Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education


Original Source – Lifehacker

For lifelong learners and self-made scholars the Internet is a priceless resource, so it’s great to being able to continue your education with these top free online tools:

10. Free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have greatly expanded the educational opportunities for everyone with a computer and an internet connection. These typically free online courses, usually provided by universities and colleges, cover everything from Astronomy to Web Development. MOOCs are a category unto themselves, but there are plenty of individual MOOC providers and platforms to look to, including the universities themselves, such as Stanford Online and MIT Open Courseware. Popular commercial and non-profit organizations that serve up courses from multiple sources include Academic Earth, edX, Class Central, Udacity, Coursera, Udemy, and FutureLearn. If you feel like there are too many free online courses to choose from, don’t worry. Several of the tools and sites below curate courses from MOOCs and other sources into fields of study.

9. Skillshare

Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education

Skillshare is a learning community that connects over a million students and teachers. In fact, anyone can teach a class (typically 30 minutes to 1 hour long) on subjects like crafts, cooking, film, photography, technology, or writing—as long as the class adheres to the site’s publishing guidelines. It’s a good resource for viewing project-based lessons (e.g., designing 3D type and texture) and there are tracks of courses grouped by subject. Over 300 lessons are available for free, but you’ll need a pro subscription to access the 3,000+ full library.

8. University of Reddit

Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education

Love Reddit? You can partake in this community’s crowd-sourced online education initiative. Covering standard subjects like art and computer science as well as “fun and games” (e.g., StarCraft II Strategy), University of Reddit is taught by Reddit users. You can also apply to teach a class yourself.

7. CourseBuffet

Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education

CourseBuffet lets you search and compare hundreds of free MOOCs from over 250 universities. You can search by subject, browse by field, or even see learning paths that organize courses into a bachelor’s degree-level curriculum for you—for example a complete computer science or management path. And it’s all free.

6. ALISON

Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education

ALISON not only provides free online courses from publishers like Google, Microsoft, MIT, Macmillan, and Cambridge University, the site also offers diploma-level courses. So you can earn a certificate in project management, HR, social work, and other subjects that might be helpful during a job search. Over 750 free diploma and certificate courses are available now, and you can use the site to track your progress and test your skills.

5. Project Gutenberg

Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education

Prefer to learn by reading rather than online courses? Or want to supplement those videos with books? Project Gutenberg’s massive (over 50,000) collection of free ebooks to the rescue. You’ll find classic and obscure titles here for your downloading pleasure in multiple languages. Check out their Top 100 ebookslist to find something new to read. For free textbooks, head to previously mentioned TextbookRevolution or Open Textbooks. Open Syllabus Project willshow you the books most assigned at college.

4. Khan Academy

Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education

Join over 38 million online learners at Khan Academy, a non-profit MOOC of its own. Their tagline is “you can learn anything,” and you’ll find a wide range of interesting video classes here as well as interactive courses. Track your progress and earn badges to keep learning fun.

3. iTunes U

Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education

The iTunes U app for iOS, Mac, or Windows not only lets you access courses from leading schools and other sources on your device, it lets you see and complete course assignments and add notes for each course. The catalog contains hundreds of thousands of resources on various topics, all at your fingertips.

2. Open Culture

Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education

Open Culture is a treasure trove for any learner. Currently, the site lists 1,150 free online courses, 725 free movies, 700 free audio books, 800 free ebooks, 200 free textbooks, 300 free language lessons, and 150 free business courses. They’ve grown a lot—and continue to keep growing—since we mentioned them a few years ago. Resources are well classified. This is a great one-stop source for free, enriching media.

1. Lifehacker U

Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education

Lifehacker U is a well-curated collection of the best free online classes you can take each semester. One of the best things about it is our own Alan Henry highlights specific courses in each subject field you might be interested in, along with detailed notes and descriptions. So rather than pointing you to, say, Stanford University in general, you’ll see courses from multiple schools in your discipline that are new or returning at this time.

The resources above just scratch the surface of all the places you can learn something new online, of course. But they’re a good place to start and should keep you busy learning all year round.

A University just invented Self-healing Bioconcrete


“We have invented bioconcrete — that’s concrete that heals itself using bacteria,” professor Henk Jonkers from TU Delft told CNN.
After nine years of research and development, a team from TU Delft presented their self-healing concrete prototype that regenerates itself due to the addition of bacteria in its composition. These bacteria have the ability to “break” some specific components in the concrete and gradually fix small cracks and holes.
The formula developed at the university goes beyond merely repairing visible imperfections; If not repaired, these cracks can increase in size and allow water to enter the structure, leading to the corrosion of steel and damaging the mechanical properties of the structure.

