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Entering the open class of famous European and American schools

  If you haven’t heard of the “Open Course” (or “Open Course”) of famous European and American schools, then you are already “OUT”. In recent years, open courses from prestigious schools in Europe and the United States have entered the field of view of Chinese netizens one after another, appearing on the homepages of major portals, videos, and download sites, and their millions of hits have even surpassed the popular “Hundreds of Views”. home forum”. A few years ago, there was a famous saying in college: “Skipping classes is a compulsory course.” But now in this phrase, it’s just that “skipping classes” has become “Tao classes”. Now, we don’t have to pass rigorous exams, pay high tuition fees, or travel far across the ocean, just a click of a mouse at home, we can see the classroom style of the world’s top schools.
  In fact, online open courses are not new in Western countries. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a pioneer of online open courses. As early as the 1990s, a large number of course materials were put on the Internet. The purpose was to “expect learners all over the world to share knowledge and ideas openly and freely, and benefit from it”. Since then, anyone in the world can enter the school’s special website to download, and use these contents for free on the premise of non-profit. Today, MIT has opened more than 2,000 courses to the world for free for the world’s intellectuals.
  Following the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the world’s top universities such as Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, Oxford University, and Cambridge University have also begun to share some excellent courses, covering literature, philosophy, psychology, physics, history, and economics. , Finance and other disciplines. Users are free to download and share these materials as long as they indicate the source of the copyright and do not involve commercial use. At present, most of the popular public courses on the Internet are relatively popular undergraduate courses, and the speakers are also top international professors, with unique teaching style and personal charm. The most popular courses are “Justice: How to Do It Well” at Harvard University, “Philosophy: Death” at Yale University, “Calculus of Calculus” and “Linear Algebra” at MIT, and “Introduction to Human Anatomy” at Berkeley, California , Stanford’s Modern Theoretical Physics: Einstein and Robert Shiller’s Financial Markets. In addition to uploading classroom video files, these open courses also provide course-related materials such as syllabus and topic summary.
  Generally speaking, most of the production costs of open courses come from public welfare funds. Initially, relevant institutions paid teachers a certain fee to encourage them to upload their courseware and videos to the Internet. Later, schools specially organized human production. The production cost of a general public course is about 2,000 US dollars, but the production cost of fine and popular courses, such as Harvard University’s “Justice: How to Do It Well”, Yale University’s “Philosophy: Death”, etc., requires about 30,000 US dollars. . Today, open courses have not only made the lecturers famous, but also brought unexpected material gains. The sales of the textbooks they have written have greatly increased, and publishers have also taken the initiative to find them and help them publish books. Looking back at the beginning, there were still some professors who were reluctant to join the open class, worried that if the content of the course was fully disclosed, it would affect the sales of the book. (This has happened in American universities: students must first sign a non-disclosure agreement in class, because the teacher has already negotiated with the publisher, and the content of the class will be published, and the spread of notes may affect sales.) Now, it turns out that the worries of these professors are The excess also attracts more professors to actively participate in it. For example, Daul Bloom, a professor of Yale University’s “Introduction to Psychology”, said in the opening remarks of the course: his course is part of the open course of Yale University , “At the end of the year, all video recordings will be put on the Internet.” He also joked to the students: “Because of the possibility of being photographed, if you are a member of the witness protection program, or a fugitive-level character, the most Well, don’t sit in the front row.” The
  author believes that there are three main reasons for the popularity of open classes in prestigious schools:
  first, open and speculative teaching methods. To be honest, these open courses are not very difficult, but the teaching methods are quite different from those in China. In many schools in China, the teaching is relatively rigid, and students are in a one-way indoctrination state of “being taught”, while the open classes in famous European and American schools are more vivid, the interaction between teachers and students is more, and the knowledge is broader and more novel. The professor does not force you to accept his point of view, but shows you knowledge in a certain field, inspires you to think, and judge for yourself what is reasonable.
