Marginal Revolution University Launches, Bringing Free Online Courses in Economics to the Web

A great year for open edu­ca­tion got even bet­ter with the launch of Mar­gin­al Rev­o­lu­tion Uni­ver­si­ty. Found­ed by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabar­rok, two econ pro­fes­sors at George Mason Uni­ver­si­ty, MRUni­ver­si­ty promis­es to deliv­er free, inter­ac­tive cours­es in the eco­nom­ics space. And they’re get­ting start­ed with a course on Devel­op­ment Eco­nom­ics, a sub­dis­ci­pline that explores why some coun­tries grow rich and oth­ers remain poor. In short, issues that have real mean­ing for every­day peo­ple world­wide.

In an announce­ment on the Mar­gin­al Rev­o­lu­tion blog last month, Cowen out­lined a few of the prin­ci­ples guid­ing the project:

1. The prod­uct is free, and we offer more mate­r­i­al in less time.

2. Most of our videos are short, so you can view and lis­ten between tasks, rather than need­ing to sched­ule time for them.  The aver­age video is five min­utes, twen­ty-eight sec­onds long.  When need­ed, more videos are used to explain com­plex top­ics.

3. No talk­ing heads and no long, bor­ing lec­tures.  We have tried to recon­cep­tu­al­ize every aspect of the edu­ca­tion­al expe­ri­ence to be friend­ly to the on-line world.

4. It is low band­width and mobile-friend­ly.  No ads.

5. We offer tests and quizzes.

6. We have plans to sub­ti­tle the videos in major lan­guages.  Our reach will be glob­al, and in doing so we are build­ing upon the glob­al empha­sis of our home insti­tu­tion, George Mason Uni­ver­si­ty.

7. We invite users to sub­mit con­tent.

8. It is a flex­i­ble learn­ing mod­ule.  It is not a “MOOC” per se, although it can be used to cre­ate a MOOC, name­ly a mas­sive, open on-line course.

9. It is designed to grow rapid­ly and flex­i­bly, absorb­ing new con­tent in mod­u­lar fash­ion — note the bee­hive struc­ture to our logo.  But we are start­ing with plen­ty of mate­r­i­al.

10. We are pleased to announce that our first course will begin on Octo­ber 1.

Book­mark MRUni­ver­si­ty and look out for its cur­ricu­lum to expand. In the mean­time, you can explore more Free Online Eco­nom­ics Cours­es, a sub­set of our meta col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

MIT’s Intro­duc­tion to Eco­nom­ics: A Free Online Course

Free Online Eco­nom­ics & Finance Cours­es

Mas­ter­ing Econo­met­rics: A Free Online Course

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  • Michael Bloomer says:

    Some­thing to con­sid­er: GMU’s Eco­nom­ics Dept. (the Mer­ca­tus Cen­ter) is well-known for its lib­er­al mar­kets ori­en­ta­tion, in this case “lib­er­al” in the sense of lais­sez faire phi­los­o­phy and least-reg­u­la­tion-pos­si­ble gov­ern­ment poli­cies. They par­tic­u­lar­ly oppose gov­ern­men­tal social wel­fare poli­cies about which they would pre­fer pri­va­ti­za­tion and oth­er free mar­ket approach­es, and that includes Medicare and Social Secu­ri­ty. Final­ly, the Mer­ca­tus Cen­ter is among those financed in large art by the Koch broth­ers. QED­n­My point her is not that those who sup­port gov­ern­men­tal social assis­tance pro­grams or busi­ness and finan­cial reg­u­la­tion should not lis­ten to these lec­tures. It’s sim­ply to point out that the view­point of his­to­ry you’ll receive will revolve around free mar­ket prin­ci­ples. His­to­ry — like all else — is polit­i­cal. I’d write the same thing if a class were offered by Paul Krug­man whose macro­eco­nom­ic poli­cies I agree with whole­heart­ed­ly. It’s sim­ple: caveat emp­tor.

  • Aminu Abdullahi says:

    Hi!I’m Aminu Abdul­lahi from kano Nige­ria. I want enrol into a course and sign new account.

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