Open Courses

Open Culture highlights the Top Five Collections of Free University Courses.

The post features open course material and videos from University of California Berkeley, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Indian Institutes of Technology and Stanford University.

The world's top universities are giving their course content away for free.

When will NUS jump in?

The availability of this content provokes further questions: What is the true value of a university education? Is it that piece of paper students get at the end of their course of study? Or is it the interactions that students have with their lecturers and tutors? Or something else?

UPDATE 09102008 Cambridge and Oxford get in on the act too.

Siva highlighted this post in, which features a short paper about science blogging that focuses on outreach. It was published under a Creative Commons Attribution license, so I have reproduced it in its entirety here:

Shelley A. Batts*, Nicholas J. Anthis, Tara C. Smith

Citation: Batts SA, Anthis NJ, Smith TC (2008) Advancing Science through Conversations: Bridging the Gap between Blogs and the Academy. PLoS Biol 6(9): e240 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060240

Published: September 23, 2008

Copyright: © 2008 Batts et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Shelley A. Batts is in the Neuroscience Program and Kresge Hearing Research Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America. Nicholas J. Anthis is in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom. Tara C. Smith is in the Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, United States of America.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

Scientific discovery occurs in the lab one experiment at a time, but science itself moves forward based on a series of ongoing conversations, from a Nobel Prize winner's acceptance speech to collegial chats at a pub. When these conversations flow into the mainstream, they nurture the development of an informed public who understand the value of funding basic research and making evidence-based voting decisions. It is in the interests of scientists and academic institutions alike to bring these conversations into the public sphere.

...continue reading

Mousecloud Demo from mousecloud on Vimeo.

Mousecloud is a basic and user-friendly free online collaboration tool which allows you to import documents and collaborate with others online without registration - just share the link of the cloud (or room in online collaboration jargon). The imported documents can be annotated and highlighted. I'm not sure if there is a way to save the room besides taking screenshots. From my cursory exploration, it can be used almost immediately as it doesn't have a steep learning curve. Sure, it doesn't have many features, but many feature-filled online collaboration tools are also really difficult to use!

Oh yes, forgot to mention, the import a URL/website function didn't work for me at all.

Hat tip to Learn Tech News by the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies.