ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2016 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Brainstorm: the courses

In light of the numerous requests that have been made concerning an expansion of the Brainstorm concept into subjects beyond game development, we are expanding it to include actual online courses, complete with tests, grades, and achievement badges, for those who are interested in continuing their educations. These courses are not accredited in any way, shape, or form, as they are solely concerned with the acquisition of knowledge and the deepening of understanding rather than academic credentials.

Although it may not be the first course we actually schedule, the lead course will be ASTRONOMY with Dr. Sarah Salviander. Dr. Salviander is no stranger to many on this blog, although not everyone may know that she is a noted astrophysicist whose specialty is black holes. While most of her publications, such as Fe II Emission in Active Galactic Nuclei: The Role of Total and Gas-Phase Iron Abundance and Accretion Disk Temperatures of QSOs: Constraints from the Emission Lines are completely beyond, well, pretty much everyone here, including me, she is the author of Castalia House's Astronomy & Astrophysics homeschool curriculum and is eminently qualified to teach the Astronomy course as a subject matter expert. The course will consist of 10 weekly lectures and will cost $200. Brainstorm members will receive a 50 percent discount. A date has not yet been established, but it will take place in the fall.

The other course is one that has long been in the making, but finally came together when I put together a homeschool curriculum for my own kids. ECONOMICS with Vox Day will consist of 10 biweekly lectures, will cost $100, and will be free for all Brainstorm members. I'm still sorting out the details of when it will begin, as I have to schedule it around the next GameDev course that will begin on May 21st, but it will definitely be this year. We also expect to announce other courses with other subject matter experts in the near future.

If you are seriously interested in taking either course, please indicate as much in the comments. And if this incentivizes you to sign up for Brainstorm, you can do so here. Speaking of Brainstorm, there will be a closed session on Saturday, the 23rd, at 7 PM Eastern, and an open Hugo Awards Nomination Party at 12:30 PM Eastern on Tuesday, the 26th, whenever the announcements take place.
 Invitations for the former will be sent out tonight and a registration link for the latter will be provide a day or two before the event.

Labels: ,

57 Comments:

Blogger FALPhil April 19, 2016 7:00 AM  

Vox, I am interested in the economics course. However, my schedule is extremely fluid and includes international travel. Will the sessions be recorded so that they can be downloaded for later consumption for those of us who cannot always be on time?

Blogger VD April 19, 2016 7:07 AM  

I don't believe so. If I'm just going to make a video for people to consume at their leisure, there is no need to hold a class in the first place.

Blogger J April 19, 2016 7:09 AM  

Interested in both, though I'll prioritise economics because I need to learn how to figure out what's going on.

Any more details on that format? Since there aren't going to be recorded videos, I assume it'll be all livestreamed like the current Brainstorm webinars?

Blogger VD April 19, 2016 7:11 AM  

Yes, we'll use the Webinar format; the quizzes will be an adaption from one of the games we've got in development.

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 19, 2016 7:16 AM  

Salviander is a high temperature QSO in her own right. BAZINGA!

Both courses will be great cornerstones to what is fast becoming the Online Men's College of Western Civilization.

Anonymous Ezekiel Cassandros April 19, 2016 7:35 AM  

Current Brainstorm member; very interested in the Econ course.

Blogger lowercaseb April 19, 2016 7:36 AM  

This is a really exciting offering. I used to hate quizzes in college, but the inclusion of them in this new iteration is making me take the plunge.

Quizzes really force me to actively listen and will make sure that I don't get lazy.

Of course, the first quiz I have to ace is finding my credit card at ass o'clock in the morning.

Blogger Salt April 19, 2016 7:37 AM  

Astro for me.

Blogger lowercaseb April 19, 2016 7:41 AM  

Just made the plunge for Brainstorm itself. I'll be interested in both courses once they become available.

Blogger Ron April 19, 2016 7:43 AM  

Amazing. I cannot sign up now, but hopefully one day I'll be able to take it.

Blogger VD April 19, 2016 7:55 AM  

Just made the plunge for Brainstorm itself.

Thanks. I believe, on the basis of comments by many of the members, that you will find it worthwhile. My goal is to continue increasing the value it provides to the members, which is why I decided to make the Economics course free to you.

Your membership also makes the free events, like the recent debate with Dr. Miller and the upcoming Hugo Nominations Party, possible for everyone. We're in the process of increasing the seat limit to 1,000, since we've already run out of seats twice in the last year.

Blogger Didact April 19, 2016 8:20 AM  

if this incentivizes you

AAAARGH.

