Last week, classes began at MRUniversity, an online education platform for economics that is completely free and open to students. The platform was created by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, George Mason University econ professors who named the site after their blog, MarginalRevolution (or, according to their blog, “Mister University, to some”). Check out Cowen and Tarrabok’s video describing the platform:
This platform joins the ranks of other online learning platforms that offer free and open courses to the masses, including Coursera, Udacity, and edX. Cowen and Tabarrok have created full courses through five minute video segments so that students can watch the videos without having to set aside a huge chunk of the day to absorb content. They also invite their users to submit their own content, a la Wikipedia, so that they can contribute their knowledge to the curriculum.
Cowen and Tabarrok lay out the principles behind MRUniversity on the Marginal Revolution blog:
1. The product is free (like this blog), and we offer more material in less time.
2. Most of our videos are short, so you can view and listen between tasks, rather than needing to schedule time for them. The average video is five minutes, twenty-eight seconds long. When needed, more videos are used to explain complex topics.
3. No talking heads and no long, boring lectures. We have tried to reconceptualize every aspect of the educational experience to be friendly to the on-line world.
4. It is low bandwidth and mobile-friendly. No ads.
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6. We have plans to subtitle the videos in major languages. Our reach will be global, and in doing so we are building upon the global emphasis of our home institution, George Mason University.
7. We invite users to submit content.
8. It is a flexible learning module. It is not a “MOOC” per se, although it can be used to create a MOOC, namely a massive, open on-line course.
9. It is designed to grow rapidly and flexibly, absorbing new content in modular fashion — note the beehive structure to our logo. But we are starting with plenty of material.
10. We are pleased to announce that our first course will begin on October 1.
MRUniversity is now offering its first course, Development Econmics, which you can sign up for here.