25 Excellent Open Courseware Classes to Learn About the Law

If you are interested in learning a little bit more about the law, there is no reason for you to enroll in an expensive course. While you won’t be able to get a J.D. from taking open courseware classes, you can still learn a great deal about law. From brushing up on your rights, to learning things that can help you in a job as a reporter, paralegal or a consultant, there are a number of resources that can teach you about the law. Here are 25 open course classes that provide you with access to law course materials:

  1. 450px-justice_statueDuke Law Center for the Public Domain offers you the chance to browse open course lectures on a number of subjects related to the law. Duke University provides information on the history and theory of law, as well as different areas of the law, from technology to constitutional to international.
  2. American University offers a selection of podcasts on a number of different law-related subjects. There is even a very interesting podcast on debt relief and the law.
  3. Lewis & Clark Law School also provides a number of podcast from the law school. Subjects include tax law, business law, environmental law and other areas of law. Interesting and insightful lectures on the law.
  4. Case Western Reserve University School of Law offers a number of interesting lectures on different law subjects. These lectures are both podcasts and Web casts. You can look ahead to the coming school year, which already has a number of interesting subjects lined up.
  5. Harvard Law School provides a number of Web casts of law lectures, symposia, panels and conferences. A great collection of relevant information and insights on how the law interacts with current events.
  6. Stanford provides open courseware via iTunes on a variety of law subjects, including the theory of justice, mobile content distribution, gay marriage, judicial review and privacy protection. The tracks are available for free, but you’ll need iTunes. Put the lectures on your iPod or iPhone and listen them anywhere.
  7. Criminal Law from the University of Alabama provides an overview of the criminal justice system, including what constitutes a criminal act, justifications, the requirement of evidence and the kinds of crimes that are prosectured under the criminal code.
  8. Business Law from MoneyInstructor.com provides a look at a number of basics in business law. Learn how to define crimes under business law. Worksheets and curriculums are available for teachers. Ordinary folks will find them useful as well.
  9. Constitutional Law from North Carolina Wesleyan College offers an overview of the U.S. Constitution and the laws springing from it. Online lectures and class notes are included, which can help you develop a strong understanding of the Constitution and how it forms the basis of our laws.
  10. International Law from the Professional Educational Organiztion International provides a look at the basis for international law. This course includes some assignments and tests. You will learn about sovereignty, organizations such as the United Nations, international courts and dispute settlement between nations.
  11. Law and Society from MIT looks at how law is developed as part of a civil society. This course focuses on how laws govern society, and how society reacts to rule. Offers study materials, lecture notes and even assignments that you can complete on your own.
  12. Reading Seminar in Social Science: Race, Crime and Citizenship in American Law is also from MIT, and offers a compelling look at how different factors affect the application of the law. This is an excellent companion course to Law and Society.
  13. Introduction to Copyright Law is another great courseware offering from MIT. Learn about copyright, especially as it relates to the Internet. With so many people able to publish, it is important to understand where the lines are being drawn.
  14. Law for the Entrepreneur and Manger comes from MIT (again) and offers a look at basic business law. Learn about the laws that govern businesses from start-up to going public. An excellent business law course.
  15. Environmental Law & Policy from Energy + Environment OpenCourseWare explores the basics of environmental law. It also looks at environmental policy. Law and policy in the U.S., European Union, India and China are all explored.
  16. Economic Analysis of Law from Santa Clara University looks at how laws affect economies. Includes articles, lecture notes, as well as a midterm test, with answers, for study.
  17. Information Law and Policy from U.C. Berkeley provides a basis for understanding the flow of information and how it is affected by law. This course emphasizes the changing landscape introduced by the Internet, and addresses licensing, database protection, liability and defective information.
  18. Rip, Mix, Burn, Sue is an interesting course from Princeton focusing on the legal issues surrounding digital media and the challenges facing the application of the law in a world where it is easy to share information.
  19. Online Media Law from News University provides a course specifically aimed at online publishers, journalists and bloggers. The course explores privacy, defamation and copyright law issues. Instructors come from CUNY. Activities and assessments are provided to help you gauge the success of your learning.
  20. Freedom of Information is another offering from News University. The Freedom of Information law is essential to the proper functioning of democracy. This is a great course to help journalists — including citizen journalists — learn about what they are entitled to in terms of information, and how to go about getting it.
  21. Law and Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University provides a look at the laws that govern vets. This course also includes information on ethics and values, and how they apply to laws and propery veterinary practice.
  22. Theories of Public Policy is another Tufts course that offers insight into the role of government as a law-making body and an enforcer of laws. Includes lectures, quizzes, exams, readings assignments and popular content.
  23. Privacy Rights and the Law from The Open University focuses on your rights as a private citizen. This course is U.K.-centric, so it may not always apply to U.S. situations. However, it is an interesting look at privacy and its importance in Western society. Also insightful for U.S. students, since the American justice system is a cousin of the British system.
  24. Judges and the Law, also from The Open University, looks at the process of lawmaking, and how judges interpret the law. This course has a special emphasis on the British judicial system.
  25. Company Law in Context is another course from The Open University. This one takes a look at business organization, and the laws that govern businesses as entities. As with the Privacy Rights courseware, this is a class that focuses on the British point of view.

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