Alright I did a tweet about one of these last night, but I think it deserves a little more attention: AcademicEarth.org. They have (free) full lecture courses from Yale, Stanford, MIT, Cal, Harvard (at least those are what I have seen so far.) The subjects covered vary from entrepreneurship to computer science to medicine. And let me just emphasize this: they have full courses. 24 video lectures – a semester’s worth – for anyone to watch and learn from. Time to ditch the Hulu queue and start learning about Game Theory and basic programming and to watch lectures from successful entrepreneurs. Here’s just an example: lecture 1 from Economics 159 (Game Theory) at Yale:
Watch it on Academic Earth
This is revolutionary because it brings top-quality education to anyone, anywhere an internet connection can be had. And this is why the internet holds so much promise for the future. Frankly I’m a little bit awestruck by this and in envisioning the power of bringing this kind of education to everyone.
The second site I found yesterday is a commercial one (so not entirely altruistic) but that’s ok: I believe in the innovative power of capitalism. Grockit.com is a collaborative, interactive online test preparation software and service. Focusing on the SAT, GMAT, GRE, and the ACT, Grockit “takes collaborative learning into the 21st century” (according to Kron4 news in San Francisco.) What I like about Grockit is that test prep is set up as a game – players answer questions, learn grammar and mathematics and improve their ability to answer questions, but also do so in a fun learning environment where accuracy and correct answers are rewarded. You earn XP (gamer parlance for “experience points”) for correct answers and can view your XP level against other players. Even better, you can join collaborative study sessions and work with other students, chatting about answers and working through problems together. What is cool about it is that, according to CEO Farb Nivi, they have discovered that people’s accuracy in answering questions correctly improves even when they are working with other people who are worse than them. There really is something to be said about working with others. And they also provide test instructors for those who want to take a course from a trained test prep teacher.
I really love finding these kind of sites online. And it got me thinking about combining the collaborative aspects of Grockit with the online courses at Academic Earth. That kind of learning, made available to anyone, could be extraordinarily powerful. Something to ponder.