MRUniversity is an online education platform for economics that is completely free and open to students. The platform was created by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, George Mason University economics professors. The name came from their blog, MarginalRevolution. This platform joins the arrays of other online learning platforms that offer free and open courses to the masses, including Coursera, Udacity, and edX. The first course, Development Economics, has began last week. They also invite their users to submit their own content and contribute their knowledge to the curriculum.
The following descriptions are from them:
We think education should be better, cheaper, and easier to access. So we decided to take matters into our own hands and create a new online education platform toward those ends. We have decided to do more to communicate our personal vision of economics to you and to the broader world.
Here are a few of the principles behind MR University:
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.