Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Don't Lecture Me: Teaching through Discussions

An inspiring APM documentary discussing a new method of teaching college students: discussions. The basic idea is that instead of the professor standing in front of the class and lecturing them, she would tell the students to simply discuss the material and ask each other questions about it. The students then begin discussing the material with one another, and since some of them have just understood the new concept begin taught very recently, they are more likely to explain it to those who have trouble getting it right.

The full transcript is available here and the online audio is here and the downlaodable mp3 file is here.

Eric Mazur teaching his class at Harvard. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Western Culture: Political, Economic, and Social Thought

Dr Charles Anderson from the University of Wisconsin presents a series of 54 lectures exploring the history of Western culture though philosophers and thinkers dating from Socrates in ancient Greece and up to John Keynes in the twentieth century. A very interesting set of lectures that brings to life those thinkers and projects the effect and influence of their thought on current affairs.

The full series is available for free on iTunes University (iTunes required).

Dr Charles Anderson. Source.

A brief list of thinkers/philosophers/personalities covered: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Jesus Christ, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacque Rousseau, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Hegel, Karl Marx, John Dewey, and John Maynard Keynes.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Open Yale Courses

Yale University is offering a number of freely available online courses though its Open Yale Courses initiative. The courses cover topics such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Political Science, Sociology, and Economics. A list of the courses is available here and they are also available on YouTube.

Open Yale Courses. Source.

CMU's Open Learning Initiative

Carnegie Melon University is offering a number of free courses in its Open Learning Initiative. The courses include Biology, Statistics, Chemistry, and French.

Nova: Fabric of the Cosmos

Acclaimed physicist Brian Greene presents, The Fabric of the Cosmos, an amazing 4-part Nova series that tries to explain modern physics for the layman, starting from Einstein's special relativity theory and up to quantum mechanics and the super string theory.

The Fabric of the Cosmos. Source.

The series is available to watch for free at PBS Nova.

PBS Documentary: The War of 1812

Re-enactments of the War of 1812. Source.
The war of 1812 is a little known war fought between 1812-1815 between the United States and the British Empire. Its results are celebrated in some places and forgotten in others. The 2-hour PBS documentary The War of 1812 goes through the history of the war and its repercussions existing till this very day. You can watch the video online for free at PBS Video. More information about the war is available on Wikipedia.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

MITx: MIT's Online Learning Initiative

MIT is offering this semester its brand new open learning initiative: MITx. It's basically a course that's taught entirely online, together with quizzes, exames, discussions, and even a certification of completion at the end. In addition, MIT plans to make the software platform freely available for other higher education institutions to offer similar classes.

The program will start with the electronics class 6.002x, and will be taught by Prof. Anant Agrawal together with Gerald Sussman and Piotr Mitros.

Flat World Knowledge: Free College Textbooks

Flat World Knowledge is a publishing house offering college textbooks with a new twist. They offer a new business model, whereby they offer the textbooks online for free. Yes! Completely freely available college textbooks for all students to read from. However, if you need a hardcopy you can order a low-cost copy online, or even customize your copy.

They offer high quality textbooks in various subjects, including:

Free Online Courses from Top Universities

A lot of top universities in the world are now offering completely free high quality audio and/or video courses. Here is just a sample: