Wow. This Mac|Life article gives pointers to a great many podcasts. I’ve just started combing through them.
[quote=“Mac|Life”]When people reminisce about their college days, they look back with misty-eyed fondness on the flowing beer and promiscuity. But few get nostalgic for the lectures. So when iTunes U first opened its virtual doors on May 30, 2007, and presented the public with lectures and class notes, we marveled at the range of knowledge presented by some of the world’s finest minds, free of charge–and promptly ignored it.
But in the thirteen months since iTunes U has been available, the content has expanded considerably. (Over 60 accredited universities and colleges, 25 institutions, and several public radio channels have put content online.) Initially, iTunes U only provided the public with lectures, language lessons, and campus tours. Now, if offers music and dance performances, poetry readings, and a wealth of audio and video content that is as entertaining as it is informative.
A good way to dig through the site is by looking through the list “Find Education Providers” in the bottom left corner of iTunes U, which divides content between “Universities and Colleges” and “Beyond Campus.” The Beyond Campus section proves that learning doesn’t necessarily end after college, with offerings from museums, like the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and other learning centers, such as New York’s famed 92nd St. Y.
Plus, professors and scholars now have a chance to flex their intellectual muscle in a more public forum than just the classroom. For example, universities such as George Mason University present lecture series’ given by its professors on topics of interest to them. Now, thanks to Dr. Lynn Gerber of GMU, we can all learn to “Foil Fatigue.”
After only a minute of browsing, you’ll see there is much more to iTunes U than Chemistry 101. Here are some highlights:
American Public Media
“Green Rush: Eco Business” discusses, in bite-sized chunks (all but one podcast is less than five minutes), some of the issues in green business, from the amount of recycled paper in Starbucks coffee cups (10%) to how the use of corn as ethanol fuel is effecting our economy (the price of corn and meat will likely skyrocket).
“The Research Advantage” is a video podcast of current research done at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Clear graphics show the differences between “optimism” and “extreme optimism” (and why “extreme optimism” isn’t necessarily a good thing). One study applies analysis to the decision of when a working woman should have a child.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Engineering Ethics” teaches listeners there’s more to engineering than math and science. Dr. Taft Broome invokes Arthur Schopenhauer, Joseph Campbell, and George Bernard Shaw to give weight to his arguments that ethics are an important part of an engineer’s work. A thoughtful look at real-world problems.
Simply titled “Videos,” the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Sound videocast offers traditional performances from around the world. Viewers get to see the importance of breath control in an “Inuit throat-singing demonstration” and how performance is more important than technique in “On what makes a good mariachi.”
Swinburne University of Technology
“Student Work” shows us what film students can do on a small budget and loads of imagination. Highlights include The Game, where we see the makings of a superstar action director, and Dominant Consciousness which uses cavemen to demonstrate dating choices. “Student Work” will blow away those of us who remember shooting student films on Super 8mm cameras.
HEALTH & MEDICINE
University of Michigan
Medical question? Just “Ask the Podcast Doctor.” Dr. David Stutz, along with his colleagues at the University of Michigan, answers health and medical questions submitted by the audience. Questions range from “Is cracking your knuckles bad for you?” to “Are mammograms necessary?” to “How will my boyfriend’s case of herpes effect me?” (The last question is probably the most important.)
Dr. Katherine L. Cason gives terrific advice in her “Nutrition, Diet and Health” podcast, such as walking three miles to work off the calories in a caramel apple and choosing foods with more nutrients over foods with empty calories. We feel healthier just from browsing titles like “Focus on Fruits” and “Vary Your Veggies.”
This British university’s “Exploring History: Medieval to Modern 1400-1900” is filmed like a BBC documentary: gorgeous, with no details spared. The short films about Beauchamp and Jacques Couer show us that history is not about facts and figures but about people (and their fabulous castles).
Carnegie Mellon University
“College of Humanities and Social Sciences” describes to listeners fashion faux pas in “How not to dress for a job interview” and explains why men, more than women, tend to support war in “Emotion & decision making.” This very interesting podcast has just six tracks—not nearly enough.
This school–for the students who do attend college for the lectures and not for the booze–gives extremely thorough lessons in Hebrew and Greek, which is dandy if you want to parse the testaments in two of their original languages. Biblical completists, be warned: there are no classes in Aramaic.
You heard it here: VU has a class on World of Warcraft. In “Worlds of Warcraft,” we learn about the inspirations behind the fantastically popular MMORPG, like the Arthurian legends and epics like the Iliad (which why this podcast is filed under “Literature” and not “Humanities”). We listened, jaws dangling, to professors discuss in-game marriages and characters falling in love. A must for WoW players.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
For those who find math a bit too…math-y, “Tech of Baseball” analyzes who is going to win the 2008 World Series. Dr. Bruce Bukiet calculates why you should not bet on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Rock Valley College
For those who want just a bit of mathiness, “Beginning Algebra” is a terrific refresher course for people who haven’t used math except to multiply A dinner recipe. One actually experiences nostalgia for high school when Diane Koenig dishes out words like “factoring,” “binomial,” and “common denominator.”
Arizona State University
Chock full of smart facts, the School of Life Sciences’ “Science Studio” is a podcast that interviews scientists about their work. Dr. Kevin McGraw describes the amount of information conveyed to animals by color. In “History of Fire,” author Stephen Pyne talks about the elemental process of fire, one link in a long chain that creates a healthy ecosystem.
New Mexico State University
“Heat Up Your Life,” a video podcast that tangentially belongs in the Science section of iTunes U, would probably live more comfortably on the Food Network. Follow Dave DeWitt–the Pope of Peppers–on his specific quest for the chili shrine and his general exploration of all things pepper-based.
“Locked Up: Prison in America,” is unflinching in its description of what works and fails in prison life. This podcast touches on rehabilitation and recidivism, gang activity, cruel and unusual punishment, and transitioning back into the population. Pardon the pun, but it arrests your attention.
East Tennessee State University
According to the iTunes description, “Burke on Mayberry” contemplates “the cultural relevance, morals, and ‘just plain fun’ embodied by The Andy Griffith Show.” Dr. Kevin L. Burke is an encyclopedia of Andy Griffith minutia. That this podcast hails from Tennessee surprises no one.
Seattle Pacific University
“More Lectures” gives listeners a broad selection of presentations. Highlights include explorations of the works of fantasy authors J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. There’s even a lecture dedicated to their friendship.
TEACHING & EDUCATION
University of Western Australia
The Study Smarter series is perfect for both students and others who are learning a new field. Here, professors gives advice on “How to take notes during lectures” and our favorite (which came in handy when writing this very article) “How to avoid procrastination.”
A selection of Beyond Campus podcasts:
The Asia Society
In this Arts & Culture series, Ang Lee discusses the anger he felt when he first read the story that became his 2007 hit, Lust, Caution. Children learn to blend two styles of dance that, at first glance, don’t easily mix: Balinese traditional dance and hip-hop.
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Although the archive of the Holocaust Museum emphasizes the atrocities committed during WWII, the podcasts also covers current events, like the Darfur Genocide and the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The most chilling podcast on iTunes, “Negotiating with Killers,” helps listeners decide when and when not to negotiate.
American Theatre Wing
Fans of the theater will be delighted with the “Acting” podcast, which talks to professionals about their work—one director explains why comedy is difficult when performed repeatedly—and even gives clips of performances. (Warning: each video podcast loads slowly. Second warning: spelling “theatre” the English way when you’re not English is waaaay pretentious.)[/quote]