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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