East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Karavansara U. – courses #2

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The Karavansara University is here again, and this month I’m doing something different – in stead of selecting a number of courses from a variety of sources, I’ll focus on a single resource, because a few interesting courses have been pointed out to me, and because it’s got a cool name: the Khan Academy.

Based on their presentation…

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. We’ve also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.

What I find interesting about the Khan Academy is

  • They can take the learner from zero to high levels, and this is very good in those fields in which I know nothing (Art History, for instance); but if you don’t want to climb through the curriculum, you can take a single course.
  • They are completely gamified – that is the learning experience is set up as a game, and you earn points and badges and stuff as you go.

So, what about five courses that might interest you out there?
Here goes

  • Ancient Mediterranean Art – this is part of the Art History curriculum. I am taking it sooner or later because I am interested in the subject, and it might provide ideas for my stories.
  • Art of Asia – part of the Art History curriculum, it is topical to the interests of this blog.
  • World History – I am linking the whole curriculum, because it’s sort of exhilarating, the idea of going through the whole history of our species, step by step.
  • The Art of Storytelling – is part of a thing called “Pixar in a Box”, where you basically explore all aspects of creativity with the support of the people of Pixar. I am interested in storytelling, so here’s where I’m starting.
  • Journey into Criptography – Part of the Computer Science curriculum, it is once again a source of inspiration, and an intriguing subject.

All courses are free and self-paced – and as I said, if you get hooked on the gaming side of the platform, it will help you keep a steady rhythm. And admittedly, it’s a better time-waster than playing Solitaire in the half-hour before dinner.

The Khan Academy also provides courses for children, and some great career-oriented courses – the sort of stuff I wish somebody did for me when I was in high school.

And this is it for this month. I hope you find this useful and interesting (and vice-versa), or maybe know someone that might be interested (in which case, share the link to this post).

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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