Let’s see, would I like to attend Cambridge, Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford or Yale today? Sure. In my dreams, right? With costs soaring and selectivity narrowing, earning a higher education degree at any university is a challenge, let alone a degree at the most prestigious campuses on the planet. Well, one startup, A Study In, looks to make at least some elements of an Ivy League learning experience available to anyone interested.
Take Your Seats, Please
A Study In is an online platform that offers educational content in…in anything you might care to learn about. Open-ended learning determined by individual curiosity is at the heart of the website. Click on and tap into the boundless knowledge available all around us. Classes, talks, all materials are provided free of charge.
Talks cover a variety of subjects, ranging from anthropology to business, entrepreneurship to media, sports, ted, and venture capital. A Study In pulls course materials from universities covering most traditional academic fields–the sciences, education, business, medicine, engineering and technology.
At the moment, the startups doesn’t hold an affiliation with any particular school, organization, or instructor. The collection of resources is hand-curated, catering to those with more formal taste or people like myself who feel that a doctorate in vampire lore should be regarded as a worthwhile intellectual pursuit.
A Study In also offers “Shorts,” which provide crash courses on somewhat offbeat topics. Here are just a few shorts listed:
- How We See Black and White
- How Simple Ideas Lead to Scientific Discoveries
- Solar Energy
- Stanford Prison Experiment
- Robotics at Penn
- What are Continents?
- Rare Earth Elements
- Eukaryopolis – The City of Animal Cells
- The Agricultural Revolution
There are even incentives to keep feeding your wits. On top of the joy of expanding your worldly horizons, A Study In offers rewards like “discounts at awesome places” for logging time on the site. I imagine the perks might become more tangible and appealing if traffic picks up.
My favorite category of self-enlightening tools falls under the heading of Wacky, giving users access to the “…bizarre, curious, obnoxiously brilliant and brilliantly obnoxious things around us.” This is where you can learn how “Scientists Decode Brain Waves To Eavesdrop On What We Hear” or how “CalTech Scientists Measure Dinosaur Temperature.” If the company is going to prove to be the antidote to mindless entertainment or the reality TV craze as it hopes to be, this content appears most promising.
Female founder Mary Wu is a Digital Media Analyst at Apollo Group, which specializes in higher learning programs. Earlier, she worked as an investment analyst at Goldman Sachs and Bivium Capital. She’s also been a web developer at the National Center for K-16 Chinese Language Pedagogy. Wu attended the University of California at Berkeley.
The Global College
Wu is a proponent of universal education. She views her site as a means to leverage the Internet to gain access to a premier education regardless of location or circumstance. She also thinks A Study In will be a great help to high school students attempting to decide if college is the right choice or trying to select the best-fitting school. The crash course video shorts and rewards aim to nudge prospective students or listless learners to put on thinking caps.
Who wouldn’t like to know more about why “…The Color Pink Doesn’t Exist And Is Just A Pigment Of Our Imagination?”