Watch Six TED-Style Lectures from Top Harvard Profs Presented at Harvard Thinks Big 5

Har­vard has a few propo­si­tions it would like you con­sid­er. Take, for exam­ple, the one expound­ed on above by Robert Lue, whose titles include Pro­fes­sor of the Prac­tice of Mol­e­c­u­lar and Cel­lu­lar Biol­o­gy, Richard L. Men­schel Fac­ul­ty Direc­tor of the Derek Bok Cen­ter for Teach­ing and Learn­ing, and the fac­ul­ty direc­tor of Har­vardX. As an Open Cul­ture read­er, you might have some expe­ri­ence with that last institution—or, rather, dig­i­tal institution—which releas­es Har­vard-cal­iber learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties free in the form of Mas­sive Open Online Cours­es (or MOOCs). You’ll find some of them on our very own reg­u­lar­ly-updat­ed col­lec­tion of MOOCs from great uni­ver­si­ties. Per­haps you haven’t enjoyed tak­ing one, but you may well do it soon. What, though, does their increas­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty mean for uni­ver­si­ties, one of the old­est of the tra­di­tion­al indus­tries we so often speak of the inter­net “dis­rupt­ing”? Lue, who offers eight and a half min­utes of the choic­est words on the sub­ject, would like you to con­sid­er the MOOC’s moment not one of dis­rup­tion for the uni­ver­si­ty, but one of “inflec­tion, and ulti­mate­ly a moment of poten­tial trans­for­ma­tion.”

Lue’s argu­ment comes laid out in one of the six brief but sharp lec­tures from Har­vard Thinks Big 5, the lat­est round of the famed uni­ver­si­ty’s series of TED-style talks where “a col­lec­tion of all-star pro­fes­sors each speak for ten min­utes about some­thing they are pas­sion­ate about.” Jef­frey MironSenior Lec­tur­er and Direc­tor of Under­grad­u­ate Stud­ies in the Depart­ment of Eco­nom­ics and senior fel­low at the Cato Insti­tute, has a pas­sion for drug legal­iza­tion. In his talk just above, Miron tells us why we should recon­sid­er our assump­tions about the ben­e­fits of any kind of drug pro­hi­bi­tion — or at least, the ben­e­fits we just seem to assume it brings. And as we rethink our posi­tions on the role of gov­ern­ment in drug use and tech­nol­o­gy in the uni­ver­si­ty, why not also rethink the role of large news orga­ni­za­tions — and large orga­ni­za­tions of any kind — in our lives? Below, Nic­co Mele, Adjunct Lec­tur­er in Pub­lic Pol­i­cy at the Shoren­stein Cen­ter at Har­vard’s Kennedy School, explains why all kinds of pow­er, from man­u­fac­tur­ing san­dals all the way up to gath­er­ing news, has and will con­tin­ue to devolve from insti­tu­tions to indi­vid­u­als.

The rest of the Har­vard Thinks Big 5 line­up includes Senior Lec­tur­er on Edu­ca­tion Kather­ine K. Mer­seth advo­cat­ing careers in teach­ing,  Pro­fes­sor of Mol­e­c­u­lar and Cel­lu­lar Biol­o­gy Jeff Licht­man advo­cat­ing “chang­ing the wiring in your brain,” and African Amer­i­can Stud­ies pro­fes­sor and Hiphop Archive at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty found­ing direc­tor Mar­cyliena Mor­gan advo­cat­ing a rich­er study of what grown-ups used to call, with a groan, “rap music.” You can read more about the talks and the pro­fes­sors giv­ing them at the Crim­son, before watch­ing and decid­ing whether to agree with them, dis­agree with them, or sim­ply con­sid­er — in oth­er words, to think. The videos are also avail­able on iTune­sU.

Kather­ine K. Mer­seth

Jeff Licht­man

Mar­cyliena Mor­gan

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Har­vard Presents Free Cours­es with the Open Learn­ing Ini­tia­tive

Har­vard Thinks Green: Big Ideas from 6 All-Star Envi­ron­ment Profs

Har­vard Thinks Big 4 Offers TED-Style Talks on Stats, Milk, and Traf­fic-Direct­ing Mimes

Har­vard Thinks Big 2012: 8 All-Star Pro­fes­sors. 8 Big Ideas

Har­vard Thinks Big 2010

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.