A Harvard Free Ride

What do sleep­ing and com­put­ing have in com­mon? Not a whole lot (nor real­ly should they), except for this. We sleep and use com­put­ers a good chunk of our lives, and yet we gen­er­al­ly have no idea how either works. Sleep is the 33% of our lives that we hard­ly give a thought to. And com­put­ing, well, few of us know what’s going on inside that box when we turn it on, open a pro­gram, surf the web or, alas, get a virus.

As usu­al, Har­vard has answers, at least for the techies among us. But instead of ask­ing stu­dents to go into hock to get them, this time the uni­ver­si­ty is giv­ing the answers away. (Con­sid­er it a gift from the school’s $29.2 bil­lion endow­ment.) Cour­tesy of the Har­vard Exten­sion School, any stu­dent who can’t make it to Cam­bridge can freely access the online course Under­stand­ing Com­put­ers and the Inter­net. The course, which revolves around a series of 14 lec­tures, is con­ve­nient­ly deliv­ered in sev­er­al for­mats — one ver­sion that down­loads to your com­put­er, anoth­er that down­loads to the Ipod/iTunes, and final­ly one that streams over the web, which you can find at Google Video and Youtube. To get start­ed, to get your lit­tle piece of Har­vard for free, click here.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.