I recently found an online resource that even Bill Gates and his children use. Khan Academy is a website dedicated to teaching. It is the product of Salman Khan, Harvard MBA graduate and a former hedgefund manager. The information contained on the site is free, available around the clock, and requires just your time and interest in learning the material presented.
There are a range of topics taught on this site: simple math, statistics, biology, history, economics, venture capital and capital markets to name a few. Khan’s presentation of material works because it’s easy to digest the information. Each topic is covered in chunks of time (approximately twenty minute excerpts) with concepts presented in lay man’s terms, with constant movement on the screen’s workspace to keep the learner engaged. The information is concise, clearly understood, and Khan’s voice is easy to listen to. Most important of all is Khan’s efficient use of time to give all the information needed about the topic, without fluff or fillers.
For anyone interested in teaching and learning in the online environment, I think the Khan Academy website is an exceptional prototype to analyse and maybe emulate for teaching others. For those of us who want to continue to learn while juggling our responsibilities such as work and family, here is an online resource that will engage your mind and promote learning.
The Centre for Teaching Excellence welcomes contributions to its blog. If you are a faculty member, staff member, or student at the University of Waterloo (or beyond!) and would like contribute a posting about some aspect of teaching or learning, please contact Mark Morton or Trevor Holmes.