Announcing 5 New Releases: The Learning Brain, Biblical Hebrew, Craftsy: Sketching People, Places, and Landscapes, Understanding and Applying Self-Defense Strategies, Athenian Democracy: An Experiment for the Ages
Announcing 5 New Releases: The Learning Brain, Biblical Hebrew, Craftsy: Sketching People, Places, and Landscapes, Understanding and Applying Self-Defense Strategies, Athenian Democracy: An Experiment for the Age
  • The Learning Brain
    Course  |  The Learning Brain

    Professor Thad A. Polk, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    How does the human brain make memories, learn a language, solve problems, and retain the state capitals? Identify and differentiate between several, major kinds of memories and what control we have over retaining and recalling them. Whether you or someone you know needs better study habits, struggles with learning a new skill, or just worries about memories fading with age, get the tools you need with The Learning Brain, designed to help anyone become a better student and a better learner.

    View Lecture List (24)

    How does the human brain make memories, learn a language, solve problems, and retain the state capitals? Identify and differentiate between several, major kinds of memories and what control we have over retaining and recalling them. Whether you or someone you know needs better study habits, struggles with learning a new skill, or just worries about memories fading with age, get the tools you need with The Learning Brain, designed to help anyone become a better student and a better learner.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Learning Brain
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Learning 101
      Beginning with a clear, working definition of the concept of “learning,” Professor Polk eases you into a course overview with simple examples of some of the topics that will be covered, including how scientists study learning, the neural basis of learning, and effective learning strategies. x
    • 2
      What Amnesia Teaches Us about Learning
      In the 1950s, a Connecticut man named Henry Molaison became an unfortunate but invaluable source of information about how learning is implemented in the human brain after an experimental brain surgery led to profound amnesia. Studies of how he could (and couldn’t) learn—and what those studies uncover about how the rest of us learn—are detailed in this revealing lecture. x
    • 3
      Conscious, Explicit Learning
      In this lecture, we discover that we can remember visual information better than verbal information, and that we remember vivid images better than ordinary ones. We also discover that how much you already know about a topic can have a profound influence on how easy it is to learn new information about it. These examples demonstrate conscious “explicit learning.” You may even learn how to memorize your grocery list better. x
    • 4
      Episodic Memory and Eyewitness Testimony
      Any fan of courtroom drama has seen the powerful influence that the testimony of an eyewitness can have on legal proceedings. But how reliable is our memory for events that we personally witness? In this lecture, we learn that much of what we remember is often a plausible reconstruction of what might have happened, rather than an accurate memory of what actually happened. We also discover just how susceptible eyewitness memories are to distortion, and how being asked seemingly innocuous questions can lead to substantial errors in our memory. Married couples, enter at your own risk. x
    • 5
      Semantic Memory
      How do you know the distance to the Earth from the Sun? With no first-hand experience, we use “semantic memory”—impersonal, fact-based memory—for world knowledge. Semantic memory also includes our grouping or categorizing of information—but how do our brains do that? Professor Polk makes short, easy work of the subject. x
    • 6
      The Neural Basis of Explicit Learning
      Take a fantastic voyage into your brain to uncover the physical mechanisms involved in forming explicit memories. The voyage begins in the hippocampus, the seahorse-shaped structure in each temporal lobe, where explicit learning begins. It continues out to the cerebral cortex—the grey matter on the outside of the brain—where memories eventually become consolidated and integrated with other memories. x
    • 7
      Strategies for Effective Explicit Learning
      Set your highlighters and pens down and stop re-reading your material! These are actually two of the least-effective study techniques. Professor Polk explains why these old techniques don't really work and offers four different, and more efficient, approaches to studying, which have been scientifically demonstrated to work more effectively. x
    • 8
      Controversies in Explicit Learning Research
      To wrap up the course’s section on conscious, explicit learning, Professor Polk delivers an enticing “myth-busting” talk about controversial topics in the field. Do different students have different learning styles and, if so, should we tailor our teaching methods to match the learning styles of individual students? Can playing Mozart increase your baby’s intelligence? Do people repress traumatic memories and can such repressed memories later re-emerge? Professor Polk cuts through the hype and lays out the actual scientific findings related to each of these controversies. x
    • 9
      Unconscious, Implicit Learning
      In this lecture, The Learning Brain switches gears from explicit to implicit learning, that is, learning that is unconscious and hard to verbalize. Discover non-associative learning, like learning to ignore a fan blowing in a room, as well as associative learning, such as conditioning, through which positive and negative reinforcement can shape behaviors over time. x
    • 10
      The Psychology of Skill Learning
      Compare the first time you tried to tie your shoes to your present-day, shoelace-tying mastery. How did you come such a long way? Practice alone doesn't begin to cover the intricate process of your brain learning a skill. See which stages are involved in acquiring skill-based knowledge and how you put them all together, with this insightful discussion. x
    • 11
      Language Acquisition
      Learning a new language is labor-intensive and complicated, so how do toddlers do it so easily? This lecture details how our brains progress from single-word associations to forming full, original sentences, as well as how babies learn to overcome obstacles like learning irregular past-tense verb forms (look/looked versus run/ran, for example). x
    • 12
      The Neural Basis of Implicit Learning
      Turn again to the neural components of learning to better understand how unconscious, implicit learning occurs in your brain. You actually have more connections between the neurons in your brain than there are stars in our galaxy, and learning involves strengthening and weakening these connections in very specific ways. Explore how your brain does so, how it learns to predict rewards, and the role that dopamine plays in the learning process. x
    • 13
      Strategies for Effective Skill Learning
      Beginning the second half of this course, we return to more practical applications of learning science. Care to step up your tennis, golf, or typing game? This series of sometimes counterintuitive, yet wildly effective, tips and tricks will surprise you. As always, proven studies and examples abound. x
    • 14
      Learning Bad Habits: Addiction
      How can learning go wrong? Using the knowledge you've been taught so far, you can unmask the dark side of unconscious associations and reward-seeking behavior: addictions to drugs and alcohol. Professor Polk delves into the psychological, chemical, and neural mechanisms underlying addiction to help understand this serious and delicate subject. x
    • 15
      Introduction to Working Memory
      Begin with an overview of working (or short-term) memory, which is vital to rational thought. This lecture introduces you to the idea of working memory and discusses one of the most important mechanisms involved, the “phonological loop,” which we use to store language sounds like words for brief periods of time. x
    • 16
      Components of Working Memory
      Several important components of working memory are covered here: the visuospatial sketchpad, which retains images from both recent perception and from long-term memory; the central executive, which decides which cognitive functions to perform and when to perform them; and the episodic buffer, which links information from other working memory components into integrated wholes. x
    • 17
      The Neural Basis of Working Memory
      Diving back into the brain itself, this lecture explores the neuroscience behind working memory in much the same way earlier lectures examined explicit memory and implicit memory. Are different parts of the brain responsible for storing visual information versus verbal information in working memory? Prepare for an illuminating ride. x
    • 18
      Training Your Working Memory
      Psychological elements of working memory? Check. Neurological elements? Check. Next, we learn about the controversial topic of improving your working memory. Some scientists believe that training your working memory can improve your overall intelligence and reduce ADHD symptoms; others disagree. Both sides of these widely debated controversies are discussed. x
    • 19
      How Motivation Affects Learning
      Enjoy this eye-opening discussion about our drive—or lack thereof— to learn, and the enormous impact our motivation can have. Our personal interest in a subject, our belief in our own ability to learn it, and several other factors profoundly impact what we retain about that subject. Improve your learning ability today with this practical lecture. x
    • 20
      How Stress and Emotion Affect Learning
      Ask almost anyone where they were when they heard about major events like the 9/11 attacks or the Challenger explosion and they remember immediately. Why, psychologically, do those memories remain so vivid? And do short, quick moments of stress versus chronic stress affect our memories differently? How? These answers and more await you. x
    • 21
      How Sleep Affects Learning
      If you think “getting a good night’s rest” is the only way that sleep affects learning, think again. Our brain is often just as active during sleep as it is while we’re awake, and what happens at a neural level during sleep has a profound impact on what we remember, and what we forget. Furthermore, different stages of sleep influence different kinds of learning and memory, and that’s just the beginning. x
    • 22
      How Aging Affects Learning
      Here’s another fascinating surprise: Aging does not inevitably lead to learning and memory problems. In fact, there are substantial differences in how aging affects different cognitive functions and in how it affects different people. Fortunately, Professor Polk demonstrates several proven—and enjoyable—methods of maintaining and even improving our brains as we get older. x
    • 23
      Dyslexia and Other Learning Disabilities
      In this, the fifth and final lecture on factors that influence learning and memory, several common learning disabilities are defined and explored. Learn about dyslexia, the most common learning disability, including its symptoms, the neural mechanisms that underlie it, and how difficulty in recognizing and manipulating phonemes—the set of basic sounds that get combined to form words—plays a large role. x
    • 24
      Optimizing Your Learning
      Professor Polk wraps things up by discussing five strategies that can make you a better learner. These strategies draw on and integrate some of the key themes that have appeared throughout the rest of this Great Course. And, putting them into practice in your own life can help you to become the best learner you can be. x
  • Biblical Hebrew: Learning a Sacred Language

    Professor Michael Carasik, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Get an authoritative primer on a fascinating ancient tongue with Biblical Hebrew: Learning a Sacred Language. Covering everything from the Hebrew alphabet and punctuation marks to essential vocabulary words to advanced grammatical rules, Professor Michael Carasik’s 36 lectures equip you to read one of the world’s greatest books in its original language on your own.

    View Lecture List (36)

    Get an authoritative primer on a fascinating ancient tongue with Biblical Hebrew: Learning a Sacred Language. Covering everything from the Hebrew alphabet and punctuation marks to essential vocabulary words to advanced grammatical rules, Professor Michael Carasik’s 36 lectures equip you to read one of the world’s greatest books in its original language on your own.

    View Lecture List (36)
    36 Lectures  |  Biblical Hebrew: Learning a Sacred Language
    Lecture Titles (36)
    • 1
      Studying Biblical Hebrew
      Use the word “hallelujah” as a gateway to exploring the three different components of the Biblical Hebrew writing system: letters, vowels, and diacriticals. Then, start learning Hebrew the natural way with a look at Genesis 1:3 and the first thing God does in creating heaven and Earth. x
    • 2
      Learning the Aleph Bet
      Get to know the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and how Biblical Hebrew is pronounced. Surprises include the silent letter aleph (the first letter of “God”), the tricky letter samekh, which resembles an “o” but sounds like an “s,” and nearly identical pairs of letters such as gimel and nun. x
    • 3
      The Tiberian Vowel System
      The Tiberian system of marking vowels in Hebrew has been used exclusively for more than 1,000 years. In this lecture, discover the signs that mark short and long vowels, and learn how vowels can change their spelling (and, slightly, their sound) without changing their meaning. x
    • 4
      Roots of Semitic Verbs
      Every Hebrew verb, and almost every noun and adjective, is based on a root, a group of three (or sometimes two) consonants. Here, Professor Carasik teaches you how to begin recognizing the roots of verbs in Biblical Hebrew—then discusses how God is referred to in the Hebrew Bible. x
    • 5
      Hebrew Verb Forms and the Definite Article
      Get an introduction to the five different Hebrew verb forms: finite, infinitive, adjective, participle, and imperative. Plus, learn three ways of identifying something as definite (rather than indefinite): by using the definite article (ha), by labeling it with a personal pronoun, and by naming it. x
    • 6
      Hebrew's Attached Prepositions
      Explore three Hebrew letters that attach to the beginning of other words to create a new word. Then, armed with this new knowledge, read your first complete paragraph in Biblical Hebrew from start to finish: the story of the first day of creation in Genesis 1:1-5. x
    • 7
      Adjective Forms and Agreement in Hebrew
      Unlike English, Hebrew adjectives have four forms, not one—and they must agree with their nouns based on whether they’re singular or plural, and masculine or feminine. Learn the four forms of adjectives (tov, tovah, tovim, tovot), several adjectives, and two ways to put nouns and adjectives together. x
    • 8
      Irregular Hebrew Nouns and Adjectives
      Sometimes it’s the simpler nouns that are the most likely to surprise you. Examine several of the most common non-obvious nouns (irregular nouns) and adjectives (demonstratives) in Biblical Hebrew. These include family names (daughter, son, brother), as well as “this” (zeh, zot) and “these” (éleh). x
    • 9
      Hebrew Pronouns and Pronominal Suffixes
      Hebrew has a ton of different pronouns. In this lecture, get an introduction to pronouns like “I” (ani, anokhi) and “we” (anaḥnu), as well as three different flavors of pronominal suffixes. Then, practice your new skills with a Bible verse describing the fourth day of creation. x
    • 10
      How Hebrew Letters Behave
      What do different letters do differently? Here, take a comprehensive look at the different ways Hebrew letters behave and start deciphering words in Biblical Hebrew that you don't already recognize. Topics include guttural letters (the orneriest consonants in the Hebrew language) and roots that start with yud. x
    • 11
      Perfect and Imperfect Hebrew Verbs
      Focus on two of the five forms of Biblical Hebrew verbs: the perfect and the imperfect, both of which have person, gender, and number. The perfect, as you'll learn, is always marked by endings. The imperfect, however, is marked by prefix letters as well: aleph, nun, tav, and yud. x
    • 12
      Segholate Nouns and Pausal Forms
      Turn now to segholate nouns—nouns that feature seghols (“-eh” vowels). By looking at segholate nouns in real Hebrew phrases from the Bible, you’ll start to get more comfortable with what Professor Carasik calls the “EH-eh rhythm” and the various grammatical forms that use the pattern. x
    • 13
      The Construct Form: Hebrew's Trailer Hitch
      By allowing you to attach another noun to your first noun, the construct form acts as a sort of trailer hitch in Biblical Hebrew. Once attached, the first noun in construct “belongs” to the second. Here, learn construct forms by revisiting the first and fourth day of creation. x
    • 14
      Forming Hebrew Construct Chains
      Continue your study of construct forms with prepositions in Biblical Hebrew that are combinations of simple prepositions you’ve already learned (example: lifnei, or “before”). Then, look at irregular nouns with unusual construct forms whose frequent occurrence makes them critical to understanding Biblical Hebrew. x
    • 15
      Hebrew Verb Classifications: Binyanim
      In Biblical Hebrew, the binyan acts as a sort of stem or conjugation for verbs. Get a re-introduction to verbs with their binyan identification, learn how the binyanim got their names, and focus on a single root in different binyanim to get a feel for what the binyanim do to a verb's meaning. x
    • 16
      Question Words in Hebrew
      From mi (“Who?”) and lama lo (“Why not?”) to eikh (“How?”) and matai (“When?”), discover how to recognize the words that tell you when a question is coming up in Biblical Hebrew. Why is this so important? Because there’s no such thing as a question mark in Biblical Hebrew. x
    • 17
      Hebrew Participles
      Return to the verbal system with Professor Carasik's helpful explanation of the third of the five Hebrew verb forms: the participle. One of the ways you'll master the verbal adjective in Biblical Hebrew is by working your way through Genesis 22:7. x
    • 18
      Counting in Hebrew
      In this fun lecture, start to count in Hebrew, from one to 10,000. You’ll learn a children’s rhyme for counting from one to four, the construct form of numbers, the ordinal numbers, some helpful shortcuts such as how to refer to a “pair” of something, and more. x
    • 19
      Hebrew Roots with Guttural Letters
      Focus your attention here on categories of verbs from the Qal binyan with roots whose guttural letters (hey, het, and ayin) tend to “misbehave.” Central to this lecture are three rules about how gutturals behave, as well as relevant examples in passages from the Hebrew Bible. x
    • 20
      Hebrew's Lamed-Hey Roots
      Lamed-hey roots are those roots where, in the dictionary, the third radical of a verb (the lamed) is a hey. Here, learn how to work with some of the most common lamed-hey roots, including banah (“build”), ḥayah (“live”), anah (“answer”), panah (“turn”), and kalah (“be over”). x
    • 21
      Hebrew's Roots Beginning with Yud
      Roots that begin with yud are plentiful in Hebrew—and very common. Professor Carasik walks you through a list of some of the most common first-yud verbs, including yada (“know”), yatza (“go out”), yarash (“take possession”), and yashav (“settle”). x
    • 22
      Irregular Hebrew Verbs
      Very few verbs in Hebrew are irregular. Those that are, as you’ll learn here, are not very difficult—but they do work a little differently than what you’re used to seeing. In this lecture, learn how to master irregular Hebrew verbs by focusing on them individually. x
    • 23
      Hebrew's Hollow Verbs
      Welcome to what may be the strangest verb roots of all: those that have only two consonants, not three. Here, explore the general rules about these hollow verbs, and build a list of commonly used hollow verbs you can refer to when reading Biblical Hebrew. x
    • 24
      The Infinitive in Hebrew
      The infinitive verb form is used to describe the action of a verb (as in “There’s a time to rend … and a time to mend.”). Professor Carasik walks you through the different infinitive forms, then guides you through Ecclesiastes 3—what he calls the “mother lode” of the Hebrew infinitive. x
    • 25
      Jussives, Cohortatives, and “Hava Nagila”
      Explore how Biblical Hebrew expresses intention (as in phrases like yehi or, or “Let there be light.”). You’ll encounter jussives, which are only found in lamed-hey, hollow, and Hiphil verbs; and cohortatives, which invite collective action (as in the famous song, “Hava Nagila”). x
    • 26
      The Imperative Form in Hebrew
      Turn now to the imperative form in Hebrew and the simplest way to think of it (in the Qal): by taking off the tav prefix from second-person imperfect verbs. You'll learn imperatives from a variety of weak and strong verbs, and use your skills to work through several biblical verses. x
    • 27
      Verbs of the Hiphil Binyan
      Focus on a new binyan: Hiphil, which can be thought of as the causative binyan. (One example: l’haqtir, or “to burn incense.”) Then, go back to Genesis, collect a list of Hiphil infinitives, and see what the different root categories do when you put them into this Hiphil shape. x
    • 28
      Piel Verbs and Passive Binyanim
      Take a closer look at another major binyan: the Piel. The goal of this lecture is to give you the skills to distinguish this binyan when you need to, so you can learn the verbs as they come along. Then, examine two more binyanim: the passives Pu'al and Hophal. x
    • 29
      Reflexive Binyanim: Niphal and Hitpa'el
      Conclude your survey of the seven different binyanim by taking a closer look at two reflexive patterns: the Niphal and the Hitpa’el. Along the way, Professor Carasik introduces you to an important root that appears only in these two binyanim: nun-bet-aleph, or “to be/act like a prophet.” x
    • 30
      Reading the Bible in Hebrew: Joshua 1
      Now you're ready to start reading longer passages in the Bible in Hebrew. Here, follow Professor Carasik as you read Joshua 1:1-9, which deals with God's charge to Joshua. You'll translate the text, talk about the passage's meaning, and spend time parsing every single verb it contains. x
    • 31
      Geminate Verbs and Reading Numbers 22
      In this lecture, explore geminates: roots where radicals two and three are the same. Along the way, you'll learn how to spot these common two-letter combinations, consider a fascinating example from Ezekiel's vision of the messianic future Temple, and begin reading Numbers 22 from start to finish. x
    • 32
      Hebrew's Object Suffixes
      You've seen object suffixes in previous lectures. Now, focus on them directly. You'll learn some obvious (and not-so-obvious) combinations of verbs and object suffixes, and ponder some questions about phrases and sentences in the Bible that appear more than once, but with slight variations. x
    • 33
      Hebrew Oaths and Other Idioms
      Study idioms that are common in Biblical Hebrew, but sound strange when translated into English. You’ll explore different ways to take an oath in Biblical Hebrew, the customary way to state someone’s age, and the danger of “crossing the mouth” of the Lord. x
    • 34
      Understanding Hebrew Punctuation Marks
      In the Hebrew Bible, every word has a punctuation mark that serves three functions: telling you where the accent falls, indicating how to chant the text musically, and telling you how to group words in a sensible way. Use this knowledge to move forward in your reading of Numbers 22. x
    • 35
      Choosing a Hebrew Bible
      What's the best Bible from which to read Hebrew? Professor Carasik offers insights and recommendations on four printed Bibles as well as several electronic sources, and shows you how to navigate your way to a specific chapter and verse in an all-Hebrew Bible. Close by resuming your reading of Numbers 22. x
    • 36
      Helpful Hebrew Reference Books
      Look at some essential Hebrew reference books out there (besides biblical translations and commentaries), including reference grammars and three major Biblical Hebrew dictionaries. Close out the course by completing your line-by-line reading of Numbers 22. x
  • Sketching People, Places, and Landscapes

    Taught By Multiple Professors

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Whether you’re sketching castles on the cliffs, chateaus in the countryside, or churches in your city, Sketching People, Places, and Landscapes, led by four accomplished artists, is essential to elevating your drawing to the next level.

    View Lecture List (34)

    Whether you’re sketching castles on the cliffs, chateaus in the countryside, or churches in your city, Sketching People, Places, and Landscapes, led by four accomplished artists, is essential to elevating your drawing to the next level.

    View Lecture List (34)
    34 Lectures  |  Sketching People, Places, and Landscapes
    Lecture Titles (34)
    • 1
      Finding the Perfect Place
      Meet James Richards and begin by exploring the ingredients that make a place perfect for sketching. From graphic elements and repetition to color and movement, learn to see a space with an artist’s eye. Plus, learn to select a “stimulus-rich” environment, perfect for capturing energy. x
    • 2
      Drawing People in the City
      Public spaces wouldn't exist without people. Learn some basic building blocks for drawing believable people and crowds. Learn proper proportions and understand how to create a sense of depth within a crowd using your eye level line, diminishing size, and overlapping. Learn a quick shorthand for capturing people on the move. x
    • 3
      Buildings as Backdrop
      Learn to draw large, impressive buildings without getting overwhelmed by the architectural details. Follow along as Jim takes you through drawing Denver's Union Station by first breaking the building into basic shapes and then simplifying details into a visual texture. x
    • 4
      The Entourage
      The entourage is the supporting cast that brings visual energy to a scene. In this lesson, learn to draw trees and cars step by step. Then, look for elements that are unique to your city or space. Plus, learn how to position elements within your frame to better serve the drawing. x
    • 5
      Adding Color
      Color can really bring your sketches to life. In this lesson, you'll learn to make strategic decisions about where to add darks and colors. Use watercolor washes to create a vibrant look to your drawing. Then, refine the details with more opaque colors. x
    • 6
      Hitting the Streets: On Location
      In this lesson, hit the streets and put it all together. Get over your fears about sketching in public as you join Jim on Denver's 16th Street Mall. Learn helpful hints and tools and get tips on determining where to start. Plus, get a step-by-step approach to bringing a lively city scene to life. x
    • 7
      Thumbnails & Composition
      Meet your instructor, sketch artist, and graphic designer Shari Blaukopf, and learn how to compose your sketches on the page. Shari shows you how to assess the scene in front of you before roughing in valuable details in the form of quick, informative thumbnails. x
    • 8
      Drawing Façades
      Whether you're sketching skyscrapers or a small strip of row houses, Shari shows you the best techniques for breaking up buildings into manageable proportions and basic shapes. Learn how to subdivide your sketch before starting to add specific textures and details in ink. x
    • 9
      Urban Texture
      Add a vibrant splash of color to your work as you integrate watercolor into your sketches. Shari walks you through the steps needed to capture the look of a wide variety of building materials ranging from stone facades to metal awnings, and she'll help you bring greater dimension to your scene. x
    • 10
      Doors & Windows
      Windows and doors add a great deal of character to each city neighborhood, and Shari shows you how to observe and capture those unique details with flair. Learn how to study the structure of each door and window, add color washes to enhance areas of light and shadow, and explore ways to depict reflections. x
    • 11
      Details That Give Cities Life
      There's no shortage of fascinating details when you sketch in an urban area. Learn how to incorporate a symphony of people, pets, foliage, power lines, and much more into your scene without overwhelming your drawing with minutiae. Shari also shares professional tips on how to render signage and lettering. x
    • 12
      Light & Shadow
      Delve deeper into ways to depict light and shadow, which can transform an ordinary sketch into a true work of art. Shari helps you identify the best ways to record shadow patterns as you sketch, and how to mix and apply paint to create transparent shadows or large, dark shadows. x
    • 13
      Panoramic Cityscapes
      In the final lesson, step back from the immediacy of street scenes to gain a larger view of your city or town. Shari shares helpful techniques for creating panoramic scenes, beginning with identifying the foreground, middle ground, and background elements and finding key focal points. x
    • 14
      Choosing & Using Sketchbooks
      Meet your instructor, sketch artist Paul Heaston, as you discover the joy that sketching can offer and how it can improve your skills by leaps and bounds. You'll begin with an overview of Paul's favorite sketchbook and media choices before loosening up your drawing hand with some contour drawings. x
    • 15
      Sketching with Pencil
      Indulge in one of sketching's most joyfully simple forms: carrying a pencil and sketchbook into the field to explore your surroundings. Paul explains graphite grading scales and shows you how to use this forgiving medium to refine your skills in perspective, distance, and more. You'll learn how to create emphasis and dimension using a variety of line weights and textural details, gaining confidence as you practice. x
    • 16
      Pen & Ink, Light & Shadow
      Gain the courage to leave your eraser behind and dive into ink sketches. Paul shares professional tips for developing realistic light, shadow, contour, and value using a variety of pen types and sizes. Beginners and expert artists alike will learn valuable hatching techniques as Paul demonstrates remarkable quick and effective shading methods. x
    • 17
      Color Your World with Watercolors
      Add color and character to your sketchbook with a bright and versatile watercolor palette. Paul demonstrates ways to apply washes and control your paints using helpful tips that will ensure a fun sketching session. Whether you're using color to fill large spaces or simply accentuating details, Paul's techniques will help you apply watercolor masterfully. x
    • 18
      Sketching on Location
      Pack your bag for the great outdoors as you employ Paul's tips for sketching comfortably and quickly. You'll learn what tools you'll need and anticipate the creature comforts that will come in handy for sketching sessions before assessing your locations for light and shade. Next, discover pro tips for accurately capturing both the permanent and fleeting objects in your scene, including parked cars and people who are strolling by. x
    • 19
      Composing in the Field
      Explore ways to use a viewfinder and your imagination to create a unique and compelling composition for each sketch. Paul shares important considerations for your location and field of view, as well as valuable composition tips that can transform a seemingly simple sketch into a dynamic work of art. Work with horizontal, vertical, cropped, and panoramic scenes as you create thumbnails to take each composition for a test drive. x
    • 20
      Location Sketching Process
      Examine the construction of a sketch from start to finish as you block in the simple shapes and values in your scene. Next, work from the foreground to the background as you develop basic forms, training your eye to see what's really there as you work. You'll learn how to infuse character into your sketch with meaningful details, resulting in sketches that range from the whimsical minutiae of your everyday life to evocative snapshots of your favorite memories. x
    • 21
      Shari's Sketchbooks
      Meet Shari Blaukopf, expert sketcher and graphic designer. Shari begins by introducing the tools of her trade: the various sketchbooks, pencils, watercolors, and brushes she takes with her everywhere. You'll also get to see a few of her incredible sketches. x
    • 22
      Composition
      Join Shari in the field as she scouts the beautiful Colorado landscape for a perfect scene. Begin with a quick compositional sketch to help determine the orientation of your drawing. Then, see how to create a value sketch, a helpful roadmap to completing your final drawing. x
    • 23
      Skies
      Look out the window and you’ll see that no two skies are the same. In this lesson, Shari shows you how to sketch four separate skies—morning, neutral, stormy, and skies with fluffy clouds—each with its own unique challenges. Plus, learn how to use different marks to create depth in your drawings. x
    • 24
      Big Shapes
      With your skies painted, it's time to work on the large middle ground and foreground shapes. Shari revisits her value sketch of the breathtaking Flatirons to add in sun-drenched rock formations. You'll also discover Shari's method of illustrating distant mountain ranges and large foreground trees. x
    • 25
      Texture
      Enliven your scenes and give them a sense of perspective by adding texture. Watch and learn Shari's effective method of creating a variety of textures. Then, discover how to delineate foreground elements before examining the effects you can create using both wet and dry brushes. x
    • 26
      Adding Depth with Value
      Learn how to add depth to your sketches with value. Using her Flatirons drawing as an example, Shari shows how to make jagged rocks even craggier while maintaining variety in the darker tones. Plus, practice Shari's technique of adding contrast to the foreground with ink. x
    • 27
      Expressing Unique Moments
      Discover the benefits of working with a limited palette. Shari shows you her process of using three colors to enhance one of her completed sketches. In addition, you'll learn expert tips on sketching everyday scenes in new, exciting ways. x
    • 28
      Measuring Accurate Proportions
      Meet architectural illustrator Stephanie Bower and start learning how to apply basic perspective principles to your sketching. Ease into the process with head-on elevation views. Stephanie shows you how to quickly and accurately measure an object's proportions before blocking in simple shapes and details. x
    • 29
      Building a Sketch in Layers
      Whether you're sketching the Taj Mahal, an ornate chateau, or buildings in your hometown, Stephanie shares tips and tricks for effectively capturing the scene. Learn how to break a complex facade into basic geometric shapes. Then, discover Stephanie's technique for adding multiple layers of detail. x
    • 30
      Concepts of Perspective Space
      Deepen your understanding of perspective as you practice sketching locations from aerial, eye-level, and worm's-eye vantage points. With Stephanie's expert guidance, you'll see how to achieve a sense of depth from a variety of perspectives using size, spacing, and vanishing points. x
    • 31
      Perspective Angles
      Feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of a scene? Stephanie demonstrates how to develop the basic foundation of a sketch in three easy steps. You'll also get detailed explanations on how to identify and work with one-point and two-point perspectives. x
    • 32
      Using Watercolor
      Once you've finished your sketch, enliven your work by adding watercolor. Get tips on selecting the right paper, pencils, paints, and brushes; then, learn simple techniques for mixing colors while creating a classic color wheel. Plus, find out how to effectively portray shade and shadow with watercolor paints. x
    • 33
      Location Sketching: Interior
      Go on location with Stephanie and practice drawing interior spaces using the techniques you've learned so far. You'll get step-by-step instruction along the way, from blocking in basic shapes and measuring for proportion to sketching smaller details and adding watercolor to complete the look. x
    • 34
      Location Sketching: Streetscape
      Move outdoors and apply your perspective skills to a bustling streetscape. Stephanie guides you through the process as she demonstrates how to determine the vanishing point before sketching in the basic shapes of buildings and alleyways. Add layers of shading and detail, then apply watercolor for striking results. x
  • Understanding and Applying Self-Defense Strategies

