The Yale open courses program is a unique opportunity for students from all over the world to study in a virtual environment via the Internet. There are dozens of subjects to choose from, many delving into the perplexities of everyday problems in the world today. Here’s an explanation of how the Yale open courses are setup, plus a trio of engaging options dealing with pertinent subjects about the world around you.

Top Three Yale Open Courses

a business man writing something

Yale open courses are structured to offer a series of introductory type curriculum, taught by eminent professors and notable scholars from Yale University. The mission is to provide greater access to learning opportunities for individuals who want to learn at the highest level, from some of the most acclaimed educators in the world.

All the lectures are recorded in actual Yale classrooms. Virtual students have access to video and audio presentations, plus text transcripts of every conference for download. Virtual students do not need to complete a Yale University official registration to take advantage of the Yale open courses.

There are no actual course credits posted, or certificates available. However, students who wish to generate official college credits can register for Yale’s extensive online degree programs. Here are three enticing open courses offered by Yale University that you can attend virtually online.

#1. Moralities of Everyday Life

a woman sitting at a desk


Since life presents moral challenges on a daily basis, what better class to indulge in, than a study about ethical questions that happen to people every day. Our world is troubled by racial tensions, cultural and financial inequalities, along with dozens of other problems that seem to have no viable solution.

Professor Paul Bloom of the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University guide virtual students through a curriculum dedicated to uncovering answers to a multitude of ethical dilemmas. Bloom brings his expertise to the virtual world, giving students diverse insight into the problems and questions they ponder in their lives.

What Will You Learn?

Students in the Moralities of Everyday Life Yale open course will contemplate matters such as how humans can at one moment exude inspiring generosity, and then suddenly show an indescribable sense of cruelness. The course asks students to consider how people can have such diverse opinions about heated topics, yet still live together in peace, while others violently defend their beliefs.

Professor Bloom will lecture and lead enlightened discussions about such things as evolution, cultural bias, abortion, gay rights and affirmative action. Students can feel safe bringing different opinions into an open dialogue that tries to propose ways that humans can ease the tensions that these differences in cultural beliefs spawn.

Moralities of Everyday Life will debate attitudes about the moral differences between the sexes, between different political ideologies and between various religious belief systems. Students will be able to draw on the wealth of knowledge provided by an acclaimed scholar to expand their horizons about how cognitive science, economics and philosophy blend to shape human moral interaction.

#2. Environmental Politics and Law

an open book with a pair of glasses


The whole idea of environmental consciousness and climate change should trigger a significant interest in the EVST 255: Environmental Politics and Law opportunity from the Yale open courses menu. Professor John Wargo will lead a course that entertains the engaging concept of how enacting governmental legislation and regulations can alter ecologically damaging human behavior.

What Will You Learn?

Basic human behavior will be studied as it relates to a difference between environmental advocacy and the alternative, ecological ignorance. Professor Wargo will present case histories to help students analyze how things like, national security, pesticides, chemical fertilization, air pollution and the management of protected lands can be better regulated.

The course will allow Professor Wargo to respond to inquiries from students who will read the 1998 American Association of Publishers best political science book of the year. Wargo authored Our Children’s Toxic Legacy: how Science and Law Fail to Protect Us From Pesticides (Yale Press 1996). With the intense focus on climate change and man’s role in the problem, this is one of the Yale open courses that an environmentally conscious mind should not skip.

#3. Moral Foundations of Politics

a tablet on top of some books


The political process across the globe has changed dramatically over the last 12 months, not only in the United States of America. Ian Shapiro brings his expert analysis of the democratic political model to this third of the Yale open courses that are relevant in today’s world. Shapiro conveys the wisdom of a Ph.D. in political science as the Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University.

What Will You Learn?

The course will offer students a global perspective on politics, presented by an esteemed member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Moral Foundations of Politics will begin with a study of the major political theories of enlightenment. Students will develop an understanding of Utilitarianism, Marxism, and the social contract tradition. The class will start with a basis in the history of political change and then apply that understanding in an active debate format about politics, as it exists today.

Western political ideologies will be compared with those of other global regions, in an attempt to answer the question of why certain parts of the world are more prone to certain types of governmental submission. The curriculum will deeply explore the idea of the Enlightenment theory on political thinking and why some cultures blatantly reject the theory.

The last part of the class will address the temperament of democratic societies and why many feel that their ideology is the only viable and acceptable form of governmental rule. After being presented with an understanding of how political opinions are formed and why some people can be so adamant with their viewpoints, Dr. Shapiro will ask the engaging question of When do governments deserve our unbridled loyalty and when do they not?

Bottom Line

Yale open courses are supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning and funded in part by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. These are just three courses from a vast array of subjects and topics that you access on the Yale open courses platform.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5