The amount of audio and video material on the Internet is staggering, and this page is only intended to suggest a very small part of what is available. Some materials are useful for teachers in preparing for classes while others may benefit students. Although the sources below are excellent, they are only a tiny sample of what may be accessed.
Radio, Television, and Film
Watch live online TV channels broadcasting on the Internet.
This is an accessible site for watching live television broadcasting on the Internet. Subject areas include education, entertainment, government, life style, music, and live news. The site features over 3000 channels from around the world. You will need either Reel Player or Media Player to access the live feeds. Searchable and browsable.
FRANCE 24 is the first French international news channel to broadcast on a 24/7 basis. It offers a French perspective on world events and gives special attention to culture and lifestyle. Its programs are broadcast on two channels, one in French, one in English, with Arabic and Spanish scheduled in the near future. The site is quite accessible and provides RSS feeds that are also easy to access.
This site provides links to a selection of "free online TV channels from around the world." Organized by language. Listings link directly to the programming, and indicate which media player is necessary to view the content. Provided by a software company.
SnagFilms is a website "where you can watch full-length documentary films for free." Locate and watch over 500 films "from established heavyweights or first-time filmmakers" on topics such as campus life, environment, health, history, international, life and culture, music and arts, politics, science and nature, sports and hobbies, and women's issues. Movies include some commercials.
"In the pre-TV era, people saw the news every week in their neighborhood movie theaters. Newsreels were shown before every feature film and in dedicated newsreel theaters located in large cities. Universal Newsreel, produced from 1929 to 1967, was released twice a week. These newsreels offer a fascinating and unique view of an era when motion pictures defined our culture and were a primary source of visual news reporting."
The History Channel
Here you can find historical information and learning activities for all ages. The site, however, has more than the usual amount of advertising that is annoying to negotiate with a screen reader. You can, however, take advantage of the channel’s audios and videos. you can access videos of President McKinley’s inauguration, the funeral of President Kennedy, the breaking of the sound barrier, and the launch of the space shuttle Columbia. This is an extensive, free collection of some of the best of the network’s programming. The audio and video on this site stream in Windows Media Player so you shouldn't need any new software. The site is both searchable and browsable.
Wired for Books
"For many years, most of the best writers of the English language found their way to Don Swaim's CBS Radio studio in New York. The one-on-one interviews typically lasted 30 to 45 minutes and then had to be edited down to a two minute radio show." Ohio University makes "these important oral documents publicly available for the first time in their entirety." You can hear authors from Toni Morrison and Norman Mailer to Lawrence Block and Frederick Forsyth to Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov."
An excellent site providing access to a large number of professionally done documentaries is now available. Browse through a variety of programs by categories such as Anthropology, Environment, and Religion to find one you want to watch online free. Click the title and watch it; it's that simple. This isn't just somebody's attempts at filmmaking—this is a collection of interesting and sometimes well-known documentaries such as the Modern Marvels series from the History Channel, biographies on figures such as Malcolm X and Aristotle, and the Planet Earth series. There is a variety of foreign documentaries as well for the multilingual viewer. Even if you cannot see the video, there is still much of use.
WRBH Reading Radio
This station, funded by foundations, underwriting, and private contributions, has served the New Orleanes area for the last 25 years and is now providing a streaming webcast 24 hours a day to the world. The station features reading from both fiction and nonfiction works as well as interviews with authors. Most programs are rebroadcast for convenience of listening.
Recordings and Archives
Fagan Finder's Audio Search
This page of
is a search engine which provides an excellent way of locating music of all types, identifying lyrics, and finding podcasts of interest.
The Library of Congress Webcast
You can listen to webcasts from the Library of Congress, dating back several years on biography and history, culture and performing arts, education, government, poetry and literature, religion, and science and technology. Requires Reel Player. Searchable.
Recorded Sound Reference Center
Website for this center that "provides access to the commercial and archival audio holdings of the Library of Congress." Includes an online catalog of holdings, tips for preserving sound recordings, collection highlights, links to related Library of Congress material, and guides and reference aids (including a radio format/genre terms guide for catalogers). From the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress.
American Rhetoric: The Power of Oratory in the United States
"Index to and growing database of 5000+ full text, audio and video (streaming) versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, other recorded media events, and a declaration or two." The site is especially helpful in providing highly readable links to material that assist the novice in analyzing and evaluating rhetoric. It is important to note that "rhetoric" refers to the classical study of persuasion and is not meant to be pejorative.
Presidential Recordings Program
Between 1940 and 1973, six American presidents from both political parties secretly recorded just under 5,000 hours of their meetings and telephone conversations. Through a combination of historical research and annotated transcripts the Miller Center of the University of Virginia Presidential Recordings Program aims to make these remarkable historical sources more accessible to scholars, teachers, students, and the public. You can both listen to the actual recordings or read the transcripts.
