Crash Course Educates Millions of Students For Free
Open online courses like Crash Course are something the Discovery Channel could only dream about.
The Crash Course brothers – John and Hank Green – are teaching millions of people around the world history, biology, chemistry, English literature and more in one of the all-around best online education channels we’ve seen to date. Written and produced by an expert staff of teachers and animators, and hosted by the John and Hank themselves, each class in a series combines engaging visuals and a wacky, modern, and memorable take on common lessons in from “The Agricultural Revolution” to “Great Glands – The Endocrine System.” John teaches world history, US history, and English literature while Hank teaches biology, ecology, and chemistry.
Crash Course shows us that if online education is going to win over the critics and the old school academics, classes and readings materials cannot just be thrown together and an exam given. Great online courses, just like on-the-ground courses, take the teachers and professors time to develop good content and meaningful assignments. Creating an interesting and engaging online course is not an easy task and the Green brothers and the entire Crash Course team must have spent tens of thousands of man hours making the hundred or so courses available.
Crash Course presents some of the most common topics in middle school, high school, and college courses. Many students have reported that they use the videos as study guides. Teachers around the United States and around the world are showing Crash Course videos in their classrooms and students are asking for more. John and Hank have produced model open courses and we know this is true because students are going home from their teacher showing them one of the videos and watching the rest of the series after school and on their own time. Online education has its inherent challenges of engaging the viewer, but I would say Crash Course has succeeded. Just look at some of the funky recurring themes in the series – the animated thought bubbles, the “open letter” that comes out of the secret compartment, and John Green’s famous saying “Unless you are, wait for it, the MONGOLS!” accompanied by a 3-second clip from the 1961 film “The Mongols” depicting a village raid. Each episode has a custom soundtrack and many classes have funny, tongue-in-cheek names like the lesson on Dihydrogen Monoxide: “Water – Liquid Awesome.”
Check out some of John’s US history courses here… Thomas Jefferson, anyone ?