50 Essential Open Courseware Classes to Learn About Criminal Justice

Are you a criminal justice student who needs some extra information? Maybe you are a professional who needs to brush up on the latest educational and informational subjects. No matter what your need, there are many places to turn to for informal learning on the internet. However, with many crime novels and television shows getting criminal justice wrong, where can you turn to get it right?

Below, we have gathered the 50 essential open courseware classes to learn about criminal justice. Open courseware is a free and informal way to teach and learn just about anything. Classes are usually given as lectures, notes, etc, in which students don’t receive formal credit for learning, but learn nonetheless. These classes contain everything criminal justice from the law to the latest in technological developments.

Essential Open Courseware Classes to Learn About Justice

Get a foundation for learning on justice to expand on criminal justice in these open courses.

  1. Justice Perhaps fewer open courses are as well-known as the ones from MIT. Now you too can learn about justice the way these Ivy League students do in the open course. It was given to undergraduate students in the Spring of 2006.

  2. Rights and Justice in International Relations Can the concept of human rights be applied across borders or are rights culturally specific? This is just one of the questions answered by The Open University. The unit takes a critical view of the assumption that ‘rights are a good thing’ and looks at the problems that arise when they are applied in the international arena.

  3. Foundations of Modern Social Theory Learn like the students at Yale do in this open course. Professor Ivan Szelenyi shares major works of social thought from the beginning of the modern era through the 1920s. Attention is paid to social and intellectual contexts, conceptual frameworks and methods, and contributions to contemporary social analysis.

  4. Contemporary Biosocial Problems in America Visit here to learn more about this course from Tufts University. It starts with the premise that understanding the social uses and misuses of biological knowledge is of particular importance. Check out many professor and student discussion points as part of the course.

  5. Fundamentals of Public Policy Because public policy and justice go hand in hand, there is this open course. It was taught in 2004 to the students of MIT. The course explores policy-making as both a problem-solving process and a political process.

  6. War and Peace This history class focuses on international relations since 1914. It is a webcast provided by UC Berkeley. Twenty-six lectures are all featured online.

  7. Introduction to Security Because justice involves security, there is this open course. It is provided by Weber State University. It is an examination of the components of security, including physical security, loss prevention, and crime prevention.

  8. Violence, Human Rights, and Justice See how all three combine in this open course. It examines the contemporary problem of political violence and the way that human rights have been conceived as a means to protect and promote freedom, peace, and justice. Study materials are featured in addition to the usual items for the class.

  9. Political Philosophy: Global Justice How does justice apply outside localities? This course from MIT attempts to answer the question through readings, lectures, and assignments. Students examine issues of political justice, economic justice, and human rights.

  10. Criminology, Law, and Society This open course combines all three into one class from the University of California, Irvine. It particularly examines the criminal activity noted as white collar crime. Theories discussing the etiology of these acts are considered as well as perspectives regarding their control.

Essential Open Courseware Classes to Learn About Crime

Learn more about crime and all its aspects in these open courses.

  1. Crime, Heredity, and Insanity in American History Learn the history of crime and related subject in this open course. It is given by the Hesburgh Program in Public Service at the University of Notre Dame. Simply click the link to get course materials.

  2. Forensic Biology and Impression Evidence Learn criminal justice CSI style with this open course. It introduces students to the major contributors to the development of forensic science. Subject covered include DNA, fingerprints, firearms, and many others.

  3. Terrorism, Peace, and Other Inconsistencies Because terrorist attacks are some of the hardest to predict and bring justice to, check out this open course. It is from the University of Notre Dame. Sample questions asked of students include “What is the history of terrorism?” and “What is the new global security threat?”

  4. Case Studies in Terrorism Response See what happens after terrorism happens here. The object of the course is to use three illustrative case studies to reinforce basic concepts and principles of terrorism preparedness and response. They include plausible scenarios, first response, and critical issues on the fly.

