The 4-brane Project

A blog about The 4-brane Project. Live.Learn.Prosper.

Google joins edX

morreale Friday 13 of September, 2013
Google has joined the Open edX platform! Google will be supporting the open source development of the platform. This will complement their course builder tools. In the blog, Google provides a link to some finding they shared with edX on course completion and satisfaction. Lots of people take on line courses but few finish them.

What's up with the logo

System Administrator Tuesday 05 of March, 2013
The logo is based on an illustration I did for my Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology course term paper. The illustration is based on a wonderful review paper by Katz and Willner on the integration of biomaterials with nanoparticles. A link to the paper follows.

Integrated Nanoparticle-Biomolecule Hybrid Systems: Synthesis, Properties, and Applications

The figure below shows a magnetic nanoparticle that has been coated with either gold or a mesoporous material to keep the iron stable in air. Linker molecules are then used to attach various biomolecules to the nanoparticle to give it functionality. The figure shows a summary of the different functions that could be attached to the magnetic nanoparticle. In practice, only one biomolecule would be attach along with a photoluminescent marker and injected in to a mouse with cancer to see how effective the biomolecule is at targeting a specific type of cancer. The magnetic nanoparticle (mnp) shows up as a contrast enhancement agent in an MRI and the photoluminescent marker can be used in a microscope for tissue studies.


Katz and Willenr wrote the book Bioelectronics: From Theory to Applications that looks very interesting but is still a bit pricey for me.


morreale Friday 25 of January, 2013
Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) are new but growing in number. Now Universities are join forces to give fee MOOC for credit via MOOC2degree. This sites now supports courses from 40 universities and the number is expected to grow. This will certainly be disruptive.

The 4-brane Project goes live

4-brane Friday 26 of October, 2012
I've been studying nanotechnology since about 2006 and have been taking online courses to learn more on the subject to develop devices. The number of online open source courses is grown tremendously over the years. MIT OpenCourseWare offers 2100 courses now. MIT, Harvard, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Texas System have join together to offer online courses via edX. Coursera offers 200 courses from 33 different universities. This is impressive. It's awesome. The quality of the courses is excellent.

So, with all these courses available which ones do I take to achieve my objectives? It's not clear what courses to take to learn the equivalent of a MS in nanotechnology over the long term, for example. Thus, I've been wanting a tool to help me track and decide what free open sources courses to take to help me too complete this goal. It occurred to me that other people might find this useful too so I created the 4-brane Project.

At present, the 4-brane Project shows an example of what a full implementation might provide. Six example users are used to illustrate how it works. The six profiles include:

Independent learnerDirk completed two years at a community college and is looking to take open source courses learn the equivalent of a BS in computer science.
Recent College gradArtur completed a BS in computer science and works doing web development. Arthur wants to keep current with the latest tools.
Technical professionalNell has a MS in EE and would like to develop skills in business with an MBA, and Entrepreneurship.
Business professionalTeela is a business professional and would like to stay current with the rapid change in technology in her field.
Freelance consultantLara is a freelance consultant and would like to keep her skill current between contracts and learn new skills to be competitive for new contracts.
ResearcherHari is a well known researcher. He would like to learn cross disciplinary technology.

These examples link directly to over 200 very cool courses. Explore the site. If you like it sign up and give some feedback. The 4-brane Project Forum is also open to discuss the site and subject with others. My hypothesis is that learning over a lifetime leads to personal and professional prosperity.