AlexJ's Computer Science Journal

Online Education: CrashCourse & YouTube Education Channels

I talked about emerging online education platforms like Coursera, Udacity, Khan Academy and what are the features that make those projects interesting. But I couldn’t close this series of articles without mentioning a smaller but cool project that I found.

Crash Course is a YouTube channel that offers courses that you would find in a school curricula, but in a more non orthodox way. Each course is made up of about 40 videos of about  10 minutes in length each. So far, the channel offered a course on World history and one on Biology with others (US History, Biology, Literature and Ecology) in progress.

So far, it sounds like Khan Academy but without a special site for the framework. It’s all just YouTube, videos and playlists, with comments from users in a classic YT way. It’s the simplest way to doing things (this is how Khan Academy actually started).

What makes these courses interesting the the way the educational information is presented. It’s the way you wished that your highschool teachers taught every course: in a fun way. The lessons are filled with (clean and smart) jokes, interesting pop and geek culture references and cool animations (with the help of a graphics team). The ratio of playing  and learning is close to perfect so you can watch these short videos and learn while smiling.

The story of the channel starts with two brothers that had their own youtube channel  which became popular on the Internet. Google offered them some funding through a program that promotes original and useful material on YouTube. With the sponsorship from Google they developed their own online TV show-like channel called Crash Course. The videos produced are or the same quality of a show filmed for a large TV station (so it’s not just about home made videos).

Recently, I found another channel that have the two brother’s trademark: SciShow.

And since I am presenting things that are actually educational on YouTube, I would also like to tell you about two other cool channels.

One is ViHart, made by a young girl that loves Math. She has some interesting videos both funny and informative. Her channel was noticed by Khan Academy and her videos are now part of Khan Academy’s math section.

Another is CGPGray. Also has short informative videos on various subjects. Although he doesn’t have specific courses or topics, I learned things from history to politics to science.

It’s nice to see that YouTube is not filled with useless information that people just waste time on, but also has many resources from where people can learn new things. And it’s great to know that you can teach things to a world wide audience with a rather low logistics effort, all thanks to YouTube and the Internet.



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