  5. Riots, Strikes, and Conspiracies in American History Explore how each of these can be a catalyst for crime, if not a crime itself, in this open course. It uses readings and discussions to focus on a series of short-term events that shed light on American politics, culture, and social organization. The Boston Tea Party and other historic events are used as examples.

  6. Drugs, Politics, and Culture Because drugs are a driving force behind crime, check out this course. It examines the relationship between a number of mind-altering substances and cultural processes. Students look at the relationship between drugs and poverty, religion, conflict, and more.

  7. Improving Understanding and Collaboration Among First Responders Because criminal justice professionals can also be first responders, click here. The course addresses the institutional culture of five responder groups: law enforcement, EMS, fire, public health, and private security. It is intended to give students a better idea of how the groups work.

  8. The Meaning of Crime Learn the fundamentals of crime in this open course from The Open University. It examines how society defines crime. It also looks at the fear that is generated by crime and the evidence to support it.

  9. The Problem With Crime Get a continuation of the above in this open course. The issues of order and disorder are examined. It takes Glasgow, Scotland as an example.

  10. Does Prison Work? Criminal justice and the prison system go hand in hand. Get a behind the scenes and academic look at corrections in this open course. The unit provides a discussion surrounding the purpose efficacy and regulation of prisons.

Essential Open Courseware Classes to Learn About Criminal Justice Law

Because wherever criminal justice goes, law goes, check out these open courses.

  1. An Overview of the Law Get the basics of legal learning in this open course. It is provided by The Open University and is one of several on the law. Get law making and policy, specifically in the UK, by studying here.

  2. Law, Social Movements, and Public Policy The sub-title for this class is comparative and international experience. The course introduces theoretical frameworks from legal and social movement theories as applied to court opinions, legislation, treaties, law-related articles, and policy-oriented materials. Students examine case studies from key countries.

  3. The Supreme Court, Civil Liberties, and Civil Rights This course introduces students to the work of the Supreme Court and to the main outlines of American constitutional law. There is an emphasis on the development of American ideals on civil rights. The goal is to provide students with an understanding of landmark Supreme Court cases.

  4. Law and Society But how do all these laws apply to the individual or community? Use this course as a way to examine the central features of law as a social institution and as a feature of popular culture. The range of legal professionals including lawyers, judges, and law enforcement agents are all discussed as well.

  5. Gender and the Law in U.S. History Is crime an equal opportunity career? In this course from MIT, the legal history of the United States as a gendered system is explored. It examines how women have shaped the meanings of American citizenship through pursuit of political rights such as suffrage, jury duty, and military service.

  6. International Law Learn more about law around the world in this open course from the Professional Educational Organization International. There are 25 chapters to read and learn online.

  7. Civil Litigation Just because you are in criminal justice doesn’t exempt you from being sued. Learn more about what happens in the civil courts process in this open course from Kaplan University. The rules of procedure, information discovery, legal documents, and more are discussed.

  8. Guantanamo and The Law This Cuban based prison is often the topic of many legal debates and discussions. Learn more about the law and politics of U.S. detention in this open course. It is provided by the University of California, Irvine.

  9. Property and Liberty Visit here for a legal studies open course from UC Berkeley. Online lectures are featured with a simple click online. The relationship between freedom and property ownership is examined.

  10. Law Course This course is given by Atlantic International University and its American Public Law School. Several lessons include constitutional amendments, church and state, and others. Simply click to get video conferences or case studies.

Essential Open Courseware Classes to Learn About IT Criminal Justice

The new crime often happens long distance and you can learn more in the below open information technology courses.

  1. Introduction to Information Security Get just what the title promises in this open course from The Open University. It discusses the importance of protecting information and gives an overview of information security management systems. Simply click on the link to get the eight units on it.

  2. Network and Computer Security This open course is provided by the electrical engineering and computer science department of MIT. Topics covered include cryptography, authentication schemes, viruses, and many others. Special software is required to run some of the files in the course.

