Learning in Four Moderately Easy Steps

I’ve done several MOOCs and started many others, but with many other things going on I seem to have only enough time to listen to lectures recently. I had listened to many Teaching Company series, and they were excellent, but about a year ago I discovered ItunesU. There are lots of great courses, and I will likely review some of them, but I wanted to describe the process I go through on a Ubuntu computer. This avoids the hell of using ITunes on Windows.

First I use the tunesviewer application to search for classes. I do searches on universities (Yale, MIT, Berkeley and Stanford all have great offerings) or subject matter. Berkeley also has it’s complete offering online here with most classes in both audio (mp3) and video format.

I use a sansa clip which is pretty linux friendly.  It does require the file to be an mp3 (more or less). So I use the soundconverter application to convert video classes to mp3. Also, it has a mode that allows for speeding up audio when the file is tagged as an Audiobook, so I use Easytag to change the metadata to Audiobook, and fix any anomalous tags, and make sure that all of the classes are in order.  Finally, I use Banshee to manage all my courses.

Some good recommendations can be found online. I strongly recommend Corporate Finance by Aswath Domadaran, Yale’s Open Course Psychology collection and Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600, also from Yale. For technical classes, Stanford, MIT and Berkeley have some very nice offerings.


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