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Lifelong Learning, For Teachers, Paperless Research

The Floating University and other Online Learning Tools


The New York Public Library recently announced a partnership with The Floating University to present the 'Great Big Ideas' video lecture series. The first one took place yesterday, and was a lecture titled If You're So Free, Why Do You Follow Others? The Sociology and Science Behind Social Networks, Altruism and the Genetic Origins of Human Interaction presented by Professor Nicholas Christakis.

Go to to see the schedule of upcoming screenings, some featuring live Q&A with the professors:

  • Malthus Miffed: Are People the Problem, the Solution or Both?
    Dr. Joel Cohen, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations, Rockefeller University, Mathematical Biologist, Columbia University
  • The Psychology of Everything: What Compassion, Racism, and Sex Tell Us about Human Nature
    Dr. Paul Bloom, Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University
  • Art Now: Aesthetics Across Music, Painting, Architecture, Movies and More
    Dr. Leon Botstein, President and Leon Levy Professor of Bard College

In his introduction to the screening, Peter Hopkins emphasized that the world of higher education is in a state of flux, due in large part to both economic and technological changes taking place. He also acknowledged the need for more opportunities for cross-disciplinary study apart from the traditional academic structure. The public library has always been a place that people turn to when they are seeking information, whether for a short term need or as part of a long term process of self-improvement. We have the resources that allow people who are highly disciplined but working outside of the traditional educational system to teach themselves what they need to know to fulfill their intellectual curiosity and oftentimes improve their lives. Lifelong learning is part of our mission.

Below is a listing of resources that might help you if you decide to embark on a self-made semester to learn something new. If you've tried another free program missing from this list, please let us know in the comments.

General resources

Other websites

  • Academic Earth aggregates several OCW sources for video with accompanying educational materials.
  • Connexions A platform and a way to remix and share educational content.
  • Google Code University basic introductions to web programming, databases, programming languages, and Linux, as well as more advanced courses for Computer Science students.
  • videos that show how stuff works, from an engineering perspective.
  • Khan Academy <10 minute videos and practice tools for Math, Science, Humanities, Finance, and Test Prep.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare
  • Open Yale Courses
  • Project Euler "exists to encourage, challenge, and develop the skills and enjoyment of anyone with an interest in the fascinating world of mathematics."
  • TED Talks "riveting talks by remarkable people."
  • webcast.berkeley "UC Berkeley's central service for online video & audio for students and learners around the globe."


  • Instructables "a web-based documentation platform where passionate people share what they do and how they do it, and learn from and collaborate with others." Projects divided into Food, Living, Outside, Play, Technology and Workshop sections.
  • Popular Mechanics Projects & Plans
  • Wired How-To Wiki "Collaborate with Wired editors and add to our library of projects, hacks, tricks and tips."

Free with your library card



(Not just) For teachers



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