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TED-of a Topic

TED-Ed already exists! Use this platform for nationwide TED lecture competitions. The winning lectures (views/ rating) could form a course

Photo of Joost

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TED of a Topic

in an open and online world we have seen great presentations for a number of years through TED. TED has recently started TED-Ed which is focused on education. My idea is simply to leverage the existing platform and use it to create courses with the best possible lectures available to everyone! 

TED already categorizes videos with many meta data tags. It would be a very small extension to add tags which allow for a structured course approach, creating the same possibilities as when you enroll in a physical program.

For example lectures could be tagged with Physics 101, or whatever typical labeling exists in higher education. All higher educational institutes could be challenged to submit lectures for any topic they want to add. 

Award ceremony to rival the Oscars!

This could come with a grand annual "TED-of the topic" recognition for lecturers of the year. This could easily be calculated per topic based on views and ratings.

over time this would lead to a syllabus of courses made up of the highest rated lectures.

Education as a profession could be cool? It should be!

the lecturers could also use the TED-ed program to create course material and questions, for class room based discussions.

This idea is not to make lecturers or teachers redundant, it is make the most inspiring lectures available to all, which then can be discussed in groups, with experienced guidance in the shape of class room teachers.

Like the teachers, the students in turn can be challenged to submit their own presentations as a response to challenging course work!

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

for everyone who wants to learn. It would help getting the best lectures out in front of everyone, whilst freeing up time of teachers to give more individualized attention to students. Students could be challenged to work together to solve more challenging questions or other homework. Students would focus on the skills of tomorrow, collaboration, creativity, presentation skills, problem solving, design thinking, all whilst guided by teachers who now have time to do so!

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

how would we get the best institutes in the country to open up and submit their lectures to TED-Ed? how would institutes not feel like they may cannibalize their revenues? no great lectures on TED would exists if institutes of higher education would fail because of a lack of revenues. I believe it may be a challenge to convince these institutes, hence the question!

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

discuss the merit with students on whether they would prefer the best possible TED lecture, or class room lectures.

Tell us about your work experience:

work in the financial industry as a problem solver, get hung up about process design, am trying to contribute to a positive future through openideo


Join the conversation:

Photo of Isaac Jumba

I love this idea! "Getting the best lectures out infront of everyone whilst freeing up time of teachers to give more individualized attention to students" is pretty cool. Also a way for educators to continue learning and be their best.

Photo of Joost

Hi Isaac, thank you for highlighting an important element of the idea; it should motivate teachers as well to be better guides/ coaches and come up with more stimulating material and conversation around the lectures/ documentaries. Not having to rehash the same lecture should give them the stimulus and time to achieve this!

Photo of Andrea Zelenak

Hi Joost!

This is pretty cool! It would be cool if your transcript showed the classes you took from each university. Maybe you would pay a discounted tuition to follow that class online instead of in person. Maybe a person who was actually at the class or excelled could become an online TA and help answer questions too!

Photo of Joost

Hi Andrea, thank you for your feedback. I believe that ideally these lectures (which could be structured) would remain free. Perhaps the universities would ask for fees if you go for accreditation through a university (like and coursera models). However once lectures and other learning through everywhere channels are tagged with useful metadata, other providers of learning could structure their own courses, with their own support and their own objectives and accreditation. I also believe that accreditation of the future could be very different than the current model. As "knowledge" becomes much less important (compared to creative thinking, collaboration, social skills etc) we may get accreditation for skills. For example, OPENIdeo is starting to give us credit by "badges" for use on linked in. In some ways, it is a form of accreditation for having contributed meaningfully to a challenge, which suggest that you have some idea of design thinking, collaboration and problem solving. Of course the accreditation could be much more involved including proper evaluations. An example is "aspiring minds" they use AI to assess candidates on skills relevant to a particular job. Now they or other companies may come up with accreditation for skills rather than having succesfully followed a course at a university. University tests are still geared towards the big old memory tests, just like schools. This is why universities create their own assessments to take students in from high school, and this is why companies in turn create their own assessments to see if these students are actually capable of working for them. In some ways the old diploma has lost all meaning and value. Certainly i have interviewed and observed hundreds of graduates many of whom seem not to have learned anything useful during their time in university. On the other hand i am certain there are many students out there who maybe didnt have the same opportunities who would do very well in an assessment. however they never made it to the assessment as they didnt have the right univesity on their cv :) having open courses with new type accreditation may help a lot to get around this!

Photo of Maureen McMahon

Based on your idea, it might be interesting to have some of our traditional university educators-experts in siloed fields- weave selected TED Talks together into micro-courses or modules. They could build collections of talks housed under an umbrella topic with a framework description of the entirety of a module, including possible assignments, challenges, or questions. Then, they and others could use these collections to teach or learn from..... good luck with your idea.

Photo of Joost

Hi Maureen, yes the idea is that by good data management you can both create coherent courses, as well as individualistic studying. Given your comment, there would be even an opportunity for people to create courses and offer it in physical locations with custom study material, which they created for their course.. thank you for seeing the potential in my submission and broadening its application!

Photo of Michael O'Sullivan

Hi Joost

Really like the idea. I'm actually just after reading the book 'TED Talks: The official TED Guide to Public Speaking' by Chris Anderson (the guy who runs TED) and this sounds like something that would be in-line with his vision. He also strongly believes in the importance of public speaking as a key skill for the future, and so maybe encouraging students to get involved in the speaking would be good too?

As for universities opening up their lectures for the public; I feel that this could in fact be seen as a positive for them, as the best lectures/lecturers would attract more people to those universities. At the same time, open education and MOOCs are spreading at such pace that universities are becoming more open to the idea of sharing their material.

Love the idea of an awards ceremony too! Best of luck with everything :)

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Joost,

This is a really interesting idea. Could this lead to co-collaboration between Universities and Departments?

Could you use something like the Open Syllabus Project to guide you in creating a TED based course?

Could this be produced in response to demand e.g. Kickstart A Korse - Crowdfunding Education ? Could this be combined with Roundtable v0.02 where you provide the materials and the Roundtable is used for the discussion?

Photo of Joost

Hi Kate, yes the open syllabus idea sounds like a more all encompassing idea to create a database of relevant courses in a structured manner. It sounds like it has been going around for a while and agreeing standards with many parties is very difficult. Sometimes its maybe best to let different systems compete until one wins, which then gets adopted by others. Having said that, having a basic approach agreed would ofcourse help immensely i believe that Dan Ryan and Andres Felipe Vera Ramirez have a common interest as well. Including of myself i see that both ideas posted would be part of Andres ecosystem, and would benefit from Dan's databasing exercise. In short, i want to find all Biology 101 year 1 courses offered, and i want to be able to filter by institute or country, by language and by rating/ ranking.. This would cover MOOCs, TED-Ed, EduFlix :) or challenge some players (BBC Science, Netflix Ed, Amazon Ed...)

regarding the collaboration between universities and departments, could you please explain a little more what the question is? Do you mean faculties across universities would cooperate?

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Joost, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.