Harvard Has a Free Online 12-Module Digital Photo Course

Want to learn photography from Harvard? (Yes, that Harvard.) It turns out you can easily do so, even without being a student. The oldest institution of higher learning in the United States offers a free 12-module online digital photography class.

The Digital Photography course has been available over at the free certified learning service ALISON since 2013 as part of Harvard’s Open Learning Initiative.

The 12 modules of the course will take an average student about 10 to 15 hours to complete, and they teach a wide range of topics in digital photography, including exposure settings, reading histograms, learning about light, how sensors and lenses work, and how to post-processing photos. Here’s a screenshot of all the modules and resources:

If you complete all the modules and score at least 80% or more on each of the assessments, you can qualify to receive an official ALISON diploma, certificate, or PDF. Unlike the course, however, you’ll need to fork over some money if you’d like that official recognition.

So far, over 400,000 students have taken the course, and it seems to be well received: it currently has a rating of 4 out of 5 stars with 2,400+ votes.

If you’re just starting out in photography and would like to give this 12-module Harvard photo class a shot, head over to its page on ALISON, create a free account, and hit “Start This Course.”

P.S. Looking for more free online photo courses? Here’s an 11-week one by a former Stanford professor, and here’s a list of them we put together in 2014.

Update: It turns out Harvard isn’t affiliated with the ALISON version of this course. Harvard’s course materials are available through this website, and it seems that ALISON took the CC-licensed materials and is offering it as a free course through its service.

Update on 1/18/17: We’ve heard word that Harvard has sent a cease and desist order to ALISON, instructing the service to take down this free online course. If you’ve enrolled, you supposedly have until February 15th to complete your course materials on ALISON before the course is withdrawn. As we’ve mentioned before, you can find the free official Harvard course materials on this website.