This kind of bioconcrete incorporates some species of bacillus bacteria, that can survive up to five decades without food or oxygen. In order to last so long, the bacillus bacteria are stored within the concrete in biodegradable plastic capsules that only break open when they come into contact with water. After being exposed to water, the bacteria feeds on calcium lactate and produce limestone, which closes up the cracks, repairing the material.

“It is combining nature with construction materials,” Jonkers explains. “Nature is supplying us a lot of functionality for free — in this case, limestone-producing bacteria. If we can implement it in materials, we can really benefit from it, so I think it’s a really nice example of tying nature and the built environments together in one new concept.”

The team is currently testing the ability of the bacteria to resist sulfate attacks or extreme temperature variations. In addition, scientists seek to reduce the production cost of the material so that it becomes an affordable alternative in the market, since their commercial potential is very large.

Original Source (Interesting Engineering)

From Great Universities to “Knowledge Factories”


ACADEME BLOG

Thomas Frank, perhaps best known for What’s the Matter with Kansas?, an examination of America’s new conservatism, has an article in Salon, “The New Republic, the torture report, and the TED talks geniuses who gutted journalism.” Toward the end, he writes this:

The new press lord’s deeds are all made possible by the shrinking significance of everyone else. Compared to the patois of power, the language of journalism is but meaningless babble. Compared to once having been a friend of Zuckerberg, no form of literary genius matters any more. Compared to the puissance and majesty of the CIA, we amount to nothing. We are playthings of the powerful, churned out by the millions every year from the nation’s knowledge factories. We are zeroes to their ones, ready to rationalize monopoly or rectal hydration at a moment’s notice.

We’ve been through all of this before, though Frank doesn’t write…

View original post 525 more words

How and Why Academics Really Use Twitter


Many academics view Twitter with serious skepticism. At best, it seems difficult to communicate anything of complexity within 140 characters. However, university professors in many disciplines are increasingly using Twitter to share links to articles and ideas, to reach out to colleagues in other parts of the world, and to reflect on papers presented at conferences.  Twitter helps researchers to foster interdisciplinary connections, to spread the word about research fellowships and opportunities, and to share information quickly (and at scale). – Alisa Gross

How Academics Use Twitter

As the use of Twitter amongst academics has become more widespread, researchers have become interested in considering academic patterns of use and perspectives on its professional and research utility.
Articles published over the past five years have covered the following topics:
1) General statistics and observations about academics on Twitter
2) How Twitter is used as a mechanism for both discussing and publicizing research
3) Differences between Twitter scholarly communication amongst disciplines
4) How Twitter is used within academic conferences
5) Perspectives on Twitter’s utility for making professional connections and for networking. – Alisa Gross

Original Source: The Acclaim Blog

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to College


As my fifth original post on my WordPress I’m going to share a very interesting article posted today on Lifehacker which I’ve read and identified with, not only on regarding my education basis, but can be also applied on many other fields and life personal experiences.

Check it out here: Seven Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Graduate School

The article is very insightful and interesting, discussing how if “you’re headed to grad school, the game changes”, and it really does, having a “reputation for being the most difficult time in a student’s life”, coming after a “long undergrad career, bringing empty pockets, longer classes, and teaching requirements to students—on top of the stress of independent studies or a thesis”, besides being an “eye-opening and fulfilling part of your academic career” and “opening doors you’ll appreciate for the rest of your life”.

«First and foremost, you need to ask yourself whether it is worth it to do grad school.»

I also suggest that you watch this open-minded and in the spirit of ideas worth spreading TEDx Talk (at Almada, Portugal, September 26th, 2012), combining to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group, from Fernando Santana – Catedratic Professor at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and currently Director of the School of Science and Technology – discussing objectively  about why do you take an university/college course, sharing many conclusions of case studies and personal/professional experiences.

 

The author of this Lifehacker’s post, Alan Henry, speaks and discusses very openly and with great precision about a couple of things what he and others from Lifehacker’s team “learned from our graduate schooling that you can take with you going in”.
The listing is awesome and very precise, starting with:

1. Be Prepared for a Level of Competition You’ve Never Experienced Before
«
(…) my classmates were intent on making sure they were at the top of the class, well-known and liked by professors and classmates, and as active in class activities as possible.»

«Normally a little friendly competition is healthy, but when it came time to work together in teams or collaborate, the competition was ridiculous. (…) When it came to the grunt work, like compiling research, interest waned. Tread carefully and hone your people skills.»

2. Intelligence Isn’t As Important As You Think It Is
«
When you’re an undergrad, your intelligence is highly valued. In graduate school, and truthfully, anywhere after that, intelligence is important, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

(…) the degree to which you’re knowledgeable on a specific topic isn’t enough anymore. You likely won’t be the smartest person in the room, and even if you are, you need to be diligent, confident, and communicate well too. You’ll meet people less intelligent than you who are better at those soft skills. And you know what? You’ll see them getting their feet into doors you won’t, and it’ll sting.»

