The Genius Box: quality educational streaming video

During my recent spell as a Mac-user, a friend pointed me to an interesting talk by Apple’s VP of Software Technology and all-around Unix-guy, Bud Tribble. The talk was great, both in terms of content (the speaker was interesting) and delivery (the streaming media was smooth and of sufficient quality).

This video is one of many available online by University of Washington Television. Many of the videos consist of lectures by professors, guests from industry, or other special university events. This is a fantastic use of the medium. I’ve been soaking in the talks on politics and interaction design. I commend the University of Washington for this significant contribution to the public good.

A few recommended starting points (most are about an hour long):

The entire collection can be browsed by series or by title. Basic requirements: Windows Media player and a decent high-speed internet connection (works well on my DSL). Add a reply to this post if you find any particularly good talks.

I suspect the way in which the internet has been stealing time from television in my life is representative of a lot of web users. However, the passivity of television is sometimes the whole point. For example, when you can’t sleep or need to wind down before going to sleep after a busy day, sitting and watching something (as opposed to reading/writing) can sometimes be just what you need. After all, who doesn’t find a PhD presentation on interaction design relaxing?

With the continuous improvements in quality and reliability of streaming media, portable computers, and wireless networking, great content like this will soon become widely accessible. As software and hardware becomes cheaper, I can imagine universities eventually making video of most lectures available online for reference.


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