One of the things that makes me feel privileged to be alive at this time is the amount of informative and educational material that is available online: Lectures, courses, podcasts. It’s like all the world is now a university, every person a student. All you have to do is flip the switch in your brain that allows you to notice it.
For me it started with The Teaching Company, who had been selling audio lecture series on tape for years before I found them online. High quality stuff, well presented. But they’re falling behind, with their insane pricing model and comparatively limited selection.
There’s FORA.tv, who are more oriented towards politicians, public intellectuals, and authors. There are lots of gems to discover in their massive database. (I post some on Twitter once in a while.) It’s like a cauldron of ideas, some good, some bad, some fresh, some stale – and it makes you feel alive just to be connected to it.
These days I’m exploring iTunes U, which gathers all the free recordings universities and colleges are putting online.
Long-time readers may wonder why I don’t do much media criticism any more. It’s because in a world of free, 24-episode lecture series on the modern history of France, obsessing endlessly about how your newspaper is biased and uninformative becomes just whining. Like always complaining about how awful your city is, but never leaving. At some point you just have to let go. Flip the switch. Join the new world.