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Virtual education… for free

AFP via Yahoo News

WASHINGTON (AFP) – They don’t offer degrees but then they don’t charge tuition either.

Colleges and universities across the United States are offering free courses online on virtually every subject imaginable, including videotaped lectures by some of their most distinguished professors.

Video-sharing site YouTube recently created a hub called YouTube EDU at for the more than 100 US colleges and universities offering free online learning.

Among the thousands of videos on YouTube EDU are the celebrated classroom theatrics of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) physics professor Walter Lewin, whose clips have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Other leading institutions of higher education posting videos to YouTube include the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Yale.

Interested in dentistry? Then the YouTube channel of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry may be the place for you, serving up a total of 426 videos.

The courses offered on YouTube EDU are free and not for credit but the number of schools offering online classes which count towards a degree is booming.

According to a November 2008 study done for the Sloan Consortium, more than 3.9 million students in the United States were taking at least one online course in 2007, the latest year for which full statistics were available.

That was a 12 percent increase over the previous year, according to Sloan, a non-profit whose mission is to “integrate online education into the mainstream of higher education.”

Read the whole thing…


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    • Edger on August 1, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    This is an open thread, too…. 🙂

  1. to at least some Americans.

    • Edger on August 2, 2009 at 1:09 am

    • Adam on August 2, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Just found this site last week

    The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere.

    We have 800+ videos on YouTube covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, and finance which have been recorded by Salman Khan. He has also developed a free, adaptive math program available here.

    To keep abreast of new videos as we add them, subscribe to the Khan Academy channel on YouTube.

    The entire video library is shown below. Just click on a category or video title to start learning from the Khan Academy!

    Calculus  |  Precalculus  |  Trigonometry  |  Algebra  |  Finance  |  Pre-algebra  |  Arithmetic  |  Geometry  |  Physics  |  SAT Preparation  |  Probability  |  Linear Algebra  |  Differential Equations  |  Credit Crisis  |  Banking and Money  |  Paulson Bailout  |  California Standards Test: Algebra II  |  California Standards Test: Algebra I  |  California Standards Test: Geometry  |  Venture Capital and Capital Markets  |  Statistics  |  Geithner Plan  |  Current Economics

    Salman Khan (Sal) founded the Khan Academy with the hope of using technology to foster new learning models. He is currently the portfolio manager of a fund based in Menlo Park, CA. Prior to this, Sal was one of the initial employees at MVC Venture Capital. He has also worked as a Technical Architect at Scient Corporation and as a Senior Product Manager at Oracle Corporation.

    Sal received his MBA from Harvard Business School where he was president of the student body. He also holds a Masters in electrical engineering and computer science, a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, and a BS in mathematics from MIT where he was president of the the Class of 1998. While at MIT, Sal was the recipient of the Eloranta Fellowship which he used to develop web-based math software for children with ADHD. He was also an MCAT instructor for the Princeton Review and volunteered teaching gifted 4th and 7th graders at the Devotion School in Brookline, MA.

    To contact the Khan Academy, please send an email to sal “at” (replace “at” with ‘@’).


    Jonathan Goldman is an Analytics Scientist at where he uses mathematical models to help improve user experience. He has always loved learning math and applying these skills to interesting problems. He has taught courses at Stanford in the physics department and has been tutoring students at different levels (middle school through university) since high school. He sees great opportunity in improving the learning tools available to students of all ages.

    Jonathan received a PhD in physics from Stanford University in 2005 and a BS in physics from MIT in 1998.

  2. There is so much to learn conceptually and there are so many things to physically learn (ie how to’s) that I try to learn at least one thing everyday.

    • Edger on August 2, 2009 at 5:14 am

    This is a good example of the quality of material provided by universities throught the new YouTube EDU at that the AFP article talks about.

    I found this video by going to, then clicking on the UCTV logo at the top of the page…

    …..then looking under “Recent Activity” about halfway down the page on the right side.

    Here is “Better Ways to Pay for Health Care”, with Harold Luft, Director, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute; Professor Emeritus of Health Policy and Health Economics explores ways to pay for healthcare. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [8/2009]

    This talk is 1 hour 27 minutes, and is far beyond anything I think you’d ever see on television or read in a newspaper or magazine…

  3. an art to it, like anywhere online, to how to search for stuff. You can Search by name, topic, or whatever, but for people like me lol, I could get lost in there! LOL.

    I think the more specific your query, the better.  My alma mater (UF) is not there, and I know names there.

  4. …Just when I had virtually accomplished the art of eating air sandwiches in prep for the coming ice age without food, I learn that to satisfy my intellectual curiosity I’m gonna have to learn to live and stay lucid without sleep.  

    What a bonanza.  I can hardly wait to spend the duration of the flu pandemic in the hermetically sealed safety of my studio apartment while studying everything!!!

    Thanks ED gerr!

  5. Hotlisted this one. The ability to cherry pick courses and fast forward through them to find the exact subject matter and have a reference for it is priceless.A lot of the time much of what I think and talk about is considered by others to be Woo Woo U. material. To be able to find the facts I need to support some of my arguments is great.

    Be well

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