YouTube EDU features several hundred university-related channels, and many of those channels boast thousands of videos. To help steer you toward the most worthwhile content, fast, YouTube EDU lists the most subscribed-to channels (MIT's has close to 70,000 subscribers!) as well as the most-viewed videos each month, and of all time. To whittle down the many possibilities even more, we've outlined below some of the most noteworthy lecture videos in several subject areas.
- The Universal Principal of Risk Management (Yale University) Robert Shiller covers probability theory, as it relates to financial markets. Shiller touches on the universality of probability, from gambling to its place in Shakespeare's plays. 1 hour, 9 minutes.
- The Return of Depression Economics? (Princeton University) "Is this the second Great Depression?," economist Paul Krugman asks within the first few minutes of this hour-long lecture. Though he doesn't go on to answer the question directly, Krugman does juxtapose the recession with the conditions that depressed the economy decades ago. "I think the thing that you want to understand... is the extent to which what's happening is not supposed to happen," Krugman says. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2008.
- Understand Your Consumers' Minds (Harvard University) In this interview, Gerald Zaltman, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School, discusses how consumers use metaphors to frame the world around them, and how companies can leverage an understanding of those metaphors to bolster their marketing efforts. 14 minutes.
- Teaching 2.0 - Doing More with Less (UC Davis) Keynote speaker John Seely Brown, visiting scholar and advisor to the Provost at the University of Southern California, explores how technology (particularly social networks) is impacting learning. JSB, as he is known, looks at how the traditional "I teach, you learn" method to learning is changing, noting that most of what we come to understand is socially constructed. As such, he says that the ability to construct and participate in study groups is key to successful learning, and he questions how the digital age and social networks have the potential to both help and hinder learning. 1 hour.
- Using Google for Search or Research (UC Television) Daniel Russell, a research scientist at Google, discusses how the search engine has evolved since its inception and continues to evolve. He explores how users can effectively use Google for both search and research, giving examples from studies done by Google about how people search online, and how this research is making browsing the web better for users. 1 hour.
- Learning, Teaching and Diversity Dilemmas: Making Complex Connections in (Teacher) Education (Vanderbilt University) Rich Milner, Lois Autrey Betts Associate Professor of Education, discusses his work into the challenges of urban education, teacher preparation and especially the issue of race and educational equity. Milner looks at what it takes for students to succeed in the classroom, focusing on how teachers' conceptions and beliefs influence students opportunities to learn. "Teachers... can make a, and sometimes the, difference, in what happens in the classroom," he says. "However, many teachers struggle to understand how to help all students succeed." 1 hour.
- Introduction to Computer Science and Programming (MIT) Helping students with little or no programming experience feel confident in their ability to write small programs is the goal of this series, which is taught by Eric Grimson and John Guttag. The class uses the Python programming language, and specific goals include: what is computation; introduction to data types, operators, and variables. 53 minutes.
- Introduction to Chemical Engineering (Stanford University) Channing Robertson gets right to the point in the first of this video introduction to Chemical Engineering lecture: "This is all about money," he jokes to his students, noting that chemical engineers in 2007 had an average annual salary of $59,000, making it one of the highest-paid divisions of engineering. "So I just want you to know that you're in here for all the right reasons." Robertson goes on to say that he first started teaching the course in 1970, and that this will be the last time he is teaching the class. Robertson's steady wit makes the course's sometimes complex material more tolerable, if not enjoyable. 48 minutes.
- Electricity and Magnetism (MIT) "I will show you, whether you like it or not, that physics is beautiful," Walter Lewin says in introducing this course. "And you may even start to like it." He goes on to stress the importance of electricity, noting that without it, people could not see, and the heart could not beat. The videos in this series contain many interesting demonstrations, such as one in Lecture 2 where Lewin bounces bounces a balloon sprayed with conducting paint between his head and a small Van de Graaff generator. In addition to the basic concepts of electromagnetism, topics covered in this series include lightning, electric shock treatment, musical instruments, radios, TV, rainbows, color perception and Big-Bang cosmology. 48 minutes.
