Crash Course: Entertaining YouTube Courses On History & Biology

Justin Pot 07-04-2012

youtube coursesStop watching the same old crap on YouTube. Check out this great set of history and biology lessons instead. They’re hilarious, engaging, entertaining and enlightening, all at once. I promise you, they’re not boring and not a waste of your time.


YouTube can be a cultural wasteland at times. A cornucopia of cats, cleavage, crazies and other crap. Every once in a while however, something great comes along. “Crash Course” is one of those things, and I find myself looking forward to every episode.

It’s two different classes. One is world history, hosted by author and video blogger John Green. Another is biology, taught by John’s brother Hank Green, an entertainer and musician.

The Basic Premise

Like I said, there are two “courses” here, each planned to include 40 episodes. Both courses are well underway, having launched in January, and one new episode of each show is released each week.

youtube courses

Let’s go over the history course first. Here’s the idea: 15,000 years of human history is going to be summarized in a collection of YouTube videos. Each week John focuses on a different topic, starting with the dawn of history as we know it – the agricultural revolution.


The first minute or so of this video is a great defense of why studying history is important. It helps us understand why the world is the way it is. It’s also a great outline of what to expect from the videos to come.

youtube history courses

More interested in science than humanities? Check out the biology course instead. This course starts with the element central to life as we know it – carbon – and builds its way outwards in terms of complexity.

Like the history lessons, these videos are entertaining and educational. I’m having a lot of fun watching them, and learning the basics to two disciplines I wish I knew more about. The Greens are doing great work here, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Other Educational Videos

Do you want to spend more of your online time learning? We’ve covered a few educational videos before. Check out these articles:


youtube courses

I want to live in a world where well-reasoned, engaging and entertaining content like this goes viral instead of videos of skateboarders getting hurt and propaganda pieces about long-powerless warlords. I feel it would make the world a better place.

So please spread these videos. I have no connection to the project, but sincerely would like to see it take off. Quality should be rewarded with millions of views, so let’s do what we can to spread this. If you know any students struggling with biology or history, send them these videos. Don’t stop there, though. These should be interesting to most humans.


Do you know of any other gems like these? I’d sincerely like to hear about them, so please share them in the comments below. I’ll put together a collection of the best examples for a future article.

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  1. Mradul Dubey
    February 18, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    A lot of courses have come up now including Economics. Currently, Philosophy is Going on. And it's on fire.

    • Justin Pot
      February 18, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      Been watching ever since, really enjoying Philosophy so far.

  2. Felicity the Nerdfighter
    September 25, 2012 at 2:58 am

    DFTBA John and Hank!

  3. swad
    September 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

    hay while you are at it why not make one on chemistry and physics and arts etc

    • Justin Pot
      September 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      When this year's courses are over they'll move on to different subjects. I think physics, chemistry and literature are all being considered, depending on feedback from viewers.

  4. Saurabh Jain
    April 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I suggest following two online universities where you will find good collection of online courses taught by professors from leading universities

  5. Jobo
    April 9, 2012 at 2:22 am

    thank you for this. this should keep me up for a while.

    • Justin Pot
      April 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      I hope you get some sleep at some point, but for now learning is more important...

  6. Yeah
    April 8, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Thanks for this, very well done series. I watched them all today.

    • Justin Pot
      April 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      Stay tuned; there's a lot more to come. I'm glad you enjoyed what's up already...

  7. cicas
    April 8, 2012 at 1:45 am makes you laugh (or even dance) during math calculations ;)

    • Justin Pot
      April 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      I will need to give that site anther chance, then...