  Second, the appeal of the world’s top universities and scholars. As we all know, even if the TOEFL and GRE scores are extremely high, and the professional scores are perfect over the years, they may not be able to apply to world-class universities; not to mention that the teachers of these open courses are Taishan Beidou in the field. Although “Tao Course” is not for diplomas, but for the enjoyment of learning, there is no doubt that the classroom records of top universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, etc. have satisfied the general public’s curiosity about famous schools and curiosity.
  Third, the Chinese translation makes it even more powerful. In fact, the open courses of these famous schools can be downloaded publicly on relevant websites many years ago. However, due to language restrictions, most of the people who pay attention to it are people with good English skills or those who need to study abroad, and the scope of dissemination is relatively narrow. Only recently, with the involvement of domestic online subtitle groups YYETS and TLF, did the dissemination of these courses begin to explode, and they became online buzzwords.
  So far, the relevant websites of the open courses of famous European and American schools have attracted hundreds of millions of clicks from more than 200 countries around the world, and nearly a thousand universities around the world have also participated in this project, so as to radiate high-quality educational resources and narrow the educational gap. , to provide global knowledge seekers with a variety of learning options and convenient learning methods. However, the open courses that can be downloaded at present are basically culture and art, while science and technology high-tech courses have not appeared. This may be due to confidentiality considerations. After all, core courses are the competitiveness of each university.
  Among all the open online courses, “justlce: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” by Professor MIchae Sandel of Harvard University and Shelley Kagan of Yale University ( Philosophy: Death by Shelly Kagan is the most popular. In domestic universities, political philosophy courses are often at the forefront of students’ skipping options. Why are these American courses so popular with students? To answer this question, we might as well experience the unique style of the two professors.
  ”Justice: How to Do It Well” by Harvard professor Michael Sandel started 30 years ago and has been taught by more than 20,000 students so far. For 30 years, “Justice: How to Do It Well” has been one of Harvard’s most popular courses, setting the record for the most cumulative student numbers and single-semester electives (fall 2007, 1,115 students enrolled) in Harvard’s history record. In recent years, nearly 1,000 students have taken this course every semester, and the class has to be set up in Harvard’s quaint Sanders Theater.
  Professor Sandel’s class looks more like a huge lecture hall, where people of all skins and nationalities gather. The atmosphere in the classroom is relaxed and comfortable. Many students are chewing gum and some sticking pens in their ears. But please don’t make the mistake of thinking that Professor Sandel is the kind of teacher who simply likes to be funny. In fact, from Bentham’s utilitarianism to Kant’s reasoningism, his teaching is extremely rigorous. The reading list is also surprisingly large. What is even more commendable is that Professor Sandel’s class rhythm has been perfected, and he can talk about profound philosophical issues in a fun way. He is also good at using heuristic teaching, using some situations to let students participate in discussions, training their thinking, and enlightening their minds. Therefore, Sandel’s lectures seem to be easy, but in fact, they are full of ingenuity and secrets and twists and turns.
