Discovering “Open culture”

Discovering “Open culture”

If your New Year resolutions include learning more – about anything – then we have a website for you! In addition to providing subscription resources for library users, the IU East Campus library staff is always on the alert for interesting, reliable and open access sources. An excellent “go to” source for an eclectic array of cultural content is Open Culture. The diversity of topics is extensive and are in a variety of formats such as films, courses, digital archives, lectures, books, music, and art.

Free resources linked through their site include 1,300 online courses, 1,150 movies, 700 audio books, 800 eBooks, 200 textbooks, 300 language lessons, 150 business courses, and K-12 education. These aren’t just surface-level knowledge, either, that you would get in the first week of a 100 level college course. There’s deep stuff to reward an in-depth researcher.

Those online courses come from prestigious, top-rated schools like Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford and cross disciplines ranging from religion to computer science to law to literature. They are available in audio and video, depending on the way you learn best, and often include supplementary course materials like syllabi. And the selection of business videos is particularly broad, offering you learning opportunities in everything from corporate finance to real estate to investment to strategic management to creating your own startup company.

And those courses are supported by textbooks, with titles like Thinking About Politics, Business Fundamentals, Age of Einstein, Differential Equations, Mechanics of Materials, Life on Earth, and U.S. History since 1877. Some of these are downloadable, but unlike other books on the site, many are not in order to protect copyright.

There is also media of all kinds, with ebooks that you can download (including to a device) or read online ranging from literature like The Call of the Wild to philosophy like The Social Contract and Discourses to children’s stories like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to science fiction like The Last Night of the World. And audio books can be downloaded to your MP3 player or computer, perfect for listening to on the car ride to campus – with titles like Pride and Prejudice, Brave New World, and On the Origin of Species to choose from.

Movies focus on older, in-the-public-domain works like Ten Days that Shook the World or documentaries like Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life in Art, but there are newer treasures, too, and plenty of foreign-language material for students wanting to listen to native speakers. Speaking of which, are you interested in learning a new language? Far from just the obvious ones, you can start learning Bulgarian or Thai here, with textbooks or audio lessons or even iTunes feeds.

Beyond college-level leaning, there’s also plenty of material to support teaching at the K-12 level. This includes ebooks and audio books, tutorials, lesson plans, and entire video lessons, as well as plenty of web resources, including some material discussed in this blog before, like the incredible Khan Academy videos (which, like a number of other Open Culture resources, require you to make a free account to use).

The collection is a bit eclectic, and the site is ad supported, so be careful what you click on – not everything is vetted educational material. Enjoy this treasure trove of knowledge, and as always, if you need assistance discovering interesting and reliable online information sources, you are welcome to Ask Us! iueref@iue.edu

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