My Grammar-Nazi habits aside- this is a great idea. It would be particularly interesting to hear a more fully developed exposition on the subjects of your credit-expansion addition to the ABCT, and your conclusions regarding trade and tariffs. Your arguments about free trade make perfect sense from both a logical and an empirical standpoint, but thus far- from what I have read and seen, anyway- they are descriptive of the problems with free-trade theory, rather than prescriptive of solutions. I for one would certainly be most intrigued to see the latter.

Blogger #7139 April 19, 2016 8:22 AM  

You have talked me into it. I signed up for Brainstorm.

OpenID originalh April 19, 2016 8:38 AM  

Current Brainstorm member. Definitely up for economics. Likely astronomy as well.

Anonymous Nate2ofX April 19, 2016 8:56 AM  

I'd be very interested in the course. Any idea yet what level of physics/calc proficiency would be needed to follow the material in the Astro course?

Blogger Alexander April 19, 2016 9:05 AM  

Current Brainstorm, sounds like a great idea.

Anonymous Stickwick April 19, 2016 9:25 AM  

I'd be very interested in the course. Any idea yet what level of physics/calc proficiency would be needed to follow the material in the Astro course?

I'm keeping it mostly on the conceptual level, but there will be a little bit of math. You just need to be okay with basic algebra and have a general awareness of scientific concepts, like what an atom is. My goal is to give a broad overview of essentials of astronomy, including: philosophy of science, history of astronomy, the night sky, seasons, moon phases, eclipses, atoms and spectra, the solar system, stars and stellar remnants, observational astronomy, exoplanets, the Milky Way, galaxies, big bang, the fate of the universe, and multiverses/string theory and other controversies in cosmology.

Blogger lowercaseb April 19, 2016 9:26 AM  

VD wrote:Your membership also makes the free events, like the recent debate with Dr. Miller and the upcoming Hugo Nominations Party, possible for everyone.

That's actually really cool. It's events like these that I would gladly donate to help get the word out for. The fact that I get extra opportunities is just gravy.

You hear that VfM... I'm useful now. Quit taking my lunch money!

Blogger Student in Blue April 19, 2016 9:29 AM  

@VD

Given how you worked with a couple of institutes to bring forth the GameDev course, is it possible and plausible to offer some sort of college credits as well for people taking the Astronomy & Astrophysics course?

Depending on how stringent the requirements are, it might be a very nice extra for people.

Blogger VD April 19, 2016 9:30 AM  

Given how you worked with a couple of institutes to bring forth the GameDev course, is it possible and plausible to offer some sort of college credits as well for people taking the Astronomy & Astrophysics course?

No.

Anonymous Goldman Sachs' Fiat Butthex April 19, 2016 9:42 AM  

I don't have time for the courses. I can make time here and there to read about economics. Other than the Mises PDF links on the right column, what resources and books should someone with a basic understanding read? In light of the the free traders 'tardation on trade and borders (and other items) I can't just fully get on board with total laissez faire policy. For what else are the Austrians willfully blind about?

Anonymous Neguy April 19, 2016 9:46 AM  

Good idea. The Great Courses were long excellent, but seem to be getting converged.

Blogger Thomas Davidsmeier April 19, 2016 10:12 AM  

@19
@20

I felt like Student in Blue before DevGame. Afterward, not so much. It is about not compromising principles, or not serving two masters to make the Biblical reference.

If the goal of the course is the pursuit the knowledge, then it will be totally focused on that. But, if you start saying knowledge and being "accredited," you start jumping through hoops and trying to please the accreditors who are more and likely not the kind of people that we would actually want to please.

By the way, I don't know if my schedule will allow for it, but I am interested in the Econ class. More and likely, I'll be too busy or will have a scheduling conflict though.

Blogger Young Heaving Bosoms of Liberty April 19, 2016 10:18 AM  

Stickwick wrote:My goal is to give a broad overview of essentials of astronomy, including: philosophy of science, history of astronomy, the night sky, seasons, moon phases, eclipses, atoms and spectra, the solar system, stars and stellar remnants, observational astronomy, exoplanets, the Milky Way, galaxies, big bang, the fate of the universe, and multiverses/string theory and other controversies in cosmology.

I'd like to request a whole course on the Tychean geoheliocentric model.

Anonymous polyhedron April 19, 2016 10:18 AM  

I plan to attend the economics course.

From Stickwick's description in the comments, I'd be more interested in the astronomy course if it were slightly more advanced, whatever that would entail. Already comfortable with the basics.

