EA introduction course and YouTube playlists

Hi guys!

We are getting ready to accept new student members to our workgroups at EA NTNU this fall, and we want to make a course program for our new members to get them up to speed on central ideas, organisations and concepts within EA. The idea is to meet once a week for three weeks, discussing and working on central topics for about two hours. We are planning to make YouTube playlists introducing the ideas, and that the new members will watch these playlists before each gathering (as well as reading essays in the EA Handbook). We have spent some time brainstorming ideas on central topics to include in the course, but it would be nice to get a feel for what other people view as important to counter any group thinking we might have.

These are the topics we have thought about (rot13):

* RN uvfgbel naq vagreangvbany bireivrj
* Engvbanyvgl (Pbzzba guvaxvat reebef, fgngvfgvpny naq rpbabzl pbaprcgf, naq ybtvpny snyynpvrf) 
* Pnerre gvcf (80x) 
* Tybony cbiregl naq rinyhngvba (TJ naq gurve erpbzzraqrq betf) 
* Rkvfgragvny evfx 
* Navzny jrysner 
* Zrgn-RN (inyhrq pevgvpvfz, tebjgu fgengrtl naq pbzzba zvfpbaprcgvbaf)

For the long run, we are thinking of expanding the YouTube playlists idea to include deeper introductions to more complex ideas, discussions and concepts  (Think Vsauce leanbacks, if you have heard of them), to make our YouTube channel a HQ for people to explore ideas we care about. The videos we currently have range from very EA related (like this one) to more general (like this one).
If you have examples of good videos we might have overlooked they are much appreciated!

1) What concepts, ideas and organisations are essential to introduce to members who are new to EA?
2) Have you come across good online content (articles and videos, preferably on YouTube) explaining central EA concepts, ideas or organisations. 

Comments (8)

Comment author: tyleralterman 14 August 2015 04:08:28PM *  2 points [-]

I would place quite a bit of emphasis on epistemic tools, since valuing (and ideally exercising) reason and evidence is the primary thing which differentiates EA and unites people across different causes.

Things to be covered might include:

  • Prioritization

  • Building models about relevant parts of the world

  • Epistemic humility (being open to changing your mind, steelmanning other people's arguments, etc)

People to contact for these things:

  • Oliver Habryka (panisnecis@gmail.com) - he runs an undergrad course at Berkeley

  • Cat Lavigne (cat.m.lavigne@gmail.com) - currently developing a model-building workshop called Shift

  • People at CFAR (obviously). Namely Anna (anna@appliedrationality.org)

  • Owen Cotton-Barratt (owen.cotton-barratt@maths.ox.ac.uk), Nick Beckstead (nbeckstead@gmail.com), and Geoff Anders (geoffrey.anders@gmail.com) - for material on prioritization.

Comment author: Sindre 17 August 2015 08:35:22PM 0 points [-]

This is good feedback, Tyler. Thanks!

Comment author: sdspikes 13 August 2015 05:29:35PM 1 point [-]

There's already a coursera course, but I don't know how good it is: https://www.coursera.org/learn/altruism

Comment author: Vidur_Kapur  (EA Profile) 13 August 2015 03:45:37PM 1 point [-]

A discussion of moral philosophy may be important not only because morality is integral to EA in general, but because it illustrates how the movement is suitable for people with wildly different views on morality, from utilitarians/consequentialists to deontologists to those who take a religious view.

I'd say that this video of Peter Singer is quite a good, short overview of cause prioritization.

Comment author: jonathanstray 14 August 2015 10:37:37AM 0 points [-]

Seems like a good project, but why rot13 the topics?

Comment author: DavidNash 14 August 2015 03:05:41PM 2 points [-]

I guess to not bias the responses, rather than having to make a later comment saying what their original brainstorm brought up.

Comment author: DavidNash 13 August 2015 05:09:47PM 0 points [-]

The Peter Singer Ted talk has a pretty good overview of why and how.


Comment author: RyanCarey 13 August 2015 02:19:05PM *  0 points [-]
  • The Moral Imperative to Cost Effectiveness (think Toby Ord's essay that discusses HIV interventions)
  • Effectiveness not overhead
  • Biases
  • Self-improvement / quantified self
  • Career selection
  • The overwhelming importance of the far future
  • EA Organisations