School is about to start it would seem there’s a lot of spending going on before anybody has learned anything. Every major chain in the world is banking on the labor day school-year spending blitz. Dorms are being re-painted, swept and readied for all those cheap futons, the campus book stores are worse than a B&N on Christmas Eve, and the lecture hall microphones all have new batteries.

That’s why this year, even if you’re not going back to school, why don’t you dust off your academic think cap, sit in on a few top-notch courses and brush up on all those literature classes you missed, for free?

  • Currently Yale offers four courses in English: Introduction to the Theory of Literature, Milton, Modern Poetry, and The American Novel; as well as a class on Don Quixote from their Spanish and Portuguese Departments and a class on Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner from their American Studies Department.
  • Harvard’s Open Learning Initiative is offering two courses of interest to our readers: The Heroic and the Anti-Heroic in Classical Greek Civilization and Shakespeare After All: The Later Plays.
  • MIT has a huge backlog of literature materials available, going back as far as 2005, through their Open Course Ware initiative. All areas of study are covered, but here are links to their Literature course wares and their materials on Writing and Humanistic Studies
  • Also of note is a website called Virtual Professors, where you can find a host of videos ranging from a lecture on the Poetry of Bob Dylan to Executive Communication and Business writing, as well as a series on Milton from the award winning John Rogers. Also there you can actually matriculate into real courses for free. Worth a look.
  • For a huge amount of information, check out the Open Courseware Consortium (of which MIT  is a member) for a list of schools that share their materials online.

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