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Review of Crash Course – The Fast-Paced Youtube Channel

Crash Course is a channel on YouTube that covers 7 course topics in a series of weekly videos. Some of the video series have been running for 2 years at this point. The topics covered are:

  • Psychology
  • Literature
  • Chemistry
  • US History
  • Ecology
  • Biology

The videos are created by two brothers, and are well-produced with sound effects and animation to reinforce the points being made. The average about 10 minutes in length each, and so they break down each topic into bite-sized chunks.

According to their website (Subbable.com), CrashCourse started as a grant from Youtube itself, and has grown to be a self-sustaining subscription service. Members pay almost $25,000 per month now for some interesting perks, even though the content is free for anyone to enjoy.

Compared with a traditional college course site such as Coursera, Crash Course provides their courses in video-only format. They are shorter (in terms of weekly time commitment), there are no quizzes or tests, no certifications or other way to record your achievement. They are free on Youtube, no registration required to view. It is easy to search for specific subtopics within each topic, and go back in time even 1 or 2 years to see earlier videos in the series. Coursera, on the other hand, limits courses to a traditional semester length (6-8 weeks), take down courses after they end, can require many hours a week of time to complete. Each site provides a different product to meet a different need, and so I talk about both only to compare the difference, not to say that one is right and the other is wrong.

The Crash Course videos seem fast-paced to me. The instructors talk at almost twice the normal talking speed – not sure if this is natural, or this is an intentional post-editing effect to speed up the pace of the course. For people like me who often listen to courses (and podcasts) on 1.5x or 2.0x speed, I probably could not listen to a Crash Course at such a pace, since it’s already like that.

The animation is slick and helpful. Each video is not just a shot of the instructor looking into the camera lens and talking. They are interspersed with animation, pictures, and other media to demonstrate each point.

I’ll be going through a course and post a review here. In the meantime, go check out Crash Course on Youtube.

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2 comments

  1. A few of the History and Philosophy crash courses I have watched presented information that was wrong, or that professional Historians and Philosophy professors are skeptical about.

    I know that I am not getting my information from some arrogantly ignorant 22 yr old recent grad who thinks they know the subject better than those established, peer reviewed professionals.

    • I am also interested to see if Crash Course censors any negative comments, which is also an indicator of credibility.

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