Monday, December 21, 2009

Five free university lecture sites

New readers to the blog and especially those that are new to podcasting tend to ask me where they can find podcasts themselves. A long time a go, I have written a post about my sources, but this is not one I have been updating all the time. So, here I want to give you a five sites to go to, to find university lecture series for yourself.

There are more universities than these five that offer their lectures on-line. If you go to iTunes U and check the list of Universities and Colleges, you will be surprised to find scores upon scores of institutions that share their educational content. However, not all audio players can handle the formats offered and not all of the offered content is of the same consistent quality. So let me begin to limit you to these five: Berkeley, Yale, UC San Diego, UCLA and Stanford.

Number one is Berkeley which as been offering free courses on podcast and vodcast for years. All the material is still available, going as far back as 2001. All conceivable disciplinary fields are covered. Among others are indisputable classics such as History 5 (European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present) and Descriptive Physics (aka Physics for future presidents). Most courses are offered in formats every player can handle

Fewer courses are available at Yale, but the quality is persistent and high and all in regular format.

UC San Diego (UCSD) offers a large amount every semester as Berkeley does and also these podcasts are in regular mp3 format. However, UCSD has two major drawbacks you have to keep in mind: the lectures are no edited and therefore contain inconvenient silences and abrupt starts and stops. Also, lectures are removed at the end of the semester. Yet, this is compensated by splendid lecturers such as Victor Magagna and Matthew Herbst.

UCLA's course list is also extremely long and varied and also goes back quite a number of years. Not all courses are publicly available though. You can identify those with the padlock icon.

Stanford has little but great material just like Yale. Yet, Stanford is one of those many institutions that are mainly reachable through iTunes U only and this means occasionally strictly Apple format for the content. Yet, some of this stuff is splendid like the Historical Jesus and the History of the International System and Stem Cells policy and ethics and Global Geopolitics and Hannibal.