Submitted by jean-paul on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 15:49

Education is a lifelong process. I enjoy learning immensely, and I don't know about you, but I also love to read. I think I would find it difficult to learn without loving to read, but even I need a break from line after line of unending text.

The following is a short list of online video resources that will allow you to take a break from reading without causing the brain-softness that is an unavoidable consequence of watching cable TV. Let's be honest, are you really going to "keep sharp" by watching a reality series about parking attendants? I don't think so, but that's just my opinion.

Links to all of the resources are at the bottom of the article. The following list is in no particular order, and is by no means complete. Let me know in the comments section if there is a great resource that you think should be added to the list, but only include video and audio. I can't speak for everyone, but reading isn't much of a break from reading.

MIT OpenCourseware (OCW): This is a great option for people looking for university level courses. MIT's OCW offers content from hundreds of actual MIT courses, including videos of lectures, lecture notes, assignments and solutions, projects, example exams, as well as other multimedia content. This content is the same as what is offered to the students enrolled in the courses, although following along on the OCW site will not get you any credit for the course. There is a broad range of topics, from biology and chemistry, economics, political science, literature, engineering, and business studies. If you are looking to enrich your understanding, or are a university student looking for supplemental materials for your own course, this is a great place to start. I have personally watched many hours of lectures as a supplement to my current computer science education.

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Khan Academy Logo

Khan Academy: This is a fantastic resource, and offers thousands of video tutorials in a range of subjects and levels. Most of the video tutorials are related to mathematics, but included subjects are biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, history, economics, and finance. There are also videos that deal with specific test preparation, such as the SAT math test, GMAT, and ITT JEE test. The video tutorials are captivating to watch, and are like a blackboard with drawings and examples, instead of watching a professor talk like some other resources are. This makes for excellent learning, and is more like being in an actual classroom, except with the added bonus of having a pause button. I wish some of my classes in highschool had a pause button!

 

 

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CGP Grey LogoC.G.P Grey: While this may not be as large a resource as some of the others, the videos are very well produced, and are for the most part very interesting (and funny!). These aren't the kind of videos that will help you get your B.A. degree, but in between reading Compendium of Boring Old Literature and writing your paper on Stories Nobody Cares About, watching a few of these videos will at least give you something to talk to your friends about. That's assuming you still have friends, of course. Maybe the "5 Historical Misconceptions Rundown" video on the Youtube channel will provide you with some smalltalk topics to help you make new friends.

 

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Crashcourse LogoCrash Course: This video series currently contains 43 videos. They are what the series title implies, crash courses, and while they are only in history and biology, they are excellent. They have a very high production value, and are pretty funny as well. I really enjoyed this series, created by brothers John and Hank Green. I hope they eventually branch out in to different subjects, as they are entertaining as well as informative. These videos are good enough to be shown in a classroom, and for the most part are around 10 minutes in length. Professionally animated and edited, with props and sound effects, they will hold the attention of most students (and their teachers!).

 

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Minute Physics: Another entry that has its home in a Youtube channel, minute physics is exactly what you would think. These videos are short, very short, and are all about physics, and the history of physics. I guess I'm stretching it a bit including these videos in an article about free online learning materials, but if you don't know anything about physics, then you will probably learn something. And being on Youtube, it's free. There are 42 videos in the channel, and with nearly 20 million views and over 220,000 subscribers, they are a fairly popular series. Maybe they would be good as a break in between the other video series listed previously. Seriously, you don't need that kind of break. Get back to work! After a few of these, of course.