«Intelligence is certainly still a door-opener. But it will never get the job done on its own. Diligence, rigour, a reliable network, and finally not being a dick are essential qualities of not just software engineering but any profession that’s outside the little bubble called grad school.» – Manuel Ebert

3. Do Everything and Make Connections: That’s What You’re Really There For
«(…) make sure you take the time to meet people, spent time with different people, and, for lack of a better word, “network” with as many people as possible. You will tap into them at some point for postgraduate projects, and they’ll do the same with you.

Do everything extra you can: This applies to a bachelor’s degree too, of course, but I think the extra-curricular stuff in grad school is really way more important than it is during a bachelor’s program.» – Thorin Klosowski
«You may have heard this advice before: Do all the extracurriculars you possibly can. Go to the guest speakers and lectures. Join study groups. Go on offsites and class trips. Join student societies. Assist professors who are looking for grad students to help out. When you do, you’re building on our first point: You’re meeting the people you’ll make valuable connections with. You’re also learning how to network professionally without being sleazy about it, which is one of those soft skills that will take you places.»

4. Leave Your Comfort Zone Behind
«
It may cause you some anxiety—in my case, it was a lot of anxiety—but it’s one thing you should absolutely get ready for. No one will force you to attend those guest lectures, or travel for talks and conferences. No one will insist you go study abroad for a term, or work in someone else’s lab for a little while so you can offer your expertise. You could stay at home and coast, and ignore all of those events, just because it’s easier to. Don’t do it.»

5. Embrace the “Poor Grad Student” Stereotype, Even If You’re Not
«
Depending on your personal situation, that can be true. Even if it’s not and you can afford to feed yourself without resorting to ramen noodles and frozen vegetables, sometimes it’s better if you embrace that stereotype anyway.

We’re not saying you can’t enjoy a decent place to live and good food if you can afford it, but keeping your lifestyle neat, portable, and minimal now will serve you later when the student loan bills start coming in

6. Keep Your Textbooks and Find Your Niche
«
Unlike undergraduate schooling, which focuses on giving you a broad education on your major, in grad school you’ll expand on what you learned and drill down into specific topics. Don’t coast and just flow with the curriculum—take the time to find parts of your studies that really interest you. Ideally, this is how you’ll uncover your future career.

When you do find it, connect as much as possible with the people involved with it. As you study that specific topic, you’ll learn about where the best research on the topic is being performed and who you can talk to at your current school that’s involved with it.»

7. Don’t Expect Anything After Graduating
«It doesn’t really matter which field you studied, but just because you have a shiny new MBA doesn’t mean you’ll get a high-paying job the month you graduate. In the sciences, being a freshly minted post-doc just means you get to compete with everyone else who graduated that year for a slot in someone’s lab. You still have a long way to go.»

«If you have those connections we mentioned earlier, the whole process is a little easier. Your business school colleagues may have leads to share, or they may be starting their own companies. The professors you worked with may bring you into their labs, or write recommendations to help you get into great institutions. Even so, don’t expect anything—you’ll still need to work your ass off to get a job

Alan Henry argues that “if you’re expecting a miraculous sense of self-fulfillment or accomplishment when you graduate, you may be out of luck”, as Thorin Klosowski (who also went to grad school) notes:

Don’t expect to “get” anything when you graduate: Most liberal arts programs are about teaching you how to learn and how to think. A graduate program’s no different—and if you walk in expecting to finish some grandiose project or have a sense of completion, you’ll be disappointed. Instead, you’ll walk away being more confused about the world than when you started, BUT you’ll at least be able to explain your way through it a little better. To that point, I’d argue that when you’re picking out a school, atmosphere and culture-fit is WAY more important in grad school than in an undergrad program. Your general view of the world, and how you think about it will be tainted by the grad program you choose, so pick one that you think is relevant and interesting.

The author of the post ends beautifully by saying:
However, because grad school is part education, part work, and part professional networking, there’s more to the picture you should remember before diving in. If you’re headed for graduate school next term, hopefully this is useful to you. Grad school can be grueling, stressful, and challenging, or it can be easier than your undergrad schooling—a lot of it is how you approach it and what you take away from the experience. Have some fun, enjoy the journey, and as they say, consider the destination as its own reward. – Alan Henry

My faculty colleague and recently graduated in Communication Sciences, Sofia Cintra, added to my upper short texts of my brilliant WordPress (her words, not mine): “Don’t expect nothing and smile”, that’s how she graduated with an awesome average and is currently on her way to a Masters degree, good luck Sofia 😀

Thanks again for reading and for following, I hope you’ve liked it and found it interesting.

Best regards,
Pedro Calado