Online Information Technology Courses for Credit
Most free online courses don't offer college credit, so students who want to earn a degree could consider finding online courses that offer a college credit option. These courses usually charge a small fee, which is much lower than the course would cost at a college campus.
Study.com offers the Business 104: Information Systems and Computer Applications course, which offers the most efficient and affordable route to college credit. Students can read all of the lesson transcripts for free or pay a fee to become a member and have access to all the video lessons taught by experts in this field. With a membership, students can also take quizzes that test their knowledge of the subject matter. Chapters in this course include:
- Information Systems in Organizations - This chapter includes lessons on input, process, output and storage along with information systems resources and business strategies.
- Network Systems Technology - Subjects in this chapter include mainframe systems, telecommunications hardware, operating systems, distributed processing and wireless communication.
- Decision Support Systems and Specialized Information Systems - Find out about internal and external data analysis, business intelligence, management information systems, management applications and statistical analysis.
- Data Management - In this chapter, find out about database structures, database management system models, structured query language, security and cloud computing.
- Introduction to Programming - Topics cover validation tools, code mapping, programming elements, code writing and object oriented programming.
Free Online Non-Credited Information Technology Courses
Several universities offer free online courses and course materials in information technology (IT) through OpenCourseWare (OCW) projects. Course materials vary by institution. The courses below represent a sample of free resources available on the Internet in this field. Generalized courses that introduce students to IT through a basic overview of theories and frameworks are available as well as more specialized courses that examine political, economic and other issues in IT. Use of these materials doesn't result in college credit.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
MIT provides access to OCW materials from several of its IT courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, of which these courses are a sample.
- Information Technology I is a graduate-level course designed to introduce students to a range of IT concepts, with a focus on networks. Some of the topics covered in the lecture notes are operating systems, relational databases, data compression, wireless networks and data warehousing. Course materials include select lecture notes, assignments and links to readings.
- Information Technology Essentials also provides students with a broad overview of IT with a similar focus on distributed computing and networks. These course materials are designed for students with little or no prior experience in the field. Select lecture notes and problem sets are available; students can also access several of the readings online as well as a syllabus, which lists three optional textbooks.
- Information Technology and the Labor Market is for students at the undergraduate and graduate levels who want to understand the growth of the information technology sector from an economical perspective. Course materials include lecture notes, assignments, exams and readings, which cover topics like the impact of IT on the organization of the labor market, wage distribution and productivity.
- Practical Information Technology Management focuses on how managers can make businesses more competitive with IT as well as resolve complications that arise in organizations with the implementation of new technology. Available readings include several case studies. Additional materials include lecture notes and project outlines.
The Open University
- Finding Information in Information Technology and Computing allows students to learn ways to effectively use the Internet and its resources. For example, the course covers the best ways to use search engines, how to evaluate information found online and how to cite online references.
- Information Technology: A New Era? takes a historical perspective, viewing the IT explosion in the context of other industrial revolutions. The unit also explores how IT has affected economic growth and productivity. The text-based lessons are supplemented by review questions, for which students can click on the answers.
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan's OCW project, Open.Michigan, provides free access to course materials from several IT courses, of which these courses are a sample.
- Introduction to Information Studies is an undergraduate course that gives students an overview of the Information Revolution and its various political, economic and cultural effects. Audio lectures cover everything from intellectual property to privacy and cyber culture. Additional course materials include a syllabus, reading list and handouts.
- Ethics and Information Technology applies historical and cross-cultural ethical models to a variety of issues raised by life in the Digital Age. Lectures, in PDF and PowerPoint presentation formats, cover topics that include privacy, plagiarism and the use of avatars. Assignments and handouts are also available.
- Digital Government 1: Information Technology and Democratic Politicsis the first of a two-course sequence that explores the impact information technology has had on democratic governments. The lectures in this course, accessible as PDF documents and PowerPoint presentations, focus on political theory.
- Information Technology and Global Development examines the history of global development issues and some of the economic and political issues involved in the use of IT in different developing countries. In addition to lecture notes and handouts, students have access to several free supplementary readings.
- Networked Computing: Storage, Communication and Processing provides graduate students with an introduction to the architecture of information systems and the properties of their components. Topics include security, Web technologies and database modeling. Among the course materials is a downloadable textbook that provides an introduction to programming in Python. Lectures are available in varying formats, some in video or audio.