New Online Courses on Liberty

With the very exciting, rapid development of online learning, I am delighted that new programs to provide excellent courses in economics and history have recently been launched by scholars who have worked with the Independent Institute.

1. The first is from the historian and best-selling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (Senior Fellow, Ludwig von Mises Institute), Tom Wood’s Liberty Classroom: The History and Economics They Didn’t Teach You. The program has begun by offering the following courses:

In addition to Dr. Woods, the faculty includes the following:

  • Jonathan Bean (Professor of History, Southern Illinois University)
  • Kevin R. C. Gutzman (Professor of History, Western Connecticut State University)
  • Jeffrey M. Herbener (Chairman, Department of Economics, Grove City College)
  • Jason Jewell (Chairman, Department of Humanities, Faulkner University)
  • Brion McClanahan, Ph.D. (author, The Founding Fathers’ Guide to the Constitution and other books)
  • T. Hunt Tooley (Chairman, Department of History, Austin College)

Enrollment is a real bargain in which anyone can access all audio and videos courses for as Dr. Woods notes, “Less than one movie ticket a month.”

2. The second online program is MRUniversity (Marginal Revolution University), from the two coauthors of the highly influential economics blog, Marginal Revolution, our Research Director Alexander Tabarrok (Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics, George Mason University) and the economist and best-selling author Tyler Cowen (Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics, George Mason University).

The first course is Development Economics and will begin October 1st with Dr. Tabarrok, and here are the details from how MRUniversity will operate:

  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.
  5. We offer tests and quizzes.
  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.

3. Also of note is the Independent Institute’s Multimedia Archive which features 268 videos and audios and is searchable by name and issue.

David J. Theroux is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Institute and Publisher of the quarterly journal, The Independent Review.
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