Links to FREE MIT & other famous University courses online

As they say only thing holding you back is yourself.  Well this could never be more true. As an employer, it is more about your knowledge and skills vs. a piece of paper. Now with DouLingo launched you can learn a language for free.  It uses the massive anonymous community sourcing the developers learned when they created CAPTCHA.

I registerud for one of the first University programs completely online in 2000 offered through Space.edu towards a Masters in Space Studies physically located at UND Aerospace in Grand Forks North Dakota.  The program was first created undergrads from NASA but became a model for many other online university programs.  By during 2002 & 2003 I took five courses towards a Masters in Business Administration from Regis University in Denver, Colorado.  It worked out great because when I had my plane crash and broke my neck in 2003 I was able to resume my coursework while I was still in rehab and keep my mind active. I completed my MBA in 2005 at the rest is history.  For years I have considered or lusted over the idea of going back to get my doctorate, listened to free lectures from top professors around the world made available for free from The Learning Company http://www.thegreatcourses.com/.  I especially enjoyed the 30 lecture series on Ancient Rome.

So if you are a Life-long Learner these links should be a valuable resource.  If you found yourself recently disabled, you will hear all kinds of things from many that you brush off as them saying it is easy for them to say if they were only in your shoes.  But now I am telling you, I am in your shoes.  And the only thing holding me back is yourself. No coddling here, only tough love.  Get off your ass and start learning!  You started a new life, your old identity both your self identity – the way you perceive yourself and the way others perceived you, well that “virtual” self has not since passed away.  The grieving process you are going through is no different than if you lost the closest loved one you have ever known. HOWEVER look at this as an opportunity to fashion a new life in a new way with no restrictions.  A big part of that is pursuing your passions, training your mind to do whatever it is you do best and are PASSIONATE about.  In terms of the silly things like communications, computer access, environmental controls, even blowing off some steam through accessible video gaming, or traveling the world… leave those things up to us.  We  at Broadened Horizons @Broadened are passionate about empowering you through independence to create POSSIBILITIES…  For you to do whatever it is you do best, but from there it is up to you!  Tools are just that, tools until you employ them to do something.

Take college and university courses online completely free

October 22, 2013 | by Anonymous

photo credit: School Of Open Workshop WMDE / Elly Köpf / CC BY-SA

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In recent years massive open online courses (MOOCs) have become a trend in online education. The term was coined in 2008 by David Cormier, manager of web communications and innovations at the University of Prince Edward Island. The first MOOC was created the previous year, at Utah State University.

MOOCs are designed like college courses but are available to anyone anywhere in the world, at no cost. You do not receive a college credit, but you will receive a certificate of completion when you complete all coursework. The courses span dozens of subjects and are taught by some of the leaders in those fields. The courses are designed to be interesting, fun and rigorous; the courses are not just in science, and not just in English.

Coursera is perhaps the most well-known of the online education facilitators. Their latest numbers indicate that they have 17,000,000 enrollments from students representing 190 countries. There are 240,000
students in their most popular class. Coursera has over 400 courses in more than 20 categories, created by 85 Universities from 16 countries. Their courses are available in 12 different languages.

EdX is another non-profit course site created by founding partners Harvard and MIT and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. EdX offers MOOCs and interactive online classes in subjects including law, history, science, engineering, business, social sciences, computer science, public health, and artificial intelligence (AI). It has partnerships with tertiary institutions in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, China and Korea.

MIT has their own open courseware, where most of the materials used in the teaching of almost all of MIT’s subjects are available on the Web, free of charge. They have more than 2,000 courses available. Stanford also has their own online and open courses. These are great options if you prefer to work at your own pace, as compared to structured classes like those offered at Coursera and EdX.

European institutions are also getting in on the act. Germany-based Iversity offers courses in both English and German and the first courses went online in October this year. Future Learn is a subsidiary of the British Open University and is currently in its beta stage. It already has partnerships with universities across Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The courses will begin this coming November.

For those looking to learn a language Duolingo offers completely free language education. If you’re interested in learning a valuable skill CodeAcademy teaches programming and coding in online, free and interactive lessons.

Other sites, like Open Culture, are not affiliated with tertiary institutions. On Open Culture, the editor finds the free courses and audio books on the web and hosts them on the site. The courses are audio & video and can be downloaded straight to a computer or mp3 player.

