About Dara


I loved my university years at UC Berkeley in the early 1970s when I studied comparative literature and Near Eastern languages. In the intervening years I have worked as a journalist, a computer programmer, a mommy, and as office manager for a medical practice.  I live with my husband in California’s Silicon Valley and  I have two adult children who both attended UC San Diego.

For the last few years my hobby has been roaming the web, and listening to university course and lecture podcasts.I started this blog to share what I have learned about the best free courses and lectures. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Have questions? Comments? Courses to recommend? Drop me a line   using this contact form. (If you have a WordPress account, and you are logged in, you will  see only a blank form. Just type your message and click send.)

25 Responses to About Dara

  1. marc a says:

    Just a comment to congratulate you on such an informative blog. You’ve enabled me to track down stuff I didn’t even suspect existed on “open access”. Keep up the good work, and happy hunting!

  2. Anne the Man says:

    What a great blog. Great on good podcast sources. I am beginning to browse right now!
    And what do I find? You point to my blog; well, favor returned.

  3. bozemanluke says:

    richard mullers descriptive intro to physics http://webcast.berkeley.edu/course_details.php?seriesid=1906978515
    voted best class at berkley spring 2008. easy to follow icomprehensive and entertaining. course available in video and audio. his teaching style made for excellent listening because he was very aware of podcast listeners. highly recomended. ps plenty of other podcasts of the berkley courses also available http://webcast.berkeley.edu/course_feeds.php

  4. AK says:

    Hi, This is one of the great blogs i have seen.

    I too maintain a website http://freevideolectures.com , which is a collection of free video lectures from all the universities and more than 16 subjects.

    Certainly you can make a note of it.

  5. iansfiction says:


    Do you know of any English History lecture course online?

    Best, IDS.

  6. Dara says:

    I haven’t found anything on English History specifically. However “European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present” at UC Berkeley (see Best courses list) covers a lot of English history while reporting on doings in Europe as a whole. Also check out “History of the International System,” on Stanford iTunes site. There is a very interesting discussion of the lead up to World War I.

  7. iansfiction says:

    Thank you – already listening to UC Berkeley.

    Best, IDS.

  8. Your great blog helped to inspire me and ‘Film Studies For Free’. Keep up the wonderful work.

  9. Phoebe says:

    What a great blog! Thank you for all the generous sharing. It offers me ample opportunities to study some of my dream courses for free and enjoy immersing myself in the vast of knowledge ocean:)

    All the best to you and your family in the coming 2009!

  10. Baxter Wood says:

    Dara. We’re joined at the digital cortex. I’ve listened to about half of the courses on your list and am currently listening to UCSD East Asian Political Thought and DeLong’s 113 Economics, which are as good as it gets.
    Here’s some excellent science courses. Ohio State’s R Pogge’s Astronomy 161 and 162. He’s a rock star lecturer-deep and wide. MIT’s Intro to Bio with Weinberg and Kaplan. Both their final lectures are stand alone ‘exortations’ with more philosophy than science. Berkeley’s Animal Behavior with Roy Caldwell is also very good and the real sleeper is F G Ball’s Endocrinology at Johns Hopkins.
    I like the interplay between sciences and humanities. Today’s scientists are darn near human beings.
    I’ll be in touch. Baxter

  11. Em says:

    Thank you so much for this! What an amazing collection. You have put a ton of work into this. It’s official: I can put my TV into storage…..

  12. Andre says:

    First, thank you for your site. I consider it as a true reference and my rss feed from your site is always the first one that I consult daily.
    I thought that this link could be of interest : http://cutv.carleton.ca/students-choosevodcourse.php . Several video courses from Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) are available there, but only during a bus strike in the city. So, hurry up if you want to check it. Usually, courses can be watched through simultaneous webcast though.
    And please don’t stop your work, which is most helpful.

  13. Sabrina says:

    Thank you so much for this great blog! There are so many interesting podcasts around that it is impossible to listen to them all, so I continue to rely on your recommendations. Special thanks for pointing out the Positive Psychology lectures of Tal Ben-Shahar – the greatest gem of all the wonderful stuff I found here.

    Keep up the great work :-D

  14. Leyre says:

    I am trying to find a course from the winter 2008 in UCSD but they seem to have disappeared. I find many from Fall 2008 backwards, Spring 2009 and even a preview of Fall 2009, Does anybody know what may be happening?

    Thanks a lot for your current work, it´s just great!

    • Dara says:

      UCSD removes most of its course podcasts at the end of each term. I understand this is at the professor’s option. Only a few profs opt to keep their lectures available after the quarter ends.

  15. John D. Craik says:

    Thanks, this is a terrific resource. I also HIGHLY recommend Stanford at iTunes. There are great lecture series on a number of topics including Hannibal crossing the Alps, the Historical Jesus and the Aeneid. Good stuff!

  16. Theages says:


    John Drabinski, a professor at Hampshire college, has recorded two and a half classes worth of fascinating lectures on 20th century European philosophy.

  17. thanks for your website; i’m finding some terrific stuff!

    i also run a website that you might find of interest, http://www.jewishwebcasting.com, which is a directory to websites offering jewish webcasts, podcasts,radio and tv.

    i’ve just now begun to look at adding a section focusing on educational resources and your site will be most helpful.


  18. Peter says:

    I can’t tell you how valuable your site has been for me. A veritable gold mine.

    I’ve been using it to help my design my upcoming western civ course and get myself up to speed in my weaker areas. Thank for all your labor, it is deeply appreciated.

  19. Dave says:

    Just found your blog today. I’d thought I’d found all the free lecture material there is to find online myself the past few years, but you’ve pointed me to several new sites. Thanks.

    Also, Textkit.com has some great free pdf resources for learning greek and latin that your readers would like.

  20. Sofia says:

    Thank you for such a wonderfully informative blog. I love listening to educational lectures on my iPod, and it can be quite challenging to try to figure out on your own where to go on the Web for great lectures. You’ve helped enormously.

  21. At last I found this site after randomly searching for online courses, thanks so much

  22. Phill B says:

    Hi Dara. I am about to venture into your blog and explore the opportunities. Probably will need your assistance until I get legs, Cheers Phill

  23. Allison says:

    As a recent college graduate, I found that I truly missed the learning provided in my classes. Your site has helped tremendously. Thank you so much.

  24. Ian says:


    I just found your blog and absolutely love it. Please keep up the good work. I’m really enjoying what I’m seeing.


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