World Science U Starts to Offer Innovative, Free Courses in the Sciences

In high school, my physics teacher taught the class by hav­ing us lis­ten to his long, monot­o­nous lec­tures. After I real­ized that I couldn’t digest his ver­bal lessons, I stopped lis­ten­ing. Instead, I picked up a text­book and nev­er looked back. I can only imag­ine how much bet­ter off I would have been had I tak­en a physics class like Bri­an Greene’s spe­cial rel­a­tiv­i­ty course on World Sci­ence U.

We fea­tured Greene’s work two years ago, when the Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty physi­cist and math­e­mati­cian launched his impres­sive PBS series, The Fab­ric of The Cos­mos. Now, Greene and oth­er sci­en­tists have cre­at­ed a new edu­ca­tion plat­form called World Sci­ence U, and it promis­es to offer rich, rig­or­ous and engag­ing cours­es in the sci­ences — for free. As Greene explains above, the free cours­es offered by World Sci­ence U take abstract con­cepts and rep­re­sent them graph­i­cal­ly, using a slew of inter­ac­tive activ­i­ties and real-world sce­nar­ios. Stu­dents receive imme­di­ate per­for­mance feed­back on the prob­lem sets they com­plete, and have access to a large num­ber of video lec­tures. The­o­ry is illus­trat­ed by way of intu­itive ani­ma­tions, and exer­cis­es are paired with video solu­tions that take stu­dents through the ide­al way to derive the answer.

Although lat­er class­es will tack­le gen­er­al rel­a­tiv­i­tyquan­tum mechan­ics, and oth­er sub­jects, World Sci­ence U has only two full cours­es avail­able at present. The first is Greene’s brief con­cep­tu­al class on spe­cial rel­a­tiv­i­ty that lasts 2–3 weeks, called Space, Time, and Ein­steinThere’s also a more advanced, uni­ver­si­ty lev­el course on the same top­ic called Spe­cial Rel­a­tiv­i­tywhich lasts about 10 weeks. Inter­est­ed? We’ll let Greene him­self tell you a lit­tle more about them in the video below.

World Sci­ence U also has a nifty sec­tion called Sci­ence Unplugged, where read­ers can find dozens of short video answers to a mul­ti­tude of ques­tions they may have about sci­en­tif­ic con­cepts, like dark mat­ter and quan­tum mechan­ics. Below, for exam­ple, Greene explains the anthrop­ic prin­ci­ple:

To learn more, vis­it World Sci­ence U. We’ve added its ear­ly cours­es to our large list of free physics cours­es, part of our com­pendi­um of over 825 free online cours­es.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman, or read more of his writ­ing at the Huff­in­g­ton Post.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Fab­ric of the Cos­mos with Bri­an Greene: Watch the Com­plete NOVA Series Online

The Ori­gins Project Brings Togeth­er Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Bill Nye, Ira Fla­tow, and More on One Stage

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