When MIT started putting educational material — everything from lecture notes to exams to videotaped courses — online in 2001, they had an inkling that the project would end up being popular. What they didn’t expect was 100 million-plus visits and 2000 available courses over the next decade. Now open courseware is a fact of the higher education world, and Johns Hopkins is following suit by offering a host of free online classes specifically designed to take advantage of the online platform, and go way beyond shoddily videotaped lectures with muddy sound. Instead of lasting a full semester, most are 4-6 weeks long, and many involve projects, papers, or assignments to make sure you’re truly learning. In true Johns Hopkins form, many are medicine/health/science related. Intrigued? A list of the initial course offerings is below the jump:

Principles of Obesity Economics, Economics/Public Health (October 2012, 4 weeks) “Obesity has been deemed a critical public health problem.  This course explores how consumer choices lead to individuals being different weights and discusses whether there is an economic rationale for government intervention in the markets most closely related to food and activity choices.”

Mathematical Biostatistics Bootcamp, Statistics/Data Analysis (September 2012, 7 weeks) “Statistics is a thriving discipline that provides the fundamental language of all empirical research. Biostatistics is simply the field of statistics applied in the biomedical sciences. This course puts forward key mathematical and statistical topics to help students understand biostatistics at a deeper level. After completing this course, students will have a basic level of understanding of the goals, assumptions, benefits and negatives of probability modeling in the medical sciences.”

Health for All Through Primary Care, Public Health/Medical Ethics (January 2013, 4 weeks) “Two of the most inspiring, least understood, and most often derided terms in global health discourse are “Health for All” and “Primary Health Care.” In this course, we will explore these terms in the context of global health, their origins and meanings, the principles upon which they rest, and examples of how these principles have been implemented both at small scale as well as at large scale.”

An Introduction to the U.S. Food System, Public Health/Medical Ethics (January 2013, 6 weeks) “A food system encompasses the activities, people and resources involved in getting food from field to plate. Along the way, it intersects with aspects of public health, equity and the environment.  In this course, we will provide a brief introduction to the U.S. food system and how food production practices and what we choose to eat impacts the world in which we live. Through several case studies, we will discuss some key historical and political factors that have helped shape the current food system and consider alternative approaches from farm to fork.”