Wednesday, April 5, 2017

--- Lectures for lifelong learning ---


I've mentioned that I'm a lifelong learner. That's my hobby but saying that is like saying I only eat food. My idea of lifelong learning is to try to pick up as much and as varied information as I can in this life. Adventuring, for me is just another phase of lifelong learning.

My bookmarks for online sources of lectures make up a long list. Still, I have some favorites - more coverage, better quality - and I'll share a few with you. Four are sources of free downloads (called "opencourseware") and one is commercial but well worth every cent.

Many colleges and universities make their content available to anyone. Only their students can get credit for taking the courses but, for lifelong learners, credit isn't the important part - it's the experience and the information. MIT is preeminent. They provide opencourseware in just about every field from sailing to differential equations and medical technology. The courses vary from "Here's the books we use. Read them." to full video lectures with textbook, tests, and software. But the video lectures they do have are excellent. Here's a link:

Another excellent source of lectures is Gresham College. They have several series of special lectures, not particularly opencourseware. The topics are varied but the speakers are active in their fields, informative, and engaging. Gresham College can be found here:

Academic Earth brings together many of the best open courses from many schools. They try to keep the quality high and, for the most part, succeed. Here's a link to that site:

Another source that brings together different sources is the Wikipedia article on opencourseware:

It provides a worldwide sample of educational opportunities.

The Teaching Company is a commercial source of courses. The lecture series are rather expensive but every item goes on sale at least once during the year and, then, the prices are very affordable. The company auditions their lecturers and use customer feedback to choose future topics and lecturers. One thing I like about these products is that the lecturers are active in their fields and I almost always hear things that I've never heard before. I've never bought a Teaching Company product and regretted the purchase. Here is their home site:

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