Vanderbilt Television News Archive
"The Vanderbilt Television News Archive is the world's most extensive and complete archive of television news. [It has] been recording, preserving and providing access to television news broadcasts of the national networks since August 5, 1968. The collection spans the presidential administrations of Lyndon Baines Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The core collection includes evening news broadcasts from ABC, CBS, and NBC (since 1968), an hour per day of CNN (since 1995) and Fox News (since 2004). Special news broadcasts found in the Archive include political conventions, presidential speeches and press conferences, Watergate hearings, coverage of the Persian Gulf War, the events of September 11, 2001, the War in Afghanistan, and the War in Iraq."
Individuals may request "loans of items from [the] collection for reference, study, classroom instruction, and research. [Vanderbilt] offers DVDs that are duplications of entire broadcasts as well as compilations of individual news stories specified by the borrower."
Southern Oral History Project
"The Southern Oral History Program performs the vital task of recording and preserving research interviews for future generations." Its website features audio and some transcripts of selected interviews with people such as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Albert Gore, Sr., although some of the audio formats are not as accessible as on some other sites. Also includes descriptions of recent projects. The SOHP is a component of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Center for the Study of the American South.
FedNet - The Leader in Multimedia News Production
This site by FedNet offers broadcast coverage of the United States Government online. It delivers daily broadcasts of both the Senate and House floor debates, Congressional hearings, The White House and other agencies around the Washington, DC, area.
History and Politics Out Loud
This site is a collection of audio materials capturing significant political and historical events and personalities of the twentieth century. The materials range from formal addresses delivered in public settings to private telephone conversations conducted from the innermost recesses of the White House. Includes speeches by Lyndon B. Johnson to the Warren Commission, John F. Kennedy speaking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, tapes from the Nixon/Watergate scandal, and Bill Clinton's denials of his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Talking History: Aural History Productions
This center aims to "provide teachers, students, researchers, and the general public with as broad and outstanding collection of audio documentaries, speeches, debates, oral histories, conference sessions, commentaries, archival audio sources, and other aural history resources." Offers a weekly Internet broadcast (focusing on all aspects of history) and program archives (browsable by date, and searchable). From the University at Albany, State University of New York.
The purpose of Historical Voices is to create a significant, fully searchable online database of spoken word collections spanning the 20th century – the first large-scale repository of its kind. Historical Voices will both provide storage for these digital holdings and display public galleries that cover a variety of interests and topics. Of special interest on this site is the
page with lesson plans and examples of how to integrate the audible materials into classes.
Science Friday Kids' Connection
This site provides teaching materials to accompany the National Public Radio (NPR) show Science Friday. It includes program summaries and audio, classroom activities, discussion items, academic content standards, and related resources. Covers topics from all fields of science. Browsable and searchable. It is especially useful for the visually impaired child since it contains podcasts as well as archived radio broadcasts.
Cornell Lab of Ornathology
"The world's largest archive of animal sounds and video," with thousands of sounds of the world's birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, insects and spiders, and mammals. Searchable by common or scientific name, location, recording date, and other items. Some features require free software downloads.
Free Online College Classes
There are an increasingly large number of traditional universities that offer an extensive array of free classes online. While engineering, the biological and physical sciences, and computer science are overrepresented, there is no shortage of offerings in the humanities, social sciences, the arts, and education. Some of the best are listed below.
Berklee College of Music
This well-known college provides an outstanding array of classes in the following areas:
Carnegie Mellon University
The designers of the Open Learning Initiative describe its mission in part: "Like many open educational resources projects, ours makes its courses openly and freely available. However, our courses are not collections of material created by individual faculty to support traditional instruction. While our courses are often used by instructors to support classroom instruction, OLI online courses are designed to support an individual learner, who does not have the benefit of an instructor." Subject areas include
Other more technical courses are also available, with offerings constantly expanding.
"At Harvard University’s primary resource for continuing education courses for a century, you’ll find open-enrollment classes in more than 65 fields [on this site]." Some are for credit and some are for free. At present, over
150 free courses
are available in anthropology, creative writing, economics, education, English, expository writing, French language and literature, government, history, legal studies, management, mathematics, music, philosophy, psychology, religion, statistics, and other more specialized areas.
MIT Open Courseware
Generally considered to be the best and most thorough listing of free classes on the Internet. Offerings are, not surprisingly heavily tilted toward math, engineering, and the sciences and are more appropriate to the specialist or advanced student.
Notre Dame University
"Notre Dame's participation [in the open courseware initiative] is consistent with its goal "to provide a forum where through free inquiry and open discussion the various lines of Catholic thought may intersect with all the forms of knowledge found in the arts, sciences, professions, and every other area of human scholarship and creativity. [The program]
provides access to course materials, without cost; does not require registration or log in; does not grant credits, degrees or certificates; and does not provide access to Notre Dame faculty." Of greatest interest may be classes in
LearningSpace: The Open University
"Try over 600 free online courses from The Open University. Available from introductory to advanced level, each takes between 1 and 50 hours to study. Complete activities to assess your progress and compare your thoughts with sample answers. Sign up for free to track your progress, connect with other learners in [the] discussion forums and find the tools to help you learn." The site, based in the United Kingdom, is of special interest because of its commitment to
The extensive course offerings include classes in
University of California, Irvine
Although disproportionately representing more technical and advanced offerings, UC, Irvine, nonetheless, presents a number of classes of potential interest to teachers and students:
University of Washington
UW presents a sampling of free classes in American history, literature, music, computing, and theater as an introduction to its more extensive course offerings for credit.
