University of Michigan professor tackles 10 ways water can kill you and more in quirky video tutorials
Just how risky is that?
A University of Michigan professor is tackling that question for a variety of odd subjects.
Equipped with nothing but a white board, a dry erase marker and a good deal of risk management knowledge, public policy professor and director of U-M's Risk Science Center Andrew Maynard is sharing one- to three-minute 'risk bites' on Youtube.
"Every moment of our lives is affected by potential risks and possible benefits," Maynard says in a video. "From the food we eat to the company we work for and the country we live in, smart decisions on understanding and managing health risks can often mean the difference between health and wealth and, well, whatever you're left with when you take those away."
The videos are a clipped version of what quickly is becoming a growing trend: colleges offering free lessons using online video. Unlike Coursera and edX, knowledge-seekers don't need to sift through a course load of work or commit more than a few minutes to watch one of Maynard's videos. They're tailored to those with short attention spans and a tendency toward unusual exploits.
The mini-lessons touch on the odd —Will wearing nothing but a hat keep you warm? If one in seven cell phones are contaminated with fecal matter, why aren't there more E. Coli cases? Could eating chocolate get you a Nobel Prize?— to the practical, including a video defining the difference between hazards and risks.
"It's a bite-sized crash course in the science of risk," Maynard said in a video. "We'll be covering everything from micromorts to high-throughput screening in videos that will typically be shorter than the time it takes to make a cup of coffee."
The videos teach people information in a way that is easy to consume: short, entertaining visual and mental stimulation. According to Maynard: "If we are going to communicate effectively, we need to be where people are, not where we think people should be."
Maynard has uploaded 17 videos since July 2012. Visit his Youtube channel here.