Higher Education for the Self-Taught

Twice this week, I’ve been stuck in serious traffic jams on I-95. Tuesday evening it took me three and 1/2 hours to get home, normally a 50 minute trip. This morning I was only delayed about 45 minutes, again by a tractor trailer accident. While both instances were tiresome, what kept me from going crazy was my i-Pod.

This is not an ad for Apple. Rather, it’s a shout-out for a wonderful podcast series from BBC Radio-4, called “In Our Time.” The webpage describes the series as an investigation of the history of ideas. For me, it’s like listening to a series of university lectures on a wide variety of intellectual topics, each conducted as a discussion by several experts in the field. Each podcast lasts 40-45 minutes, just the right length for my trip home. (Tuesday, however, I listened to four of them.) Additionally, the website includes references for further research on each topic.

The subjects of recent podcasts included:

* The Poincare Conjecture
* Altruism
* The History of Indian Mathematics
* Anarchism
* Genghis Khan
* Karl Popper
* The Opium Wars

So if you’d like a thoughtful introduction to an intellectual topic, this is a good place to look.

Note for Isaac, Billy, Will and Ricky: They do a lot of philosophy!

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2 Responses to Higher Education for the Self-Taught

  1. Gardner says:

    And the glue that holds it all together: the redoubtable Melvyn Bragg. I’m paying close attention to the way he drives the discussion, and it’s quite remarkable. Doesn’t hurt that he gets prep notes from all three guests. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Pedablogy: Musings on the Art & Craft of Teaching » Blog Archive » Want a Second Opinion in Your Course Lectures?

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