Utah State University
"The idea behind Utah State University OCW is to make Utah State University course materials that are used in the teaching of undergraduate and graduate subjects available on the Web, free of charge, to any user anywhere in the world." Some of the primary subject areas include
"Each course includes a full set of class lectures produced in high-quality video accompanied by such other course materials as syllabi, suggested readings, exams, and problem sets. The lectures are available as downloadable videos, and an audio-only version is also offered. In addition, searchable transcripts of each lecture are provided." The extensive list of courses includes classes in chemistry, classics, ecology and evolutionary biology, economics, English, history, Italian language and literature, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religious studies, sociology, as well as Spanish and Portugeese.
The following group of links are worth special attention both because of their thoroughness as well as relevance. You will find excellent annotations and a clean organizational scheme for finding what you want.
Online College Classes
"A number of world class universities and institutions of learning make premium course content readily available for those who are interested. Harvard, Yale, MIT, and UC Berkeley are among the leading providers of lecture series and online courses. Along with many others, these institutions provide an Ivy League education for free."
" . . . many academic institutions have set up their own projects to make learning available to all, with MIT’s OpenCourseWare at the vanguard. Here are some of the best free courses available on the web from a variety of schools around the world."
Videos from Online College Classes: Academic Lectures
"The improvements in internet speed and hosting services like YouTube have inspired a proliferation of video on the web. Many colleges now post recorded lectures for their students, and some even open this service up to the public. Broadcast corporations, museums, nonprofits and individuals are also getting involved, offering up clips and previews to assist learning. Everything from how to videos to debates on the meaning of life are discussed in these presentations. Get to know the best places for educational videos with these resources."
Online Course Podcasts
"For some people, text-based resources aren’t the best way to learn. Sometimes, being able to see or hear the material makes it easier to remember and understand. This goes for academic material as well as the things you like to learn in your free time. For this reason, many website have dedicated themselves to providing books on tape and podcasts that people can download and listen to, for free, to help retain information. Here are just a few of these resources."
Online Research and Writing Courses
"These study tools are designed for students confronting unfamiliar problems and struggling to stay current with their classes. Each is tailored to the specific subject it is included in, though there may be some crossover. Study skills for physics courses, for example, would work equally well in chemistry or other mathematically oriented classes."
Online Archives and Directories: References for College Classes
"When you want a lot of solid resources quickly, sometimes searching and filtering results on your own is too much trouble. This is especially time consuming when you need informative sources that you can cite in a paper–academic sources. Fortunately, there are a number of websites that do the searching, sorting and cataloging for you. Here are a number of these archives and directories, covering a range of topics from historical documents to literary collections online, to even video lectures from well-known and distinguished professors."
425 Free Online Courses from Top Universities
You can not only find many free courses in biology, computer science, economics, engineering, history, literature, math, philosophy, physics, political science, and psychology from top universities but also
Free Language Lessons
in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and over 30 other languages. In addition, the site has
Free Audio Books
Free Movies and Film Noir
Online College Classes and Academic Courses for Lifelong Learners
“A free compendium of educational multimedia content from around the web” including sections on open courseware, online classes, textbooks and e-books, podcasts, archives and directories, research and writing, and language courses. An excellent, accessible site with a cornucopia of outstanding materials. Includes concise, clear annotations of sources making it easy to locate what you want.
10,000+ Free Online Classes
This page of
Open Education Database
claims that it "is the most comprehensive collection of online college rankings and free courses anywhere online" and currently features "a collection of over 10,000 free open courses and interactive resources from top universities." Subject areas include art, business, education, engineering and computer science, health and medical, liberal arts, math, and science.
World Lecture Hall
Hosted by The University of Texas, The World Lecture Hall is an "entry point to free online course materials from around the world." Depending on what the instructor has chosen to make available, you may be able to find a course description, syllabus, class audio and/or video, or course notes. Searchable and quite accessible.
Top of Page
Academic Earth is a video depot for individual lectures and entire courses from some of the top universities in the United States. Visitors to Academic Earth will find lectures and courses from Yale, MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford. Many of the lectures and courses can be found at various websites on the Internet. What Academic Earth does is take all of those lectures and courses and put them in one, easy-to-search, place. You can search for lectures and courses by topic, popularity, professor, or by university. The site also features guest lectures from nonacademics. For example, on the political science page, you can hear Bill Bradley speaking at Princeton about Russia or Thomas Freidman’s speaking on "The World Is Flat" at MIT.