×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ask Slashdot. Best Online Science Course?

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the browsing-teachers dept.

Education 166

First time accepted submitter blubadger writes "Having slept through chemistry at school, I'm looking to fill in the gaps in my science education by following a short online course or two. I've been searching for 'Chemistry 101,' 'Basics of Physics,' 'Biology Primer,' and so on. There's some high-quality stuff on offer – from Academic Earth, MIT and others – but it tends to take the form of videos of traditional university lectures. I was hoping to cut through the chit-chat and blackboards and get straight into the infographics and animations that will help me understand complex ideas. Flash and HTML5 Canvas seem wasted on videos of lectures. If the quality were high enough I would be willing to pay. Have Slashdotters seen anything that fits the bill?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

166 comments

Dear Slashdot, (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40209969)

Where is the comic book version of the Library of Congress, so I can look at pictures and know everything?

Re:Dear Slashdot, (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40210249)

Funny. The original poster shouldn't overlook the value of a college lecture. You can listen to it while you drive to work, or in your office. It's a bit difficult to look at charts while in the car or office.

Re:Dear Slashdot, (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | about 2 years ago | (#40210539)

Agree with this.

Kinda difficult to brush up on polyacetylimidazolidindiones if you slept through that chapter, without dedicating some hard learning time to it.

Re:Dear Slashdot, (4, Insightful)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 years ago | (#40210991)

What if you could present the chapter in such a way that I didn't fall asleep when reading it?

Re:Dear Slashdot, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40211207)

What if you could present the chapter in such a way that I didn't fall asleep when reading it?

Are you willing to pay somebody to custom craft you a course that will somehow keep your attention in spite of your lack of interest in the subject?

There is value in "shallow" learning (5, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 2 years ago | (#40210333)

Just because someone wants just the broad strokes doesn't make them a bad person.

Knowing ABOUT something is half the battle to knowing HOW to do something. I don't need to know how to do the math myself to appreciate the concept of what it is doing.

Just one look at the math for something like this [wikipedia.org] makes they eyes of most people glaze over, and they don't even know it exists. Even without being able to solve those equations themselves, a "comic book" version of it, if done well, might make more people appreciate stuff they "use" every day.

Re:There is value in "shallow" learning (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40211699)

In layman's terms you mean like how you press a number on a phone(tone), how long you press it (length) and how much force you use pressing it(amplitude)...?

By the way I am drinking/drunk and my eyes did glaze over it however one common criterion that exists (or doesn't exist) I should say is the valuation of how one is able to interpreter data/ideas/knowledge and a delivery model associated with various modes of thinking.

Honestly Einstein sucked at regular "maths", we all know this. However the pattern recognition should be more "vellum" based thinking and it is considered "Un-scientific" to use metaphors/analogies as well as antithetical social precedences ("you don't have a phone that you can press hard the keys on????"

Honestly your comment is great just wanted to add my two bits to the discussion.

YES, A COMIC BOOK VERSION WOULD BE AEWSOME OP!!!!

Re:There is value in "shallow" learning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40212223)

The problem with shallow learning is that it doesn't stick. It goes into some mental repository a bit longer than short term memory (medium term?) and is forgotten within a couple weeks. That might be good enough for cramming for an exam in high school or not-so-elite universities, but not if you're serious about learning something worthwhile.

BTW this is one of the problems I have with Khan Academy. Sal's lectures make it "easy" to sit through a presentation so you can smile and nod along... and then not remember anything afterwards.

Dear Submitter (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#40210481)

Having slept through chemistry at school, ...

Seriously, go for the lecture videos. Take notes, and review them afterwards, just as if there was going to be an exam on the topic. Don't overload yourself; these things take time to absorb and to integrate with your existing knowledge.

Pause and replay videos as much as needed, but you have to concentrate on the material being conveyed. An engaging infographic can give you an overview of some topic (like for plate tectonics or the SN1 reaction mechanism) perhaps to the "informed layman" level. To reach a more knowledgeable level, you'll have to get your own mind wrapped around related groups of essential details (the classes and processes of felsic minerals, for instance). If you fall asleep during a lecture video, then replay it and try to stay awake.

Re:Dear Submitter (1, Insightful)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 years ago | (#40211137)

Classroom lectures are, literally, old school. Using online presentation tools instead of adhering to the old physical classroom format means you don't have to deal with chalk dust, for example, or taking the time to erase a black-or-white board. You can do retakes. Distracting coughs, etc. from the audience can be eliminated. And the teachers can be more themselves, more in control of what they present. They can take themselves out of the picture and focus on what they're trying to communicate on the screen, instead of having to worry about obscuring someone's (or the camera's) view while writing on a physical blackboard.

Re:Dear Slashdot, (1)

gadlaw (562280) | about 2 years ago | (#40210551)

Wow, even nerds and geeks can be bullies. Great. There is no call to make fun of someone for wanting to learn and someone who wants that learning in an interesting and digestible way. The main thing is a desire to learn. I'm also interested in seeing if there are other avenues for this sort of learning - so that makes me 'stupid' right? You're so smart.

Re:Dear Slashdot, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40211551)

It's a really overly broad question with no good answer. It's not a good question for Ask Slashdot. The belittling of it was deserved. There are very few Ask Slashdot questions that make any sense these days or have any good answer.

See the networking question earlier in the day. What the fuck? The question being posed as such is almost an insult to people that have dedicated their life to the subject. There really is no good answer other than, "Hire a network engineer that is not you."

Same applies to this lame question.

I personally love Khans accademy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40209975)

Not sure if it has the things you need, but I love it.

Re:I personally love Khans accademy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210027)

Really dude? So you'rea advocating for it, but you don't know what it is?

Re:I personally love Khans accademy. (1)

Rayzed (786761) | about 2 years ago | (#40210131)

Be careful! They'll leave you stuck in a cave with your ex-girlfriend, for the rest of your life. "Buried alive!"

two words (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40209981)

Khan Academy. JFGI.

Feynman's Lectures on Physics (4, Interesting)

demachina (71715) | about 2 years ago | (#40209999)

Feynman's Lectures on Physics is probably as good or better than any online course you will find.

Re:Feynman's Lectures on Physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210211)

Yes and no. If you learn by hearing and seeing, as well as reading, then watching lectures online helps a lot, in addition to reading the book. For Physics, MIT's Lewin's physics course [mit.edu] is pretty good:

Re:Feynman's Lectures on Physics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210341)

you learn by every sensory modality, don't let those greedy education companies fool you; learning styles are closer to science fiction than fact

Re:Feynman's Lectures on Physics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210699)

you learn by every sensory modality

Yeah, if a hot sexy girl gave me orgasms to learn science, I'd learn a lot more science...

beg to differ (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 2 years ago | (#40212185)

I'm more visual than auditory, especially for things like directions (I'll draw a map). I have to be really interested in something to actually learn significant amounts from an audio track--a video of a presenter with background graphics (or even a slideshow with audio track) is more engaging.

For something like physics or chemistry, an audio lecture can give the highlights but is going to be useless for the details--imagine trying to verbally explain a long complicated formula with multiple terms, superscripts, subscripts, parentheses, etc.

Re:Feynman's Lectures on Physics (1)

John.P.Jones (601028) | about 2 years ago | (#40210397)

Additionally, I would highly recommend Leonard Suskind's Stanford continuing education physics series (available on iTunes & YouTube etc) which is currently in its third quarter of the second attempt. The first covers classical mechanics, the second quantum mechanics and the third (ongoing) special relativity and classical field theory. The fourth I believe will cover general relativity and then the fifth will head into quantum field theory and the standard model.

Re:Feynman's Lectures on Physics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210437)

Two of Feynman's books worth reading/buying:

Six Easy Pieces (lectures on Newtonian physics)
Six Not So Easy Pieced (lectures on quantum physics)

These are available as books + audio CDs. They were my favorite "drive to work" listening for most of a year back about 10 years ago.

not sure this is a good strategy (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40210001)

I was hoping to cut through the chit-chat and blackboards and get straight into the infographics and animations that will help me understand complex ideas.

While there is some amount of popular science at the conceptual level that can be conveyed this way, you aren't really going to get far into even basic chemistry or physics via "infographics and animations", unless the latter have a lot more mathematics than is usually the case. One thing blackboards (and textbooks) have going for them is that, so far at least, they seem to be the main venues via which mathematics is conveyed, and it's quite difficult to get any serious understanding of science without being able to model phenomena mathematically.

Re:not sure this is a good strategy (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40210227)

What is the difference between "infographics" and graphical information written on a blackboard, anyway?

Re:not sure this is a good strategy (1)

Wovel (964431) | about 2 years ago | (#40210299)

There isn't one. I am not sure what his point was. Perhaps someone stuck in traditional Academia.

Re:not sure this is a good strategy (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#40210581)

Perhaps someone stuck in traditional Academia.

Ah yes, that stuffy, hidebound world of academia, where smart people have to think really hard for a long time to understand complicated subjects, instead of getting their information in easily digestible "infographics" and becoming instant experts.

Re:not sure this is a good strategy (1)

Dave Emami (237460) | about 2 years ago | (#40211467)

Perhaps someone stuck in traditional Academia.

Ah yes, that stuffy, hidebound world of academia, where smart people have to think really hard for a long time to understand complicated subjects, instead of getting their information in easily digestible "infographics" and becoming instant experts.

Your point is taken, but there's nothing wrong with wanting to ease the process by using newer techniques at conveying information. That dismissiveness towards "infographics" can apply just as readily to Cartesian graphs, chemical formula notation, Arabic numerals, or even writing itself. Decreasing the effort necessary for one person to comprehend another is a basic goal of language. Well, unless you're a lawyer or politician, of course.

Re:not sure this is a good strategy (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#40210495)

Most math is symbolic, not graphical. So the answer to your specific question is "nothing at all, really," but I think you may have missed OP's point.

Re:not sure this is a good strategy (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40210555)

I don't think there's a logical distinction, but I do see significant current differences. I have not seen very many infographics that approach the level of mathematical rigor that you find in even introductory physics courses. They seem to be more about comic-style drawings, big text, and simple graphics. Not much in the way of derivations or working equations.

I would be interested if someone had pointers to more math-heavy infographics, though. Maybe they exist and I just don't know about them?

Re:not sure this is a good strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40211625)

Blackboards are harder to read, and you have to erase them, and there's chalk dust, and you get in the way of the student when you're writing on them, and you run out of space so you have to write smaller...

Re:not sure this is a good strategy (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 2 years ago | (#40211829)

As much as I despised getting up for the 8:30 math lectures, I found that following the scribbling on the blackboard and getting an explanation of what it means and how you get there helps a lot - exactly like Khan does. Being able to pause a video to think about it would have been a big plus back then.

EOD. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210005)

http://www.khanacademy.org/#browse

Science is a rather broad subject (1)

Lumpio- (986581) | about 2 years ago | (#40210015)

Could you be a bit more specific as to what you're looking for exactly?

Re:Science is a rather broad subject (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#40211125)

Good, someone else picked up on the rather vague nature of the request. "Science" means he doesn't really need it in great depth, he just wants to learn a little more about the world.

(Yoda) "Infographics, he wants hmm? Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science has lots of those!" (/Yoda)

Oh waaa (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#40210035)

Higher education consists of actual dialog, lots of words, and drawing on blackboards. Why can't I have infotainment? I'm willing to pay to have things dumbed down for me.

I know I'm being obtuse, but seriously, this stuff is too complicated for simple little animations and pictures to make substantially easier.

Re:Oh waaa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210271)

Exactly. REAL learning requires work. What is it with the submitters generation expecting everything to come easy.

Go read popular science rags and pretend you're well read.

Re:Oh waaa (2)

gadlaw (562280) | about 2 years ago | (#40210683)

What the heck does that mean? What are these 'Popular Science Rags' you're talking about? So anything that helps folks explore the wonder and intelligence of science is a 'rag' unless it does what? Unless it's incomprehensible to anyone but you? How is that helping anyone? It's hard enough getting some folks to even accept science and your attitude certainly doesn't help.

Re:Oh waaa (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 2 years ago | (#40210959)

My *guess* was that he meant things like Scientific American, Science Digest, New Scientist, etc. As opposed to Nature, Chemica Acta, etc. (I don't follow the second series, myself. Once upon a time I wanted to, but I also wanted to do other things...and the other things won. But I still follow the popularized Science magazines.)

Re:Oh waaa (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210311)

but seriously, this stuff is too complicated

That kind of defeatist attitude angers me.

It's the job of educators to make complicated material straightforward to understand.

If it can be done with simple infographics and animation, then that's great.

If it can't be done that way YET, then people with more imagination than you will figure out how to do it. All I ask is that you don't stand in their way, or denigrate them as they accomplish what you cannot imagine.

Re:Oh waaa (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40210589)

I do think the amount that you can learn from "simple infographics and animations" can be higher than it is today, but I don't think it will ever be at an impressive level, unless some truly revolutionary things happen in science, which I think is unlikely. It is simply impossible to get a handle on modern science, even at fairly basic levels, without a good understanding of mathematics, because science is so heavily mathematical. And the trend over the past 100 years, if anything, has been towards more pervasive use of mathematical formalisms, replacing things that were previously discussed more informally. I simply don't see a path towards being able to do even fairly basic 2nd-year-of-college level engineering if a student doesn't get comfortable with equations and symbolic manipulation.

Re:Oh waaa (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40211031)

It is simply impossible to get a handle on modern science, even at fairly basic levels, without a good understanding of mathematics

I feel like something is missing from mathematics. Part of that is that I'm not very good at it, but somehow I don't feel like the attempt was made to teach me how math actually worked, just how to plug numbers in and get consistent results.

Re:Oh waaa (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40211441)

I feel like something is missing from mathematics. Part of that is that I'm not very good at it, but somehow I don't feel like the attempt was made to teach me how math actually worked, just how to plug numbers in and get consistent results.

It's not missing from mathematics; it's just missing from the lower levels of mathematics education. The analogy I often use is that a calculus course is like teaching someone how to drive a car; if you want to know how the car works and how to build and repair one yourself, you need to take a course in real analysis (which is essentially calculus done over again with everything actually proved).

Students who are not math majors seldom reach this level (which typically requires some gateway "introduction to higher mathematics" course), so they never have any idea what mathematics is about: they learn how to use it, not to do it. Indeed, most math graduate students don't have much of the big picture either. I'm a math Ph.D. with an unusually broad background (including comp. sci., physics, some engineering), but I still find that some senior faculty members seem to be able to see how the pieces fit together in a way that I still don't. So there are still higher levels; I wonder how far they go.

Re:Oh waaa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40211737)

If we would just remove the sooth saying things would already change dramatically, nothing sort of revolutionary.

I agree - what's the reason for this snobbery? (1)

gadlaw (562280) | about 2 years ago | (#40210597)

You know, some things are complicated - no kidding. But the ability to teach those things, even complicated concepts, means you should be able to translate that information to something your students can learn. In other words, if you can't explain it, you can't teach then you really don't understand it yourself. That could be the reason for these snarky comments.

Re:Oh waaa (4, Interesting)

LF11 (18760) | about 2 years ago | (#40210317)

To a certain extent, you are correct.

However, there are many ways to learn. Classroom learning is just one. Traditionally, humans learn by imitation, experience, and storytelling in small groups. For many modern young people, it appears that YouTube is taking the role of storyteller.

There are a LOT of students who struggle through a lecture, then promptly go on YouTube to find videos recorded by instructors who are actually interested in teaching. This applies to all levels of classes, from introductory classes to my current head-asploder; biochemistry.

You may have suffered through traditional "higher education," but a new generation is learning a different way. Some of them are learning it better. We have made tremendous progress in many fields, why do we not study the process of academic instruction just as intensely as, say, nuclear physics? Because people like you seem to think that just because you suffered through it, everyone else must suffer as well. It's only fair, right?

Sorry. You were being obtuse. :)

Khan Academy is good, a lot of people use those videos!

--cej102937

Re:Oh waaa (2)

mathfeel (937008) | about 2 years ago | (#40211275)

I agree with your larger point that the traditional lecture style education is not good for everyone.

You may have suffered through traditional "higher education," but a new generation is learning a different way. Some of them are learning it better. We have made tremendous progress in many fields, why do we not study the process of academic instruction just as intensely as, say, nuclear physics?

We do. Some physics department, like the one from which I got my PhD, offers research in physics education as a PhD program. Student do research and gather data in classroom and apply the same statistical analysis techniques to asset the effectiveness of certain teaching techniques. Unfortunately, they usually do not get the same respect in the department as more traditional thesis topics. Usually there are a few (<5) faculties out of the whole department who actually care about physics education that they accept student in these topics. The APS is starting to recognize it as a specialty, but only treats it as a "special topic" [aps.org] . We are getting there.

Khan Academy is good, a lot of people use those videos!

--cej102937

When I was TA-ing to pay my way through my degree, I recommend KA to many intro physics students. Then after talking to a lot of them, I find the result to be kind of mixed. Some find it helpful, other not and it somewhat surprised me that it did not correlated with grade. The worst case is that some thinks it's helpful when in fact it did not (and you can tell by asking conceptual questions that is only a twist of the problems covered in the video). Totally anecdotal. However, fellow students who actually engaged in physics educations research tents to agree that a one way dictation, abet using video, do not help student who lacks a good conceptual foundation to begin with. And this guy, who also did a PhD in physics education, also agree [youtu.be] . I do think the world is better with those video than without though.

Re:Oh waaa (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#40211527)

Well, yes, but, as with everything, there's a cost-benefit analysis to go through.

Just how much IT skill does that little animation with drill-downs and what-not take? How much editorial time by PhDs and other expensive hires does it take. How long until its outdated and needs to be redone? And, as I said, with upper-level focused material, the extra effort doesn't necessarily add substantial retention benefit.

Re:Oh waaa (1)

Wovel (964431) | about 2 years ago | (#40210319)

I think the askers point was more that the information can be better conveyed by using tools more sophisticated than a piece of chalk. He is right.

Re:Oh waaa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210441)

You can have fun with science but to start, I'm sorry to say that its only the hard way or there's no way.
While these videos are the exact classrooms where you supposedly slept previously, the only way now is to read and understand. I think books like Feynman series or crash courses or even notes from you friends will help. You can not expect to understand the whole science with just bunch of animations and some hanky panky videos, especially when you have to take the exams for the course. It is true that the animations and the sort of materials you are looking aids the understanding of the science, science should be learnt and the essence of learning lies in the books. This comes from a poor science guy who slept like you in the class but learnt through many books and notes.

Re:Oh waaa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210537)

Oh, I'm in the wrong thread but my message is to original poster and I agree with the previous poster, ikanread.

Re:Oh waaa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210907)

The problem of "dialog" and "lots of words" is that most of them are not about the subject. They are great for social reasons and to make a course actually fun, but they are a waste of time for someone who is learning alone and who want to go straight to the point.

The last book I read was about JavaScript. It was 700 pages. But most of them were useless. The real material could probably fit in less than 100 pages. It was the same for a book about mathematics I read a few months ago. It was great from a language style point of view, but the truth is I didn't care about the language, I only cared about mathematics and I had to skim through the book to get the information.

It's like watching the news on TV. It takes one hour to watch it. But reading a script containing all the information would take less than 5 minutes.

Why am I forced to have infotainment?

Re:Oh waaa (2)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#40211051)

Higher education consists of actual dialog, lots of words, and drawing on blackboards.

Misery is looking at video of people writing things on blackboards. At least move up to the format where there's a clear view of the slides and an inset for the talking head.

KhanAcademy (4, Informative)

Yogiz (1123127) | about 2 years ago | (#40210037)

I suggest you take a look at the videos at http://www.khanacademy.org/ [khanacademy.org] . The guy that makes these has quite a talent for teaching and the sketches help a lot with more difficult subjects. I'm currently about half way through with the macroeconomy playlist and I find the information very easy to obtain in the format it is provided there.

Re:KhanAcademy (2)

LF11 (18760) | about 2 years ago | (#40210345)

^^ this ^^ I can't recommend Khan Academy enough. Many people in all the science classes I have taken (chem, biochem, orgo, anatomy, physiology...) have been hitting up YouTube to learn material, and it has been working very well for them. Khan Academy is a constant favorite!

cej102937

Re:KhanAcademy (1)

alta (1263) | about 2 years ago | (#40211443)

I second this. We're going to be homeschooling our kids next year and there are some courses here we're going to integrate into the curriculum.

CDs that come with Text Books & youtube (1)

troylanes (883822) | about 2 years ago | (#40210039)

Get on craigslist/ebay and find some used text books that come with CDs. They typically have wonderful animations and interactive diagrams that helped me immensely in my Bio/Biochem undergrad. Also, do a cursory search on youtube. My wife recently completed some basic chemistry courses and showed me some of the stuff that was on youtube -- amazing it was.

Re:CDs that come with Text Books & youtube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210447)

-- amazing it was.

Yoda, where have you been?

Dear Slashdot, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210067)

The internet is such a vast repository of knowledge; is there any way to efficiently search it? I seem to be unable to find all the information I need about Chemistry (which I slept through in class).

Fucking moron.

www.google.com/search?q=online+learning
www.google.com/search?q=free+online+learning

YouTube series: Crashcourse (4, Informative)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | about 2 years ago | (#40210089)

It's a work in progress, but there's a new YouTube series called Crash Course [youtube.com] which presently covers biology and world history. They're planning to encompass other subjects in the future as well, but it just recently started. The history lessons are taught by author/nerd John Green and the biology is taught by his brother Hank Green. I suggest you check it out; it's got lots of neat graphics, simple explanations, and is easy to follow.

As mentioned in other posts, Khan Academy [khanacademy.org] is also a fantastic online resource. It's not quite as spiffy as Crash Course, but covers far more subjects, and is easy to follow.

Re:YouTube series: Crashcourse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40211833)

If you're really looking to learn something and retain it well, beware that watching a video (or an infographic) is rarely enough. Teaching about many science subjects is less about teaching students something they didn't already know than it is about dispelling the misconceptions they already have.

Here's an very good video that talks about the effectiveness of science teaching videos like those from the Khan Academy. It's a criticism, but a friendly, constructive one.

Khan Academy and the Effectiveness of Science Videos [youtube.com]

Surf's up! (1)

dolo724 (22338) | about 2 years ago | (#40210109)

Time to hit the internets for some basics. Use the same search terms as you've just typed in and use the homework-helper sites for high school and college. Some professors (and good HS teachers) know their students need more than just lecture in class.
Also, visit Tube-U (youtube) and watch actual science experiments in progress. Go to Wiki places for dry descriptions and SOURCES you can actually look up at your local public library.
Specifics? chemistry.about.com, chem1.com, google...
Don't be afraid to take notes; if you have a question the (course/video/text) doesn't answer you will be able to look it up later.
Lay in a good supply of baking soda, vinegar and don't forget to notify the DHS you're interested in becoming a Mad Scientist.

Get off my lawn (1)

thestuckmud (955767) | about 2 years ago | (#40210121)

Back when I was in school, we has Schaum's outlines [mhprofessional.com] , and we liked them. Search the internet for explanations if you have trouble, but working through a ton of problems n paper will give you proficiency and confidence.

Re:Get off my lawn (1)

zmughal (1343549) | about 2 years ago | (#40210809)

I agree with this. Schaum's Outlines are surprisingly comprehensive, easy to follow, and well-written. They are meant to complement textbooks, but given the low priority on conceptual organisation found in many textbooks, these can often be used alone if you do the problems.

Open Learning Initiative (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210159)

You should take a look at Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative ( http://oli.cmu.edu ). They have whole courses, which are typically not video-based, and they include lots of interactive exercises to help you grasp the concepts. (Full Disclosure: I'm currently working on a new chemistry course for OLI, which should be available later this year or early next year.)

Re:Open Learning Initiative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210977)

Thanks for this. I test drove the french class and decided to sign up.

The Great Courses (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210165)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Courses

http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/courses.aspx?s=821&ps=910

Re:The Great Courses (2)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 2 years ago | (#40211809)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Courses

http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/courses.aspx?s=821&ps=910

Beware the bombardment of direct mail they will send you when they get your address.

Udacity (1)

wjousts (1529427) | about 2 years ago | (#40210197)

Udacity [udacity.com] has a physics course it's rolling out at the end of the month. Looks fairly basic, but you'll have to decide for yourself if the level is appropriate for you.

Business School (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210203)

Having slept through chemistry at school, I'm looking to fill in the gaps in my science education by following a short online course or two.

That's where most of the rest of people like you seem to end up.

/. ads with sound (1, Interesting)

SoupGuru (723634) | about 2 years ago | (#40210277)

Here's my ask Slashdot:

Are you actively trying to disgust long term users?

I used to check Slashdot daily. Maybe I'll just check in on Rob Malda's Google+ stream from now on.

General Chemistry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210307)

Pauling's General Chemistry is actually pretty readable. The units are a bit weird, but if you're not using it for a class, that shouldn't matter. Also, I recently read The Periodic Table: A Very Short Intoduction by Eric Scerri, which is short, interesting, and doesn't coddle you. If you insist on learning online, Khan Academy gets my vote.

Re:General Chemistry (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#40210591)

I greatly second Pauling's General Chemistry - it is by far the most accessible genchem text I have ever seen (and I have seen many). As a bonus, the paperback is only $15 or so.

Open University (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210491)

Open University. UK/European. Being going for years now. You pay for it though and earn real UK diploma/degree qualifications.

doesn't really exist (1)

pswPhD (1528411) | about 2 years ago | (#40210507)

In my experience, scientists show results etc with graphs using slides and rarely ever show animations. Researchers are more interested in the numbers than pretty pictures that can be generated. I went to lecture that was basically on computer modelling in industry, who said animation were great for management and trade shows- they look nice and tell you absolutely nothing about what is actually going on.

In my area (chemistry) most lecturers don't have the time or the ability to create animations which are useful, even in areas where animations would look quite cool (e.g. time dependent quantum mechanics stuff). My recommendation to you is to live with the video or audio, or look at the popular science articles, NASA blog or whatever.

Slowly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210757)

I took chemistry back in the days when we had to use slide rules. It was on the brutal end of the learning curve back then. These days any in depth chemistry requires at least a near genius mentality. For an adult to go back and try to learn academic chemistry is really a major item in one's life agenda. I would suggest that you take every bit of the in between stuff complete with the apparently dull and meaningless as it will actually help you.
                      It used to be that we took biology as an elective simply because biology was so limited. Boy have things changed. Now biology has far greater depth and complexity and would be the last thing one would take as a fluff course. But chemistry still makes biology look like child's play.

Create a learning plan (2)

Peterus7 (607982) | about 2 years ago | (#40210851)

I would check out the Edupunk's guide to DIY Education [smashwords.com] , and move forward from there. Khan Academy is good for math, because you can actually test your skills, but with science education, you need some way of actually showing the process skills. Until then, though, KA should be a good refresher.

Online resources that I use. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210901)

I have taught K-12 for 8 years, college level for around 9. Besides my own YouTube Chanel on Human Anatomy and Physiology http://www.youtube.com/user/mrfordsclass/featured and my own website http://mrfordsclass.net.

I am also a huge fan of the following Mr. Causey for Chemsitry (YouTube) http://www.youtube.com/user/mrcausey?feature=results_main. The Khan Academy (I think everyone knows about this one) http://www.khanacademy.org/. You can also explore iTune, specifically their podcasts. User will upload their tutorials, and some univeristies have their own channels. You might also want to check out http://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm. Not as easy to navigate, but it is huge in the e-learning world. Professors can upload videos, entire web-based trainings (WBTs) and more.

Beside my shameless plug at the start, I sincerely hope this helps.

AiG 'science' courses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40210989)

Basically, when it comes to biology and geology you're gonna want to take these courses [answersingenesis.org] offered by Answers in Genesis.

Webste to answer ths queston (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40211001)

In shameless self-advertisement:

I started the website studyntell.com (https://studyntell.com/) to answer your question,
including some early attempts to eventually match studying/teaching style.

I'm afraid it is far from comprehensive, but you as potential user can help make it more complete by quickly adding what online (or offline) lecture you've found helpful (or unhelpful)!

Some courses and other resources (2)

cowtamer (311087) | about 2 years ago | (#40211069)

FREE STUFF

UC Berkeley Webcasts (I learned quite a bit from these -- try different courses by semester. Listen to the 1st and 2nd lecture to see if it's high value. Some are better than others. I got an excellent MEMS lecture from here once, and a really good one on Byzantine history. Some (like history) are good as audio in your car. Others get better with charts.

http://webcast.berkeley.edu/ [berkeley.edu]

MIT OpenCourseWare (haven't tried, but hear good things)

http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm [mit.edu]

Khan academy (of course)
http://www.khanacademy.org/ [khanacademy.org]

PAID RESOURCES

Kaplan http://www.kaptest.com/ [kaptest.com]
(Take something like the MCAT review if you can afford it for science/physics. They do a really good job of distilling the basics of science/biology/etc. without any nonsense. Disclaimer: I've also taught for Kaplan)

Also, don't discount old fashioned books:

The "Head First" series of books
(Try the "Dummies" books also if you're not insulted by the title)

Head First Physics [amazon.com]

Home Schooling Curricula
Whatever you may feel about the social implications of home schooling, there are some excellent science resources which will catch you up. I will shy away from recommending specific ones for fear of inciting a flame war. I hope someone better versed in these curricula can enlighten us with recommendations.

Textbooks!
Try to get some used textbooks from a used book store, if all you want is the 101 level stuff:

Chemistry (Oxtoby-Nachtrieb) http://www.amazon.com/Principles-Modern-Chemistry-Fifth-Edition/dp/B001F39B2Y [amazon.com]
(There are many nicely written Biology books -- see what you like)

And if you really want to enjoy chemistry:

Chemical Demonstrations, Shakhashiri [amazon.com]

(Warning: do not try these at home until you know what you're doing)

You may also wish to check out your local Makerspace/Hackerspace. You will probably find very educated geeks who'd be more than willing to teach you stuff...

What you are looking for is called a "textbook" (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40211309)

You are looking for something called a "textbook."

A textbook does not have any fancy flash videos, but it does (usually) have helpful illustrations, sample problems and solutions, and good introductory material on a variety of topics.

The lectures are often superfluous for introductory science concepts. The books usually aren't. Sorry, you probably won't be able to find quality textbooks in eBook formats for your Nook or Kindle, either. I can assure you that, for physics, there are no fancy video shortcuts to understanding the concepts. It's a very heavily math-based field, so you need to sit down and wade through equations if you want to understand anything. Otherwise, it's a bunch of magical-looking directives handed down from on high.

If you visit a local college bookstore, you'll probably find many used textbooks for all fields of science at moderately crazy prices. Once you've written down the relevant author names and book titles, bring up Amazon on your smartphone and order them online for a saner price. Many college courses list books on the course web site, so you could draw inspiration from that as well.

Since I have no idea what you are interested in, I will recommend some physics books that I liked as an undergrad.

Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker is a good introductory physics text book.

Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics by Das Ferbel is a relatively lighthearted and humorous discussion of basic ideas behind nuclear physics and high-energy physics (quarks, etc.).

Introduction to Quantum Mechanics by Griffiths is my favorite quantum physics text book (square wells, etc.).

The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill is an excellent and practical electronics book. It will teach you how to make a circuit board. It's not exactly a beginner's book, so get something else first if you don't have a grasp of basic E&M (if you don't know what V=IR means, this book isn't really for you).

You will need a basic understanding of mathematics before anything in physics makes any sense to you at all. Calculus will get you pretty far by itself. I recommend a calculus book by Larson, Hostetler, and Edwards for that; it has a lovely integration table in the back. Linear algebra is required if you want an undergraduate-level understanding of physics. Complex analysis, probability, and computer programming are also very useful subjects.

Oh, it's useful to note that there are no "nice" textbooks for graduate level physics. There are many textbooks, but they usually need to be accompanied by a lecturer who can translate the darned thing for you, because we can't be bothered to agree on basic terms. So, as a warning, stay away from grad-level physics text books as anything other than a sleeping aide or door stop.

Freshman Organic Chemistry at Yale is awesome (2)

TheSync (5291) | about 2 years ago | (#40211577)

Not quite Chem 101, but when you are ready for truly understanding the quantum mechanics of how molecules form from atoms, why molecules are acidic or basic, why they are reactive or not, you totally need to check out Prof. McBride's Yale Freshman Organic Chemistry [youtube.com] (CHEM 125).

It is on YouTube, but the iTunesU version is better.

quick, minimal physics lectures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40212111)

You can try these videos: http://fearofphysics.com/Videos/ for a refresher/gap filler on physics (mechanics).

You studying up for a Nobel prize? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#40212285)

Seriously, not to knock the pursuit of knowledge, but what is your goal? Are you looking for a layman's understanding? There are tons of great lectures on YouTube giving you the basics. If you want any more than that, animated graphics won't do it. You're going to have to crack open a book.

And, I say this 140 pages into my old Calculus textbook in an effort to relearn for a math class I'm taking in the Fall after a 15 year absence.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...