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Posts Tagged ‘College’

UPDATE: Welcome guests from LinkedIn. The 3 Monkeys Guide To Health can be found on LinkedIn @ http://www.linkedin.com/in/3monkeysguidetohealth

Josh Dean writes in Popular Science:

The world’s most prestigious universities have begun posting entire curricula on the Web—for free. Is there such a thing as a free higher-education lunch? I enrolled to find out.

Essentially, there is a lot of great material out there for the taking but you can quickly find yourself in over your head. One of the advantages of being in an actual classroom setting is the ability to ask the professor questions. For difficult classes, such as physics, having the textbook is essential. If you do decide to plow ahead in a particularly hard course, take the time to see if there are any online communities with people able to answer any questions you may have.

Read the whole thing for the details of Josh’s adventures.

Here’s a list of free online education resources:

1. MIT OpenCourseWare
Its list of 1,900 courses includes Weight Training and Playwriting. But the majority of “students” visit the oldest open courseware program for the subjects that made the Institute so renowned: physics, math and electronics.

2. University of Berkeley
It’s no surprise that the top-ranked public university offers a few dozen online audio and video lectures each semester. And live videos from special campus events, like the Dalai Lama talking about peace through compassion, could make you feel like you’re in the middle of college life.

3. Johns Hopkins School of Public Health OpenCourseWare
If you’re interested in a softer side of science, you can find written, video and audio lectures on public health topics ranging from sexual health to the fundamentals of human nutrition.

4. Google Code U
Becoming a master of your own domain, speaking C++, and hackproofing your data are all possible at Google Code U. And if you feel inspired to give back to the community that teaches you all that computer science, you’re in luck. The site accepts appropriate course content from its users.

5. Hewlett-Packard Learning Center
Brush up on basic computer skills like Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, as well as life skills such as business etiquette, from the technology giant Hewlett-Packard. You can even opt to receive a degree to hang on the wall once you completed your course.

6. BYKI
“You know,” “generally speaking,” “in order to” learn a foreign language, you have to memorize the most common phrases and words. Or so goes the mantra of this online language resource that promises to have you speaking one of over 70 different languages “before you know it.”

7. Digital Photography School
The site offers tutorials and tips for digital photographers of all levels.

8. Academic Earth
Perusing video lectures from different universities on Academic Earth is so smooth and seamless that you will have plenty of brain cells left over for learning.

9. YouTube EDU
In the same familiar format used for scanning screenshots of fluffy kitty videos, YouTube aggregates video content from different learning centers.

10. iTunes U
Use your iPhone or iPod touch for a higher purpose than tweeting with iTunes U. The application brings a list of the most popular lectures from different universities and cultural institutions to your fingertips.

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New research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found substantial reductions in binge drinking since the national drinking age was set at 21 two decades ago, with one exception: college students. The rates of binge drinking in male collegians remain unchanged, but the rates in female collegians have increased dramatically.

What is it about the college environment which causes such a disparity in drinking rates between college students and their non-college attending peers?

Among 18- to 20-year-old non-college men, binge drinking declined by more than 30% over the study period, whereas it was statistically unchanged among the men in college. For men ages 21 to 23, rates of binge drinking declined just more than 10 percent but remained virtually the same in those of the same age who attended college. In women ages 21 to 23, binge drinking increased about 20 percent among non-students, but the increase was more than 40 percent among women in college.

There’s a strong possibility that setting the minimum drinking age to 21 has had the unintended effect of causing more binge drinking because the only source of alcohol for underage college students is generally at parties. Those parties are not known for encouraging drinking in moderation; if anything, the opposite is true. Individuals who aren’t in the college environment may have peers old enough to purchase alcohol for them, but it is being consumed in a low pressure, relaxed environment. More importantly, alcoholic beverages aren’t viewed as a “feast or famine” type of commodity.

College presidents have taken note of this.

Two years ago, McCardell started an organization called Choose Responsibility, which waged a national campaign to lower the drinking age to 18. The soft-spoken scholar soon found that many other campus executives felt the same way. In early 2008 he started the Amethyst Initiative, a collective of college presidents urging a public discussion about the drinking age. At press time, the Amethyst Initiative had 130 signatories, including the presidents of Duke, Tufts, Dartmouth, and Johns Hopkins.

Senior Editor Radley Balko at Reason Online spoke with McCardell in October.

Q: Why lower the drinking age?

A: We’ve had a law on the books for 24 years now. You don’t need an advanced degree to see that the law has utterly failed. Seventy-five percent of high school seniors have consumed alcohol. Sixty-six percent of high school sophomores have.

The law abridges the age of majority. It hasn’t reduced consumption but has only made it riskier. Finally, it has disenfranchised parents and removed any opportunity for adults to educate or to model responsible behavior about alcohol.

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Extra healthy beer? We’ll drink to that!

A group of college students at Rice University are taking their favorite pastime and turning it into a research project. Their passion? Beer. Their project? Inventing a brew that contains resveratrol, a chemical present in wine that lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Sounds like our kind of science fair project, so here is the science portion of this broadcast:

Instead of adding hops, they’re adding genes, so to speak. Two sets of genes are in play here: the first allows the yeast to metabolize sugars and excrete an intermediate chemical. The second converts that chemical into the secret ingredient, resveratrol. The team has created a strain of yeast that can complete the latter conversion, but they are still working on genetically modifying the former. They hope to have the entire chemical reaction by the time the competition rolls around, but say that even if they don’t, they can still enter with data from other experiments and computer models to back them up. They also plan to brew their first test batches before heading north in November.

Now for the bad news. Unless they work out all the kinks and get FDA approval, this brew won’t be available at your favorite watering hole any time soon. We’re cheering for science to win this round.

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