The Washington Post

The college lecture: Send us your favorite videos

The lecture, an efficient yet often impersonal form of teaching, is under attack, reports The Post’s Daniel de Vise.

Science, math and engineering departments in particular are finding the lecture method’s a turn-off for students.

Really, why spend hundreds of dollars to sit in a room with hundreds of others when you can learn for free from the comfort of your laptop?

With that in mind, what’s the best online lecture you’ve seen? We’ve rounded up a handful of interesting and quirky videos, but we need your help to expand the list:

Newton’s Third Law | University of Southern California

Best fit for: Students who like props in their education

Within four minutes, Nick Warner teaches you a bit of physics using a skateboard and a makeshift rocket.

Pittsburghese | Carnegie Mellon University

Best fit for: Language nerds

Barbara Johnstone, a professor in CMU’s English department, breaks down the nitty-gritty of the Pittsburgh dialect. (For instance, “feel” sounds like “fill” and “fool” like “full.”) Plus, she digs into the cultural reasons that locals keep these quirks alive.

Justice | Harvard University

Best fit for: Wannabe philosophy majors

Michael Sandel’s lectures are so popular that they’ve spawned their own Web site. He starts by posing a question to a packed lecture hall and those watching at home: “If you had to choose between (1) killing one person to save the lives of five others and (2) doing nothing even though you knew that five people would die right before your eyes if you did nothing—what would you do?”

And colleges don’t have a monopoly on the online teaching-lecture circuit. Videos from TED conferences have watched by millions. Among those videos:

The mystery of chronic pain | TED

Best fit for: Those fascinated by medical mysteries

Pediatrician and anesthesiologist Elliot Krane shows how a patient’s morphing nervous system can cause serious problems.

The weird and wonderful world of bioluminescence | TED

Best fit for: Those who need crazy visuals to go along with their lectures

Edith Widder gives a glimpse at an undersea world not often seen. Science nerds, this one’s for you.

What’s the best online lecture you’ve seen? Share a link in the comments.


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