Free Online Video Lectures

For the last few months, I have been making use of the ‘iTunes U’ feature on Apple’s software to download lectures to listen to whilst making sure my crickets are living the high life in my lab. There are a lot of good courses there – the main ones I have been using are Stephen Stearns‘ Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour course from Yale, and some of Terrence Deacon‘s Anthropology course from Berkeley. You can have a look at what’s available here – in fact, the ‘featured lecture’ on this page is actually a ‘virtual tour of the Galapagos’ from the Open University’s David Robinson.

I was actually searching for some more information on a subject Stearns talks about in a sexual selection lecture when I found the CosmoLearning website. In its own words, CosmoLearning is “an educational website committed to improve the quality of homeschooling, teaching and student excellence, helping educators and self-learners alike anywhere in the world.” The biology section of the website contains a number of courses relevant to those with an interest in evolution, and include video lectures for the Stearns course available as audio on iTunes; this will come in very handy for those of us who have listened to the lectures and been left in the dark as he refers to images and graphs in his presentation!

For someone such as myself, coming to evolutionary biology from another discipline (and having spent a number of years away from study), it’s really wonderful to be able to access such resources, teaching the fundamentals without my having to pay anything or rearrange my day in order to go to undergraduate lectures! A bonus feature of the CosmoLearning website is its documentaries section – the evolution section has a number of films, including the rather fantastic BBC production ‘Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life’. Perfect for winding down after a lecture on the finer points of genetic drift…

CosmoLearning biology section here (unfortunately, constricting the search to just ‘evolution’ in the toolbars actually removes several relevant courses)
CosmoLearning evolution documentaries here

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