Posts tagged education

Coursera Partnering With Instagram, Google and More

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College has always pretty much been the only way to start a career in our modern world. However well you do without a good college degree, “I went to Stanford.” will always leave a lasting impression on whoever you’re talking to. But, as online classes and resources continue to branch out, creating more content and ways to access them, the credibility of these classes continue to increase. Coursera, an online college level course distributor, already has a pretty good system running. There are hundreds and hundreds of courses on the site, only a handful on demand, most with scheduled class times spread throughout a period of time, curated by many different universities all over the world in tons of different languages. If you complete these courses, you can earn a verified certificate of completion, signed by the instructor from the university. Although the certificate can’t actually be used as credits, they are a good show of prior learning when applying, or just used as proof that you completed the course.

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Coursera is now taking this “verified certificate” thing to the next level. They have already introduced a feature called Specializations, which are a group of courses under a certain topic. Once you have completed these courses, you have to complete something called a “Capstone Project”. A capstone project is, well, a project to show that you’ve learned the material. After completing the capstone project, it will be reviewed, and you may be awarded with a certificate of specialization completion.

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Obviously, Specialization Completion is worth a lot more than just completing one of the courses, because it has you use your new knowledge. But also, Coursera has recently partnered with a couple tech companies, including Google, Swiftkey, Instagram, Shazam and others to help with the credibility of these Specialization Courses. When you complete the capstone project, depending on the specialization you took, your project will be reviewed by one of these companies, and the best of the course’s participants may be given some reward by the company itself. For instance, Google looked over all the capstone projects in the Mobile Cloud Computing specialization, and featured the winner’s apps in the Play store, as well as giving them free Nexus tablets.

So far, these partnerships have been restricted to specializations to do with technology and entrepreneurship, but Coursera says they expect to branch out in the future to other topics as the specialization courses grow.

This opportunity, for your work to be shown to many new companies is a great for many people in college, not yet in college, or later in their career to try to move into a job they like better. Whatever the reason, Coursera is creating this great opportunity for learners of all kind, and you should definitely check out their courses, whether for college or just for fun. Also, this partnership is one step in the right direction from the Internet being known as “that place with cat videos” to a reliable, verified learning reasorce. Since is Google, Shazam, and many other of the biggest tech companies trust them, why shouldn’t you?

 

 

 

Top 6 Educational Youtube Channels

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As everybody knows, Youtube is a gigantic resource of video of any kind – short film, instructional, comedy, talk show, pets, sports, entertainment, music, vlogs, adventure, news, historical, everything. And of course, educational, which is a growing part of Youtube, and one of my personal favorite categories. Although most of the top 100 most subscribed Youtube channels are entertainment, comedy and music, some of the best educational channels have been rising up the ranks. And so, after about a 1 and a half years of casual watching, I have put together what I think is the top 6 educational Youtube channels:

#1. Crash Course


(the video above is my personal favorite of the channel )

Crash Course, run by brothers John and Hank Green, is one of the best and most comprehensive archive of easy to understand, enjoyable and educational Youtube videos about any and every subject. From the history of life on earth, to Romeo and Juliet, to electrons, to Indus Valley civilizations, to you’re sleep and dreams, Crash Course’s brilliantly animated, written, and performed videos are a joy to watch and always interesting. Averaging about 10 minutes long, Crash Course’s videos give a complete view over the specific subject of that video, which is dependent on which of the 9 series the video is in: World History 1, World History 2, Big History, Ecology, Psychology, Chemistry, Literature, Biology, and Us History. Seriously, I can’t recommend this channel any more.

#2. Vsauce

Vsauce, unlike Crash Course, has very little animations, is much less structured, and has a tendency to go off on small tangents. (all the while interesting, I have to say) Created by Micheal Stevens, Vsauce is a channel that dives into different scientific, mathematical and philosophical questions in great detail. In so much detail, in fact, that by the time you’re done watching the video you have a whole new idea of what the question was in the first place. Vsauce’s unique style of filming and editing is very easy to understand, and has now became a trademark of the channel. (there has even been a Vsauce parody video made) If you want to be entertained, and like learning new and interesting things, this is a good channel for you.

#3. CGP Grey

CGP Grey is yet another very informative and interesting channel, but instead of actually filming someone, CGP Grey’s technique is just voicing over not super great yet still fun, enjoyable and understandable animations. CGP Grey, like Vsauce, goes over lots of different questions, none of them really having to do with anything. But, unlike Vsauce, CGP Grey’s questions are usually not scientific or philosophical but political, historical or factual. And although there is much less interpretation in CGP Grey’s videos, they are still as enlightening, and interesting, making you want to go tell everyone you know about some random fact like whether Macau is a country or not.

#4. Veritasium

Veritasium, a name derived from the latin Veritas, meaning truth, and the suffix ium, used often in the periodic table, is another great educational youtube channel. In total, the name means “the element of truth”, a common phrase and, of course, a reference to science and the periodic table. Run by Derek Muller, Veritasium is like a lot like Vsauce, but also very different. Most of Derek’s videos are about some sort of question, but instead of just explaining the question, the videos usually have Derek going out and experimenting, actually figuring out the problem for himself and for us watching. In the videos, he does a great job of explaining each experiment in a very simple way, so even if you don’t have a physics or some kind of scientific degree you can understand and get information out of all his interesting videos.

#5. Kurzgesagt – In A Nutshell

At a measly 330,000 subscribers, compared to 2 million of Crash Course and the 8 million of Vsauce, Kurzgesagt is a smaller channel that is devoted teaching the listener about lots of different topics, usually about science, astronomy and controversies like Ebola and Iraq. Like CGP Grey, Kurzgesagt is only animated, along with a voiceover, except Kurzgesagt’s animations are top class, in the newest flat style, seamless, easy to understand, and overall just fun to look at. Even doing some animations for the vlogbrothers, (John and Hank Green) Kurzgesagt’s videos are not only animation masterpieces but also very informative and interesting to watch.

#6. Minute Physics

One of the founding channels of the now popular drawing film technique, Minute Physics is a really great channel featuring interesting topics, mostly physics but also occasionally biology, geology and earth sciences.  All their videos are real time drawn (or now sometimes animated), and then sped up, with a voice over on top of all that. In total, the videos have very interesting material, along with the visualizations, which are very easy to understand as they are being drawn right at the right time. Overall, the channel has tons of videos, and in my opinion has the best physics videos on youtube for beginners. (or average people)

 

Honorable Mentions

Asap Science

Numberphile

Minute Earth

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