Anonymous Stickwick April 19, 2016 10:21 AM  

polyhedron, if there is enough interest, I can offer more advanced courses, including various topics in physics, in the future.

Anonymous polyhedron April 19, 2016 10:46 AM  

Stickwick, that sounds great. Given your specialty, general relativity as a course topic comes to mind immediately. Ideally, such a course could make the matter accessible without shying away from the math (maybe a primer on differential geometry?).

Blogger RobertT April 19, 2016 10:57 AM  

'These courses are not accredited in any way, shape, or form'

If you're doing it for accreditation, you're doing it for the wrong reason.

Anonymous James Parliament April 19, 2016 11:04 AM  

Very interested in both. Teetering on signing up for Brainstorm.

Blogger Ted L. April 19, 2016 11:06 AM  

Would be very interested in the Economics course!

Blogger Were-Puppy April 19, 2016 12:32 PM  

I am interested in both.

Anonymous Victor F. Michaelson April 19, 2016 12:36 PM  

Committing to the Astronomy course. I'm fascinated and won't let this opportunity pass by.

Will probably take the Econ course to. Hated Econ as a younger guy, thought to much of it was BS, but didn't understand it well enough to begin to understand, much less state, why it didn't pass the sniff test. Now it intrigues me because it make sense with real life observations, at least certain Economic schools of thought make sense.

@ James, do it, you'll be glad you did.

Anonymous TS April 19, 2016 12:37 PM  

I am getting it all.

Blogger Student in Blue April 19, 2016 1:10 PM  

As an aside... Vox teaching Economy... does that mean it'll be some sort of Castalia School of Economics, versus Austrian, Chicago and Keynes?

@Thomas Davidsmeier
If the goal of the course is the pursuit the knowledge, then it will be totally focused on that. But, if you start saying knowledge and being "accredited," you start jumping through hoops and trying to please the accreditors who are more and likely not the kind of people that we would actually want to please.

I was approaching it more from an angle of "Well if we already tick all the boxes, maybe it could help out some people." But if it doesn't, then no big loss, and if demands from accreditors mount then dump them.

It's not worth enough of a bother to fundamentally change the class to please some busybody.

Blogger John Williams April 19, 2016 1:30 PM  

Polyhedron, I suspect (and hope) that Stickwick will teach the class at the level of the students. Maybe she'll have a preclass quiz to determine what level of understanding we're at.

I have a theory on dark matter that's so fundamental I can't believe it hasn't been worked over, that I'd like to ask her about. I'm excited about her class.

Anonymous polyhedron April 19, 2016 2:02 PM  

John Williams, you're quite right. My comment on relativity was in response to Stickwick suggesting she would be willing to teach more advanced courses, given sufficient interest.

Anonymous Stickwick April 19, 2016 2:36 PM  

John Williams: Polyhedron, I suspect (and hope) that Stickwick will teach the class at the level of the students. Maybe she'll have a preclass quiz to determine what level of understanding we're at.

Unless the vast majority of those who sign up for the course already have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in science and are wanting a more advanced course -- which I do not anticipate -- it will be a largely conceptual course taught at the intro / general science / first-year university level. It will be fun and informative, and worth taking -- astronomy is the oldest science, and frankly it's the most fun to talk about and look at.

The structure of the weekly sessions will likely be a 90-minute video lecture with lots of visuals followed by an optional 30-minute Q&A. There will be assigned reading, a few night sky (no telescope required) and other brief homework exercises, and two or three quizzes.

If there is a point in the future where we have enough students who want to learn more advanced topics in physics with a lot of math, like relativity or quantum, I'm happy to teach such a course. I've found an excellent indie-published ebook on general relativity and tensor calculus that would be a good companion for an intro GR course.

Blogger Scott April 19, 2016 3:24 PM  

I'm extremely glad to see you doing this. Textbooks are vitally important to recapturing the culture. I was reading just yesterday on this topic and think the following passage is worth mulling over:

"Textbooks represent the body of knowledge considered legitimate in a given historical context. They are not only an embodiment of dominant ideas, values and identities, but also what counts as legitimate educational knowledge, to be actively transmitted in schools. In the construction of an official national identity, textbooks mediate struggles and negotiations over identities, a sense of who "we" are in relation to the "others." Educational discourses condensed and mediated by the textbooks not only "reproduce" but may have potential for transforming the dominant discourses and practices."

tl;dr - textbooks ARE the Overton Window. We haven't truly shifted discourse in our direction in any lasting way until we either capture existing institutions of epistemic (not just mimetic) reproduction (likely impossible at this point), or create parallel institutions (in the current atmosphere, primarily homeschooling and homeschool co-ops).

