Thursday, May 28, 2009

Free Education from Academic Earth

Academic Earth is now live and FREE!! Thousands of video lectures are available from the world's top scholars. Did you ever wish you could take a course at Princeton, Yale or Sanford? You might have thought that you couldn't get in or you couldn't afford it. Well, you must have manifested this program, because now none of those things are a problem. School is free. The top Universities are offering lecturers for free. And, there are no prerequisites or GPA limits.

Bill Bradley is teaching "Russia: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" from Princeton.

Also from Princeton, Alan Blinder is teaching "Origins of the Financial Mess". I didn't know who he was, so clicked on his name and got another lecture he's teaching, and the information that he's a professor of Economics and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. They also then give you "Related Lectures" And, if you're not interested right now, the back click works just fine.

Walter Lewin from MIT is teaching "Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism" in case you ever really did want to know how electricity does what it does. And, if you wanted to know how to make anything go away....Charles Bailyn is teaching "Stellar Mass Black Holes" from Yale. Paul Bloom, also from Yale, is teaching "What it is like to Be a Baby: The Development of Thought" and "What Happens When Things Go Wrong: Mental Illness"

Does that remind you of terrorism? Sorry. Well, John Merriman from Yale is teaching "Dynamite Club: The Anarchists" which is about terrorism and those who seek to destroy a state rather than to gain power for themselves. Perhaps this is a little much for you, and you'd prefer something less incendiary.... Cristine Hayes from Yale School of Religion is teaching "Studying the Old Testament".

If you click on a lecture that looks interesting, you get the lecture and you get the course description at the bottom of the page and related lectures off to the right of the page. When you use the topic contents at the left of the home page, you get all the courses on a particular subject, laid out neatly with pictures from the videos, the University identity and the professor's name. Click on any picture, and you instantly get the course.

Confused about how you got to wherever you got to? Click on the name, "Academic Earth," in the top banner, and you're sent right back to the home page. It just couldn't be easier or more intuitively obvious.

At the bottom of each particular subject page, are the Editor's Picks. I imagine these change periodically, but today they range from THomas Friedman, Paul Bloom, Robert Shiller Marian Diamond and Kavita Ramdas, of MIT, Yale, Berkeley and Stanford.

Isn't this the best thing since the invention of the fork? (And, I believe that Italy and France are still arguing over who should be credited for that.) Registration is possible, but does not seem to be necessary.

Other free courses:
MIT's Open Course Ware

Stanford's Engineering Everywhere

How to get a free college education online: There is a recommended article at

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