The next frontier in higher education may be viral courses that can be completed in a single day. One of my favorite economists, Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution, is out with a new course on “Everyday Economics”, complete with short quizzes and eye-candy visual lectures.

The one below, on the rise of human prosperity, is intellectually delicious:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9FSnvtcEbg]

“For this type of material, let’s face it: We’re competing with BuzzFeed,” Alex Tabarrok told the Chronicle of Higher Education. Tabarrok is a professor at George Mason University and co-founder of Marginal Revolution University, which is offering the course.

Indeed, there appears to be a trend in one-shot courses. Yesterday, vocational online course provider, Udacity, teamed up with Google to offer advanced web programming courses that can be completed in a single day.

What I love about these courses is that they can easily substitute for cat videos at work. I run them in the background while I answer emails. It’s an awesome productivity hack.

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