This is topic Where we Live in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Tatiana (Member # 6776) on :
You are here.

There's an awesome free college level introductory astronomy course being taught now on the web. There's no textbook to buy. The course uses wikipedia and one of my favorite sites, NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day, also known as APOD.

I watched the introductory lecture (skip the first third) and I really like the course. It's going to be up to the minute in terms of what we know about the universe. The pictures are gorgeous. The course will be rigorous and taught at a college level. And it's completely free.

I can't help but think this is setting some kind of precedent for how knowledge will be spread in the future. I'm planning to go through it all in detail. I'll be excited to watch as more and more courses are taught this way, and anyone can learn as much as they want to know about any subject there is. Of course, using a good library they can now anyway, but this is so much easier and more fun! =)

[ September 21, 2008, 11:58 PM: Message edited by: Tatiana ]
Posted by JonHecht (Member # 9712) on :
Do we get college credit for it?
Posted by dantesparadigm (Member # 8756) on :
I'm taking an introductory astronomy course at Brown, and it's equally free. Except I had to work myself half to death to get there. We have a pretty cool observatory though.
Posted by Tatiana (Member # 6776) on :
JonHecht, he points out that to get credit for it, you have to pay. If you just want to know the information, that's free.

I've watched the second lecture now, and it's really good. He's taking exactly the approach I would take.
Posted by scottneb (Member # 676) on :
One step closer to a K-PAXian society.

Posted by Tatiana (Member # 6776) on :
Man, I just watched lecture 5 tonight. Now I'm caught up and in real time. Lecture 5 was posted today, I believe. It's so fun! Today he talked about this cool new picture on APOD. Y'all should go look at it. It turns out that when two superclusters of galaxies collide, their normal mass stays in the middle but their dark matter seems to slide right through each other!!!

Of course, dark matter makes up most of the universe and we have no idea at all what it is. This is a huge clue letting us know what it is, how it behaves upon collision on a really big scale. "Really big" is such an understatement here that it's hard to imagine any understatement could possibly be more understated. <laughs> Superclusters of galaxies are the largest things in the universe other than the universe itself, if you get what I'm saying. They're seriously, stupendously, gargantuanually big. [Big Grin]

Anyway, I just wanted to gush some more about what a cool course this is which is being offered to everyone on the web for absolutely free! C'mon aspectre, Noemon, Shigosei, some of my fellow science freaks! Come follow this course with me! It's so amazing and wonderful!
Posted by Sean Monahan (Member # 9334) on :
This is cool, Tatiana, thanks for sharing.
Posted by Strider (Member # 1807) on :
very neat. Ever since wikipedia first came out I said that I thought it could be a great learning/teaching tool. And that if we could merge wikipedia style information learning with more pictures, audio, and video that it would really be the greatest educational tool ever.
Posted by Tatiana (Member # 6776) on :
Yay! Tomorrow night is lecture 5! I'm totally looking forward to it. =)
Posted by Tatiana (Member # 6776) on :
Happy Equinox, everybody!

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