Ready to Learn? Online Resources

The internet offers a plethora of information for those on their learning journey, but unfortunately it is not always an easy journey to navigate. Here are some of my top resources for learning things on the web:

University Open Course Ware (OCW)

If you reckon nothing beats a university level education but you want to skip the fees, open course ware may be for you; many of the world's top universities have been publishing their course resources online, including lecture notes, assignments and problem sets, and even audiovisual recordings of the lectures. Some are even so advanced that they have recorded extra tutorial/recitation videos precisely for the online learner. In no particular order, some of my favourites are:

  • MIT: Probably the one I use the most, I started watching their undergraduate physics lectures when I transferred from biology to physics in high school. I have a particular personal attachment to a demo done in the Classical Mechanics course because of just how much it sparked my wonder for how brilliantly a result from theory could be translated to practice. But there is more than just the trifecta of Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism and Periodic Phenomena which I began with at MIT's OCW - they have great maths courses, engineering courses and much more. I personally prefer video lectures, but there are decades of learning in just the written material and for more mathematical concepts, many prefer that method of self-pacing.
  • Yale: The variety at Yale may not be quite as great as the impressive MIT collection, but the course quality at Yale is excellent and I heartily recommend their open course ware. Yale gave me my first foray into psychology with Paul Bloom's introductory course, offers a solid introduction to physics with a delightfully dry wit or a less rigorous introduction to contemporary astronomy, gave me great insight into the academic study of both the New Testament and Hebrew Bible. From the department of philosophy at Yale I now know myself better and can think more clearly about my death. Their history department seems excellent. Again, I highly recommend Yale's courses to anyone wanting to learn about the topics they cover.
  • Stanford: I am not aware of a list of the free courses offered by Stanford in general outside looking at the playlists on the Stanford YouTube page, but I do know from personal experience that the course they offer on Fourier Analysis is excellent. I learnt more from the first five lectures about Fourier analysis than I did doing the four different courses at my own university in which Fourier analysis was employed - five if you include the physics ones - and all with great enjoyment at Prof. Osgood's great sense of humour. Whilst not a Stanford course in the conventional sense, I also could not possibly overlook the brilliant lectures on physics given by Leonard Susskind as part of what he calls the "Theoretical Minimum" of physics knowledge needed to understand the field today.

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