Academic earth

World class education for free


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About the project Edit

Academic Earth is an organization founded with the goal of giving everyone on earth access to a world-class education. With USD 714 billion outstanding student-loan debt hanging over graduates in the US, it's no surprise that more and more people are turning to free educational content on the web. Academic Earth is building a user-friendly educational ecosystem that will give internet users around the world the ability to easily find, interact with, and learn from full video courses and lectures from the world’s leading scholars. The goal is to bring the best content together in one place and create an environment in which that content is remarkably easy to use and where user contributions make existing content increasingly valuable.

Academic Earth was founded by 23-year-old founder, Richard Ludlow and launched on March 24, 2009. The site offers 60 full courses and 2,395 total lectures (almost 1300 hours of video) from Yale, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Princeton that can be browsed by subject, university, or instructor through a user-friendly interface. Additionally, editors have compiled lectures from different speakers into Playlists such as “Understanding the Financial Crisis” and “First Day Of Freshman Year.”


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Academic Earth has worked at identifying the real barriers to achieving a world class education and has found innovative ways to use technology to increase the ease of learning. It is worth mentionning that it isn’t a radically new idea. Fora.TV and BigThink both offer intellectual video content online. iTunes U hosts a lot of university content as well. Unlike Big Think, Academic Earth isn’t creating original content, it’s just repurposing existing academic content. And Fora.TV seems to focus more on speeches and public lectures. But Academic Earth has the right plan around providing free course lectures. You can watch an entire semester’s worth of lectures in a few days.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Academic Earth democratizes the access to world class education.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit


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