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Raising the Bar

By raising the bar I’m referring to raising the standard of what is usually taught at graduate level (masters and PhD) in typical research universities. Under traditional class room lecture oriented education, only one course at a given level on a given topic is taught. Students are then subject to the bias and limitations of the  single text book author chosen by the teaching professor of the course the students attend.

However, with webucation (internet based education) with its readily accessible electronic libraries and internet video  courses at masters and PhD level, students can teach themselves with these two resource-rich tools. If students dont  follow too clearly a point made by one author, they can consult another author or another, until they do understand the point. Each author has his own spin. By reading easily (via the tap of a finger on a computer screen) the works of many  authors, students will get a far richer, deeper and effective education than what was possible traditionally. Since there are economic and time constraints on university class room bound education, there is a limit to the level of subjects taught. With webucation, free profs like myself, can teach to any standard we choose. In that sense we are free, and students are free to follow us as they wish. Hence the potential exists for the  free profs to “raise the bar” i.e. to increase the level of the material taught.

In my own case,  specializing in pure math, and math physics, I can go to what I call PhD2 level giving several  courses on a similar topic and over many topics, more than are usual in a traditional graduate education. I can cross traditional academic boundaries. For example, my aim is to educate grad students to be as fluent  in pure math as math physics, by providing an e-library in both fields (plus philosophy out of pure intellectual  interest) and filming a large number of video courses in these two areas, so that effectively they become one – “mathics”

It will take many years, probably two to three decades, but since Im already old, my sense of time does not see a year  as a long  time as someone in their twenties would. I exercise and study intensively, and have my  fathers longevity genes (he’s 94 at the time of this writing) so I expect to live another 3 decades, in which time I can make hundreds of video courses to achieve my aim.

Im currently finishing up the  creation of my e-library in pure math, math physics, and philosophy and am struck by how massively it is changing my own  level  of education. I am the first to benefit from my own e-library of course,  but starting early 2014, the world will be able to access that e-library and to have the same benefit (once I have completed putting up the 10,000s of links to the material.)

Im hoping other free profs will be inspired by this bar raising, and  will  do the same in their  specialties, so that free world wide education becomes a reality. As Ive said in other essays, globacation (global education) will generate a world  wide educated middle class that pushes its dictators out of power to create a war free world, because advanced democracies do not go to war  with each other,  the  historical record shows. That is a dream of mine.

I am a huge believer in the power of education to change peoples lives. Knowledge and intellectual curiosity is a form  of wealth that I consider higher than  traditional material wealth. If you are an  alfa (in the top IQ percentile) then once you have enough money to live on, you can hugely “enrichen” your life by embarking on a life long educational quest, the  life of a scholar, a seeker, the  curious adult. People who chase  after material goods are shallow minded in  comparison  with highly educated scholars, whose ideas ultimately rule the world. Whether we realize it or not, we are all directly or indirectly slaves to ideas. It  is ideas that guide our institutions and our  lives. Those ideas and institutions are created by sages, who are the world’s most powerful  people,  not the politicians or generals. The politicians and generals are following ideas and ideologies created previously by sages.

So, if you want to be a sage, get educated, get well educated, and the best education now possible is via the use of e-libraries and internet video courses that you  can use to teach yourself at home, at night, or whenever you want. Internet globacation is truly revolutionary and will be seen by future historians as one of the major historical forces that humanity ever invented. It is changing everything.

The Impact of the 2nd (“Publisher Series”) e-Library

In the summer of 2015 I constructed a “Publisher Series” e-library which gave the titles, authors and links to amazon.com of books in the main publishers’ (book)series at Masters, PhD, postdoc and researcher levels in the topics “MPCP…” This is a tremendous resource for students at all levels, because amazon.com provides a “Look Inside” feature that displays about 10% of the total contents of the book. A student can get a good idea of what the book is about from the table of contents, and the first chapter. If the student wants to study all the book, he can see if it has been uploaded to a file sharing site (e.g. emule.com) and if so, can download it in electronic form. This “Publisher Series” e-library lists the main publishers and their main book series, so students have at their fingertips virtually the entire literature in Pure Math, Math Physics, Computing, Philosophy …, and “all under one roof.”  I know how much I benefit from this fabulous resource, so I hope many others will too.

Nov. 2016 : A Concrete Example of “Raising the Bar”

In the second half of 2016, I organized a set of about 120 deGarisMPC courses (link) that I plan to YouTube video-record over the remaining decades of my life, if I can live that long.

At PhD2 level in Pure Math, I plan to teach the CTFSG (Classification Theorem of the Finite Simple Groups (link)) which I doubt will ever be taught frequently at any university, due to the huge scale of it, and the tiny number of people knowledgable enough to be able to teach it. There might be one PhD student who would attend the class given by such a knowledgable professor, but teaching one student would not be economic from the point of view of the university administration, so the CTFSG will go largely untaught across the planet, which would be a tragedy, because the CTFSG is in my view humanity’s greatest intellectual achievement. It is very meaty, richly structured, deep, profound, powerful, and the best example I know of of human genius. These superlatives are why I want to teach it, and doing it on line to the world will give me a large enough audience to make the effort worthwhile. Students who really study the CTFSG will come away with the satisfaction that they have mastered humanity’s greatest intellectual achievement, besides just getting their superb mathematical brains into something really meaty, worthy of their sharp analytical skills. The CTFSG is a challenge worthy of such students’ considerable talents, of which there must be several 1000s over the planet.

So, the teaching of the CTFSG is an obvious concrete example of “raising the bar” that I can do by being a “free prof (link)”. I’m free to teach whatever I want, at whatever level I want. I want to teach the CTFSG, and it is definitely above the usual PhD level set of courses given to math graduate students.

 

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