    Instructor Tammy Yard-McCracken, Psy.D., LPC

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Understanding and Applying Self-Defense Strategies is a comprehensive introduction to self-defense, and will change the way you look at the world and think about yourself. Taught by acclaimed self-defense instructor, Krav Maga expert, and psychotherapist Dr. Tammy Yard-McCracken, these 24 interactive lessons will give you an arsenal of physical and mental strategies to prepare you to defend yourself and your loved ones.

    View Lecture List (25)

    Understanding and Applying Self-Defense Strategies is a comprehensive introduction to self-defense, and will change the way you look at the world and think about yourself. Taught by acclaimed self-defense instructor, Krav Maga expert, and psychotherapist Dr. Tammy Yard-McCracken, these 24 interactive lessons will give you an arsenal of physical and mental strategies to prepare you to defend yourself and your loved ones.

    View Lecture List (25)
    25 Lectures  |  Understanding and Applying Self-Defense Strategies
    Lecture Titles (25)
    • 1
      Waking Up Your Natural Human Animal
      At its core, self-defense means learning to understand violence and carry out decisions necessary to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. The great news is that you already have the ability to do this. In this first lesson, tap into your own body's resources and access your inner animal. x
    • 2
      Other Bodies as “Meat Puzzles”
      Self-defense requires an understanding of our physical selves. Our bodies are essentially “meat puzzles”—blood, flesh, and bone assembled for optimal living, but with a variety of weaknesses. Practice drills of timing, balance, and more to learn how your body works, and how to identify weaknesses in others. x
    • 3
      Natural Targets on the Human Body
      Continue your study of the meat puzzle by reflecting on targets. Consider how bones line up to create strength, how to spot weak structures in opponents, and ways to maintain balance in yourself. Develop “targeting” as a skill through shadow boxing, combinations, and blindfold drills. x
    • 4
      Weaponizing Your Body
      Lunges, strikes, punches, kicks: Your body has numerous weapons at its disposal. Here, you will practice a number of drills to build the movements and ingrain patterns—a.k.a., muscle memory. Put it all together with combination patterns and environmental scenarios. Then, find out the best things to do after you disable your opponent in an attack. x
    • 5
      Generating Power by Playing Smart
      One important aspect of self-defense is understanding how your body will behave in an attack. Your “survival stress response,” or SSR, is the body’s natural alarm system—a flood of hormones that will change the way you think and act. Get to know your SSR as you study ways to generate power, from kinetic chains to exploiting gravity. x
    • 6
      Expanding What You Are Willing to See and Do
      In a self-defense encounter, you enter a decision cycle called the “OODA loop”—observe, orient, decide, act. Because every second counts, the quicker you can move from observe and orient to decisions and action, the better off you will be. In this lesson, you will explore ways to expand what you see—because how you see controls what you can do. x
    • 7
      Responding to the Ambush
      Round out your study of the body’s survival stress response and the OODA decision cycle. The term “reactionary gap” refers to the distance between the awareness that something is happening and the moment we take action; training and repetition are ways to close this gap. Learn responses to bear hugs and other ambush techniques, and practice your reps to condition yourself. x
    • 8
      How Violence Occurs
      Here, shift your attention from your own body's physical reaction and reflect on the nature of violence. Although the experience of violence can be chaotic, the process of violence is somewhat logical. Think about the motivations and goals of predators, and unpack the six primary elements common in the process of violent attacks. x
    • 9
      Predator Behavior and Violence
      Continue your examination of predator motivations. Some predators, like muggers or carjackers, want resources, whereas others may simply enjoy violence. Delving into the ways they see the world can help you better understand your surroundings and avoid dangerous situations. Consider habitual areas, natural lines of drift, and the role of chance. x
    • 10
      Social Conflict and Violence
      The “asocial violence” of the previous lesson occurred wherever the predator is hunting. In this lesson, Dr. Yard-McCracken explores violence in social settings, from the primal chest-thumping of drunks in a bar, to the thirst for vengeance after a betrayal, to violence as a means to achieve social status. Learn “tactical breathing” to de-escalate yourself. x
    • 11
      Escape and Evasion
      Because getting home safely is the primary goal of self-defense, escape and evasion are critical tools for personal safety. The four elements of a violent encounter are the target (i.e., you), the threat, the environment, and luck. See how escape and evasion tools apply to each of these elements. x
    • 12
      How and Why Conflict Escalates to Violence
      Why do conflicts escalate to violence? From a psychological standpoint, we all have a hierarchy of needs, with survival and security at the base of the pyramid, and belonging and esteem toward the top. Reflect on the nature of tribal behavior, how humans “other” people outside their group, and the connection between “othering” and violence. x
    • 13
      De-escalating Your Monkey Brain
      One way of thinking about humans is that we have a lizard brain (focused on survival), a monkey brain (focused on emotion and tribal behavior), and a rational brain. The “monkey brain” is an evolutionary survival mechanism that can get us into trouble by escalating conflicts. Learn to control this part of your brain to prevent violence. x
    • 14
      When and How to De-escalate Threats
      In the moments before an attack, you won’t have much time to reflect on the threat. In this lesson, examine ways to read nonverbal communication and practice what law enforcement professionals call “intelligence gathering.” Listen to what someone says, watch how they move, and recognize threats in the making. x
    • 15
      Verbal Boundary Setting and Predator Test
      Physical training is about winning in a conflict, but the real win is to avoid the conflict altogether. “Boundary setting” is a strategy for bridging the gap, helping you ward off threats before they turn into violence. Gain a few insights into how to set boundaries with potential threats—and how to recognize predators. x
    • 16
      Physical Boundary Setting and Defenses
      If verbal boundary setting doesn’t work, physical boundary setting may help you defend yourself without coming to blows. Find out how to get “tactical ready”—a guard-up fighting stance that shows you know what you’re doing, without escalating the conflict. Explore basic parries and positions that will help you play defense. x
    • 17
      Ethical Articulation Skills in Self-Defense
      What are the legal and ethical implications of self-defense? This course is not about the legal term “self-defense,” but rather is about understanding how to make decisions to keep yourself safe. Here, Dr. Yard-McCracken offers a few rules of thumb for understanding the ethical parameters of defending yourself. x
    • 18
      Physical Cheats in Self-Defense
      The rules of fair play are ingrained in all of us from an early age, but self-defense is about getting home safely by any means necessary. You don't have to (and likely shouldn't) fight fair to get away from a violent attack. Examine a variety of creative ways to attack the threat's body, moving from pain to injury to damage. x
    • 19
      Joint Locks in Self-Defense
      Joint locks are an unconventional but potentially effective way to fight. Apply what you know about the body's physical structure to practice locks on hinging joints (elbows and knees), ball and socket joints (shoulders and hips), and gliding joints (wrists and ankles). See full demonstrations of each lock as you learn them. x
    • 20
      Preparing for Defense on the Ground
      The game of defense is different if you are on the ground. You have less time, and will more quickly run out of energy, strength, and opportunity. As you'll see in this lesson, ground work is something of a paradox: It's seriously uncomfortable, but the more comfortable you get with it, you'll find it's also a seriously fun way to play with the meat puzzle. x
    • 21
      The Ground Problem from Start to Finish
      Continue your study of defense from the ground. Success on the ground means surviving to your feet, so follow the process of defense from start to finish. Unpack issues of mobility, flexibility, pass-throughs, controlled falls, and more, and look at techniques from wrestlers and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. x
    • 22
      Weapons in Self-Defense
      Guns and knives are obvious weapons for defense, but they are bound by laws of Every Day Carry (EDC). When it comes to defense, improvised weapons such as pens, keychains, and coin purses can be just as helpful. Survey potential stabbing weapons, blunt-force objects, and other tools at your disposal. x
    • 23
      Protecting Your Very Important People
      Avoiding a conflict can be as simple as running away, but this becomes challenging if you have a partner or children with you. As someone who has studied self-defense, you become the person capable of taking and maintaining control of the situation. Enhance your skills of observation, prevention—and physical defense. x
    • 24
      Adapt Your Self-Defense to the Environment
      Now that you've reached the end of the course, you are your own bodyguard, armed with a toolkit of ways to de-escalate conflicts and defend yourself if a physical threat presents itself. Watch a few final demonstrations to help you put together everything you've learned in different environments, and then consider the arsenal you have developed and what you can continue to learn. x
    • 25
      Bonus: Extended Warm-Up with Adaptations
      Full warm-up session with adaptations and modifications. x
  • Athenian Democracy: An Experiment for the Ages

