The Khan Academy is a growing non-profit organization featuring a large collection of short instructional videos on a number of interesting topics. Their current emphasis is on science, math, and economics, but they do have some videos on topics in the humanities, and their Art History collection is particularly good. Here’s a sample video on the Babylonian Ishtar Gate on display in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.
I’ve been hearing about the Khan Academy from a couple of different vectors, in part because I see a growing interest in advanced or continuing education for adults outside of the academy. As I continue to contemplate a possible return to graduate school and weigh the downsides, I can certainly understand why. The Chronicle of Higher Education just published an article, for example, about a woman with a PhD in Medieval history who can’t make ends meet as an adjunct professor, and has turned to food stamps. Apparently, she’s not alone.