Archived, Opportunities

Free Online Human Rights Courses

coursesMassive Open Online Courses (MOOC) give citizens from around the world the opportunity to be proactive in learning a wide variety of subjects, many times for free. There are now plenty of MOOCs that offer courses in human rights that give international perceptive. Seven MOOCs listed below provide free courses on human rights education affiliated with celebrated organizations such as Amnesty International, and well-known facilitators like the founder of The Global Fund for Women. Many of the online course listed award certificates to students who finish with outstanding marks. Students can choose to work at their own pace, but some of the listed MOOCs do have deadlines and work like a real university class. All of the formats of these courses are easy to use, and have high ratings from former students.

Enrollment and registration is made simple by connecting with Facebook, Gmail or LinkedIn. Gather a group of friends and take the class together, or meet new friends from around the world in the student forums. So keep reading and pick which ones best suit the students’ interest and learning style. Human rights are everyone’s responsibility to know, share, and keep protected; by sharing these courses students are supporting the growth and awareness of others. Start today, take advantage of these courses and expand on human rights awareness as part of the international community.

  • edX Presents: Human Rights: The Right to Freedom of Expression

Amnesty International partnered with edX, one of the largest MOOC plattforms, to provide a course that will expand knowledge of Freedom of Expression as a human right, increase the ability to critically analyze information related to Freedom of Expression, and sharpen skills and confidence to take action to defend Freedom of Expression. This course is an introductory level course and recommends that students spend three to five hours a week on reading materials, watching videos and completing assignments. The course is accompanied by a discussion forum where students can put forward their questions and receive feedback. Amnesty International provides great material and case studies from China to the United States. Completing this course can be a great asset for students who are interested in working in the human rights field. Students can receive a certification upon completion for 49 USD.

When can I start? November 17, 2015.

How long is the course? Three weeks.

Is there a certificate? Yes, 49 USD or audit the course for free.

  • ATHA presents: Humanitarian Assistant Course offers over 40 courses on human rights, including this Humanitarian Assistance course. This course teaches about laws and rights of refugees, and countries, along with Human Rights and Humanitarian Theories. These modules use a video and PowerPoint structure, containing learning checkpoint questions. Students can view the full text, search specific words, and easily jump between different modules. There are no deadlines set for assignments or exams, so it is a great weekend project and can fit perfectly between tight schedules. Many humanitarian organizations use to train employees and volunteers, therefore this course and others offered are very reputable by the humanitarian community. At the end of any of course, the student will receive a certification of completion.

When can I start? Anytime.

How long is the course? This course is self-paced.

Is there a certificate? Yes.


  • Coursera Presents: “The Age of Sustainable Development” Course

Columbia University offers many courses using another leading MOOC, Coursera. Jeffery Sachs instructs this course on Sustainable Development, He is of the world’s leading experts on economic development and activist in the fight to end poverty. This course includes different weeks consist of all encompassing issues on sustainability such as, inequalities, human rights, education, and much more. There is student communication tool that can be utilized for discussions and assignments. Students should plan on at least two hours per module to complete tasks and to watch the lecture videos. Each week has a ten-day deadline set to challenge students however; students can toggle this option off for a more self-paced learning experience. This course layout is very easy to use, and easy to understand for any one new to the MOOC world. At the end of this course students will receive an electronic certificate of completion that they can add to their professional portfolio.

When can I start? Anytime.

How long is the course? Fourteen weeks.

Is there a certificate? Yes.

Enroll here

  • Stanford University Presents: International Women’s Health and Human Rights

Stanford University offers this course once a year; it is available in English, Chinese, and Spanish. Every international Women’s Rights issue is covered from reproductive rights to United Nation conventions. Anne Firth Murray is the instructor for this course; and is also the Founding President of The Global Fund for Women. Professor Murray interviews human rights lawyers, politicians, and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers for video content in the lectures. At the end of each chapter in the course textbook provides lists of various organizations that work with the correlating chapter. For example, read about an NGO in Somalia working to end early marriage, or a “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered” (LGBT) organization in Kyrgyzstan fighting for equal rights. This course comes with a textbook written by Anne Murray, video interviews and lectures, and a chance to interact with students from all over the globe through a very interactive group forum. Short questions and answer assignments, quizzes, and two larger projects (including a professional interview, and mid-term summary), required for receiving the “Statement of Accomplishment”.

When can I start? January 2016.

How long is the course? Four months.

Is there a certificate? Yes. [/box]


edX Presents: The EU and Human Rights

KU Leuven University and edX partner up to offer a course on the European Union and their role in protecting human rights. KU Leuven University is an acclaimed research institute in Europe, which provides case studies and critical information about the EU. Learn about which actors promote human rights and what policy sectors they influence. Learn how major powers in the world impact U.N. treaties and other peace conventions, and how that translates to action on the ground. Course materials include videos, academic text, and class discussions. This class is geared towards intermediate students in International Law. However, students can take this course to gauge their interest in Human Rights and International Law.

When can I start? October 17, 2015.

How long is the course? Six weeks.

Is there a certificate? No.

  • ALISON presents: Diploma in Sustainable Development

The right to life is a basic human right that will be denied if climate change continues to be ignored. This statement is one of many proposed questions in this course on sustainable development. “A New World of Free Certified Learning” or ALISON provides this 25 module course on sustainability, climate change, renewable and non-renewable energies. Learn about environmental laws and how this affects human rights in other countries, especially those of developing countries. This full course takes about fifteen hours to complete, and can fit into any tight schedule. It can also complement any environment and human rights career. This course can be fun to complete with friends or family by inviting them to sign up too. Enjoy the variety of teaching materials from online text to interactive student forums and informational videos. At the end of the course students will receive a Sustainable Development Diploma! ALISON also offers other diplomas and over 755 other free online courses.

When can I start? Anytime.

How long is the course? 10 to 15 hours.

Is there a certificate? Yes.

  • Academic Earth Presents: Conceptual Foundations of International Politics

Academic Earth has a great selection of online courses; this one is on International Relations it includes sections on conflict, human rights institutions, and globalization. The course format uses a sequence of linked video lectures made available on YouTube. There are no assignments or student forum available but students can watch the videos at their own pace. Check out the many other alternative courses that aren’t offered anywhere else on the Internet, or in physical universities. There are various universities and modules related to human rights through education, policies, and health. Academic Earth takes pride in global sharing, facilitation of debates, and providing free access to everyone. This site might be simple and not as fancy as other MOOC, but it has compiled a massive amount of unique topics and materials.

When can I start? Anytime, and there is no registration.

How long is the course? Varies

Is there a certificate? No.

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