Free Online Biotechnology Courses Overview
Most of the courses listed below are available through the OCW (OpenCourseWare) Consortium, which offers free tutorials from various colleges and universities. While not offering credit, these courses allow online students downloadable access to much of the same material from the original classes.
Free Online Biotechnology Course List
- Biotechnology Fundamentals discusses the fundamentals of biotechnology. Select advanced topics with particular relevancy to today are also discussed, such as new trends in biochemical engineering and the design of biological reactors. Course lectures are delivered by several faculty members and available for download.
African Virtual University
- Cell Biology and Genetics provides students with a fundamental background of the considerations and science that contribute to the field of biotechnology. Students learn about the origins of cell and genetic matter and uncover the way genetic information is transmitted and how cells are structured. Lectures are downloadable and offered in video and text form.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Experimental Molecular Biology: Biotechnology II looks at the application of molecular biology and reverse genetics to the study of programmed cell death, particularly to Drosophila cells. Through downloadable PDF materials, students develop scientific communication skills, particularly with writing research papers and developing oral presentations. OCW students have access to lab notes, assignments, lectures on scientific communications and study materials, which include two video lessons.
- Molecular Biology and Genetics in Modern Medicine explores the relationships that exist between molecular and developmental biology, genomics, bioinformatics, genetics and medicine. Medical research, patient perspectives and methods of genetic analysis are also discussed. OCW students have access to select reading materials, lecture notes, assignments and exams with solutions.
- RNAi: A Revolution in Biology and Therapeutics discusses the functionality and potential of the RNA interface, a biological process that won the Nobel Prize in 2006. This process inhibits protein synthesis and may help treat and fight disease and illness. Included are lectures, readings and assignments. A background in genetics, biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology is recommended.
- Molecular Principles of Biomaterials tackles the analysis and design of materials used in different biological systems. Students will cover molecular interactions between synthetic and organic molecules, cell functions and biomedical engineering. Students will also contextualize these topics in relation to vaccines, drug-delivery and tissue engineering.
- Social Studies of Bioscience and Biotech takes a look at the social and cultural issues and problems at work when innovative pieces of biotechnology are introduced and used in clinical practice. Specifically, this course discusses the biotechnology political economy, adaptation of new technology, ethical issues associated with clinical research and the broad social issues dealing with access and inequality. Recommended readings and assignments are provided.
The Open University
- Gene Manipulation in Plants discusses the alteration of genes and their transference from one organism to another. Concepts are explored using examples from plants and animals. The course also discusses applications and implications of genetic manipulation, with particular emphasis on the medical field, such as gene therapy. The course, based out of the United Kingdom, consists of lectures with activities, questions and answers.
- Straight Talk About Stem Cells discusses stem cells and their applications in the medical field. Students develop a basic understanding of stem cell biology and technology, before moving on to examine the controversy behind stem cell research and policy. Additional topics include clinical and research advances, genetics, embryology, ethics and policy law. The course contains five lectures available as podcasts through iTunes U, which is a service that partners various universities with iTunes to bring audio- and video-based lectures to people free of charge.