Learn By Doing

A Lifelong Learner Shares Thoughts About Education

60+ Killer Open Courseware Collections for Web Designers

By Jessica Hupp

The Internet being what it is, web designers do not have a hard time
finding resources. However, there are times when you have to call in
the big guns. That’s right, we’re talking about university courses, and
they cover everything from design theory to Internet culture.

Introductory Courses

With these courses, you’ll get a beginner’s look at web design technology.

  1. Introduction to Computers: This course covers the basics of programming, software, and the Internet. [Berkeley]
  2. Introduction to Web Design: This course will take you from basic HTML to CSS and multimedia. [Indiana University]
  3. Multimedia & World Wide Web: In this course, you’ll learn how to create user-centered documents using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Flash. [DePaul]
  4. Webpage Authoring: Get a hands-on introduction to HTML in this course.[Sofia]
  5. Web Design: Learn about design for the web with this hands-on course. [Miami Dade College]
  6. Introduction to WWW/HTML: Create a basic HTML page and get an overview of style and elements of a good web site. [University of Minnesota]
  7. Basic HTML: Delve into HTML tags, basic structure, and more in this course. [University of Washington]


These courses cover graphics, visual communication, and more.

  1. Computer Graphics: This introductory graphics course will walk you through visual design. [MIT]
  2. Historical Foundations of Visual Technology: Learn about the history and details of visual technolgies worldwide. [DePaul]
  3. Fundamentals of Computational Media Design This course discusses digital art and offers hands-on design exercises. [MIT]
  4. Graphic Design: Learn about the basic theories and skills of visual communication. [Miami Dade College]
  5. Information Visualization: Consider space, order, focus, context, and more in this course. [University of British Columbia]
  6. Art of Color: In this course, you’ll learn the basic principles of color in visual arts. [MIT]
  7. Three-Dimensional Modeling, Animation and Rendering Using Blender 3D Software: Get into 3-D modeling and animation with this course. [Tufts]
  8. Survey of 3-D Animation: Learn how to create animations with Maya in this course. [DePaul]
  9. Algorithms for Computer Animation: Learn about the algorithms that make animations possible. [MIT]
  10. Illustration: Learn how to create and manipulate full-color graphics in Adobe Illustrator. [Miami Dade College]

User Design

Take these courses to learn how to make your design work for real people.

  1. Accessibility in Interaction Design: Understand how to design for the disabled with this course. [The Open University]
  2. User Inferface Design and Implementation: Follow this course to get a look at usability, user-centered design, and more. [MIT]
  3. People-Centered Design: Consider how you can design for people with this course. [The Open University]
  4. Social Visualization: In this course, you’ll learn how to visualize people and their interactions. [MIT]
  5. Human-Computer Interaction Seminar: This seminar offers weekly speakers on human-computer interaction design. [Stanford]
  6. Human Computer Interaction: Understand usability, user studies, and cognitive models with this course. [University of Washington]
  7. Common Sense Reasoning for Interactive Application: Use this course to discover how you can use common sense knowledge in your design. [MIT]
  8. Designing the User Interface: Consider text, color, moving images and sound in your design. [The Open University]


Get hands-on instruction in design with these courses.

  1. Software Engineering for Web Applications: In this course, you’ll learn how to create a site with a database, cookies, and more. [ArsDigita University]
  2. Creating Interactive Multimedia:
    Learn about the significant characteristics and elements of multimedia,
    and create examples of interactive multimedia in the web browser.
    [Queensland University]
  3. Introduction to Macromedia Flash: Learn how to make animation, sound, and graphics with Macromedia Flash. [Sofia]
  4. Introduction to Multimedia Programming: This course covers information design, navigation, programming, and more. [Monash University]
  5. Creating Home Pages on the World Wide Web: Create a complex HTML site with this course. [University of Minnesota]
  6. Designing Sociable Media: This course discusses creating a design that works with social cues. [MIT]
  7. Digital Typography: Learn the history and manipulation of typography in this course. [MIT]


These courses offer an in-depth look at a variety of programming languages and methods.

  1. Java: This class will teach you how to write Java applets and applications. [University of Minnesota]
  2. XML Foundations: Consider why you should use XML, and learn about CSS, syndication, user interfaces, and beyond. [Berkeley]
  3. Web Programming: Learn how to program web pages for interactive content with this course. [University of Washington]
  4. Web Based Information Systems: This course covers protocols, forms, cookies, and much more. [University of Alberta]
  5. XML with Java: Take a look at XML and Java, specifically technologies like XQuery and JavaServer. [Harvard]
  6. Server-Side Web Development Distributed Lectures: Take a look at server-side programming, specifically Apache, PHP, and beyond. [Indiana University]
  7. JavaScript Programming: Get an advanced look at JavaScript in this course. [University of Minnesota]
  8. Java Programming: Learn about the Java programming langage with applets, object-oriented programming, and integration with HTML. [Sofia]


Check out these courses that focus on web design for sales.

  1. Transaction Processing for E-Commerce: Learn how to process transactions online with this course. [University of Washington]
  2. An Introduction to E-Commerce and Distributed Applications: Take a look at online retailing with this course. [The Open University]
  3. E-Commerce and the Internet in Real Estate and Construction: Take a look at how e-commerce has shaped the real estate industry. [MIT]
  4. E-Marketing: This Spanish course will teach you how to market your site. [UC Irvine]
  5. Networking Infrastructure for E-Commerce: Learn about the capabilities and limitations you’ll have to work with in e-commerce. [NC State]
  6. Economics and E-Commerce: You’ll learn about the growth and future of e-commerce in this course. [MIT]


Consider what your design should be made of with these courses.

  1. Dynamic Content Development: Look at server-side technologies, Dreamweaver, ASP, and lots more. [Purdue]
  2. Communicating in Cyberspace: Take a look at digital communication with this course. [MIT]
  3. Electronic Media: Hear from a variety of lecturers on new media in this podcast. [Abilene Christian University]

History & Culture

Learn about the Internet’s history and culture through these courses.

  1. The Anthropology of Computing: Consider computers as meaningful tools for society and culture in this course. [MIT]
  2. History of New Media: Find out exactly what new media is, and discuss it in networks, art, and technology. [LeMill]
  3. Media in Cultural Context: Popular Readerships: Here you’ll get a look at the history of popular reading and media. [MIT]
  4. The Future of the Internet: You’ll learn about Internet architecture as well as current issues like network neutrality. [Stanford]
  5. Foundations of American Cyber-Culture: Consider new media, demographics, open source, and lots more in this course. [Berkeley]

Supplemental Courses

Take your web design education a step further with these supplemental courses.

  1. Web 2.0: Get a good look at web 2.0 as it relates to users, online business models, and new technologies. [Weber State University]
  2. A New Era?: This course takes on the new economy and innovation. [The Open University]
  3. Advanced Internet and Web Services: Get a good look at the design of search engines, secure web services, and more. [University of Washington]
  4. Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier: This course will educate you on some of the legal and ethical issues concerning the Internet. [MIT]
  5. Computer Networks: Consider the global network infrastructure and its design principles in this course. [MIT]
  6. Information Security: Learn about cryptography, single sign-ons, e-commerce, and other topics in security. [University of Bristol]
  7. Search Engines: Technology, Society and Business: Get an introduction to search engines, intellectual property in searches, advertising, spam, and more. [Berkeley]
  8. Introduction to Copyright Law: This course discusses copyright law as it relates to the Internet and beyond. [MIT]
  9. Data Mining: Learn how to capture and use data to improve web design. [MIT]