, Computer, Security, Architecture
Taught by: Prof. Ronald Rivest

Course Description:

Network and Computer Security (MIT course 6.857) is an upper-level undergraduate/first-year graduate course within the Computer Systems and Architecture Engineering concentration. In the online course, originally offered in 2003, Professor Ronald Rivest covers topics such as techniques for achieving security in multi-user computer systems and distributed computer systems; cryptography; authentication and identification schemes; intrusion detection; formal models of computer security; secure operating systems; software protection; email and Internet security; electronic commerce; firewalls; and risk assessment.

Data MiningMassachusetts Institute of Technology

Open Courseware

Data, Mining, Data Warehouses, Technology, Statistics
Taught by: Prof. Nitin Patel

Course Description:

Thanks to the Internet, e-commerce, electronic banking, point-of-sale devices, bar-code readers, and intelligent machines, data is accumulating at an incredible rate, and electronic data capture has become inexpensive and ubiquitous. Professor Nitin Patel leads students through this graduate course in data mining, a rapidly growing field that has evolved from the disciplines of statistics and artificial intelligence, and can help managers make smart decisions. You will learn to recognize patterns and make predictions from an applications perspective, and will gain hands-on experience with data-mining algorithms using easy-to- use software and cases.

Microsoft PowerPoint - Lesson 1Utah State University

Open Courseware

Presentations, Microsoft, PowerPoint, Slides

Course Description:

At some point in your professional career, you will most likely be asked to develop a polished presentation. This course introduces students to PowerPoint, Microsoft's popular slide-based presentation software. The first lesson in this course will introduce you to examples of good and bad presentations, alternative uses for presentation software, the basic analysis and design process for presentations, and the PowerPoint environment. The second lesson will introduce you to the most common elements of developing a PowerPoint presentation, and the third lesson will introduce you to slightly more advanced tasks within PowerPoint. (You can use alternative presentation software, however, course instructions, support, and software access are limited to PowerPoint.)

Practical Programming in CMassachusetts Institute of Technology

Open Courseware

C, Programming, Software, Unix
Taught by: Daniel Weller, Sharat Chikkerur

Course Description:

This 2010 undergraduate course from Daniel Weller and Sharat Chikkerur provides a thorough introduction to the C programming language, the workhorse of the UNIX operating system and the working language of embedded processors and micro-controllers. Knowledge of C is highly marketable for summer internships, UROPs, and full-time positions in software and embedded systems development. The first two weeks of this online course will cover basic syntax and grammar, and expose students to practical programming techniques. The remaining lectures will focus on more advanced concepts, such as dynamic memory allocation, concurrency and synchronization, UNIX signals and process control, library development, and usage. Daily programming assignments and weekly laboratory exercises are required.