Winner: MIT OCW
Sure, we'd all like to say we studied multivariable calculus at MIT, but did you know that now you really can? And you don't have to worry about your SAT scores in order to take the course! MIT OpenCourseWare offers over 2,000 of the prestigious university's courses, including extensive video lectures, free of charge to anyone, anywhere in the world.
MIT is world-renowned for its mathematics and science instruction, both of which are exhaustively represented among its video lectures. But there are also available lectures in myriad other subject areas, including architecture, literature, music and management. You can spend a morning learning about the politics of reconstructing Iraq, then explore composing for a jazz orchestra before ending your day with something lighter, like nuclear reactor safety. Ok, if not that, then how about mythmaking in film?
Our voters, who included not just students, but also instructors looking to hone their skills, gave kudos to MIT's professors, calling them 'just awesome' and 'the best of the best.' They noted that watching the video lectures is 'like sitting in a classroom.'
The nonprofit Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) offers TedEd, a unique video lecture site that provides educational videos in order to help its users teach others. The goal is to spread great ideas, and TedEd's videos are specifically created to facilitate fast learning and lesson development. Our voters commended TedEd for its 'incredible lectures' on 'compelling, relevant and engaging topics,' taught by 'great lecturers.' Lessons run the gamut from bass-playing virtuoso Victor Wooten's video on music as a language to the surprisingly complicated process of sex determination.
Finalist: UCLA Video Lectures
UCLA has over 40,000 official students. Now you can be an unofficial one. The elite public university offers its UCLA Video Lectures series through YouTube, where dozens of video lectures are available free of charge. Voters praised the video lectures' 'simplicity,' 'objectivity' and 'ease of use.' The videos, just like Los Angeles, are as diverse as they are fascinating. You can tour the site for lectures on the science of pleasure, the rise of the Starbucks coffee chain or a question and answer session with the star and director of 'The Wrestler.'