British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

January additions to the Moving Image Gateway

The BUFVC Moving Image Gateway includes 1,500 websites relating to video, multimedia and sound materials. These have been subdivided into over 40 subject areas. To suggest new entries or amendments, please contact us by email, telephone or visit the Gateway at

60 Second Adventures in Astronomy
A team from the Open University’s Science faculty developed this series of brief animated films. The videos cover concepts such as dark matter, the Big Bang, asteroids, black holes and event horizons, aiming to explain big scientific ideas and ‘still have room for a few jokes’, in the words of OU Reader in Cosmology Dr Stephen Serjeant. The films are available on YouTube and can be downloaded for free from iTunes. A sister series 60 Second Adventures in Economics takes a similar approach to explaining concepts of economic theory. The animation style is quirkily attractive and comedian David Mitchell provides the narration.

This German e-learning module features illustrated video lectures in English on Integrated Water Resources Management. The resource was developed by IWAS (International Water Research Alliance Saxony), together with the German IHP/HWRP (International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO and Hydrology and Water Resources Programme of WMO). The 39 lectures are divided into various interlinking sections, arranged to reflect the complexity and interdisciplinary nature of water management, and cover geographical, economic and technical aspects of the subject. The site also features a dropdown menu of keywords which can be used to facilitate searches. Each lecture is accompanied by slides, timelines and abstracts. A user guide explains how to get the most out of the resource.

Marginal Revolution University
Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen – economics professors at George Mason University – created this resource, which offers free video lectures in economics, with the option of enrolling in courses and taking exams, in the manner of MOOCs such as Khan Academy and Coursera. The videos – PowerPoint slide presentations, with the lecturer’s voiceover – cover all aspects of economics, including Development Economics, Classical Economics, International Trade and The Eurozone Crisis. The resource is freely available and is particularly aimed at less affluent students and students and lecturers from developing countries. Tabbarok and Cowen also run a Marginal Revolution blog, which features news, comments and information on current economic issues.

This excellent series of free podcasts explores all aspects of fossils and the evolution of life on earth. Each podcast is around an hour long and features contributions from specialists and academics, who discuss a particular aspect of palaeontology, from mass extinctions to the The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event. Each episode is extensively illustrated with still images, charts, maps and diagrams. Users can search for topics by keyword or narrow their search by geological period.

This popular American radio programme about science and philosophy is aimed at an audience of general listeners and is characterised by its innovative sound design. Each podcast takes a broad theme, such as Parasites, Placebo or Games and takes an exploratory, associative approach to the subject, aiming to stimulate curiosity rather than reach a definitive conclusion about the chosen topic. Each show is divided into several parts, featuring interviews with experts and occasional ventures into audience participation and ‘thought experiments’. The programme’s host Jad Abumrad is a trained musician and his background as a composer is evident in the podcast’s approach to sound, where music, speech and effects overlap, forming an integral part of the programme’s experimental, freewheeling ethos.

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