Update: It looks like many of these courses are no longer available.
In a well known scene from Good Will Hunting, the main character Will drops the following gem as he defends his uneducated friend against a cocky Harvard student: “[…] you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a f**kin’ education you coulda’ got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the Public Library.”
If you’re looking for some education in photography, another school in Cambridge, MIT, is offering the material of quite a few photography classes for free online. This includes everything from reading lists and assignments to full downloads of course materials and student projects. Here’s a quick list:
4.341 Introduction to Photography
This course also offers practical instruction in basic black and white techniques, digital imaging, fundamentals of camera operation, lighting, film exposure, development and printing. Course provides opportunity for continued exploration.
This course provides practical instruction in the fundamentals of analog and digital SLR and medium/large format camera operation, film exposure and development, black and white darkroom techniques, digital imaging, and studio lighting.
4.343 Photography and Related Media
Fosters a critical awareness of how images in our culture are produced and constructed. Student-initiated term project at the core of exploration. Special consideration given to the relationship of space and the photographic image. Practical instruction in basic black and white techniques, digital imaging, fundamentals of camera operation, lighting, film exposure, development, and printing.
4.A21 Stories Without Words: Photographing the First Year
The transition from high school and home to college and a new living environment can be a fascinating and interesting time, made all the more challenging and interesting by being at MIT. More than recording the first semester through a series of snapshots, this freshman seminar will attempt to teach photography as a method of seeing and a tool for better understanding new surroundings.
11.309J / 4.215J Sensing Place: Photography as Inquiry
This course explores photography as a disciplined way of seeing, of investigating landscapes and expressing ideas. Readings, observations, and photographs form the basis of discussions on landscape, light, significant detail, place, poetics, narrative, and how photography can inform design and planning, among other issues.
21A.348 Photography and Truth
Photographs in anthropology serve many purposes: as primary data, illustrations of words in a book, documentation for disappearing cultures, evidence of fieldwork, material objects for museum exhibitions, and even works of art. This course explores photography as art, research tool, and communication.
Have other links to free online courses? Feel free to share with us in the comments!