- Henry VIII - King of Tunes (Cambridge University) Tales of King Henry VIII often center on his great appetite and numerous wives, but he also apparently had a passion for music and liked to express himself by penning his own musical compositions. To mark the 500th anniversay of King Henry's coronation, Alimire (a professional consort of voices from the UK who specialize in Medieval and Renaissance music) made a world premiere recording of songs from the king's personal choir book as well as a selection composed by the king himself. "It's rarely been performed, and certainly never been recorded," says David Skinner, Alamire's director and director of music at Sidney Sussex College at the University of Cambridge. To mark the anniversary, the group gives a live performance in the courtyard of the British Library. 11 minutes.
- Basics of Film and Film Making Peter Hess presents a brief introduction to film making, noting that the three keys to good film making are: cinematography, editing and story. He goes on to exemplify these concepts using specific films.
- Piano Technique Lesson (Berklee College of Music) Paul Schmeling demonstrates perfect posture and finger position on the keyboard in this quick, two-minute video.
Health & Medicine
- Brain Mind and Behavior: Emotions and Health (University of California at San Francisco) Jason Satterfield, director of behavioral medicine at UCSF, discusses how emotions affect the body and health, and the promise of mind-body medicine. Specific topics include stress and disease, anger/hostility and depression. 1 hour, 25 minutes.
- The Politics of Obesity (University of California at Berkeley) A panel discussion with: This panel discussion, led by Marion Nestle of New York University and author of Food Politics; Joan Dye Gussow of Columbia University and author of This Organic Life; Kelly Brownell of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders and author of Food Fight; and moderated by Michael Pollan of the University of California at Berkeley and author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, discusses the obesity epidemic in America, its consequences and what should be done about it. Each of the panelists, who together Pollan fondly dubs the "Twinkie Police," presents for about 20 minutes, discussing such topics as the food industry, the state of public health and the future of the American diet. 1 hour, 45 minutes.
- Genomics and Infectious Diseases (University of California at San Francisco) Joe DeRisi, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the University of California at San Francisco, explores the need to detect and contain diseases quickly. DeRisi tweaks for the public a lecture that he gives to his medical students on molecular biology, including methods for detecting mutations, with a close look at DNA and genes. He talks about the hunt for emerging viruses such as SARS, the characterization of the malaria parasite, and how this work can translate into new drugs and vaccines. 1 hour, 28 minutes.
- Introduction to Ancient Greek History (Yale University) Donald Kagan discusses the earliest history of Greek civilization, leading to an account of the collapse of the Mycenaean world, and explains how in its aftermath, the Greeks were poised to start their civilization over on a new slate. "I want to talk to you today about the beginnings of the Greek experience as far as we know it, and I should warn you at once that the further back in history you go, the less secure is your knowledge." 1 hour, 21 minutes
- African American History (Stanford University) Clayborne Carson's lecture series focuses on a different noteworthy person every lecture, starting with W.E.B. Du Bois. "By looking at his [Du Bois] life we can look at so many of the central themes in Afican American history," Carson says in the first video in this well-articulated and thoughtfully presented series. "People are still concerned about Du Bois' attitudes and the way in which he conceptualizes the issues of race in America." 43 minutes.
- U.S. History: 1865 to Present (University of Minnesota) In this quick half-hour video, six professors from fields ranging from African studies to surgery come together to examine current perspectives in U.S. history. They discuss early industrialization; how the dynamics of World War II set the U.S. up for its place as a Super Power; the relationship of the U.S. to the Middle East; and more.
- French 102 (Agnes Scott College) In this half-hour lecture, professor Julia Caroline Knowlton enthusiastically reviews tenses such as the imperfect and the conditional, and practices correct use of the tenses through interactive exercises, such as playing the "desert game" with her students: Asking them, "If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring?"
- Latin Immersion (University of Kentucky) Terence Tunberg and Milena Minkova discuss the use of Latin as a means of communication rather than strict reading and translating. The classics professors make the case for the role and importance of Latin in present-day, contending that the language should be learned primarily through writing, listening and speaking to enhance comprehension. 30 minutes.
