Academic Earth

Sometimes it's hard to categorize a blog post. Take this one today. My first thought was that it was about MEDIA, but then I thought it could be eLEARNING or even OPEN EVERYTHING. First thought, best thought. I went with media. So what subject straddles these categories?

It is called Academic Earth and it's a collection of recorded lectures from a number of different universities in the United States. It is media and it is open and it could definitely be used for eLearning.

So far it offers lectures from Yale, MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford. They are all schools that have offered similar materials before (in some instances, the same material) on their own sites, in iTunes U and on YouTube.

So, what's different here? Academic Earth allows you to search across the school by university, subject, top rated professor, top rated lecture, and top rated courses. Being able to search and rate content from multiple sources is what makes this different from using a university site or their YouTube channel.

But I have to say, I have been sampling lectures from iTunes U and other sites since they launched and one thing that has made an impression on me is how boring some really well known profs from big name schools are in front of a class. No naming names, but there are a good number of lectures available on these sites that really do not make me want to be in the actual class.

That also includes the generally unedited nature of lecture captures - profs discussing grades & assignment and administrivia for 5 minutes before the lecture, lousy audio, questions you can't hear - and, as always, someone reading their bad PowerPoint slides isn't any better at an Ivy League school.

Can you help us sort through what's out there? Have you watched or used with your students a lecture or series from iTunes U, YouTube or Academic Earth that you highly recommend?


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