  3. Information Technology Visit here for another open course on information technology. It is offered by the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. Simply click on your session or topic to begin.

  4. Global Issues in Information Technology Get a virtual course on virtual crime here. It examines features such as telecommunications infrastructure, languages, business practice, intellectual property protection, and tariffs. This course gives students resources to make informed decisions and raise global awareness.

  5. Network Security Learn about how security can affect an entire network here. It discusses measures such as encryption and firewalls as protection. It also helps to explain the intricacies of the continually changing area of network security by studying the main issues involved in achieving a reasonable degree of resilience against attacks.

  6. Artificial Intelligence Learn more about the artificial intelligence found in computers on this open course. It is provided by the University of Massachusetts. Also included are state-space search methods, semantic networks, theorem-proving, and production rule systems.

  7. Introduction to Unix If you use Unix, this open course is a must. It is provided by Mark A. Thomas and has 20 sections. A few include getting started, the Unix file system, and processing the shell.

  8. Representing and Manipulating Data in Computers How can a simple piece of data be so important? Learn why and how in this course on how a computer represents something to the outside world. How ASCII code and Unicode are used is also covered.

  9. Hyper Encryption by Virtual Satellite How can threats to information security come from above? Check out this course by Harvard Professor Michael O. Rabin to find out. Video lectures are on the internet, encryptions, and even a Q & A.

  10. A Worldview Through the Computational Lens Cryptography, secrets, lies, knowledge, and trust are all discussed in this open course. It is provided by Princeton University. A download is required.

Essential Other Open Courseware Classes to Learn About Criminal Justice

These open courses fall into a category of their own.

  1. Prohibition and Permission What does the outlawing of alcohol in the U.S. in the past have to do with criminal justice? Take this open course from MIT to find out. It discusses where the prohibitions and permissions that occur in everyday life come from, why they exist, and what gives them force.

  2. Global Tobacco Control Much like the above, tobacco can also be a taboo vice in many societies. The course presents the health and economic burden of tobacco use worldwide and highlights practical approaches to tobacco prevention, control, surveillance, and evaluation.

  3. Border Issues If looking to practice criminal justice in border states, this open course is a must. It looks at immigration from diverse perspectives, principally through a week-long immersion at the Annunciation House on the border of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The course is provided by the University of Notre Dame.

  4. Substance Abuse and the Family Because many crimes are substance abuse related and affect the family, stop here. The University of Massachusetts provides the course. Visit to get readings, assignments, and more.

  5. Computer Games and Simulations for Investigation and Education In this project-based course, students from all disciplines are encouraged to understand how we learn from interactive computer environments. Readings, assignments, and more are all included. There is even a special software to go with the course.

  6. Masculinity, Sexual Behavior, and Health Because many criminals are just trying to “be men,” have a look at this course. It focuses on male adolescent health and explores the meaning of masculinity and the impact of masculine beliefs on men’s health. It is available from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

  7. Radiation Terror 101 Learn about this type of attack before you experience it in this open course. It introduces students to general radiation principles, radiation safety and protection, and the basic types of radiological terror. It also provides practical guidance on acute response techniques and general countermeasures.

  8. Racial Violence What part does race play in violent crimes? This open course takes a closer look at that and related questions. European perspectives on an audio file make up the bulk of the course.

  9. Innovation in Military Organizations Because military and criminal justice lead into each other, there is this course. Get the latest in military technologies and strategies with a visit. Non-military organizations are also discussed.

  10. Hate Crimes Are all crimes hate crimes? Delve more into the subject of this particular crime with the help of this open course from the University of California, Irvine. It examines the consequences of hate crimes as well as the larger social land political context in which they occur.

And the above 50 essential open courseware classes to learn about criminal justice are just the beginning. Many of the above and other noted schools are expanding their open course options and often offer new choices as semesters come and go.