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Looking for home educational material

  1. Mar 20, 2011 #1
    I would have posted this in one of the educational forums, but the instructions there seem to indicate that only educators and mentors can post to those forums. So I will ask here: I am looking for sources where I can purchase home education courses on science topics, especially in the physics topics offered here. If anyone is familiar with the Teach12 Great Courses website at


    Those courses are very well done and professional, as well as being college level, the types of courses I am looking for. But I would perhaps like some a bit more advanced than what they offer there (most of the TTC courses are non-math courses for non-science majors).

    I have many of the science and philosophy of science courses from that website that I purchased and greatly enjoyed, but I have pretty much covered all their subjects that fit my interest so I am looking for others like this TTC offers.

    I want the courses that are available on DVD sets you can purchase rather than as online tutorials and such because I am most comfortable viewing the content that way. I am not trying to get a degree or anything (I am a retired EE), I just enjoy getting some additional education in topics I like now that I have the time to learn. I am limited in mobility, so going to an actual school for learning is not really possible.

    I browsed through the education forums here but they all seem to offer only online videos and so on. I am lookiung more for courses on DVDs that I can buy and view at my leisure on my TV rather than on a computer.

    I am interested in quite a broad range of topics, mostly in science but also in philosophy and history. I do not mind having to pay reasonable prices, if the course is worth the expense. Like I say, I am only looking to further my own educationj, not seeking credits or a degree or anythin, and I am retired so I do not need it for any work-related reasons.

    More sources for this type of course materials like those at that TTC website would be just about ideal, but searching the web does not seem to offer much. Any help would be appreciated.


    Pete B
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2011 #2
    I hope I'm not insulting your intelligence with this, but I am in pretty much the same situation as you, and have been self-studying for a while now.

    And I think you are really missing a bet by not wanting the free video lectures available. Since you are looking for a more advanced level, the courses at MIT's OCW site would be perfect for you.

    If it's a screen size thing, and this is where I hope I'm not insulting your intelligence, just hook up the output of your PC to your TV. I started using my 32" TV as my main computer screen a year ago, and I would never go back.

    The key is to download the lectures, rather than stream them. With a free video player like SMPlayer or KMPlayer, you have as much or more control over the videos as with a DVD player, and you can hold a ton of them on a hard drive (and you can now get a 2-terabyte hard drive for less than $100 if you look for sales).

    Just something to consider.
  4. Mar 20, 2011 #3
    No offense taken. You assume all that is within my ability to carry out. I am not able to hook up my PC to my TV, the PC is not so equipped. Furthermore, what I seek is to do this without using a PC at all. I have download3ed and viewed many such videos; they are fine for observing on a monitor, but not with my vision problems, and they are not organized and presented as well as the courses I mention.

    I have seldom found videos of the high quality provided by the courses I mentioned. I am not looking for a video of a college lecture, I am looking for a course specifically designed to be presented in the format I specified.

    What I really want is another company or other site like the one in the link I posted, one that has a different variety of courses. I just want to put a DVD in my DVD player and sit back and watch the lectures from my easy chair, you know? I don't want to be sitting at a PC to do the viewing.

    Pete B
  5. Mar 25, 2011 #4
    I am familiar with the Teaching Company videos you mentioned. They are very good but, as you say, they really only cover the equivalent of 1st year University classes.

    I don't think you will be able to find the same format for more advanced classes. There just isn't the market for that kind of production. Realistically, you should be looking at open-courseware type videos, as suggested above. Yes, sometimes the video quality is not very high, but you can get good courses from MIT, Berkeley, Harvard and Stanford. The teaching is often excellent.

    This is a good list:

    For watching it on your TV, you still have options. I don't like "streaming" video either. For one, it can disappear tomorrow before you have finished the series. When available, the formats that you can download are generally MOV, MP4, MPG or AVI (Xvid). Some of these will play on a modern DVD player with MP4 capability. Alternatively, something like this will play most things on your TV - you just throw the video on a thumb-drive and plug it in.

    (This is not a recommendation for this particular device - just an example of what is out there).

    If you are looking for particular subjects, people here might be able to recommend specific sources...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Mar 25, 2011 #5
    Thank you for a very informative reply. The problem I have regarding streaming to TV is that my PC is on the opposite side of the home from my PC so it would not be practical to do that, but the device you mention or one like it may help.

    I will check out the list you posted, it looks very promising.

    Pete B
  7. Mar 26, 2011 #6
    I should also mention "iTunes University". I have mixed feelings about Apple's contribution to online education. On the one hand, you have a straightforward interface and pretty consistent video quality. On the other hand, you have to use Apple's software to download them (and tough luck if you run Linux). Many of the universities that have posted materials to iTunesU also provide regular web-links, which is good. However, some don't so if you happen to be looking for that series in particular, iTunes is the only source.