- The American Novel Since 1945: J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey (Yale University) Amy Hungerford discusses religion in J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey as an example to students of how to construct a sound literary critical paper using evidence from the novel. She lectures on how to make a strong argument about a given text, focusing on how Salinger prevents his investment in mysticism from becoming mystification by grounding his sense of the divine in the specificity of persons; the importance of family language; and love. "Our writer for today thinks so highly of that capacity of literature to embody the human voice that he imagines a whole religious world around him," she says. "That's going to be the gist of my argument today."
- Intro. to Literary Theory - Jacques Lacan (Yale University) In this lecture on psychoanalytic criticism, Paul Fry explores the work of Jacques Lacan. He touches on Lacan's interest in Freud and distaste for post-Freudian "ego psychologists," and he also examines the correlation between language and the unconscious, and the distinction between desire and need. 51 minutes.
- The Holloway Series in Poetry - Annual Faculty Readings (UC Berkeley) This annual reading by the English Department faculty at the University of California at Berkeley features five poets: Cecil Giscombe, Robert Hass, Lyn Hejinian, Geoffrey G. O'Brien and John Shoptaw. 1 hour, 8 minutes.
- Single Variable Calculus (MIT) As an intro to calculus, this course covers differentiation and integration of functions of one variable, with applications. David Jerison leads the series, covering such areas as derivatives, slope, velocity and rate of change. "There's going to be something else, which I guess is maybe the reason why calculus is so fundamental and why we always start with it in most science and engineering schools, which is the importance of derivatives to all measurements," Jerison says in the first lecture.
- Linear Algebra (MIT) Gilbert Strang jumps right into equations in this introductory course to linear algebra, and he keeps them coming. 40 minutes.
- Multivariable Calculus (MIT) Denis Auroux covers vector and multi-variable calculus in the second part of the freshman calculus sequence. Topics include vectors and matrices, partial derivatives, double and triple integrals, and vector calculus in 2 and 3-space. Auroux also heads straight to the chalkboard in this series, and gets down to business. 38 minutes.
- Justice: The Moral Side of Murder (Harvard University) Michael Sandel teaches this popular course, which discusses justice, equality, democracy and citizenship. In this lecture, Sandel starts out by asking his audience what they would do if they had to choose between (1) killing one person to save the lives of five others and (2) doing nothing, with the knowledge that five people would die right then and there. The series focuses on the morality behind decision-making, and what shapes our impressions of "right" and "wrong." 55 minutes.
- Political Philosophy (Yale University) Steven Smith leads this lecture on Plato's The Apology, which he says "is the best introductory text to the study of political philosophy" because it shows: (1) Socrates explaining and justifying himself and his way of life before his peers and defending the utility of philosophy for poltical life (2) the vulnerability of political philosophy in its relation to the city and in its relation to political power. "No other work of which I am aware helps us better think through the conflict between the freedom of the mind and the requirements of political life," Smith says. "Are these two things... compatible or are they necessarily at odds with one another?" 45 minutes.
- Philosophy of Love in the Western World (MIT) Professor of Philosophy Irving Singer leads this seminar on the nature of love and sex, approached as topics both in philosophy and in literature. 2 hours, 35 minutes.
- His Holiness - The XIV Dalai Lama (UC Irvine) The Dalai Lama of Tibet talks about ethical leadership for a new millennium to promote dialogue and cross-cultural understanding around the world. 59 minutes.
- Science, Magic, and Religion: Spiritualism in the New Age (UCLA) Professor Courtenay Raia discusses the co-existence of science and religion and how they have have evolved and influenced one another over time. She examines how what was seen as "magic" in earlier centuries started to be seen as "miracles," as religion, and the Church especially, took on a greater role in public and political life. She touches on key events, such as the Enlightenment and the Reformation, and noteworthy figures, such as Galileo, as religion, magic and science began to overlap. She also discusses how these three areas continue to overlap in present day. 1 hour.
- The Meanings of Religious Freedom in America (University of Notre Dame) Several speakers discuss the American model of religion, including the role of religion in politics, international relations and daily life. The discussion is largely a philosophical one, as speakers debate on the freedom from religion, the freedom for religion and the freedom of religion in the U.S. "Freedom of religion is ... by and large embraced as a fundamental, natural human right," one speaker says. This lecture is part of a two-day conference hosted by the University of Notre Dame's Tocqueville Program for Inquiry Into Religion and American Public Life, which is focused on the study of the role of religion in American democracy.
- Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (Stanford University) In this lecture, Leonard Susskind discusses gravity as a lead-in to Einstein's general theory of relativity. "Gravity is a rather special force," Susskind says. "It's unusual. It has difference in electrical forces, magnetic forces, and it's connected in some way with geometric properties of space and time. And that connection is of course the general theory of relativity." He goes on to say that the lecture will focus on Newtonian gravity, which he says is set up in a way that is useful for going on to the general theory, then delves into equations. 1 hour, 38 minutes.
- Introduction to Biology (MIT) Robert A. Weinberg introduces this course on Biology by highlighting the changes that have taken place in the field over the past several decades, largely due to the discovery in 1953 of the structure of the DNA double helix. Weinberg says that the course will cover broad topics such as evolution as well as explore specific biological problems such as how cancer grows, how viruses proliferate, how the immune system functions, how the nervous system functions, how stem cells work, molecular medicine and the future of biology. "The fact of the matter is that we now we understand lots of these things in ways that were inconceivable 50 years ago," he says. "And now we can begin to talk about things that 50 years ago people could not have dreamt of." 36 minutes.
- Introduction to Quantum Physics (Indian Institutes of Technology) V. Balakrishnan calmly and clearly leads this lecture series on quantum physics, focusing in this lecture on Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. "The first point about quantum mechanics is that all of you have heard that quantum mechanics applies in the microscopic domain," Balakrishnan says. "It applies to electrons, atoms. This is only partly true. It applies to everything. It applies to human beings, it applies to galaxies, it applies to the universe, presumably." 1 hour.
- Introduction to Psychology: Happiness (Yale University) In this compelling lecture, Paul Bloom discusses what makes us happy. From clinical depression and therapy to genetics to culture to consumption to life events, Bloom probes what causes happiness to fluctuate on a day-to-day basis, and over a lifetime. Bloom discusses how the most recent research in psychology attempts to answer such questions as: What makes us happy? How does happiness vary across person and culture? What is happiness for? Bloom peppers the lecture with fun facts such as that the Swiss claim to be the happiest people in the world, while Bulgarians claim to be the saddest. Bloom also covers the challenges to being happy as an American in this day and age, and says that most people are surprisingly bad at predicting what will make them happiest. 48 minutes.
- The Future of Journalism (Stanford University) Leonard Downie, Jr., vice president at large of The Washington Post, discusses the work he is doing on a report on the state and future of journalism for the Columbia School of Journalism. Downie looks at the challenges to journalism as it transitions evermore to the web, and he also proposes several innovative models for the industry, including institutional or philanthropic support, micropayment systems and new media formats. 50 minutes.
- Political Science: Politics and Strategy (UCLA) In this lecture, Professor Kathleen Bawn dissects the thought process and strategy behind setting up a game, and solving it. Bawn says an underlining force of the course is "how important things that don't occur are for our understanding of what really does occur. If we want to understand why sometimes there's a war, we have to think about what else could happen... if we want to understand why there's peace, we have to understand why sometimes there's war." She then goes on to apply these more abstract notions to specific examples in politics. 1 hour 12 minutes.
- Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Anthropology (University of Maryland via ResearchChannel) This half-hour report features three University of Maryland professors: Marilyn London, professor of anthropology; Tom Mauriello, professor of criminology and criminal justice; and Andrew Wolvin, professor of communication, who discuss how scientists assist in criminal investigations. The report goes into the classroom, as these researchers examine the lives, research and education of criminal investigators and forensic anthropologists to show how science is being used to solve crimes. "The biggest mistake that police officers in general make at crime scenes is they don't anticipate the needs and expectations of all the players involved in the investigation," Mauriello says, noting the hugely important need to preserve evidence for later analysis and use in the legal process.