Idea for LessWrong: Video Tutoring

Up­date 7/​9/​17: I pro­pose that Learn­ers in­di­vi­d­u­ally reach out to Teach­ers, and set up meet­ings. It seems like the most prac­ti­cal way of get­ting started, but I am not sure and am definitely open to other ideas. Other notes:

  • There seems to be agree­ment that the best way to do this is in­di­vi­d­u­al­ized guidance, rather than lec­tures and cur­ricu­lums. Eg. the Teacher “de­bug­ging” the Learner. As­sum­ing that ap­proach, it is prob­a­bly best for the amount of Learn­ers in a ses­sion to be small.

  • Con­sider that it may make sense for you to act as a Teacher, even if you don’t have a su­per strong grasp of the topic. For ex­am­ple, I know a de­cent amount about com­puter sci­ence, but don’t have a su­per strong grasp of it. Still, I be­lieve it would be valuable for me to teach com­puter sci­ence to oth­ers. I can definitely offer value to peo­ple with no CS back­ground. And for peo­ple who do have a CS back­ground, there could be value in us tak­ing turns teach­ing/​learn­ing, and de­bug­ging each other.

  • We may not be perfect at this in the be­gin­ning, but let’s dive in and see what we can do! I think it’d be a good idea to com­ment on this post with what did/​didn’t work for you, so we as a group could learn and im­prove.

  • I pinned http://​​less­wrong.com/​​r/​​dis­cus­sion/​​lw/​​p69/​​idea_for_less­wrong_video_tu­tor­ing/​​ to #pro­duc­tivity on the LessWrongers Slack group.

Up­date 6/​28/​17: With 14 peo­ple cur­rently in­ter­ested, it does seem that there’s enough to get started. How­ever, I’d like to give it a bit more time and see how much over­all in­ter­est we get.

Idea: we co­or­di­nate to teach each other things via video chat.

  • We (mostly) all like learn­ing. Whether it be for fun, cu­ri­os­ity, a step­ping stone to­wards our goals.

  • My in­tu­ition is that there’s a lot of us who also en­joy teach­ing. I do, per­son­ally.

  • En­joy­ment aside, teach­ing is a good way of solid­ify­ing ones knowl­edge.

  • Per­haps there would be pos­i­tive un­in­tended con­se­quences. Eg. so­cially.

  • Why video? a) I as­sume that medium is bet­ter for ed­u­ca­tion than sim­ply text. b) So­cial and mo­ti­va­tional benefits, maybe. A down­side to video is that some may find it in­timi­dat­ing.

  • It may be nice to evolve this into a group pro­ject where we iter­a­tively figure out how to do a re­ally good job teach­ing cer­tain top­ics.

  • I see the main value in per­son­al­iza­tion, as op­posed to pas­sive lec­tures/​sem­i­nars. Those already ex­ist, and are plen­tiful for most top­ics. What isn’t eas­ily ac­cessible is per­son­al­iza­tion. With that said, I figure it’d make sense to have about 5 learn­ers per teacher.

So, this seems like some­thing that would be mu­tu­ally benefi­cial. To get started, we’d need:

  1. A place to do this. No prob­lem: there’s Han­gouts, Skype, https://​​talky.io/​​, etc.

  2. To co­or­di­nate top­ics and times.

Per­son­ally, I’m not sure how much I can offer as far as do­ing the teach­ing. I worked as a web de­vel­oper for 1.5 years and have been teach­ing my­self com­puter sci­ence. I could be helpful to those un­fa­mil­iar with those fields, but prob­a­bly not too much help for those already in the field and look­ing to grow. But I’m in­ter­ested in learn­ing about lots of things!

Per­haps a good place to start would be to record in some spread­sheet, a) peo­ple who want to teach, b) what top­ics, and c) who is in­ter­ested in be­ing a Learner. Get­ting more spe­cific about who wants to learn what may be overkill, as we all seem to have roughly similar in­ter­ests. Or maybe it isn’t.

If you’re in­ter­ested in be­ing a Learner or a Teacher, please add your­self to this spread­sheet.