  At the beginning of the first lesson, “The Moral Side of Murder,” Professor Sandel gave the students this example: “Suppose you are a tram driver, and your tram is traveling at 60 miles per hour. It is found that at the end of the track, there are 5 workers working, you try to brake, but to your horror, your handbrake does not work! You know very well that if the tram hits these 5 workers, they will die . You don’t know what to do until you suddenly find that at the end of the tram, there is a fork in the road, and on that fork, only one worker is working. The steering wheel of the tram has not failed, soyou can choose to steer the car to that fork and hit the 1 worker, thus saving the other 5 workers. At this point, what do you think is the right choice?” Next, Professor Sandel will invite several students with different viewpoints to express their ideas freely, and lead students to discuss why “sacrificing 1 person saves 5 people” based on the students’ answers The principle of “consequentialist moral reasoning” and “absolutist moral reasoning” are two distinct modes of moral reasoning that work in some cases and not in others. Finally, Professor Sandel introduced into the 19th century The moral dilemma of cannibalism and self-saving by drifting boats, in the debate and confrontation between teachers and students, naturally led to the “utilitarian concept of happiness”, “the necessity of procedural justice” and other issues. Such teaching methods can undoubtedly maximize the mobilization of students Of course, Professor Sandel
  did not just ask students to indulge in philosophical contemplation, he specially warned students: “By reading these works and discussing these topics, you will become a better and more responsible citizen. You will revisit the premise of public policy making and you will become more actively involved in public affairs. But this promise may be one-sided and misleading, and it may make you a worse citizen, because philosophy can alienate people from reality and can even weaken the ability to act. “However, this did not affect the students’ pursuit of Professor Sandel. He once came to Fudan University in China to give a speech. The organizers at that time obviously underestimated the popularity of this lecture: the lecture hall that could only accommodate more than 100 people was eventually crowded. More than 300 people entered, and more people watched the live TV screen in the lobby outside the lecture hall. I am afraid that even Sandel himself did not expect that this lecture was later called “the most popular lecture in the history of Fudan University.” ”
  Philosophy: Death” lectured by Professor Shelley Kagan of Yale University is worthy of the title of “Sit and Talk”. Unlike domestic university teachers who are sitting with their heads and PPT teaching methods, the thin-faced Professor Kagan always wears a plaid shirt and jeans , canvas shoes, sitting cross-legged at the lecture table, with only a lamp beside him. Professor Kagan talked from beginning to end, talking non-stop: sometimes his hands fluttered, sometimes he moved his limbs to find the most comfortable posture , sometimes jumped off the desk, and sometimes sat back down. This unique teaching scene alone has given Chinese students a strong sense of impact.
  Philosophy: Death is a public elective course for undergraduates at Yale University. It mainly guides students to look at death from a philosophical perspective, rather than from the perspectives of biology, sociology, and religious belief. Professor Kagan’s mantra is: “We’resitting here to…” His language is humorous, contagious, and able to explain profound philosophy in simple terms, coupled with good classroom interaction and a relaxed atmosphere, making this school The course has become the most popular of all public courses at Yale, with thousands of students taking this course each semester.
  Professor Kagan announced to the students in the first class: “Introduction courses generally have two ways, one is to list various points of view, and the professor keeps himself neutral; the other is that the professor will convince you to accept himself. I think the only correct idea. My course is the latter, but I don’t force you to accept my idea, at least you have taken this course and thought about this issue, and this is the harvest.” As a discussion of “death” The starting point, Professor Kagan believes that people do not have a “soul” that transcends the body, and hopes to debate with them with classmates who hold different views. During lectures, he would ask a series of questions to discuss with his classmates, such as: “If there is nothing left after death, why do people still fear?” “What is the difference between death and the process of death?” In addition, he He also told the students that the first thing they want students to do is to call themselves “Shelly”, because their response to “Professor Kagan” is slow, but unfortunately, “there are fewer and fewer classmates who like to call me Shelly.” ”. From this joking remark, it is not difficult to understand the approachable demeanor of the professor.
  Of course, online open courses are not the patent of famous European and American schools. Chinese universities launched the “New Century Online Course Construction Project” in 2003, such as Peking University’s “Peking University Teaching Network” and Renmin University of China’s “Online NPC Open Courses”. Unfortunately, due to various reasons, it did not have a major impact. Some netizens commented that the domestic open courses are much more rigid than overseas universities. The videos are basically text and PPT, and the lack of interaction between professors and students is a bit boring. Comparatively speaking, domestic colleges and universities still have a lot of work to do.
  The author once visited Harvard University in the United States and remembered that the word “VERlTAS” was printed on the Harvard school badge, which means “friends with the truth”. Its complete school motto is Latin “Amlcus Plato, Amicus Aristotle, sed Macjls AmlcusVERITAS” (Friends with Plato, friends with Aristotle, and friends with truth.) Today, in the era of sharing knowledge on the Internet, We might as well add another sentence to Harvard’s school motto – “Be friends with open classes”.