This is by no means a complete list of all site and institutions that offer free online courses. http://www.mooc-list.com/ has many more listed.

– See more at: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/take-college-and-university-courses-online-completely-free#sthash.lSxUmZfr.dpuf

Microphone Tips for Dragon NaturallySpeaking Voice-Recognition


I wrote this technical response on the RESNA forums, and I thought it might be valuable to others if I posted here on my blog.

Alan, those are all great comments but I am going to add a bit of explanation pertaining to each.  I believe better understanding leads to better choices and decisions.

1. Check that the microphone is in the correct position (1/2 inch from the corner of the mouth, and not in front of the mouth.)

  • Good point but this only applies to close talk headset microphones.  A desktop Flexarm microphone may perform well from 12 inches to 3 feet away.  More importantly for all microphones is always best to be in an environment with low background noise.  The higher the environmental background noise the more important it is to have ANY microphone close to you when speaking.

2. If the microphone has a standard Mic-in jack, try using a different port.

  • A standard 3.5 mm microphone audio jack is an analog signal that uses the audio circuitry in the computer.  This can vary greatly in quality and even how the computer is assembled in terms of picking up interference.  Alan is absolutely correct in that if you are using a mic in jack on the front of the computer try using the one on the back especially if there is interference that is being picked up such as a humming as the wires going to the front of the computer are longer and passing over lots of other circuitry.  Analog signals are notoriously tricky and subject to interference.  Better above this is to simply use a USB Mic which is all I ever recommend in most situations since USB mic has its own internal audio processing and the signal going to the computer is fully digital.  Ditch the cheap analog headset that Dragon provides and go with a USB mic such as Broadened Horizons popular and stylish 19 inch Chrome USB Desktop Flexarm Mic $89 which can be removed from its base and used on a mobile laptop or tablet or TalkFar Wireless Digital Microphone for Voice Recognition (far superior to Bluetooth)
  • that Mic also works great (or we offer a micro version) for devices mounted on our new highly adjustable Robo Arm Wheelchair or Bed Mount ($499)

3. If it’s a USB microphone, try plugging it into a different USB port.film Goosebumps 2015 online

  • This will cause the computer to reload the drivers for the microphone but will not improve the digital signal.  The one time it may help is some older computers (circa Win 95, 2000, or a few upgraded WinXP) do not always provide sufficient power to the USB port on the front panel of the computer.  By moving to the rear panel that is directly built into the motherboard this provides full USB specification 0.5 amps for external devices without their own power source such as the microphone, mouse, keyboard, etc.

4. If the microphone has a standard mic in jack, try plugging it into a USB sound pod.

  • Good suggestion.  A USB sound pod or USB audio card will basically bypass the internal audio processing circuitry in the computer when you are so passing an analog microphone signal to the USB sound pod/audio card which then converts it to a digital signal which is passed to the computer.  Better solution is to simply get a good USB microphone.

5. If you are using a USB port, don’t share it with any other device.

  • On this point I will both disagree and agree with Alan.  USB specification allows hundreds of USB devices to hop to be plugged into a single USB port since they are all providing digital signals.  The only concern is that sufficient power is available for devices that do not have their own external power source.  In microphone uses very little power and will work fine plugged into the same port through a hub as a mouse mouse, keyboard, and many other low power and low data USB devices.  On rare occasions a high data or very high power consumption USB device such as an external USB hard drive or USB DVD burner could use excessive amounts of bandwidth across the USB channel though this should be handled properly by most hardware.  Nonetheless it is never a bad idea to plug a high power high-bandwidth USB device into its own port.

6. When running the audio setup Wizard, make sure you choose the correct source. For example, for a USB microphone, or a microphone plugged into a USB sound pod, choose “USB.”

  • SIMPLE but absolutely fundamental for any Dragon NaturallySpeaking user

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QUESTION: I have an individual that has very low volume when speaking.  She hasn’t used DNS since 2010 and would like to begin again.  When trying to setup a new profile, it stated that her volume was too low.  Does anyone have any recommendations on microphones that can work with lower voices?

ANSWER: Check out the Broadened Horizons Soft Voices Neck Microphone