Send people to college for Christmas

December 14, 2010 | By | 4 Replies More

Once again, American is dropping loads of cash on trinkets and gadgets, supposedly to celebrate the birth of Jesus.    That contorted thought process is a separate topic from what I really want to discuss here.   In this post I’d like to recommend that you give your friends or family members an incredibly valuable gift of knowledge in lieu of trinkets and gadgets.   Because your loved ones don’t need any more knickknacks, so them to college instead.

I am 1/4 through a college course that I am “taking” in my own home at night (while I ride an exercise cycle–it was 5 degrees yesterday in St. Louis).  I’m taking “Biology and Human Behavior:  The Neurological Origins of Individuality, 2nd Edition.”  This course is taught by Robert Sapolsky of Stanford, and I must say that he is one incredibly capable teacher.  The course cost me only $70 while on a special sale two weeks ago, and it included four video DVD’s. For an extra $25 I was sent a detailed course outline and a written transcript of the entire 24-lecture course.   Sapolsky, who is both brilliant and entertaining, has made it possible for me to push to a new, much more rigorous and memorable, level of understanding of neuroscience. Nothing like multi-modal learning, rather than sticking solely to books.   I’d highly recommend Sapolsky’s course, which I recently purchased from The Great Courses Company.

Here’s the pitch (I’m not being paid for this): Buy a gift certificate from The Great Courses Company (AKA “The Teaching Company”) to send your loved ones to college this Christmas.  They can choose from among hundreds of courses taught by highly decorated college professors.  Courses seem to range from $35 to $200 (don’t be frightened away by the ridiculous “list prices.”  Just click the course and see the real price, and keep in mind that various courses are featured at much lower prices periodically).   The gift-recipient can choose from courses in many fields, including science, art, history and literature.  Then after they finish taking their studies, of course, ask if you can borrow it.

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Category: Education, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. Ben says:

    This just caught my eye too, 250 free online courses!

    http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

  2. Moni says:

    MIT OpenCourseWare has the course materials for many of their courses entirely online. They include the syllabus, reading list, course calendar, lecture notes, etc. all for FREE!!!!

    Enjoy!

    Monica

    http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

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