Science is one of the broadest fields, and seeks to explain the way the world works. Science includes many specializations and courses of study, including physics (the study of the physical world), chemistry (the study of interactions between chemicals), biology (the study of living beings), social science (the study of human behavior in groups), geology (the study of the earth), and medical science (the study of healthcare methods). All of these fields share some common assumptions, however, such as the idea that knowledge can be gained by conducting experiments and collecting data.
The core method in all science fields is commonly called the scientific method, and is used in settings including college science programs and practical research laboratories. Scientists come up with a question to test, as well as a hypothesis regarding how that test will turn out. Results are predicted and then tested to see whether they match that prediction. The results are then analyzed, and scientists determine whether their initial predictions for their core question worked out. These findings are then reported so other scientists can take them into consideration in the future.
Online courses in science can work out well as introductory classes om fields such as physics, psychology, computer science, and biology, though in most of these cases you will want to move on to a traditional campus for later laboratory work. An online science course can help you learn how to answer questions like:
When considering an online science course, you should look into the quality of your chosen institution and its professors. Do professors at this school typically have a Ph.D. in science? Do students in online courses and those in classroom settings have comparable access to faculty at this school? Does this school have a good reputation for the science you are interested in? Being able to answer these questions can help determine whether the school you choose is a good fit for you.
Below we have compiled a list of online open courseware from top universities in several countries. These are offered for free, and include lecture notes, video lectures, practice exercises, and other teaching tools for science students. These online science course documents do not give you access to top faculty in the sciences to ask questions, but can serve as a good way of feeling out your own interest in science.
Ecological decay, overuse of resources, and the economic ideas that drive human industrial progress are some of the topics covered in this biology online course. This undergraduate course, originally offered in the fall of 2007, seeks to explain how ideas from ecology, economics, environmental history, and physics all fit together, using philosophy to integrate these concepts and draw conclusions about how people should interact with their environment. The course has no experience prerequisites, but you will need a video player that can run QuickTime files to use the video lectures.
Focusing on the propulsion systems of commercial and naval ships, this 2006 biology online course examines the variety of ways that large ships can move through the ocean and other bodies of water. It is designed for both upper division undergraduate and graduate students with a background in mechanical engineering. You will cover such topics as propeller and waterjet propulsion, types of power plants, transmissions, propulsion dynamics as well as thermodynamic analyses of different types of engines.
This environmental engineering online course will introduce you to the logistical aspects of water preservation and supply protection while highlighting the domestic and international political entities responsible for regulating water supplies. This course is open to both undergraduates and graduate students, but the latter must complete an additional 10-12 page research paper prior to completing the course. The rest of the class will complete two paper assignments over the course of the ten-week course.
By looking at the readings and lectures in this online course, originally offered in 2007, you can learn about topics like value theory, economics, and ecology. This course, taught at a high undergraduate level, has no prerequisites, though you can improve your understanding of course content by reviewing other philosophy or ecology courses. Before you use the provided video lectures, you will need to download a media player that can access QuickTime movie files.
This course is intended for high school students preparing to enter college or university and interested in taking an introductory science online course to review or get a head start on college. The 14-week course covers general topics such as the scientific method and measurements as well as overviews of specific science subjects like biology, physics and chemistry. Taking this class is a good way to help you prepare for college entrance exams in science.
The Environmental Science Lab is a science online course designed to supplement other environmental science coursework. In it, you’ll learn interesting new ways to test concepts in environmental science such as pollution, air quality, waste management and sustainability using household items in your “home laboratory”. The course features ten labs you can perform at home as well as supplementary reading materials from the web that will explain the concepts you are testing. It does not include video lectures.
This subject introduces the history of science from antiquity to the present. Students consider the impact of philosophy, art, magic, social structure, and folk knowledge on the development of what has come to be called "science" in the Western tradition, including those fields today designated as physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, astronomy and the mind sciences. Topics include concepts of matter, nature, motion, body, heavens, and mind as these have been shaped over the course of history. Students read original works by Aristotle, Vesalius, Newton, Lavoisier, Darwin, Freud, and Einstein, among others.
"This MIT Courseware examines the growing importance of medicine in culture, economics and politics. It uses a historical approach to examine the changing patterns of disease, the causes of morbidity and mortality, the evolution of medical theory and practice, the development of hospitals and the medical profession, the rise of the biomedical research industry, and the ethics of health care in America. This lecture notes based courseware describes the elements of how to build awareness such that the "
Presented as a series of PowerPoint lecture slides and a final exam, this online course focuses on decisions made as part of the engineering design process. Previously taught in the spring of 2010, this course is open to all students with an interest in mechanical engineering, though some familiarity with organizational decision making and engineering technology can significantly improve your understanding of the course. The skills in decision making that this course teaches can transfer to many other disciplines.
This science online course, originally offered in spring 2012, introduces a key concept for students studying engineering, physics and other natural sciences. While it is an introductory course in the subject of thermodynamics, you do need to have completed at least calculus III to understand the mathematics involved, and mechanics I is a recommended prerequisite. Covered topics include pure substances and their properties, work and heat, as well as extensive coverage through lectures and problem sets of the three laws of thermodynamics. The also course offers an optional certificate of participation.