Talking Tech Friday – Academic Earth

Big buzz in the blogosphere this week about the newly released Academic Earth! Not be left out, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and throw in my two cents.

What is it?

Academic Earth is a new website, heralded by TechCrunch as the “Hulu for education”, that aggregates videos of lectures from Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.  All the content is free and shareable.  There are currently over 2400 lectures available on the site, and 60 full courses.

How does it work?

Lectures are grouped by University, Subject, Instructor, and Playlists.  You can also search for videos.  There are also Editors’ Picks and Featured Lectures displayed on the front page.  Currently, there are more videos available in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math than in the Arts and Humanities, but Academic Earth intends to keep adding content.  Each video can be downloaded, embedded, and shared. Embeddable on any site except WordPress, of course.

If you register with the site, you can save your favorites and make your own playlists.  Registering simply requires a username, password, email address, and some statistical questions like education level, country, and whether or not you’re a current student.

The Playlists are thematic collections of videos gathered by the site’s editors, such as “Love is in the Air” which features “Perspectives on emotion, love, dating, marriage, and sex from psychology, english, and economics.”

Viewers can “grade” lectures  All lectures start with a grade of “B”, so if you see a lecture with a higher or lower grade, it’s an average of all the ratings its received so far.  Top rated courses and lectures are also featured on the front page.

The site is very attractively designed, intuitive to navigate, and very interactive.  You can click on the now-standard group of icons to share playlists and videos using your favorite social bookmarking site, become a Facebook Fan, subscribe to an RSS feed for new content alerts, and leave feedback about the site.  You can also subscribe to specific courses

Possible Library Uses

As far as just use, I think it’s a great addition to any reference site – direct links to scholarly content, for free, for anyone!

I also think this site offers a great opportunity.  According to several articles listed below, they are looking for non-university educational content to add as well.  I think it would be spectacular to have some libraries offering up videos on information literacy, bibliographic citation, research methods, spotlights on free reliable sources, etc.  Wouldn’t that be great way to display the importance of libraries to learning outcomes in a world-wide setting?



~ by Anali on March 27, 2009.