Blogger Positive Dennis April 19, 2016 4:41 PM  

The homeschool version seems best for me and my 13 year old daughter for next year. I assume a telescope would be beneficial? I live at 6000 ft so visibility should not be an issue.

Anonymous Stickwick April 19, 2016 4:50 PM  

Positive Dennis, the curriculum might be a little advanced for a 13 year-old, unless she's proficient with algebra and basic science. It's appropriate for someone who is at a 10th-12th grade level. In any case, I do recommend a telescope. The telescope activities are optional, but they definitely enhance the experience.

Blogger The King's Man (0007) April 19, 2016 6:06 PM  

Seriously interested in the economics course. Considering the astronomy one, too.

Blogger John Williams April 19, 2016 7:25 PM  

I've found an excellent indie-published ebook on general relativity and tensor calculus that would be a good companion for an intro GR course.
I've a Bachelors in mechanical engineering and took more math than was needed. Can you point me at the book you mentioned? I'm interested in it.

Blogger Shell April 19, 2016 8:20 PM  

I am interested in both courses, but more so in the Astronomy course.

Anonymous WaterBoy April 19, 2016 9:17 PM  

Vox, I'm not sure if you have any plans to eventually add a course dealing with military hisotry or strategy or the like, but I thought you might find this article interesting, whether you do or not.

Anonymous LastRedoubt April 19, 2016 9:26 PM  

Would love both

Scheduling makes that... interesting... right now though. Put me down for economics, and when I have the time, I'll get the homeschool curriculum for astronomy.

Anonymous LastRedoubt April 19, 2016 9:29 PM  

@RobertT

If you're doing it for accreditation, you're doing it for the wrong reason.

Amen.

And an edit to my earlier post - I'd like to see scheduling and registration information for both. I'll commit to what I can.

Anonymous LastRedoubt April 19, 2016 9:30 PM  

And Stickwick - thanks.

Blogger JCclimber April 19, 2016 10:33 PM  

I always figured I'd have time to study astronomy after going to heaven, but.....it is still interesting enough that I'll sign up for this. Stickwick, I'll be buying the astronomy homeschool course in the future, thanks for providing guidance on grade level.

For those put off by $200 price tags.....a good curricula is worth every single penny. I trust the publisher on this one, even if I didn't already enjoy the contributions of Stickwick at this site.

I just hope I'll be able to attend all the sessions.

Blogger JCclimber April 19, 2016 10:39 PM  

We have astronomy and econ covered.
David the Good has some great stuff on survival gardening.

I'd like to request a future homeschooling or brainstorming topic of:
Self-defense - home defense.
Proper purchase, cleaning, storage, selecting, etc of firearms. It's worth money to get that knowledge BEFORE you need it. We can arrange the needed range time for the important element of practical application....

Homesteading and other things can usually be obtained through usual outlets, but the above topics are difficult to get efficiently in urban zones.

Blogger Stephen Ward April 19, 2016 11:01 PM  

I am interested in both

Anonymous Stickwick April 19, 2016 11:05 PM  

John Williams, here is the book. It starts off very gently -- maybe a little too gently -- and then gradually gets into the tensor stuff. It focuses more on the math of relativity than the concepts, but you can get the concepts from any number of popular level books.

Anonymous Stickwick April 19, 2016 11:12 PM  

JCclimber, just to clarify, the $200 is for the online course only, which will not make use of the homeschool curriculum. The homeschool course is go-at-your-own-pace, but covers 32-36 weeks of material, whereas the online course will be a regularly scheduled 10-12 weeks of material. Also, the homeschool curriculum is priced at only $50.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit April 20, 2016 1:16 AM  

The Econ course would be good to take with my daughter over the summer.

Blogger John Williams April 20, 2016 1:17 PM  

@Stickwich, Thank you

Blogger JCclimber April 20, 2016 9:32 PM  

Thanks Stickwick. I had thought the homeschool course was $200 from when it was first mentioned on this blog, and was waiting to purchase it until my child was several years older.

Blogger Samuel Nock April 21, 2016 1:32 AM  

I would be very interested in learning more about the curricula Vox and Spacebunny used for their kids when they were very young (i.e. 4-7 years old).

Blogger Positive Dennis April 22, 2016 6:43 PM  

My 13 year old daughter can handle the math part as she is starting trig next year. The science part i am not so sure about, it is a weakness in what we are doing. I will get the program and see that if it is for next year or the year after.

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts