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“In Examined Life, filmmaker Astra Taylor accompanies some of today’s most influential thinkers on a series of unique excursions through places and spaces that hold particular resonance for them and their ideas.

Peter Singer’s thoughts on the ethics of consumption are amplified against the backdrop of Fifth Avenue’s posh boutiques. Slavoj Zizek questions current beliefs about the environment while sifting through a garbage dump. Michael Hardt ponders the nature of revolution while surrounded by symbols of wealth and leisure.

Judith Butler and a friend stroll through San Francisco’s Mission District questioning our culture’s fixation on individualism. And while driving through Manhattan, Cornel West—perhaps America’s best-known public intellectual—compares philosophy to jazz and blues, reminding us how intense and invigorating a life of the mind can be.

Offering privileged moments with great thinkers from fields ranging from moral philosophy to cultural theory, Examined Life reveals philosophy’s power to transform the way we see the world around us and imagine our place in it.” <link>

Watch it here.


I am always looking for new ways of connecting readers with clear, concise, and free learning on the web. I was therefore delighted to receive an email from Alan at directing me to their blog. Browsing the many interesting posts on divergent topics and resources related to college and academic life, I’ve selected a few that particularly stood out to me.

You can find the blog here.

Finally, I would like to encourage people to likewise send me links that you think would be of interest to readers of this blog. But I would also add that (in keeping with the spirit of this blog) links, videos, and tutorials must be freely accessible and educational in nature.

“At TEDxNYED, former “young Republican” Larry Lessig talks about what Democrats can learn about copyright from their opposite party, considered more conservative. A surprising lens on remix culture.”

This talk is a follow-up to the talk ‘How creativity is being strangled by the law’ that he gave in 2007, but stands alone.

I haven’t been active enough on this site so I thought this talk merited a share. I’ve been following Lessig’s work since I posted his first TED talk back in 2007, and so I was excited to find a talk in which he outlines his recent thoughts. I really like his presentation style, its impassioned and engaged with a poetry slam feel to it. His slide use is tactical. I recommend watching the first if you haven’t.

Academic Earth is an organization founded with the goal of giving everyone on earth access to a world-class education.” <home>

I am very honored to share, on my 100th post, a phenomenal website with learning aspirations that mirror those of the OpenLearning project.

From their mission statement:

“We are building a user-friendly educational ecosystem that will give internet users around the world the ability to easily find, interact with, and learn from full video courses and lectures from the world’s leading scholars. Our goal is to bring the best content together in one place and create an environment in which that content is remarkably easy to use and where user contributions make existing content increasingly valuable.” <about>

I encourage you to take a moment to browse the lectures available in a clean and accessible format covering a wide range of subjects from a variety of universities and professors. Also, take a look at their great playlists.

“As we learn in this new way of the network era, we move to more nodes of related material through links from the entry node. As we understand the content of the nodes we are relating to each other comprehension emerges and we grasp ideas.Pre-Internet education relied on hierarchies like a curriculum at a grade level, structures into which nodes were embedded allowing only the order of the imposed hierarchy to be possible among the nodes. In the static knowledge of print, education could not readily build ideas up from nodes and/or connect them in their cognitive patterns. The excitement of emergent learning was absent because the natural networking of ideas is not possible in a static hierarchy.

Nodes of what is to be learned must connect for emergent learning to occur. That is why education resources closed off by having to be paid for and/or locked behind ivy walls will soon wither. The new learning of the 21st century is connective and emergent. Educational resources that are not open to participate in these processes do not participate in the openness of the global knowledge commons.” <about>

If you’re anything like me, you find it pretty easy to write-off online degrees. Maybe it’s because of the way that most of us are exposed to them (through sidebar ads and spam), or maybe it’s just that we’re a little traditional about our academic institutions. I’m not going to argue for or against online college degrees, but I am going to point you in the direction of another great resource for learning (and maybe getting a degree along the way, who knows?).

The website that I am ruthlessly promoting this time is the Online Education Database (OEDb). The OEDb currently contains reviews of 1,048 programs from 88 accredited online colleges. In addition to being a fantastic resource for anyone interested in getting a degree online, they’ve got detailed articles about everything you’d ever want to know, the OEDb offers a wide range of articles and resources for people who simply want to take advantage of the Internet to broaden their minds. By far, the best part of this website are all the resources. They’re presented in a nice straightforward listings that make them easy to use (provided you can find them). Some recent articles, to get you interested, include:

The OEDb has some really interesting (and useful!) featured articles, so make sure to check them out. In addition to this, OEDb hosts two really awesome blogs that I strongly recommend:

    This website has been expanded over time by the momentum originally obtained by several very influential (on me) videos and projects, many of which I have linked directly in past posts. I recognize that it is once again time to renew the spirit of Open Learning.

    Open Learning is a compository website. It has been extended by an ethos of usability, relevance, and discovery. It is clear that Internet provides immense opportunity to reshape the organization and availability of information of all types. This is, of course, a double-edged sword, I do not endorse uncritical utopian optimism.

    The expansion of knowledge (and not just information) through digital media implies at least one major difference with tradition [analog] forms: multiplicity. Although tacitly obvious, it is important to bear in mind that digital information requires nothing, or virtually nothing, to duplicate itself. And is, save a black hole maybe, indestructible.

    This isn’t a trait that is unique to digital information. All information is essentially non-zero sum. This is to say, I can easily tell you how to get to the bank without any cost to myself (I don’t lose the knowledge of how to get to a bank by telling you). In terms of ownership, information is different than physical objects. Once I give you my guitar, I no longer have one (zero sum; your win is my loss). The difference between traditional forms of information and digital information is the media by which they are disseminated. So, in changing the form of media we can move from (more or less) zero sum interactions, to non-zero sum.

    The role and opportunity of education in this scheme of affairs is fascinating. How will this unparallel access to information affect ourselves and future generations? Can our system of education address todays’ needs? I have posted some very interesting videos that discuss just this.

    In bringing you concise and useful tools to take advantage of the new knowledge economies of the net, it is my great pleasure to present some other websites that share this goal and harnesses this extension of mind.

    And of course there’s always iTunes U.

    “Pangea is the name of the original super-continent which contained all the world’s land mass before the continents started splitting apart 250 million years ago. We’re launching Pangea Day with the vision that the people of the world can begin to overcome their divisions, and that the power of film can help make it possible.

    Pangea Day plans to use the power of film to bring the world a little closer together. We’re divided by borders, race, religion, conflict… but most of all by misunderstanding and mistrust. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that — to help people see themselves in others — through the power of film.

    On May 10, 2008 — Pangea Day — sites in Cairo, Dharamsala, Kigali, London, New York City, Ramallah, Rio de Janeiro and Tel Aviv will be linked to produce a 4-hour program of powerful films, visionary speakers, and uplifting music. The program will be broadcast live to the world through the Internet, television, digital cinemas, and mobile phones.

    Your film could be part of it. The online video revolution has helped spawn a new generation of grass-roots film-makers worldwide. Much of the output, of course, is mediocre. But hidden in there are amazing talents capable of using film to astonishing effect… and capable of telling stories that can create powerful bonds between us.

    So ask yourself this. If you had the entire world’s attention for just a few minutes, what story would you tell? Perhaps you think the world looks at you, your country and your culture… and just doesn’t understand. Then do something about it. Make a film and upload it here. You never know. It could end up bringing millions of people that bit closer together.

    Movies can’t change the world. But the people who watch them can.

    To register as a film-maker, to get more ideas about film submissions, or to host a screening or learn how you can get involved, please visit our website.” <home><wiki>

    This project is the result of Jehane Noujaim‘s wish “to bring the world together for one day a year through the power of film.” In 2006 she won the TED Prize. Take a minute to learn the history and progress of this wish here.

    • “At 71, Physics Professor Is a Web Star” <NY Times>
    • “MIT Lecturers Top the iTunes U Top Ten” <MIT News>

    “The Walter Lewin Lectures on Physics at MIT are legendary. Many have been shown for over six years on UWTV in Seattle, reaching an audience of about four million people. He personally responded to all e-mail requests he received (hundreds per year) from UWTV viewers, who varied in age from 7 to 90. For fifteen years he was on MIT Cable TV helping freshmen with their weekly homework assignments. His programs, which were aired 24 hours per day, were also frequently watched by upper-class students. Lewin is the soul of PIVoT, a video course on Newtonian Mechanics with a total of 53 hours of video clips. Additionally, his 36 lectures on Electricity and Magnetism and 23 lectures on Vibrations and Waves can also be viewed from the course’s web site. Finally, his special lectures given at MIT for science teachers and for middle school students can be viewed on MIT World.” <wiki>

    These, and many many more, can be found on MIT’s OpenCourseWare <physics>

    MIT on iTunes U <home>

    Complete Breakdown of Intuition:

    Part One

    Part Two

    “The UChannel (also known as the University Channel) makes videos of academic lectures and events from all over the world available to the public. It is a place where academics can air their ideas and present research in a full-length, uncut format. Contributors with greater video production capabilities can submit original productions.

    The UChannel presents ideas in a way commercial news or public affairs programming cannot. Because it is neither constrained by time nor dependent upon commercial feedback, the UChannel’s video content can be broad and flexible enough to cover the full gamut of academic investigation.” <about>

    Check out how it works.


    Welcome to OpenLearning! Here you will find the useful links to online learning material suxh as academic podcasts, video lectures, and audiobooks; in addition to posting must-see videos on topics of interest.