    Professor Robert Garland, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    Over the course of 24 engaging lectures, Professor Robert Garland of Colgate University unpacks the development of Athenian democracy, going inside the assemblies and courts to reveal how citizen rule worked—and where it came up short. Unprecedented, flawed, relevant to our time, and captivating in its own right, the story of Athenian Democracy: An Experiment for the Ages explores what is arguably the boldest political initiative ever taken in history.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Over the course of 24 engaging lectures, Professor Robert Garland of Colgate University unpacks the development of Athenian democracy, going inside the assemblies and courts to reveal how citizen rule worked—and where it came up short. Unprecedented, flawed, relevant to our time, and captivating in its own right, the story of Athenian Democracy: An Experiment for the Ages explores what is arguably the boldest political initiative ever taken in history.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Athenian Democracy: An Experiment for the Ages
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Why Athenian Democracy Matters
      Begin the course by considering the nature of Athenian democracy and how it functioned in practice. After surveying some of its key tenets, Professor Garland compares the Athenian governmental system to western democracy today, showing both the similarities and crucial differences. x
    • 2
      The Origins of Greek Democracy
      Among Greek city-states, Athens was not alone in having a form of democratic rule. As you'll discover in this lecture, Greek governments ran on a sliding scale from oligarchy and democracy to kingship and tyranny. Delve into Homer's epics to examine several early examples of democratic assembly. x
    • 3
      Solon: The Father of Democracy?
      To understand Athenian democracy, we first must understand Athens as a polis, or city-state, within the broader context of ancient Greece. Review the territory of Attica and get the lay of the land for Athenian government in the 6th and 7th centuries BC. Then, witness the great crisis that led to Solon's reforms and set Athenian democracy on its course. See what made Solon such an interesting leader. x
    • 4
      Cleisthenes the Innovator
      Fifty years after Solon's reforms, a tyrant named Peisistratus seized power. The overthrow of his tyranny, and the ensuing skirmish among different aristocratic groups, led to the rise of Cleisthenes, a truly innovative leader. Find out how he undermined the old aristocratic system and carried the democratic experiment forward. x
    • 5
      The Nearly Bloodless Coup
      According to Professor Garland, the conclusion of the Greco-Persian Wars in the early 5th century BC was Athens’ finest hour. Then, came the truly astonishing reforms of 462 BC, when Ephialtes and Pericles attacked the aristocratic Areopagus and instituted radical democracy—direct, participatory rule for all Athenian citizens, an unprecedented experiment. x
    • 6
      Democracy at War
      The ancient Greeks were a bellicose people, and they considered military service a privilege. Innovations such as hoplite warfare and the construction of their navy, manned by the poorest citizens, went hand in hand with the development of democracy in Athens, particularly since the Athenian military had no permanent commander in chief. x
    • 7
      The Popular Assembly
      Go inside one of the hallmark institutions of Athenian democracy. Open to freeborn citizens older than age 20, the popular assembly met 10 times a year and was for many citizens who lived some distance from Athens a three-day affair—one reason Athenian citizenship might seem like a full-time job. Listen to the some of the debates and arguments of a typical assembly meeting. x
    • 8
      The Council and the Magistrates
      Shift your attention to another important arm of the government. Explore the roles of the Council of 500 officials chosen by lot, required to serve for a whole year, as well as the respected (if not particularly powerful) magistrates known as archons. Then, review the relatively limited systems of taxation and welfare in ancient Athens. x
    • 9
      The Citizens of Athens
      Who were the citizens of Athens? As you'll reflect on in this lecture, perhaps as low as one-fifth of Athenian residents were citizens. Women, slaves, and resident aliens were excluded. Learn about the responsibilities of citizens, and the lives of those who could not participate. x
    • 10
      "The Empire You Hold Is a Tyranny"
      The Delian Confederacy—originally an association of free city-states that Athens turned into an instrument of imperial ambitions—played a major role in 5th-century Greece. Follow the confederacy from the Persian Wars to the Peloponnesian War. Find out what each of the allies got out of the confederacy, and how Athens made sure it benefited the most. x
    • 11
      The Age of Pericles
      Pericles is one of the most fascinating political leaders of all time. Here, survey his life and witness some of the great moments in his rule. Professor Garland takes you beyond the dates and battles to show you what Pericles the man might have been in life, including scandals in his domestic life. x
    • 12
      Public Speaking in Athens
      A successful public life depends on public speaking, so it should come as no surprise that the Athenians prided themselves on rhetoric. After learning a little about the art of public speaking, you will witness several of the great political debates of the era, including one politician’s contention that his opponents were delivering, essentially, “fake news.” x
    • 13
      Pericles's Funeral Speech
      The funeral procession was the most important ceremony performed in ancient Athens. Pericles's funeral speech, delivered over the war dead, as captured by Thucydides, is one of the most striking pieces of prose to survive from that time. Witness the structure of the funeral ceremony and unpack Pericles's great speech. x
    • 14
      Democracy under Duress
      Revisit the march through Athenian history with a look at one of the city's less admirable periods. Beginning with the outbreak of a terrible plague around 431 BC and continuing through the civil war on Corcyra (modern Corfu), the doom and gloom of this period were caused less by the nature of democracy and rather more by plain old human nature, as the historian Thucydides observed. x
    • 15
      The Culture of Athenian Democracy
      Beyond democracy, the cultural achievements of ancient Athens are some of the most impressive in all of world history. Survey some of the city’s great buildings and sculptures—including the Propylaea and the frieze of the Parthenon—to find out what made Athenian culture so distinctive, and where it came up short. x
    • 16
      Political Leadership in Athens
      You've already seen how public speakers dominated the assemblies. Now take a look at the politicians whose voices rose above the fray. While every citizen theoretically had a voice in the democracy, a few politicians and demagogues tended to dominate. Learn about Cleon, Alcibiades, and others. x
    • 17
      The Brutality of Athenian Democracy
      Athenian democracy did not always respond well under pressure. In this lecture, Professor Garland walks you through three case studies—the massacre of a neutral people, the illegal trial and execution of Athenian generals en bloc, and the trial and execution of Socrates—that demonstrate the capacity of Athenian democracy for genuine brutality. x
    • 18
      Athenian Defeat in Sicily
      The expedition to Sicily is one of the biggest military blunders in ancient history. Much like the ill-advised American war in Vietnam, the Sicilian expedition was an avoidable disaster. See how the combination of poor decisions from political leaders and a bitterly divided military leadership led to a humiliating failure. x
    • 19
      Suspension, Restoration, and Termination
      Following the disastrous Sicilian campaign, Athenian democracy appeared to be on the ropes. But in 413 BC, the demos appointed a board of 10 elderly “probouloi,” or advisors, to deal with the immediate crisis. Find out how these leaders steadied the ship and and how, after an eight-month suspension under the brutal rule of the Thirty Tyrants, the democractic experiment carried on into the next century. x
    • 20
      The Democratic Theater
      Take a break from the historical narrative to explore the world of the theater, one of Athens's greatest cultural achievements. As you will learn in your study of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and others, there is a strong connection between politics and the theater. x
    • 21
      Law and Order under Democracy
      Athenian democracy had both a political and a legal component. In this lecture, take a deep dive into the city-state's legal system, from the central role of the courts to the procedures of a trial. The process of arraignment, jury selection, and sentencing will sound familiar. Reflect on the strengths and flaws of the legal system. x
    • 22
      Ancient Critics of Athenian Democracy
      What did the Athenians themselves think about their system of government? Professor Garland shows that not everyone in the city-state was thrilled by the democracy. Despite moments of friction, such as during the Peloponnesian War, Athenian democracy was largely a success. x
    • 23
      Post-Athenian Democracies
      Greece is often described as the “cradle of democracy,” but democracy was not a continuing entity from its beginnings in the 7th century BC through today. In this lecture, Professor Garland traces the story of democracy from the end of 4th-century Athens (when democracy took a nosedive) through modern times. x
    • 24
      Democracy Today, Democracy Tomorrow
      There are obvious correlations and differences between Athenian democracy and democracy today; and, now it's time to draw conclusions based on the comparison. In this final lecture, consider what the Athenians might have made of our democracy today and what democracy really means in the modern world, and whether it is as secure as we sometimes assume. x