    Here, I am thinking of something like Susskind's "Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum," which is only available from YouTube or iTunes. If you want to install this on Firefox, you can sometimes download decent quality MP4 files from YouTube instead of having to stream them:
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/easy-youtube-video-downl-10137/ [Broken]
    (there are other addons that do a similar job)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  8. Mar 26, 2011 #7
    Anything Apple is out (don't want or own any of that brand), as is anything Firefox. I have no problem with downloads of MP4 files rather than streamed, I can play them on my PC just fine.

    I should mention that the site you listed for the online education was great, I had seen it other places in other formats. It is limited to scientific topics, which is great too, but I am not just looking for such courses in science. I also have a great interest in history, philosophy, some areas in mathematics, political science, and other types of education material too. So any ideas like that for other material would be welcome.


    Pete B
  9. Mar 27, 2011 #8
    I can understand dislike of Apple, but not sure why Firefox is an issue. As an alternative, Opera also has a youtube download plugin if that works better for you.

    Just so you know, iTunes (the program) is free and does run under Windows if your morals allow you to do that. No signup is needed to access the university material. The program is a pig and iTunesU isn't my first choice, but sometimes there is a series that makes the pain worthwhile.

    For other subjects, I just keep an eye on the main sites:
    http://webcast.berkeley.edu/courses.php (make sure to check the other years)
    http://oyc.yale.edu/courselist [Broken]
    http://www.extension.harvard.edu/openlearning/ [Broken]
    http://itunes.stanford.edu/content/rss.html [Broken] (doesn't need iTunes after all)

    There are other compilation lists you can find on google, but many of them are a mess.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  10. Mar 27, 2011 #9
    I have no dislike of Apple products (other than feeling they are exorbitantly overpriced), I just am a life-long Windows person, and see no great advantage to Apple over simply going to a Linux or Unix platform. I spent half my life developing data applications for MS platform systems, so I am used to that one, is all. I am retired now and I really have no use for an iPod or iPad so I just would not own one. I rarely if ever use my cellphone either, so I am one of those kind... :=).

    I also have no particular issue with Firefox, I just think it is sort of a plain vanilla IE. I have it installed on my PC as a second browser but do not use it at all, as it turns out.

    I have been able to run all the videos without any problems, including those requiring the iTunes plugin. I am familiar with the other sites and sources you mention in your post, I have downloaded some of the MIT courses and a few others in the past.

    Thanks again for your input--

    Pete B
  11. Jun 22, 2011 #10
    I'm building a site now that indexes problems solved on youtube. So far I have organic chemistry, general chemistry, and freshman level physics up and running, though I plan on adding many more videos over the next few months. I hope you guys find the site helpful, http://studystove.com" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  12. Jul 7, 2011 #11
    this is very useful webs
  13. Oct 24, 2011 #12
    I especially advise you to visit


    to test your knowledge on science. There are hundreds of question about general science issues as like Famous Scientists ,Biology & Medicine,Astronomy,:Chemistry, Zoology, Electric & Electronics, Mechanic, Construction, Metarial Knowledge, Important Inventions, etc
  14. Oct 28, 2011 #13
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  15. Dec 12, 2011 #14
    Great post guys.

    I have just created a website myself - www.tubetor.com. It's very early stages but I am also creating some videos myself to teach. I am concentrating on physics, maths and other subjects I am familiar with and have started putting up videos on there.

    However, the site is aimed at anyone being able to upload their own educational video content (as the tutor) so hopefully it will generate a community of online teachers. I'm looking to get people like ufarad to upload some content on there and benefit of this is it will allow greater traffic to be diverted to his youtube channel/website.

    The site isn't intended for youtube embeds, it just started out like that to see how the site looks. Any content on there will be uploaded by registered users.

    Would be interested to get your thoughts and comments on what you think of the site so far.
  16. Feb 1, 2012 #15
  17. Mar 18, 2012 #16
    Hello everyone.Hope I got something what I was looking for.
  18. May 20, 2012 #17
    It's not a complete course, but if you're studying these topics on your own I highly recommend checking out the PHET simulator tool on the university of colorado's website. The interactive illustrations are cool, and extremely useful!
  19. Sep 24, 2012 #18
  20. Nov 11, 2012 #19
    Whoa cool link SolsticeFire, thanks! I knew of the MIT CourseWare but this is pretty mind blowing.
  21. Nov 12, 2012 #20
    there's also edx.org now, MIT/Harvard version of coursera.

    if really need to stream on a tv, I think you can always download everything to a dvd disc, then just play on a television. there are downloaders like ytd(which I quite like) where you can download whole playlists from YouTube at the click of a button. the whole of MIT opencourseware! itunes is also very fast! I think a decent internet connection will do (something like 100MBps?) whole playlist in like a few hours? if its too troublesome can always hire someone to do it:) like.... grandkids? (well I would have gladly done it for my grandpa if he wanted it...)

    regarding copyright, I suppose if such educational videos are just for personal use, then it should be acceptable? I'm not very sure, so please do correct me if I'm wrong... thanks!
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