Free Lectures & Talks on the Web
What, Where, How - By Graham Brown

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Lecture theatreThere are all sorts of free Lectures and Talks on the web.

In this article I want to take a look at specific examples of lectures and some of the main sites. These sites cover all sorts of subjects at all levels, from hobbies and general interest right up to Degree level and beyond!

Let's start with an example of a general interest talk.

Joe Costello is the CEO of think3 and he presented the talk "So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur" to the University of California. It's a motivational type lecture, ... how to make the most out of what you've got for in business, research, or other aspects of your life. And he does it in a very entertaining way! The lecture lasts about 50 minutes with a 20 minute question and answer session.

Lower Quality Video higher quality visuals!

The Costello lecture is above average in terms of video quality, and you can even run it full screen and it looks fine. A lot of lectures on the net don't have quite the same quality but there can be compensations.

For example the "Chance Lecture Series". The video on these is very small but the layout is very interesting.

chance lecturesAt the bottom right of the webpage to the right you see the video and the rest of the page what is showing on the overhead projector. The slides change at exactly the same time that the lecturer changes the acetate. This particular lecture is called Streaks in Sports and you will find it on the Chance Lecture page under the heading 1998 Chance Lecture Series. Tom Gilovich of
Cornell University discusses in particular the idea of the "hot hand" in basket ball and using statistics comes to some rather interesting conclusions. These are relevent to other sports and in addition, he's an entertaining speaker so it's well worth a watch.

chance lecturesYou can see Tom Gilovich bottom putting a slide on the overhead projecter. In real life it is showing to his right and he is looking up at it and explaining it.

As the viewer you get to see this slide for real right on your browser so the quality is excellent! There are numerous lectures on the page. They are all related in some way to probability and statitics.

...these lectures can be Downloaded to your computer.....

These include Benford's Law It's a Secret Law of Numbers (Increasingly Being Used by Auditors) by Mark Nigrini. Hedge funds and Gambling in the Capital Markets by Jeff Norman, The "Probability and Statistics in Gaming" lecture contains a lot of interesting statistics about casino odds. There is DNA Fingerprinting in the Courts and so on. These lectures can be downloaded to your computer which I recommend if you want the best viewing. The download includes all the video and html slides to run the lecture.

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Examples of Lectures & Talks

WGBH Forum Network
Have Live and Archived Webcasts of Free Public Lectures in Partnership with Boston's Leading Cultural and Educational Organizations. Have 100s with a search facility plus a top 20

Full Screen Mode: You can even download some of the lectures in Full-Screen mode. Click on the lectures to download OMN and that lecture to your computer. Or you can download OMN separately and then select from a broad archive of lectures, movies, public television and radio programs, video blogs and podcasts.

Ponzi schemes Ponzi's Scheme: The True Story of a Financial Legend - Mitchell Zuckoff, professor, journalism, Boston University Mitchell Zuckoff describes the mercurial rise and fall of the notorious career of Charles Ponzi (1882-1949).

Harvard@Home: Have more than sixty customized multimedia rich lectures on topics ranging from Stem Cells to Beethoven, Harvard Lecture Archive

virtual satellite screenshot
by Virtual Satellite
Professor Rabin confronts the failure of present-day computer systems to provide minimal network security.

Princeton: Their IT department encourages their staff to "use the WebMedia facility to meet academic, administrative, and instructional needs"
Lecture Archive
| Live events

Sample: Rip, Mix, Burn, Sue: Technology, Politics, and the Fight to Control Digital Media
by Professor Edward Felten

University of California: Has a load of lectures and events on their website. -New design features include recent webcast archives and live links right on the homepage, and archive listings that you can sort by date.
bill clintonIn addition to coursework there are lots of interesting events lectures including when Bill Clinton! came to talk famour authors etc.

IDS 110 Introduction
to Computers

Introduction to computers lecture
This course has loads of interesting lectures from the engaging Americ Azevedo and several expert guests. It deals with all aspects of computing including the structure and use of the Internet. In the first lectures there are some very interesting discussions about the nature of online learning.

Mathematics, Magic, and the Electric Guitar

video screenshot
Why is the number 1089 so special? What is the connection between mathematics and the electric guitar? Can mathematics even explain the legendary Indian Rope Trick? These are some of the questions that David Acheson (University of Oxford) considers in an informal look at surprises in mathematics. The lecture is accompanied by demonstrations and computer experiments. (Suggested age 14+)

MIT OpenCourseWare - Is a free and open educational resource  "for educators, students, and self-learners around the world."

lecture theatreIt provides free searchable, access to MIT's course materials. There are 1,400 courses published so far with more to come.

One of the stars of the the MIT Open Courseware is Walter Lewin who teaches Physics. His video lectures cover every aspect of physics from fun packed wacky experiment heavy public lectures right up to the most advanced way out stuff. And the lectures also come with all the course materials included. The easiest way to find all of his lectures is just to type Lewin in the main course index. You will see that there are 81 results!

MIT lectureThere are 6 great lectures also at MIT World including 6. The Wonders of Electricity and Magnetism: "The inimitable Walter Lewin gives a literally hair-raising performance in this MIT Museum lecture/demonstration for learners young and old. He unveils the real meaning behind words and things most of us use everyday without reflecting on what marvels they really represent. Lewin indulges the armchair physicist who's mathematically challenged, by covering all the basics of electricity and magnetism while introducing just one equation. If Walter Lewinyou're still undecided, check out some of the unique special effects - sparks, flashes, smashes, and more!"

8.01 Physics I - Professor Lewin puts his life on the line in Lecture #11  by demonstrating his faith in the Conservation of Mechanical Energy.

Walter Lewin's home page
| Walter Lewin's Course 8.02 on OCW | Lewin 8.03 at OCW

Oxford Institute webcast website
This contains live and archived Webcasts lectures, events and conferences held. You can search the archive and on some events there are downloadable files.

The Intelligence of Wikipedia - Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales explains the history and growth of Wikipedia with a particular focus on the internal community process which ensure a constant growth in quality.

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Finding More Lectures and Talks

A good tip to find more lectures on the web is to use a search engine for terms such as webcast, skypecast, netcast, audiocast, archived lectures etc. in a search engine

In Google, to just bring up results from universities you can use this search query:





Another great way is to type lecture and say economics or whatever subject you are are interested in to

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