Day after day, on campuses across the country, professors impart invaluable knowledge to students. And, somewhat unfortunately, this knowledge has been traditionally disseminated only so far — which is to say not beyond the classroom walls.
We’re perhaps at the early stages of seeing this change. Stanford University has recently teamed up with Apple to pilot iTunes U — a variation on the iTunes software package that exploded into consumer consciousness with the iPod revolution.
Until recently, Stanford has used iTunes U to make available a series of one-off lectures, many of them extremely worthwhile. (If you have iTunes, click here to enter Stanford iTunes. If you don’t, you can download it from Apple for free.) But what’s new is the university’s decision to make full-fledged courses available to the public. This quarter we’re starting to see that decision bear some fruit. In iTunes, you’ll now find weekly installments of a course called The Literature of Crisis. Taught by Marsh McCall and Martin Evans, two senior faculty members, the course explores how crisis — dramatic personal crisis and larger societal crisis — have shaped the lives and writings of major intellectuals, from Plato, to Shakespeare, to Voltaire. Whether you live in Palo Alto, New York, or Bangalore, you can subscribe to this course as a podcast by clicking here, and, each week your iPod should automatically download the latest installment. (If you don’t have an iPod, you can simply listen to the course on your computer.)
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If you want to subscribe to the individual RSS feeds rolling into Stanford on iTunes, just click here.