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OCW People's Choice Award Winner: Best Video Lectures
Aug 17, 2011
In an age where YouTube eats up countless time and Netflix provides some of the highest amounts of traffic on the Web, streaming video seems to be where it's at. The nominees in this category all take real advantage of that technology to present users with a truly engaging learning experience.
Winner: Middle Eastern Technical University - General Chemistry Lab
Turkey's Middle Eastern Technical University, or METU, hosts 83 courses in 21 different departments. One of those courses focuses on various laboratory experiments culled from METU's CHEM 101, 102, 107, 111, 112 and 283 classes. Using video lectures, this course guides users through the step-by-step process of recreating experiments done for credit at the institution. Helpfully, the course administrator also includes notes on safety for any enterprising self-learners who have the equipment necessary to recreate the labs at home. Twitter follower @barbosademoura likes the METU has 'a broader than its competitors' and many other voters commented on the site's ease of use.
METU's chemistry labs cover a diverse range of topics, from introductory lab techniques to chemical equilibrium to electrochemistry. Videos are typically brief (under ten minutes) and move along at a comprehensible clip, allowing for maximum understanding. To provide greater access, METU's site even offers videos in several different formats. All of this lets even casual learners interested in chemical concepts gain a better understanding of how they're applied in a laboratory setting.
Finalist: TU Delft Sanitary Engineering
It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. The Netherlands' Delft University of Technology, a renowned expert on solving water problems, has decided to share its expertise in this series of OCW lectures about keeping water clean in an urban environment. TU Delft is an international leader in water management studies, and students and urban planners around the world can benefit from learning its take on topics like drinking water supply and sewage treatment. In addition to providing great content, our voters were impressed with how easy it was to download the videos. One voter praised Delft's 'fast, accessible videos' and raved about how there's 'no delay in downloading.'
Finalist: Yale Principles of Evolution
If you want more people to pay attention to your lectures in this day and age, do what countless entertainers and other professionals do - put them on iTunes. Side-by-side with popular podcasts and music, Yale's EEB 122: Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior offers 36 lectures covering important topics from the evolution of sex to the logic of science to selfishness and altruism. Yale and iTunes helpfully offer both video (in high and low qualities) and audio lectures, and they're all downloadable, so motivated learners can listen to them anyway, from a long drive to a daily work commute. Voter Humberto Xavier praised Yale's 'simple and straightforward' approach and applauds how they're 'starting with the small things' and building up.