Open Courseware

What is it?

The Open Courseware movement represents a tremendous opportunity for individuals self-educate themselves on a large number of topics. Open Courseware generally takes the form of course material (including handouts, lectures, reading assignments, assignments, and other material) from the courses offered by a number of very reputable universities. Users are then free to use this material for self-study in areas they wish to learn more about. However, Open Courseware does not count as actual college courses taken towards a degree or other formal education.

As far as I know MIT started the Open Courseware movement, however a number of other universities throughout the world have since joined in.


  • Even though it does not count towards a degree or official college credits, check with your employer to see if you can include Open Courseware modules you may complete on your annual evaluation.



Specific Courses of BA Interest

The following is a list of specific OpenCourseWare (or similar offerings) courses that I think might be of interest specifically to BA’s. I will put any BA or PM job-specific courses first, and then add other general-interest courses that might be of interest.

Fundamentals of Business Analysis – UC Irvine
Added: 27 May 2013

This course is designed to give people new to the business analyst role or those who supervise business analysts a basic understanding of the functions and business impact of this role. The course provides a special focus on business analysis functions as they relate to the development of information technology solutions and the business analysis project life cycle. Course topics include the role of the business analyst, gathering and documenting user requirements, modeling the business, business case analysis, process modeling, quality management and testing.

SOFT 423: Requirements Analysis Engineering
Added: 27 May 2013
Available on iTunes U. Search for “Soft 423” to find.

This is an advanced course on the requirements phase of the software engineering process. The focus of the course is on discovering exactly what it is supposed to be designed and implemented, and communicating those objectives to the design and implementation team. A considerable amount of time is spent on formal modeling of both the requirements and the desired system.

Introduction to Lean Six Sigma Methods – MIT
Added: 27 May 2013

Course Description
This course introduces the fundamental Lean Six Sigma principles that underlay modern continuous improvement approaches for industry, government and other organizations. Lean emerged from the Japanese automotive industry, particularly Toyota, and is focused on the creation of value through the relentless elimination of waste. Six Sigma is a quality system developed at Motorola which focuses on elimination of variation from all processes. The basic principles have been applied to a wide range of organizations and sectors to improve quality, productivity, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, time-to-market and financial performance.

Introduction to Project Management – UC Irvine
Added: 27 May 2013

This module is the introduction to the University Extension online course, Introduction to Project Management. Project management has been proven to be the most effective method of delivering products within cost, schedule, and resource constraints. This intensive and hands-on course gives you the skills to ensure your projects are completed on time and on budget while giving the user the product they expect. You will gain a strong working knowledge of the basics of project management and be able to immediately use that knowledge to effectively manage work projects. At the end of the course you will be able to identify and manage the product scope, build a work breakdown structure, create a project plan, create the project budget, define and allocate resources, manage the project development, identify and manage risks, and understand the project procurement process.

Planning a Project – The Open University
Added: 27 May 2013

This unit will help you to develop the skills required when planning a project. You will examine the various components of a project plan, and be introduced to a number of tools and techniques to aid planning. This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Fundamentals of Senior Management (B713) which is no longer taught by The Open University.

Communicating with Data – MIT
Added: 27 May 2013

Course Description
Communicating With Data has a distinctive structure and content, combining fundamental quantitative techniques of using data to make informed management decisions with illustrations of how real decision makers, even highly trained professionals, fall prey to errors and biases in their understanding. We present the fundamental concepts underlying the quantitative techniques as a way of thinking, not just a way of calculating, in order to enhance decision-making skills. Rather than survey all of the techniques of management science, we stress those fundamental concepts and tools that we believe are most important for the practical analysis of management decisions, presenting the material as much as possible in the context of realistic business situations from a variety of settings. Exercises and examples drawn from marketing, finance, operations management, strategy, and other management functions.

Practical Information Technology Management – MIT
Added: 27 May 2013

Course Description
The course purpose is to provide the substance and skill necessary to make sound business decisions relating to information systems and to work with senior line managers in the resolution of issues and problems in this area. Categories of issues which will be addressed in the course include:

  • How do IT and its various manifestations in business, such as the Internet, affect current and future COMPETITIVENESS? How do we align business strategy and plans with IT strategy and IT plans?
  • How can we ENGAGE executives in learning and leading IT-related change?
  • How do we IMPLEMENT new systems, CHANGE work behavior, MANAGE projects?
  • How should we ORGANIZE and GOVERN IT in an organization?


System Dynamics for Business Policy – MIT
Added: 27 May 2013

Course Description
15.874 and 15.871 provide an introduction to system dynamics modeling for the analysis of business policy and strategy. Students learn to visualize a business organization in terms of the structures and policies that create dynamics and regulate performance. The course uses role playing games, simulation models, and management flight simulators to develop principles for the successful management of complex strategies. Special emphasis will be placed on case studies of successful strategies using system dynamics.
15.874 is a full semester course and 15.871 is a half semester course. The two classes meet together and cover the same material for the first half of the term. In the second half of the semester, only 15.874 continues.

Discovering Management – The Open University
Added: 27 May 2013

This unit does not provide you with final answers about what is involved in being a manager; indeed, it will raise lots of questions. Being a manager is a complex and challenging activity and this unit will unpick some of the underlying issues and complexities associated with both thinking about management, and being a practising manager.
This unit is comprised of:

  1. Exploring ideas
    1. An introduction to some general ideas and theories about the different aspects of management.
    2. An opportunity for you to engage with some of the underlying issues, values and debates associated with management.
    3. A process through which you will discover how practising managers draw on ideas and theories as a routine part of their work.
  2. Developing capabilities
    1. Some of the practicalities of being a manager and the different sorts of roles managers have to play in different situations.
    2. The tensions and pressures associated with those roles and responsibilities.
    3. Tools for making sense of the contexts and environments in which you operate.

This unit should introduce you to lots of new things about managing – and explain some old things you thought you already knew. You will also discover more about yourself and identify ways you can enhance your current and future practice and performance as a manager.

Managing local practices in global contexts – The Open University
Added: 27 May 2013

This unit looks at the management of local knowledge-generating practices. You will explore the processes that link practices to global contexts and learn to identify the key dimensions of globalisation and explore the implications for knowing how to ‘do things’ in a variety of contexts. You will go on to compare the approaches to managing and organising, based on universally applicable principles, with context-specific rationalities and look at how viable interpretations of reality might be contructed from a variety of different perspectives.

An Introduction to Business Cultures – The Open University
Added: 27 May 2013

Culture is just one perspective that can help us to understand more about a business. ‘Business culture’ is not just about how others see a business, but also about how the individuals within an organisation understand it. In this unit we explore how the concept of culture developed from research into differences between cultures at a national level. It is possible to see, or ‘feel’, that one business is different from another, and that this involves more than just how it presents itself to the outside world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *