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  • Introduction to C++: Programming Concepts and Applications

    Professor John Keyser, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Taught by Professor John Keyser of Texas A&M University, this course is a step-by-step guide to the popular computer programming language C++. Professor Keyser explains how to access C++ so you can program along with him as he covers the major coding styles offered by this versatile language, including object-oriented programming. In the last lecture, you create an AI game-playing program.
    View Lecture List (25)
    Taught by Professor John Keyser of Texas A&M University, this course is a step-by-step guide to the popular computer programming language C++. Professor Keyser explains how to access C++ so you can program along with him as he covers the major coding styles offered by this versatile language, including object-oriented programming. In the last lecture, you create an AI game-playing program.
    View Lecture List (25)
    25 Lectures  |  Introduction to C++: Programming Concepts and Applications
    Lecture Titles (25)
    • 1
      Compiling Your First C++ Program
      Uncover the power and appeal of C++ for a wide range of uses. Then learn that by processing only 0’s and 1’s, a computer obeys the varied commands of a complex language such as C++. Write a traditional, “Hello, World!” program and discover the importance of adding comments to your code. Finally, follow the instructions in the Quick Start video at the end of this lecture to get C++ working on your own computer or device—by going to an online programming editor or by downloading a C++ integrated development environment (IDE), tailored to your operating system. x
    • 2
      C++ QUICK START: With Browser or Download
      C++ QUICK START: With Browser or Download x
    • 3
      Variables, Computations, and Input in C++
      Try out a program that calculates calories in different foods, demonstrating the essential elements of a program: input, variables, computations, and output. Learn to specify a variable’s type and value, and get advice on shortcuts for keeping your instructions clean. Also discover the origin of the name C++, which signals that the language is designed to do whatever C can do—and then some. x
    • 4
      Booleans and Conditionals in C++
      Probe the power of conditionals, which let you construct programs that can choose between true and false alternatives. Learn to use the keyword bool, which stands for Boolean variable—a value that can be either true (1) or false (0). Study the three basic Boolean operations—and, or, not—and see how they can be combined to make truly complex logical operations. x
    • 5
      Program Design and Writing Test Cases in C++
      There’s more to making a program than writing code. Begin by focusing on the importance of the header and special commands. Then consider how to use comments as “pseudocode” to design the structure that a particular program should follow. Finally, explore the crucial strategy of testing as you go, rather than when the program is complete and errors made near the start are harder to track down. x
    • 6
      C++ Loops and Iteration
      Harness the power of loops, which are sections of code that repeat until a specified computation is complete. Focus on two main types of loops: while loops and for loops, with the latter being a compact way to make the loop occur a set number of times. Learn how to prevent infinite loops, and see how scope allows you to have separate variables inside and outside loops. x
    • 7
      Importing C++ Functions and Libraries
      The secret for building an enormous program such as Windows, with millions of lines of code, is that it draws on ready-made code libraries. Investigate the options that libraries offer, from choosing random numbers to performing complex mathematical operations. Learn how to access a code library, and get tips for finding additional resources beyond the C++ standard libraries. x
    • 8
      Arrays for Quick and Easy Data Storage
      In the first of two lectures on storing large amounts of data, learn the utility of arrays. An array is a collection of variables of the same type. Find out how to declare an array of variables and how to provide an index, which permits access to a specific value within the array. Finally, probe the “out-of-bounds” error that can arise with arrays and see how it led to a notorious security breach. x
    • 9
      Vectors for Safe and Flexible Data Storage
      Continue your study of data storage strategies by looking at vectors, which handle variables in much the same way as arrays but with distinct advantages, including the ability to change the size of a data structure dynamically. Learn how and when to use vectors, and discover that vectors offer a convenient fix for the out-of-bounds error introduced in the previous lecture. x
    • 10
      C++ Strings for Manipulating Text
      Go beyond numbers to see how letters and punctuation are used in data strings, which are ordered sequences of characters. Examine string literals, which are specific fixed sequences of text; and string variables, which are the main way to process and control text data, such as names and addresses. Learn how to search, alphabetize, and concatenate string variables in C++. x
    • 11
      Files and Stream Operators in C++
      Data files are collections of information that are accessed and manipulated through a program. See how data streaming techniques you've already used apply to reading and writing files with the library fstream. Discover that you've already been using an entity that will become increasingly important in the course: objects, which are entities combining variables and functions. x
    • 12
      Top-Down Design and Using a C++ Debugger
      Get to know the vital task of debugging—finding and fixing errors in your code. First, consider the advantages of top-down design, where a complex task is divided into manageable sub-tasks, as opposed to the bottom-up approach that lets complexity emerge more organically, if less predictably. See how incremental development helps in debugging through tools such as the breakpoint and step-over commands. x
    • 13
      Creating Your Own Functions in C++
      Functions serve as ready-made, self-contained units of code that perform a particular task, such as solving an equation, enumerating a list, or even something as simple as closing a file. Prepare for the intensive use of functions in the rest of the course by learning the basic commands that allow you to create your own functions. Get your feet wet with several examples. x
    • 14
      Expanding What Your Functions Can Do in C++
      A parameter is a piece of data used as input into a function. Discover how to create two functions, each with the same name, but with different numbers of parameters—an approach called overloading. Also look at different ways to “pass” parameters to produce an output, either preserving the parameter’s value (pass by value) or changing it (pass by reference). x
    • 15
      Systematic Debugging, Writing Exceptions
      Dig deeper into debugging, learning to employ a tool called exception handling. An exception is a special note that something has gone wrong in a program. Know how to follow up these crucial clues. Also zero in on the six major steps of debugging: isolate the error, narrow down the failure point, identify the problem, fix the problem, re-test, and look for similar cases. x
    • 16
      Functions in Top-Down and Bottom-Up Design
      Revisit top-down versus bottom-up approaches to coding, this time using functions as the building blocks of your program. First, create a game with the top-down strategy, identifying the individual functions that you need in a flowchart. Then design a tool for word processing by using the bottom-up tactic, in which you take available functions and create something completely new. x
    • 17
      Objects and Classes: Encapsulation in C++
      So far, you’ve focused on procedurally oriented programming, which characterizes the original C computer language that led to C++. Now turn to one of the major strengths and innovations of C++: object-oriented programming. Learn that objects are variables and functions encapsulated within classes. Investigate the great utility of this technique for organizing and manipulating data. x
    • 18
      Object-Oriented Constructors and Operators
      The ability to design appropriate classes may be the single most important skill in object-oriented programming. Survey two key tools for using classes effectively. First, constructors let you create classes that fit the requirements of the objects within them. Second, operator overloading allows you to tailor operators to a specific function, providing a handy shortcut that streamlines coding. x
    • 19
      Dynamic Memory Allocation and Pointers
      C++ provides different ways to control data storage in memory. Investigate dynamic memory allocation, which allows memory to grow and shrink with the demands of a program as it is running—as opposed to static memory, which is fixed at runtime. Practice managing memory in a 20-questions-type game and compare the advantages of allocating dynamic memory with pointers versus vectors. x
    • 20
      Object-Oriented Programming with Inheritance
      Explore the power of inheritance, which is a technique for creating classes that inherit properties from another class, called the base class. Using this tool, you can define a variable or function just once and then use it in multiple classes. Walk through several examples of inheritance, seeing how it greatly reduces complexity by eliminating redundant code. x
    • 21
      Object-Oriented Programming with Polymorphism
      Study a key object-oriented feature called polymorphism, which means “many shapes” and refers to the ability of a class to be used in multiple ways. Start with a superclass that is specialized into multiple subclasses, each of which has a different implementation. Learn to define virtual functions for the superclass, leading to diverse properties in the subclasses. x
    • 22
      Using Classes to Build a Game Engine in C++
      Use your knowledge of object-oriented programming to design a “game engine” that can be used for building multiple games. Take a top-down approach, drawing on encapsulation, hierarchical inheritance, and polymorphism to create the two-person game Othello, also known as Reversi. Discover the ease with which you can create other subclasses for additional games, such as checkers and chess. x
    • 23
      C++ Templates, Containers, and the STL
      Whenever you have an idea that’s so general that it’s not tied down by any specific data type, you’ll want to turn to generic programming, which substitutes a template for a data type. The Standard Template Library (STL) is a menu of generic container structures that address these types of problems. Learn the advantages of various containers, including queues, lists, stacks, and vectors. x
    • 24
      C++ Associative Containers and Algorithms
      Probe deeper into generic programming and the STL, focusing on associative containers and algorithms. The former is a set of templates that lets you group different elements into ordered sets, while algorithms are rules that handle data or accomplish some other task, allowing advanced operations to be performed very quickly. Learn that algorithms are a powerful tool in programming. x
    • 25
      Artificial Intelligence Algorithm for a Game
      Finish the course by drawing on all you have learned to design a game-playing algorithm for artificial intelligence—that is, a program that makes “intelligent” game moves as if it were human. Finally, look ahead to your options for continuing study in computer programming. With elementary C++ under your belt, there are many directions you can go in mastering this valuable skill. x
  • Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature

    Professor Daniel Breyer, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    In Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature, Professor Daniel Breyer takes you on a fascinating cross-cultural philosophical journey into many of the deepest and, indeed, darkest questions that plague our souls. By looking carefully into these darkest aspects of ourselves and the human suffering in our world, we can better understand ourselves and appreciate our deep desire for meaning and purpose in our lives.

    View Lecture List (24)

    In Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature, Professor Daniel Breyer takes you on a fascinating cross-cultural philosophical journey into many of the deepest and, indeed, darkest questions that plague our souls. By looking carefully into these darkest aspects of ourselves and the human suffering in our world, we can better understand ourselves and appreciate our deep desire for meaning and purpose in our lives.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      What Do We Mean by the "Dark Side"?
      Most of us think of ourselves as good people—reserving the concept of the “dark side” only for science fiction or psychopaths. But that’s not really the truth of human nature. We’ll begin to explore how the dark side relates both to our tendencies toward immorality and evil and to some of the most problematic aspects of the human condition. x
    • 2
      Our Fundamental Nature: Good or Evil?
      Are people fundamentally good, fundamentally evil, or neither? To develop a sophisticated answer to this basic question, we reach back to a more than 2,000-year-old debate between great Confucian philosophers. Do you agree with optimism, pessimism, dualism, indifferentism, or individualism? Which theory of human nature speaks to you and frames your view of the world? x
    • 3
      What Is Evil?
      You probably have some ideas about what it means to be “evil.” But in order to fully examine the dark side of human nature, we need to go deeper—questioning both whether evil actually exists and what it means to call an action evil. Referencing a wide range of thinkers, some ancient, some contemporary, you’ll explore the ontological and conceptual aspects of evil. x
    • 4
      Moral Monsters and Evil Personhood
      Most of us have done something “bad” or immoral in our lives, although we wouldn’t consider ourselves evil. But where exactly is that line? What does it take for us to label a person evil? By considering four models of evil—the Evildoer, Dispositional, Affect, and Moral Monster models—you’ll begin to develop your own views of when an individual is, and is not, evil. x
    • 5
      Evil and Responsibility
      Are psychopaths responsible for their actions? You might be surprised to learn that many psychologists and philosophers think they are not, due to their inability to recognize important moral facts. Guided by a variety of philosophers, you will consider how much responsibility evil-doers can and should accept for their crimes—and in what ways they might not be so different from the rest of us. x
    • 6
      Sin: Original and Otherwise
      How would you know if you had committed a sin, and what would its consequences be? From the words of Jesus to Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, and modern theologians, you'll explore the Christian concepts of sin and how they relate to a secular notion of evil. Is it even possible to sin without a divine lawmaker? Indian Buddhist philosophers say that it is. x
    • 7
      Dark Thoughts and Desires
      Have you ever daydreamed about doing harm to another person? If so, studies show you're certainly not alone. Are our darkest thoughts and desires simply a fundamental part of our human nature? Why can't we seem to suppress or eradicate them? Explore potential answers to these fascinating questions with help from 6th-century Tianti Buddhist philosophers and modern-day evolutionary psychologists. x
    • 8
      Suffering and Its Causes
      Why do we suffer, and how can we avoid it? The Buddha addresses these questions directly in his Four Noble Truths. Although sometimes erroneously condensed into the pessimistic “all life is suffering,” you’ll learn about the Buddha’s optimistic path forward. But do the Buddha’s teachings carry truth for us in the 21st century? An evolutionary psychologist provides a fascinating answer. x
    • 9
      The Problem of Expectation and Desire
      We turn to the 2,000-year-old Hindu Bhagavad Gita to study the roles played by our desires and expectations, and why we are so often disappointed in our lives. But how could we live without desire and expectations? One path provided by the Gita—being so absorbed in an activity that we lose our sense of self—leads to the experience we know of today as “flow.” x
    • 10
      The Fear of Death
      We are all going to die. How do we respond to that knowledge? Learn why the Roman philosopher Lucretius believed that our fear of death drives us to act against our best interests. And why the Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi wondered if our negative view of death even makes sense. Either way, fearing death seems to be part of what it means to be human. x
    • 11
      Existential Anxiety and the Courage to Be
      Have you ever wondered whether life has any meaning at all? Given the immensity of the universe, how could we be anything more than an inconsequential blip? Learn why so many philosophers who've grappled with this existential anxiety conclude that our lives do have value, and how one theologian finds meaning specifically in our courage to face ourselves in the world as it really is. x
    • 12
      The Goodness of Grief
      Could grief ever have a good side? If you've ever suffered its agony, you know grief can feel like the very darkest side of human nature. But as you explore the many ways in which philosophers and psychologists have grappled with this issue for millennia, you'll learn that grief just might be one of our most important opportunities for self-knowledge and connection to community. x
    • 13
      Homo necans: Why Do We Kill?
      Is there something in human nature that drives us to kill others or is it a biological aberration? Watching the news would certainly make you wonder. And if a drive to kill does exist, is it activated by nature or nurture—is it genetic or situational? Studies have supported both points of view. The shocking truth we do know is just how much we all have in common with those who kill. x
    • 14
      Nightmares and the Dream Self
      Who are we in the worst of our dreams? Explore why Freud believed our dreams reveal important aspects of ourselves—both the conscious and unconscious. Learn how Augustine coped when he dreamed of actions that went against his most profound beliefs. Even when we have no idea how to interpret a particularly disturbing dream, it still becomes an opportunity for learning about ourselves. x
    • 15
      Varieties of Self-Deception
      When we hold two contradictory thoughts in our minds at the same time, have we become liars, lying to ourselves about something we know cannot be true? Or are we just harmless wishful thinkers? Is self-deception an adaptation that has given us an evolutionary advantage? Learn what you can do to try to avoid deceiving yourself about your own life. x
    • 16
      Varieties of Ignorance
      Explore the concept of ignorance through the writings of two Indian philosophers who lived centuries apart, Shankara and Ramanuja. Is ignorance a lack of knowledge, or is it wrong knowledge? Learn why some modern philosophers describe ignorance as a complex social phenomenon with the potential to bring out the dark side of our nature—and what we can do to counteract it. x
    • 17
      Weakness of Will
      Have you ever eaten a donut when you knew you shouldn't? Socrates would have been shocked! He didn't think it was possible for people to act against their own best interest. Explore many potential explanations for why we sometimes do what we said we never would. Is it a question of a simple failure to follow through on our intentions, or could we be suffering from ego depletion? x
    • 18
      Luck and the Limits of Blame
      Two people go to a party, become legally drunk, and drive home. One kills a pedestrian, the other encounters no one. Should we judge them differently, or the same? Many philosophers have addressed the role of luck and its moral implications in our lives. As you explore their various perspectives, you might not find any easy answers. But you might think twice before placing blame. x
    • 19
      Victim Blaming and the Just-World Hypothesis
      In the Old Testament Book of Job, his friends blamed Job for the tragedies that befell him. After all, if the world is a fair and just place, then victims always get what they deserve, right? Explore whether or not we can eliminate victim blaming while maintaining that the world is, in the end, a fair and just place. x
    • 20
      Retribution and Revenge
      We’ve all heard of people who decide to take the law into their own hands to exact revenge on a perpetrator who harmed them or someone they love—even if that person had already received society’s punishment. Why do we so often feel that need for vengeance? Uncover what we can learn today from the Greek dramatist Aeschylus, as he struggled to reconcile the tension between retributive justice and revenge. x
    • 21
      Forgiveness and Redemption
      What was your reaction when members of the Charleston, SC, church publicly forgave Dylann Roof, the young man who had murdered nine of their members? Could you imagine yourself forgiving him? Did that forgiveness seem morally right or wrong to you? Explore how Christian and Buddhist philosophers explain forgiveness and the redemption of human sinners. Do you believe anyone is truly beyond redemption? x
    • 22
      The Elimination of Anger
      If you could eliminate anger from your life, would you? Should you? Anger can be dangerous, but righteous anger can also be motivating. What if you could eliminate anger, but replace it with the motivation of compassion and loving-kindness? You'll examine and broaden your thoughts on this powerful emotion by learning from the Buddhist philosopher Shantideva, the Stoic philosopher Seneca, and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, among others. x
    • 23
      Being Peaceful in a Troubled World
      How can we find internal tranquility and remain peaceful in the midst of such a troubled world? It isn't easy, but it is possible. Brain science has discovered that we mirror the behavior of others, and anger can beget anger. But kindness can beget kindness, too. Explore some Christian and Buddhist guidelines for confronting the dark side of human nature without spiraling into the darkness of violence, rage, and fear. x
    • 24
      The Allure of the Dark Side
      Have you ever been morbidly curious about death, violence, or evil? Do you have a fascination with horror movies and love being terrified on roller coasters? Explore how psychologists and philosophers describe the benefits of our fascination with the dark side. As you grapple with death, anger, fear, and dark thoughts, you’ll learn a tremendous amount about yourself—and what it means to be human. x
  • Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe

    Professor Elizabeth K. Andre, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Transform your next (or your first!) outdoor adventure from “roughing it” in the great outdoors to “smoothing it” in the natural world.

    Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe

    is about enjoying life in the backcountry. Taught by Professor Elizabeth K. Andre of Northland College, these 24 insightful lectures will give you the practical skills you need to set off for the water or the woods.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Transform your next (or your first!) outdoor adventure from “roughing it” in the great outdoors to “smoothing it” in the natural world.

    Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe

    is about enjoying life in the backcountry. Taught by Professor Elizabeth K. Andre of Northland College, these 24 insightful lectures will give you the practical skills you need to set off for the water or the woods.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Call of the Wild
      We often think of “roughing it” in the outdoors—testing our mettle against the forces of nature and depriving ourselves of creature comforts. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this introductory lecture, explore some of the many reasons to venture into the great outdoors. Find out how, instead of “roughing it,” you can “smooth it.” x
    • 2
      Backpacking and Trip Planning
      A backpacking trip can be profoundly enjoyable, provided you plan ahead and pack a few necessities (and leave a few non-essentials at home). Learn how to stay hydrated, eat well, take care of your skin, and protect your feet on the trail. Gain a few safety tips for traveling in a group. x
    • 3
      Canoe or Sea-Kayak Camping
      Glide into the backcountry or open ocean—in style! Paddling is one of the most serene ways to enjoy the natural world, but there are a few perils that come with canoeing or kayaking. From battling waves and weather to staying warm in cool waters, learn how to take on the world’s oceans, lakes, and rivers. x
    • 4
      Campcraft: Selecting and Organizing Gear
      You don't have to spend much time with outdoor enthusiasts to learn it's all about the gear. From high-tech creature comforts to lightweight innovations, there's no shortage of ways to outfit your next overnight. What do you really need? How do you balance weight versus convenience? Start building your system of gear in this practical lecture. x
    • 5
      Clothing and Footwear for Outdoor Adventure
      Investigate the world of shell layers, synthetic materials, insulation, and ankle support to help you maintain a comfortable body temperature, manage moisture, and protect your skin. Whether it's a multi-day snow hike or car camping in the desert, Professor Andre shows you how to select just the right clothing and footwear for your next outdoor excursion. x
    • 6
      Basics for Wilderness Safety
      Lions, tigers, and bears … well, your wilderness adventure might not bring you in contact with a tiger, but plenty of other risks abound, from snakes to stinging insects to, yes, black bears and mountain lions. See what it takes to stay safe on the trail, and how to stay healthy while you’re off the grid. x
    • 7
      Weather Forecasting and Moon Phases
      Cold fronts and warm fronts are more than meteorological mumbo jumbo. With a little training, you can look at cloud patterns and know whether rain is on the way—and what type of storm to expect. As you dig into the fascinating world of weather patterns, you’ll learn how to survive lightning, floods, tornadoes, and more. x
    • 8
      Introduction to Navigation
      For most of us accustomed to GPS directions and well-marked streets, it can be frighteningly easy to get lost in the woods. In this lecture, engage your senses—sight, sound, smell, and feel—to build mental maps of your surroundings. Find out how to measure time and distance on the trail. x
    • 9
      Navigating with Topographic Maps
      Topographic maps tell you a great deal about the terrain—details that don’t much matter in the civilized world. Professor Andre teaches you how to read these helpful maps, and then she shows you how to use a compass in sync with your topographic map. With a little practice on the trail or on the river, you may never get lost again. x
    • 10
      Assessing and Managing Risk in the Outdoors
      Risk management affects every aspect of our lives, but it’s especially critical when you don’t have instant access to shelter, medical supplies, and 911. Unpack the nature and likelihood of various risks in the outdoors, as well as our own cognitive biases, so you can make better—safer—decisions on the trail and off. x
    • 11
      How Emotions Affect Your Decision Making
      Life might be much simpler if we were all rational beings who always made highly calculated decisions. Alas, humans are emotional beings, and we make many of our most important decisions by feel rather than by thought. Learn to make better decisions by examining your emotions at play in the great outdoors. x
    • 12
      Selecting a Campsite and Pitching Shelter
      As anyone who does it regularly knows, camping is fun. But to make the most of it, you’ll want to set up a good campsite. Find out what makes a good campsite and how to set up a tarp or tent to keep you dry and cozy. This lecture comes with a special “bonus instruction” on tying knots to help you secure a tarp. x
    • 13
      Outdoor Kitchen Setup and Safety
      Your campsite might not be a gourmet kitchen with all the amenities, but with a few adjustments to your cooking regimen, you can cook some amazing meals outdoors. Survey the best way to set up your campsite kitchen, the basics of stove safety, and how to keep your hands and dishes clean. x
    • 14
      Building a Campfire
      Storytelling by a campfire is one of life’s most enjoyable activities—and it’s as old as humanity itself. But building a good fire can separate the amateurs from the pros at the campsite. From gathering tinder to establishing a bed of coals, see what it takes to construct a good fire in the wild. x
    • 15
      Safe Drinking Water in the Wilderness
      If you’re out in the backcountry for more than a day, you’re going to need to treat water to. Make it safe for drinking—removing sediment, bacteria, and other microorganisms that might make you sick. Reflect on your different options for filtering or purifying water, from boiling to chemical treatments, and the pros and cons of each. x
    • 16
      Outdoor Menu Planning and Cooking
      Humans survived for millennia without refrigeration, but enjoying a good meal on the trail requires a few adjustments to our modern lifestyle. You'll want to triangulate your daily calorie needs, the weight of your gear, and the taste of your food. Examine the range of options available for your next trip to the wild. x
    • 17
      Minimizing Your Impact on the Wilderness
      Nothing spoils an outdoor adventure faster than stumbling onto a messy campsite or a vandalized forest. Minimizing your impact in the backcountry is part of an unwritten code of courtesy for enjoying the wild. Learn the major principles for being a good steward of the wilderness. x
    • 18
      Hygiene on a Camping Trip
      Germs exist in the wild same as they do in civilization, but without running hot water it can be a challenge to keep yourself clean. From shoes to camp soap to disposable wipes, see what gear you can bring and what steps you should take to mitigate the spread of disease. Your body, and your camp mates, will thank you. x
    • 19
      Wilderness First Aid: Handling Emergencies
      It’s a good idea for everyone to have at least a basic understanding of wilderness first aid. The “wait-and-see” approach we might take in the front country could be deadly in the backcountry. In this first of two lectures, learn about first aid for the “big three”: circulatory, respiratory, and nervous systems. x
    • 20
      Wilderness First Aid: Nonemergency Care
      Continue your study of wilderness first aid with a look beyond the “big three” life-threatening concerns. Find out how to make a splint for an injured limb, how to treat an open wound, what to do for burns, and more. Learn a few guidelines for when to hike out and when to call for help. x
    • 21
      Navigating with a Compass
      A compass is one of the most useful tools on the trip, but only if you know how to use it. See how to get your bearings and travel off trail or over open water with the aid of a compass. Then, travel with Professor Andre to the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota to practice your navigation skills. x
    • 22
      What to Do When You're Lost
      Getting lost is one of the easiest things to do in the backcountry. Perhaps you wander off the trail to gather firewood, or perhaps you stop paying attention to your map and compass. Whatever the reason, you find yourself lost. What should you do? Keep moving? Call for help? Build a shelter? Learn the do's and don'ts in this insightful lecture. x
    • 23
      Maintaining and Repairing Your Gear
      The right gear makes all the difference in the wild, but only if you take care of it between expeditions. Even the most avid outdoor enthusiasts may neglect to wash their sleeping bags or shake out their tents after a long stint in the bush. Here, Professor Andre offers a checklist of common gear ailments and how to prevent them. x
    • 24
      Connecting to the Wild within You
      Preparation and caution are important for venturing into the wild, but your outdoor experience is about more than following a checklist and staying hydrated. Whether on water or land, getting outdoors can be breath-taking, as this final lecture makes clear. Now, get ready for your own next adventure! x
  • Everyday Urban Sketching

    Taught By Multiple Professors

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Dive into urban sketching with four experienced artists as they show you how to capture the people, the places, and the movement of the city.
    View Lecture List (32)
    Dive into urban sketching with four experienced artists as they show you how to capture the people, the places, and the movement of the city.
    View Lecture List (32)
    32 Lectures  |  Everyday Urban Sketching
    Lecture Titles (32)
    • 1
      Module 1 Lesson 1: Introduction and Materials
      Meet your instructor Suma and begin by going over the materials you'll need to get started. After that, practice some exercises that will help you sketch quickly and confidently when you're out and about. x
    • 2
      Module 1 Lesson 2: Vignettes
      Suma introduces her "Read It, Frame It, Draw It" approach to sketching quickly on location. Learn how to spot the best scenes, decide what subjects to focus on and make the right marks to convey the essence of a place or space. x
    • 3
      Module 1 Lesson 3: Sketching on the Move: Play, Pause, Rewind
      Find out how to sketch a scene while in transit, whether you're walking or on a bus, train or car, as Suma breaks down her "Play, Pause, Rewind" method. See how to mark a moving object, take advantage of downtime to add details and look for repetition in your daily routines. x
    • 4
      Module 1 Lesson 4: 4 Adding People: Symbols, Not Statues
      Ready to bring your sketches to life? Learn how to depict people as symbols to quickly add them into a scene. Suma shares some basic proportions that will make your figures look more realistic. Then, learn how to draw a variety of clothes and depict skin tones using watercolor. x
    • 5
      Module 1 Lesson 5: 5 Nature: Sky, Ground, Middle
      Find out how to quickly render natural subjects, such as a landscape, using Suma's "Sky, Ground, Middle" approach. See how to create convincing vistas in a short amount of time, without having to worry about traditional perspective techniques. x
    • 6
      Module 1 Lesson 6: 6 Watercolor: Tips for Fast Sketching
      End class by digging deeper into watercolor to make your sketches more compelling. Suma shares her strategies for harnessing color to create unified and energetic sketches with ease. x
    • 7
      Module 2 Lesson 1: Getting Started
      Meet Judith Cassel-Mamet, who begins class by introducing her philosophy on journaling, then goes over what you'll need to get started, and shows you how to make two kinds of journals. x
    • 8
      Module 2 Lesson 2: Activating Your Journal
      Take a look at various preparation techniques to make your journals more vibrant. See how to activate blank pages with color, design, and even some everyday beverages such as coffee and wine. x
    • 9
      Module 2 Lesson 3: Text as a Graphic Element
      Judith shows you how to use text in a variety of ways, from design elements to headers to accents. Plus, get tips on how to make your writing more artistic and calligraphic. x
    • 10
      Module 2 Lesson 4: Incorporating Ephemera
      Discover some novel techniques for treating and incorporating both manmade and natural ephemera, including sandpaper, flowers and more. x
    • 11
      Module 2 Lesson 5: Sketching Shortcuts
      Judith shares tips for creating meaningful pages by sketching your surroundings. Discover a few techniques that will simplify your sketches, then find out how to use your camera as a helpful guide. x
    • 12
      Module 2 Lesson 6: Completing Your Journal
      In this final lesson, explore simple techniques for organizing, placing, and securing ephemera, as well as for layering objects and materials such as chalk and watercolor. And, find out how to add your personal flair to journal spines and covers. x
    • 13
      Module 3 Lesson 1: Single-Line Sketching
      Meet your instructor Marc Taro Holmes and learn how to create beautiful sketches while traveling. He'll review the basic materials you need to start your adventure. Then, practice the single-line sketch for simplicity and speed. Marc will also show you how to add in darks for contrast. x
    • 14
      Module 3 Lesson 2: Draw Like a Painter
      Learn Marc's "drawing like a painter" technique and use a brush pen to indicate light and dark areas on a street scene. Then, see how to translate this technique to a variety of shapes and sketches from statues to more complex scenes, like town squares, using water-soluble ink. x
    • 15
      Module 3 Lesson 3: Tinting Drawings in Watercolor
      See how to add color and life to your line drawings as Marc layers color washes onto simple sketches. You'll learn to use watercolor by breaking scenes into shapes, charging-in with color, and utilizing the wet-in-wet technique to grow a wash of color. x
    • 16
      Module 3 Lesson 4: Sketch Collecting
      Sketchbooks are a great way to tell the story of your travels through themes and montages. Marc provides examples from his personal sketchbooks for single-page storytelling inspiration. Then, learn how to make a travel log of your trip by thinking like a documentary filmmaker. x
    • 17
      Module 3 Lesson 5: Painless Perspective
      Don't be intimidated by perspective sketches. Marc demonstrates his solutions for helping break down perspective through neutralizing the angle and simplifying the details for easy visualization. Then, learn how to approximate perspective on a city street with a single-line drawing. x
    • 18
      Module 3 Lesson 6: Watercolor Sketching
      Take your skills up a notch and begin watercolor sketching! Begin to see basic shapes and how they interact with each other. Follow Marc's direction for painting in the negative space to let the focal points pop, and then learn how to charge-in the fine details to finish off a watercolor sketch. x
    • 19
      Module 3 Lesson 7: Working in Layers
      Follow Marc's direction to work with multiple layers of watercolor to achieve a professional look to your painting. Planning the composition from the start will allow you to add midtones on dry paint for a gorgeous result. Finally, learn how to add details and finishing touches to bring your pieces together. x
    • 20
      Module 4 Lesson 1: How We See Buildings
      Instructor Stephanie Bower begins class with a refresher on architecture drawing fundamentals. She'll cover one- and two-point perspective, parallel lines, and eye-level line. Plus, find out a simple three-step process that pulls these elements together to start your sketches. x
    • 21
      Module 4 Lesson 2: Architectural Elements
      Master sketching common architectural elements. Stephanie shares an easy approach to drawing windows and doors, as well as how to correctly sketch columns and arches in perspective. She'll also show you how to use guidelines to make your elements more accurate. x
    • 22
      Module 4 Lesson 3: Building Materials
      Discover the techniques for drawing building textures. Learn how your quality of line can indicate various building materials, and how to provide a sense of depth and scale. Then, you'll see how to create a focal point using texture and architectural details. x
    • 23
      Module 4 Lesson 4: Sloping Surfaces
      Take the fear out of sketching sloped surfaces as Stephanie walks you through a simple method for drawing stairs and roofs. She'll also explain how to accurately find the center of a roof. x
    • 24
      Module 4 Lesson 5: Tips & Techniques
      Gain the skills to make your buildings pop. From general composition tricks to mark-making strategies, you'll find out how to capture the energy of a cityscape and create strong drawings every time. x
    • 25
      Module 4 Lesson 6: Sketching Buildings on Location
      Now it's time to take your new skills on the road! In this final lesson, you'll learn how to put your new skills and techniques to use when you're out sketching in the field. Stephanie shows you how to start and develop your sketch, and even add some color. x
    • 26
      Module 5 Lesson 1: The Pencil Gesture
      Join Marc Taro Holmes and discover how you can easily draw people in motion using pencil, ink and watercolor. Ease into the process by sketching loose, gestural drawings in pencil, without worrying about the small details. Plus, learn how to capture essential elements before your subject moves. x
    • 27
      Module 5 Lesson 2: Adding Ink
      Once you've sketched your gesture drawing, add in more detail with ink. Watch and learn how Marc breaks the subject into basic shapes. Practice refining these shapes and loosely sketching in the shadows to help define the subject, while preserving the liveliness of the original sketch. x
    • 28
      Module 5 Lesson 3: Brushwork & Hatching
      Create focal points within your ink drawing using the brush pen. Marc demonstrates how to use brushwork to emphasize and reinforce the darkest shapes and shadows. Add in striking accents and a sense of movement with hatching. Plus, learn tips for creating dimensional silhouettes. x
    • 29
      Module 5 Lesson 4: Adding Color
      Complete your sketch by adding splashes of color. Set up a portable watercolor palette, then start painting! Learn how to apply a wash and reinforce shadow shapes with open brushstrokes. Add in finishing touches by laying down richer notes of color and detail. x
    • 30
      Module 5 Lesson 5: Advanced Techniques: Water-Soluble Ink
      Broaden your skill set by working with water-soluble inks—and faster moving subjects. Sketch another gesture drawing, using Marc's tips for capturing unique poses within a dynamic scene. Add in shadow shapes and anchor points with ink and a brush pen. Then blend it together with water. x
    • 31
      Module 5 Lesson 6: Advanced Techniques: Direct to Watercolor
      Pull from the skills you learned in previous lessons to tackle this advanced watercolor technique. You'll see how Marc captures fast-moving subjects by painting large—and loose—shapes and silhouettes first. Complete the scene by filling in the shadows and fine-tuning smaller details. x
    • 32
      Module 5 Lesson 7: Capturing Multiple People
      Discover how to infuse the art of storytelling into your sketches. Marc explains how selecting unique poses and including the right details are key to capturing the story. Plus, learn how to arrange multiple subjects on a page—and add splashes of color—to create a captivating sequence of events. x
  • Warriors, Queens, and Intellectuals: 36 Great Women before 1400

    Professor Joyce E. Salisbury, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    In unearthing these stories in Warriors, Queens, and Intellectuals, we are not only able to rediscover the contributions of women— often lost to time and whose stories were written to fit prevailing prejudices—but we are also able to see our own history in new, more nuanced ways. Beyond battles and dates and the names of great men, there are other stories that can give us a richer understanding of the past and how it has shaped the world we live in today.
    View Lecture List (36)
    In unearthing these stories in Warriors, Queens, and Intellectuals, we are not only able to rediscover the contributions of women— often lost to time and whose stories were written to fit prevailing prejudices—but we are also able to see our own history in new, more nuanced ways. Beyond battles and dates and the names of great men, there are other stories that can give us a richer understanding of the past and how it has shaped the world we live in today.
    View Lecture List (36)
    36 Lectures  |  Warriors, Queens, and Intellectuals: 36 Great Women before 1400
    Lecture Titles (36)
    • 1
      Julia Disobeys Emperor Augustus
      Begin your exploration of dynamic, influential women with Julia, the daughter of Caesar Augustus, whose experiences offer a window into the way many societies of the pre-modern world sought to control morality and enforce gender roles. Julia's life may have been one of thwarted potential, but her story is integral to understanding what many other women had to overcome to make a mark on history. x
    • 2
      Herodias Has John the Baptist Beheaded
      Writers and artists have long portrayed the death of John the Baptist as the whim of the young femme fatale Salome, but the truth is much more complicated. Discover the story of Salome's mother, the ambitious Herodias, an influential Judean woman whose hunger for power and recognition ultimately left her exiled and forgotten. x
    • 3
      The Trung Sisters of Vietnam Fight the Han
      Turn from the Mediterranean to China under the Han Dynasty, as its imperial expansion threatened the traditional—and strongly matriarchal—culture of Vietnam. Two of the most famous Vietnamese rebels of this era were the Trung sisters, who led tribal armies against the powerful invaders. See how their story has become a touchstone of Vietnamese culture and pride into the 21st century. x
    • 4
      Boudicca Attacks the Romans
      Witness the end of Iron Age Britain and the birth of “Roman Briton” with the valiant but thwarted rebellion led by the Celtic warrior queen, Boudicca. Like many rebels before her, she was motivated by personal tragedy as much as she was driven by the bigger picture of freedom for her people. Her legacy would be revived in the rule of another British queen, Victoria. x
    • 5
      Poppaea Helps Nero Persecute Christians
      Nero may not have truly “fiddled while Rome burned” but his reputation for excess and cruelty is genuine. See how the beautiful Poppaea became the wife of the mad emperor and how her religious sympathies likely influenced his persecution of Christians following a devastating fire. Ultimately, Poppaea’s story is a complex mix of spiritual zeal and vicious cruelty. x
    • 6
      Plotina Advises Emperor Trajan
      The impact of Plotina on the reign of her husband Trajan is both profound and difficult to delineate. Witness how her moral influence—as well as that of other valued women in Trajan’s household—shaped the policies and reputation of one of the “Five Good Emperors” of Rome and how her story demonstrates a particular version of female power in the ancient world. x
    • 7
      Perpetua Is Martyred in the Arena
      Follow the story of Vibia Perpetua, one of the earliest reliably verified Christian martyrs. How did the well-educated daughter of a noble family end up publicly executed in the arena? Trace the seemingly random series of events that led to a tragic death and see how Perpetua's record of her own experiences became an immensely popular text in the early Christian church. x
    • 8
      Julia Maesa Controls an Unusual Emperor
      After the murder of the despised Roman emperor Caracalla, an unlikely new dynasty was formed by a family of Syrian women. Examine how both utilizing and upending the strict gender roles of ancient Rome allowed Julia Maesa and her family to gain unprecedented (and precarious) power. Their influence was short-lived, but altered the course of the empire, nonetheless. x
    • 9
      Zenobia Battles the Roman Legions
      Travel to the furthest edge of the Roman empire, to the wealthy outpost of Palmyra, where the gradual collapse of the Pax Romana opened the way for rebellion. There, the ambitious, young Queen Zenobia managed to bring substantial parts of the eastern Roman empire under her rule before facing defeat and exile when she attempted to declare her son emperor. x
    • 10
      Helena Brings Christianity Down to Earth
      Meet Helena, a tavern girl in Naissus (modern Serbia) who captured the heart of a powerful Roman soldier and gave birth to a son named Constantine. When Constantine became emperor, his mother influenced his religious policy, creating a foothold for Christianity to become one of the most powerful institutions the world has ever seen. x
    • 11
      Galla Placidia Supports the Visigoths
      The unusual life of the Roman Princess Galla Placidia shows how an odd series of events can lead to astonishing results. After being kidnapped by the Visigoths, Placidia became a political advisor to the king of these “barbarians”—and then his wife. Eventually, she would become a powerful empress of Rome and leave a strong mark on the politics, laws, and art of the empire. x
    • 12
      Hypatia Dies for Intellectual Freedom
      Look at the brilliant and controversial scholar, Hypatia, as she lived, taught, and died in Alexandria in the middle of the 5th century. Her role as a public intellectual and philosopher would make her a rare example of respected female scholarship in a male-dominated world—and would ultimately lead to her murder at the hands of an angry Christian mob. x
    • 13
      Pulcheria Defends the Virgin Mary
      How does a 13-year-old girl become the guiding force of the most powerful empire in the world? Discover how Pulcheria used religion and a very strategic vow of chastity to ensure the success of her family's dynasty following the death of her parents. Also see how her successful theological defense of the Virgin Mary would shape the Catholic Church for centuries to come. x
    • 14
      Theodora Rises from Dancer to Empress
      Witness one of the most dramatic stories of upward mobility in history: the rise of Theodora from prostitution to royalty. As co-ruler with her husband, the emperor Justinian, she led a lavish and influential life, exercising her power to help improve the lives of women who experienced the hardships she had known in her youth. x
    • 15
      Radegund Founds a Convent
      During the brutal Merovingian dynasty, Queen Radegund stands out as an exception to the violence and cruelty of Western Europe after the collapse of Roman power. See how her religious convictions helped her escape her abusive husband and build a convent that would help other women find a place of freedom and safety. x
    • 16
      Aisha Helps Shape Islam
      Aisha bin Abi Bakr was the favorite wife of the prophet Muhammad and she became one of the most influential women in Islam—and one of the most controversial. Explore the many ways Aisha’s influence and authority helped shape a burgeoning religion that would become one of the largest and most powerful institutions in the world. x
    • 17
      Wu Zetian Rules China
      In all of Chinese history, only one woman ever ruled on her own: Wu Zetian. Trace her rise to power, from her lowly origins as the daughter of a merchant to the head of her own dynasty. Along the way, gain insight into the cutthroat nature of the Chinese imperial court and the ways Wu could be both brilliant and cruel throughout her reign. x
    • 18
      Kahina Defends North Africa against Muslims
      Turn to northwest Africa, where the fierce warrior woman, Kahina, fought to defend the mountain tribes of Maghreb from Muslim incursion. Understand why the struggle between the north African tribes and Islam was not about religion, but rather about preserving independence. Also discover the crucial role of olive trees in this conflict. x
    • 19
      Dhuoda Chronicles a Carolingian Life
      Take a closer look at everyday life and politics in the Middle Ages with the chronicle kept by the Carolingian woman, Dhouda, for her young son. Through her writing, we can gain rare insight into this time of constant warfare and shifting alliances from the perspective of a highly educated woman who stands in for the many women whose voices are lost to time. x
    • 20
      Elfrida Rules Anglo-Saxon England
      The life of Elfrida can serve as a lesson in the difficulties of separating historical fact from rumor. See how the first crowned queen of England was often reduced to the archetype of the “wicked step-mother” when she was so much more than that. Look at her contributions to England in the 10th century and consider the common failings of historical memory. x
    • 21
      Freydis Journeys to North America
      The formidable sister of Leif Eriksson, Freydis Eriksdottir, accompanied her famous brother on two of the six voyages he took from Greenland to North America, making a fortune—and building a reputation for cunning and violence—along the way. Through Freydis, consider the contributions of women to the Viking age that would transform Europe. x
    • 22
      Lubna of Cordoba Masters Mathematics
      See how a woman, Lubna, rose to prominence as the most renowned mathematician of her day in the glittering intellectual capital Cordoba and get a better understanding of women's education in the Muslim world and beyond. You'll see that, while Lubna was extraordinary, she was not necessarily unique to her time and place. x
    • 23
      Lady Murasaki Writes the First Novel
      At the height of the Heian period, Japan was breaking away from Chinese influence and developing its own courtly culture, with women emerging as a powerful force in art and literature. Here you will meet Murasaki Shikibu, the woman who wrote the world's first novel: The Tale of Genji. x
    • 24
      Anna Brings Christianity to Russia
      One strategic political alliance changed the course of history in Eastern Europe. Understand how the marriage of a Byzantine princess and a pagan Scandinavian king brought Christianity to the area that would become Russia and how the marriage would establish a base of power that would be used to legitimize future tsars, generations later. x
    • 25
      Anna Comnena Writes a Byzantine History
      Meet one of the most significant historians of the First Crusade: Anna Comnena. Denied her dream of ruling as empress in Byzantium, the highly educated Anna made a different kind of mark on history by producing one of the most thorough and clear-eyed records of a momentous event that would echo through the ages. x
    • 26
      Eleanor of Aquitaine Goes on Crusade
      The Crusades of the early Middle Ages would have repercussions for centuries to come. Dive into the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, a young queen whose experience of the Second Crusade shows how deeply personal politics could be in a world shaped by dynastic alliances and ruled by church doctrine. x
    • 27
      Marie of Champagne Promotes Romantic Love
      The ideas of chivalry and “romantic love” have been a distinctive feature of Western culture for centuries, but where did they begin? One point of origin is through the patronage of Marie of Champagne. See how her influence shaped literature through the artists she supported, including the originator of the Arthurian romance, Chrétien de Troyes. x
    • 28
      Heloise Embraces the New Philosophy
      Discover the story of Heloise, a woman who embodied the passion for ideas that would define the time known as the “12th-century renaissance.” Her thirst for knowledge—and scandalous love affair with the teacher Peter Abelard—resulted in years of correspondence that captures spiritual and intellectual ideas that foreshadow modern philosophy. x
    • 29
      Hildegard Revolutionizes Traditional Medicine
      Meet one of the most famous women of the Middle Ages. Pledged as a nun from the age of eight, Hildegard put the considerable knowledge she acquired to work through her writings. Her texts on medicine are notable for their blending of ideas that were drawn from the masculine and feminine spheres, as well as the insight they provide into medieval medical practice. x
    • 30
      Razia Rules Muslim India
      Venture to the newly established Muslim sultanate of northern India in the 13th century, where Razia became the first and only female sultan. Though her rule was challenged by conservative Muslims who did not approve of a female ruler, Razia helped keep the peace in her kingdom by promoting compromise between the two competing religions of the area, Islam and Hinduism. x
    • 31
      Sorkhakhtani Administers a Mongol Empire
      Explore the life of a woman some modern historians argue is one of the most influential women in history. From a marriage alliance with the Mongols at the tender age of 13, Sorkhakhtani would grow to have a prodigious influence on this important Asian empire, exercising a degree of power unavailable to many other women of the time. x
    • 32
      Licoricia Deals with the King of England
      The story of Licoricia is inextricably tied to the commerce and violence that swept through England and its Jewish community throughout the 13th century. Her impact on society reflects the changing perception of money in the West and how Jews were both aided and restricted by the laws that dictated how they could make and keep their wealth. x
    • 33
      Abutsu Follows the Way of Poetry
      Though we don’t know her birth name, the woman who would come to be called Abutsu used her talents as a writer to make her fortune in a time of immense change for Japan. Under the new regime of Confucianism, women saw their freedoms curtailed and their opportunities limited, but Abutsu found a path to influence through the “Way of Poetry.” x
    • 34
      Brigitta Speaks to God and the Pope
      The disasters of the tumultuous 14th century paved the way for the modern world. The first of two stories from this era, the life of Brigitta is one of struggle with the social and environmental problems of her time, a struggle she approached through religion. Brigitta's personal faith led her to seek comfort through mysticism and pass her experience down through her writings. x
    • 35
      Joan of Arc Dies for France
      Joan d'Arc stands at the turning point of the brutal Hundred Years' War, a conflict that would transform warfare and national identity in 14th-century Europe. How does an illiterate country girl come to lead the armies of France against the English and become a symbol of a changing world? Look at the events of her life and the tragedy of her death to find out. x
    • 36
      Christine of Pisan Defends Women
      With over 40 works that continue to be read and valued today, Christine of Pisan is considered the first professional writer in history. Her writings offer a clear window into the politics and culture of her day, with a unique perspective based on reason rather than religious faith. She also advocated for a new view of women that was ahead of its time. x
  • Play Ball! The Rise of Baseball as America's Pastime

    Instructor Bruce Markusen, Manager of Digital and Outreach Learning

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Every time you watch baseball, you’re participating in the latest chapter of a compelling story that goes back hundreds of years. In 24 lectures that paint a portrait of the sport’s remarkable past, taking you from the decades before the Civil War to the pivotal year of 1920, Play Ball! The Rise of Baseball as America’s Pastime strikes a perfect balance between sports lore and cultural history.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Every time you watch baseball, you’re participating in the latest chapter of a compelling story that goes back hundreds of years. In 24 lectures that paint a portrait of the sport’s remarkable past, taking you from the decades before the Civil War to the pivotal year of 1920, Play Ball! The Rise of Baseball as America’s Pastime strikes a perfect balance between sports lore and cultural history.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Play Ball! The Rise of Baseball as America's Pastime
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Ground Rules: Baseball before Babe Ruth
      The year 1920 is considered a pivotal year in baseball, when a sense of uniformity in the game was finally achieved. But what about the decades before? Travel back to the years before 1920—a time when changes in the game were rapid, dramatic, and often surprising. x
    • 2
      Early Bat and Ball Games
      Take a look back at the very beginnings of baseball and discover how and why the early version of the game evolved in the middle of the 19th century. Learn how early clubs like the Gothams and the Knickerbockers helped repurpose a familiar child's game so it could be played by urban adults. x
    • 3
      The Era of Amateur Baseball Clubs
      Explore the rise of amateur baseball clubs in the United States. The tour starts with Brooklyn's Eckford Club, whose outings primarily served as refreshing countryside excursions. Then, go back still further to follow the rise of the Knickerbocker Club of New York City and the significance of their 1845 decision to write down the rules of the game. x
    • 4
      The Dawn of Professional Baseball
      In this lecture, learn how the game of baseball moved toward professionalism—and what made professionalization so polarizing. Central to this lecture is future Hall of Famer Harry Wright, who helped pave the way for professional baseball’s success by assembling a talented group of players (and touting their refinement and decorum). x
    • 5
      Baseball's Many Leagues and Associations
      Learn how, after a tumultuous three decades, baseball finally found a formula for 20th-century success: leagues and associations. Topics include the transformations of minor leagues into major ones, the competitive relationships between leagues, and the national agreement of 1883 that paved the way for what became known as “organized baseball.” x
    • 6
      How Baseball Created the World Series
      One effective way to increase public confidence in the outcome of competitive baseball? Offer a valuable prize to the winners. Chart the turbulent evolution of the post-season series: a story filled with controversy, sabotage, peace agreements, and injuries, culminating in the first World Series between the Boston Americans and the National League Pirates. x
    • 7
      Baseball Grows by Hitting the Road
      In the second half of the 19th century, advancing technology offered greater access to faraway places, which opened new avenues for baseball. From national to world tours, take a closer look at how baseball's popularity continued to spread, and how men like Jimmy Ryan and Albert Goodwill Spalding helped set it all in motion. x
    • 8
      Sacred Ground: Baseball's Early Ballparks
      In this lecture, survey the history of ballparks from the Elysian Fields in Hoboken to Wrigley Field to Fenway Park and beyond. You’ll learn how ballparks were defined by their surroundings, the rise of “infields” and “outfields,” the idiosyncratic dimensions and sizes of 19th-century ballparks, the state-of-the-art architectural elements of 20th-century ballparks, and more. x
    • 9
      The Development of Baseball's Rules
      Here, Mr. Markusen helps you make sense of the litany of rule changes that took place in the 75 years between 1845 (when the Knickerbocker Club of New York City framed the first written rules) and 1920 (when it became customary to replace the baseball on a regular basis). x
    • 10
      The Evolution of Protective Equipment
      Face masks, chest protectors, catcher’s mitts, fielder’s gloves—explore how protective equipment became more and more a part of baseball (after much tinkering and adjusting). Also, consider complaints by “old-time” baseball fans that the proliferation of protective equipment robbed the sport of two crucial elements: skill and courage. x
    • 11
      The Role of Women in Baseball's Early Days
      First, examine the role of women in baseball as spectators whose presence was expected to prevent coarse behavior by male fans. Then, explore how colleges like Vassar allowed a select number of 19th-century women to play baseball without scorn. Finally, consider the changes that the “new woman” brought, both in the stands and on the field. x
    • 12
      Black Baseball before the Negro Leagues
      After Emancipation, hopes of baseball becoming a vista of racial harmony were quickly checked. Explore the intersection of baseball and race, from the success of Minor League Baseball players like Frank Grant and George Stovey to the Negro Leagues, which became one of the largest industries to be predominantly owned and operated by African Americans. x
    • 13
      Prejudice and Diversity in Early Baseball
      Turn to another form of injustice in baseball: a prejudice against minority groups that contradicted the idea of the baseball diamond as a beacon of equality. Investigate the setbacks and triumphs of Irish Americans, Jewish players, Native Americans, and those with physical handicaps as they fought (and continue to fight) for inclusion. x
    • 14
      Baseball Grows through the Press
      How did early newspaper editors cover baseball games and decide what, exactly, to write about? What makes Henry Chadwick such a monumental figure in early baseball writing? How did the introduction of the box score help baseball reporters with their jobs? How did post-game access to players change the nature of reporting? x
    • 15
      Baseball Becomes a Game of Numbers
      Most baseball fans take batting averages for granted. But there was a time when statistics were new enough to baseball that they were considered glamorous. Explore everything from how early spectators tracked scores to the professional problems with emphasizing stats to how these numbers began to appear on baseball cards. x
    • 16
      Baseball: A Game for the Fans
      Mr. Markusen reveals how baseball grew to become the national pastime it is today. You’ll learn about the origins of both “fans” and “cranks”; the increased emphasis on baseball as a wholesome family experience; and the magic ability of souvenirs, keepsakes, and autographs to preserve the ballpark experience. x
    • 17
      Baseball and Our Common Culture
      In this lecture, learn to better appreciate baseball’s longstanding ties to American culture. Get the story behind baseball’s connection to poetry and fiction (“Casey at the Bat”), music (“Take Me Out to the Ballgame”), food (CRACKER JACK®), collectibles (baseball cards), and even language (terms such as “bush league” and “home run”). x
    • 18
      The Business behind the National Pastime
      There's a business side to baseball that goes back to the amateur clubs of the game's earliest years. In this lecture on the economics of America's pastime, explore early resentment about paying for tickets; the rise of advertising and promotions to increase fan allegiance; and the emergence of brand-empowering logos, colors, and nicknames. x
    • 19
      Players, Owners, and the Reserve Clause
      The reserve clause (or the “five-man rule”) played a crucial role in every labor war that took place during the first half-century of professional baseball, and was standard practice until the 1970s. Trace the events that would lead to a fight against the right of teams to reserve players—a struggle to which today’s big leaguers are indebted. x
    • 20
      American Politics and Early Baseball
      For over a century, U.S. presidents have regularly rung in the new baseball year by throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day. From President Taft (the first to throw a pitch) to President Eisenhower (who initially underestimated the game's cultural importance), learn about the relationship between presidents and baseball. x
    • 21
      Baseball's Rituals and Traditions
      Why do fielders throw the ball “around the horn” after a strikeout? Why do fans perform “the wave”? When did the “seventh-inning stretch” become a thing? Why do managers wear uniforms? Uncover the roots of these and other rituals and traditions, and the powerful roles they play in baseball. x
    • 22
      The Impact of War on Baseball
      Examine how World War I encroached upon the comparatively tranquil national pastime. You’ll discover the talents of baseball-playing military companies, including one group of “Buffalo soldiers,” as well as a growing emphasis on physical fitness on the field and patriotism in the stands (exemplified by the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner”). x
    • 23
      Scandals and Deception on the Diamond
      The 1919 Black Sox scandal (often thought of as “baseball’s original sin”) marked a turning point in how Americans thought about the right way to play baseball. Join the debate over the complexity of this and other baseball scandals, and the moral quandaries of both deception and the appearance of deception. x
    • 24
      How Changing Baseballs Changed the Game
      Today, we take for granted the idea that every ball used during a game is essentially identical, but this wasn’t so prior to 1920. In this final lecture, explore early variations of baseballs (including the “lemon peel ball”), the evolution of batting orders and the foul strike rule, and more. x
  • Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity

    Instructor Molly Birkholm,

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Research shows we thrive not when we avoid our problems but when we embrace them, confident that we are resilient enough to work through them to an appropriate resolution. In Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity, you’ll learn how to create greater resilience. Whether you’re a trauma survivor or someone who is simply reaching for a more fulfilling and joyful life, your life will be enriched when you proactively increase your resilience.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Research shows we thrive not when we avoid our problems but when we embrace them, confident that we are resilient enough to work through them to an appropriate resolution. In Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity, you’ll learn how to create greater resilience. Whether you’re a trauma survivor or someone who is simply reaching for a more fulfilling and joyful life, your life will be enriched when you proactively increase your resilience.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Building Your Resilience: Finding Meaning in Adversity
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Foundation of Resilience
      Adversity is sure to come to each of us in life. Will we be crippled by it or see an opportunity for growth? The answer lies in our ability to be resilient. Meet the eight themes of resilience this course will bring to life: core values and purpose, finding meaning in adversity, equanimity, self-care, healthy coping skills, a positive sense of self, support and connection with others, and a proactive worldview. x
    • 2
      The Hero's Journey
      Whether or not you think of yourself as a hero, chances are the adversity in your life has caused you to walk the hero’s journey. Discover what that journey entails—illustrated by your instructor’s own life—from initial call to adventure, through the ordeal and rebirth, until stepping into your new truth in a world that no longer seems as ordinary as you’d once thought. x
    • 3
      The Resilient Human Spirit
      Learn how humans have nurtured a spirit of resilience for thousands of years through instinct, “deep listening,” the Golden Rule, rites of passage, and faith—whether spiritual or not. Studying these practices, scientists are now confirming and promoting some of these techniques as ways to process adverse experiences and return to harmony. x
    • 4
      The Consequences of Stress
      Humans have always experienced periods of acute stress, and we have the nervous system to prove it. Explore how the sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for the fight-flight-freeze response, and how the parasympathetic nervous system relaxes the body when the cause of stress has passed. But if the cause of stress becomes chronic, serious long-term health consequences can result. x
    • 5
      Mastering Physical Resilience
      We often think of physical resilience as our body’s physical strength and fitness—the stronger we are, the quicker we’ll bounce back. But that’s only part of it. Learn about the additional skills needed to recover well from physical stress, illness, or injury. You’ll see that building physical resilience is not just what you do, it’s also how and why you do it. x
    • 6
      Improving Emotional Resilience
      We’ve been socialized to believe positive emotions are good and negative emotions are bad, but that is far from the truth. Our emotions are simply our individual responses to the situations we experience; we can accept, pay attention to, and learn from all of them. Explore some coping mechanisms for regulating your emotions—which some scientists see as the single most vital aspect of resilience. x
    • 7
      Strengthening Mental Resilience
      Our mind is the gatekeeper to our perception of our lived experience, and it has the power to make or break our ability to recover from adversity. While we can't completely control what we think, we can control how we understand and react to those thoughts. Explore the important relationships between your thoughts, belief systems, and core values, and learn why psychological flexibility is the foundation of mental resilience. x
    • 8
      The Practice of Self-care
      Does self-care sound uncomfortably self-focused and egotistical to you? If so, remember that caring for yourself is a crucial component of your own resilience, as well as giving you the energy and ability to help others. Learn how the Wheel of Life exercise can help you determine where you're lacking in self-care, and how to create and manage your own Self-Care Journal to improve your resilience. x
    • 9
      The Rewards of Sleep
      We often think of sleep as simply what's left over at the end of the day. But to the contrary: healthy sleep patterns can transform your life with improved physical and mental health, better memory, and even increased longevity. Learn how to prepare your bedroom, your body, and your mind for high-quality sleep, and the many ways in which your phone can both hinder and help you achieve that goal. x
    • 10
      Finding Equanimity with Mindfulness
      Our lives can feel like swirling maelstroms of sensory input, thoughts, and emotions. But there is a way to find the stillness that permanently exists beneath it all—meditation. Validated by thousands of scientific studies, meditation has been proven to enhance almost every aspect of life. Experience the power of mindfulness meditation and learn how it can help you find peace in the present moment. x
    • 11
      Understanding Trauma
      All trauma—whether caused by a single event or prolonged exposure to a traumatic pattern—affects our physical body and our mind. Trauma causes specific changes in the brain and even in the genetics of reproduction. Learn why, without help, the mind and body can get stuck in the loop of the sympathetic nervous system’s trauma response. And how, with appropriate help, the mind and body can heal. x
    • 12
      Discovering Post-Traumatic Growth
      Those who can process their trauma can move forward to become stronger, wiser, and more resilient. Using Harriet Beecher Stowe as a fascinating example, you’ll learn how post-traumatic growth can lead to improved personal strength, the opening of new possibilities, spiritual change, and greater appreciation for life. We can become more resilient because of—not despite—adversity. x
    • 13
      Suzi Landolphi on Post-Traumatic Growth
      You will thoroughly enjoy this enlightening conversation between your instructor and Suzi Landolphi, a well-known leader in the post-traumatic growth movement, who currently works with combat veterans as a PATHH Guide (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes). Just as trauma can be transmitted to successive generations, so can post-traumatic growth, she says. She sees it all the time. x
    • 14
      Cultivating Community and Connection
      Human beings are wired for connection to others; our initial cognitive development depends on physical touch, and our “mirror neurons” teach us how to be human based on our interactions with others. Learn how to develop quality connections with others, connections that will help you thrive and increase resilience. Your instructor shares the inspiring stories of two individuals who did just that. x
    • 15
      Finding Safety
      When we feel unsafe, our brains become stuck in the response of the sympathetic nervous system and we have very little access to higher cognitive functioning. Learn how to increase your number of protective factors, increasing your feeling of safety and your resilience. The goal isn't to eliminate the risk of danger, but rather to have as much control over it as possible. x
    • 16
      Opening to Joy and Gratitude
      Authentic, lasting joy is an internal experience, not dependent upon any circumstances outside of ourselves. Learn how to find authentic joy by opening up to all of life—allowing yourself to feel the full range of your feelings, including those emotions you’ve been taught to bury—and taking responsibility for your own choices in your unique journey. x
    • 17
      Practice 1: Building Resilience
      Instructor Birkholm takes you through a gentle yoga practice to help build awareness of your body, feelings, and beliefs. No yoga experience is necessary. You'll be guided by this step-by-step instruction, which is modeled both standing and sitting. At the end of the practice, you'll experience a deep relaxation pose, resting in the stillness that is always available to you. x
    • 18
      Practice 2: De-stressing with Your Breath
      Learning to work with breathing is particularly powerful, as breath is the only function of the autonomic nervous system we can control. You’ll practice the three-part yogic breath, relaxation breath, energizing breath, and alternate-nostril breathing, among others. You’ll develop a better understanding of the yogic saying: “the mind affects the breath, and the breath affects the mind.” x
    • 19
      Practice 3: Promoting Sleep
      This practice will guide you through the steps of preparing for sleep. You’ll learn how to focus your attention on the good things that happened during your day as you start to settle in. You’ll enjoy relaxing all parts of the body—front, back, and sides—getting rid of tension wherever you’re carrying it. The guided meditation at the end of the practice might lead you directly into sleep. x
    • 20
      Practice 4: Relaxing Yoga for Self-Care
      This yoga practice—whether sitting or lying down—releases your body’s tension and encourages you to connect to your physical experiences on a deeper level. You’ll learn movements and breathing techniques that can be used during an average day at a desk or in a car. You’ll learn to let the breath carry the pose and find that union between body, mind, breath, and spirit. x
    • 21
      Practice 5: Practicing Mindfulness
      In this mindfulness practice, you’ll continue to build awareness of your physical body, emotions, and mind. You’ll learn how to witness your thoughts and emotions in the present moment as they move in and out of your mind, without labeling them “good” or “bad.” This powerful practice will open up a new way for you to relate to your own thoughts, memories, and beliefs. x
    • 22
      Practice 6: Evoking the Relaxation Response
      In this practice, you’ll learn how to trigger your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, your relaxation response, whenever you want to calm down. You’ll use your breath to continually invite your body to relax—and then notice your body’s response without judgment. These techniques are always available to you and can be applied at any time throughout your day. x
    • 23
      Practice 7: Finding Safety with Yoga Nidra
      In this practice, you'll learn how to find safety and peacefulness within yourself. You'll be guided through a very deep relaxation, a safe and peaceful awareness similar to what you might experience just before sleep. This is the peace that is always available to you, no matter what's going on around you in the outside world, a stillness you can always access. x
    • 24
      Your Hero's Journey
      Resilience, one of the most important skills we can master, is essential to navigating life successfully and reaching our fullest potential. As we each go through our own hero's journey, we venture through life's trials and tribulations, but also through its beauty and rewards. Learn how to identify and evaluate your personal strengths, and how they will help you on your own hero's journey. x
  • Understanding the Misconceptions of Science

    Professor Don Lincoln, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    In Understanding the Misconceptions of Science, join Professor Don Lincoln, a Senior Scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, on a 24-lecture exploration of shocking truths about some of science’s most well-known—and often controversial—concepts, including the physics of flight, black holes, quantum mechanics, evolution, and even the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

    View Lecture List (24)

    In Understanding the Misconceptions of Science, join Professor Don Lincoln, a Senior Scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, on a 24-lecture exploration of shocking truths about some of science’s most well-known—and often controversial—concepts, including the physics of flight, black holes, quantum mechanics, evolution, and even the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Understanding the Misconceptions of Science
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      What the World Gets Wrong about Science
      Start your journey through some of the most jarring misconceptions of science with this introductory look at the nature of science itself. You’ll examine ways the scientific method deviates from the way it’s taught, the true definitions of terms like “theory” and “model,” and the relationship science shares with philosophy. x
    • 2
      Franklin's Kite and Other Electrifying Myths
      It turns out the usual story of Benjamin Franklin’s discovery of electricity using just a kite and a key isn’t exactly true. Get the real story behind this and other misunderstandings about electricity and reframe the way you think about how electricity works—in nature, in batteries, and throughout your home.. x
    • 3
      The Ideal Gas Law (It's Not Ideal)
      Here, Professor Lincoln reveals the ways in which common teachings about gases and their properties are idealizations that ignore important considerations such as the size of atoms. Topics include the limitations of the Ideal Gas Law (PV=nRT) and the importance of the van der Waals equation. x
    • 4
      From the Ground Up: How Flying Works
      Get a whirlwind introduction to the scientific truths about how planes fly through the air. This lecture overturns the (often-very-wrong) way flight is taught in introductory physics classes and focuses on two relevant subjects involved in flight: air circulation and how the wing pushes air downward. x
    • 5
      From the Sky Down: How Falling Works
      Introductory physics classes tell you that a ball thrown on the surface of the earth follows a parabola. What happens when you take away the simplifying assumptions in this scenario? How do we factor in air resistance and the Earth's rotation? What happens when an object falls from very great heights? x
    • 6
      Myths of Orbital Motion
      In this lecture, revisit some of the common misconceptions we have about how the universe works, with a focus on our solar system. Two myths you'll bust: that the orbits of planets are all fixed ellipses and that astronauts on the International Space Station live in zero gravity. x
    • 7
      What's Inside Atoms?
      Discover a very different idea about the real essence of matter as it relates to the molecules and atoms of chemistry. Learn to think about matter as entirely empty space, not tiny balls; consider the inside of a proton and neutron; and ponder the question of where, exactly, mass comes from. x
    • 8
      The Truth Is in Here: The Science of Aliens
      There are some popular misconceptions about alien life that science-fiction writers have said often enough that we take them to be likely or true—but are they? Professor Lincoln unpacks the possibility of silicon-based life and truths about the Drake equation, which posits the number of possible civilizations in our universe. x
    • 9
      Misconceptions about Evolution
      It's often the misconceptions about evolution that lead people to not believe in it. This lecture tackles four prevalent myths about the theory of evolution: that it explains how life began, that it states humans descended from chimpanzees, that evolution has a goal, and that evolution means more complex organisms will evolve. x
    • 10
      Nutrition’s All About You—and Your Gut Biome
      How do misconceptions about nutrition spread? What if what you learned about digestion isn't the entire story? In this lecture, examine the unseemly alliance between science, advertisers, and the media; and make sense of the important role that a fascinating microbe ecosystem plays in how the human gut works. x
    • 11
      Humans Are Not Peas: Myths about Genetics
      It might surprise you to know that most human characteristics—including eye color—aren’t governed by a single gene. Nor do dominant genes always become more common over time. As you’ll discover, we owe these and other misconceptions about genetics to the Punnett squares you first encountered in high school biology. x
    • 12
      Getting Smarter about Intelligence
      Focus your attention on popular myths about the human brain. There's the myth that we only use 10 percent of our brain power, the concept that people can be right- or left-brained, and the complexities of learning styles and IQ scores to consider. Use current science to make sense of how your brain works. x
    • 13
      Exposing the Truth about Radiation
      Radiation is one of the most misunderstood of all scientific phenomena. Get the scientific truths about this subject by investigating the four types of ionizing radiation, including alpha radiation, beta radiation, gamma radiation, and neutron radiation. Then consider how much radiation you encounter every day—and how much of it you can ignore. x
    • 14
      Does Carbon-14 Dating Work?
      Clarify oversimplified ideas concerning how carbon dating works and get a stronger appreciation of just how complicated and sophisticated a scientific technique it is. While dating objects under 60,000 years old has become relatively easy, the current accuracy of modern science depends on taking subtle effects into consideration. You'll learn why doing it precisely takes some care. x
    • 15
      How Statistics Can Lie to You
      The best way to read statistics correctly: Understand the various ways they can be misused to fool you. Here, Professor Lincoln discusses how averages and percentages can make certain statistics seem shocking, reveals how you should rethink the confidence threshold of 95 percent that scientists use, and more. x
    • 16
      Does Thermodynamics Disprove Evolution?
      Take on a few of the simpler misunderstandings revolving around heat as it relates to thermodynamics: the ways heat energy moves and changes. Is it correct to say heat always rises? Are entropy and disorder synonymous? How do we often misinterpret the second law of thermodynamics, and what does it tell us about evolution? x
    • 17
      How Relativity Is Misunderstood
      At its core, relativity is about something very simple: how two people in relative motion see the world differently. In the first of two lectures on misunderstandings about relativity, explore the Lorentz transforms, then journey through a seeming paradox that disappears once you use the Lorentz transforms properly. x
    • 18
      E=mc2 and Other Relativity Myths
      Get the truth about the most famous equation in science. Ponder the most notorious paradox in special relativity, known as the twin paradox. Discover whether or not we really can travel faster than the speed of light. Strengthen your appreciation of how, despite its mind-blowing nature, relativity is the way the world works. x
    • 19
      Why Do Black Holes Get Such a Bad Rap?
      Few astronomical bodies are more misunderstood—and more mysterious—than black holes. Can they actually reach out and grab matter near them? Do they have a singularity at their core? Find out in this journey that takes you from outside the Schwarzschild radius to inside the event horizon and beyond. x
    • 20
      What Banged, and Was It Big?
      Develop a better, more scientifically accurate mental picture of the Big Bang. What exactly happens is hard to get your head around, but the key involves understanding the links between matter, energy, space, and time. And all you need to grasp this fascinating concept is a common balloon. x
    • 21
      Can You Go Faster Than Light?
      In this lecture, Professor Lincoln explains the various ways in which talking about the speed of light can lead to a misunderstanding of whether or not particles can travel faster than light. Learn why it’s more accurate to say objects cannot move through space faster than light—but space itself can. x
    • 22
      Untangling How Quantum Mechanics Works
      Examine the peculiarities of quantum mechanics in an effort to better understand what's going on in the quantum world. Get a whirlwind introduction that covers everything from the wave function and the behavior of electrons to the double-slit experiment and the surprising differences between classical and quantum mechanics. x
    • 23
      Untangling What Quantum Mechanics Means
      Dig deeper into misconceptions about quantum mechanics, with a focus on the complicated, the contradictory, and the downright sketchy. What happens to an electron when you're not looking at it? Can a cat be both alive and dead at the same time? Should we connect quantum mechanics with Buddhism and Taoism? x
    • 24
      Is There a Theory of Everything?
      Searching for a theory of everything is a grand, epic saga. Start your own search with this engrossing investigation of the building blocks of the cosmos and the forces that hold them together—both of which are required to even begin to develop a fundamental theory that answers all questions. x
  • Years That Changed History: 1215

    Professor Dorsey Armstrong, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Years That Changed History: 1215 is a unique course, offering you the chance to delve into one of the most interesting periods in world history. Over 24 wide-ranging lectures, Professor Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University gives you the Big History of this singular year, introducing you to the people, events, and consequences of the world in 1215.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Years That Changed History: 1215 is a unique course, offering you the chance to delve into one of the most interesting periods in world history. Over 24 wide-ranging lectures, Professor Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University gives you the Big History of this singular year, introducing you to the people, events, and consequences of the world in 1215.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Years That Changed History: 1215
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The World before 1215
      Begin your survey of this amazing year with some context. Europe in the 13th century was experiencing a period of climate warming, which led to a population boom as well as the expansion of urban centers and the growth of cities. Meanwhile, in Asia, the Mongols were finding their ages-old way of life threatened by these same changes. x
    • 2
      The Magna Carta: Patching Up a Squabble
      History buffs likely know that the Magna Carta was drafted in 1215, and that it helped establish English law as we know it. But what was actually in this document? And why was it created in the first place? Here, you’ll discover the surprisingly narrowly-focused origins of a short-lived document—what seemed at the time like a minor footnote in history. x
    • 3
      What's Really in the Magna Carta?
      Continue your study of the Magna Carta by investigating some of its most interesting clauses. As you learned in the previous lecture, the document was meant to appease a group of nobles, and the negotiated settlement is a delightful mix of grand pronouncements and specific requests—including that widows shall not be compelled to remarry. x
    • 4
      The Magna Carta's Legacy
      Although the Magna Carta is revered today as a founding document of British law and a democratic sensibility, it's stunning to reflect on how easily it could have been forgotten. Shortly after it was officially accepted by both king and nobles, the pope annulled the document; yet that isn't the end of the story. Here, trace the Magna Carta's story across the ages. x
    • 5
      What Inspired the Fourth Lateran Council?
      If you went back in time and asked anyone in 1215 what the most important event of the year was, most people in Europe would cite the Fourth Lateran Council. In this lecture, Professor Armstrong surveys the history of Christianity and the events leading up to this pivotal ecclesiastical event. x
    • 6
      Canons for Christian Practice and Belief
      Delve into the canons that were decreed at the Fourth Lateran Council. Find out what Church leaders were trying to accomplish, or what crises they were attempting to address. From heresies to marriage to the nature of the priesthood, the Fourth Lateran Council took on issues that affected nearly everyone in Europe. x
    • 7
      The Canons of Persecution
      Continue your study of the Fourth Lateran Council with this examination of the “canons of persecution.” Whereas the canons you studied in Lecture 6 primarily affected Christians, the canons in this lecture were directed specifically at non-Christians—particularly Muslims and Jews. After exploring these persecution canons, consider the background for the Crusades. x
    • 8
      Civilizations in the Americas in 1215
      Shift your attention from Europe to the Americas, where a number of civilizations were thriving in 1215. Although no single lecture could do justice to all of these civilizations, Professor Armstrong spotlights the Pueblo people, the Incas, and the Maya, providing a solid foundation for what was happening on the American continents at the time. x
    • 9
      Civilizations of Sub-Saharan Africa in 1215
      Africa in 1215 was home to a number of fascinating civilizations, including the Mali Empire, the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, and the Ethiopian Empire. Travel to Sub-Saharan Africa to review the history leading up to these great civilizations, meet some of the major figures, and explore some of their great feats, from mining to dry-stone engineering. x
    • 10
      The Crusading Impulse
      A few lectures ago, you studied the “persecution canons” of the Fourth Lateran Council and saw the tense relationship between the Church and non-Christians. Here, Professor Armstrong unpacks the background to the Crusades, beginning with Pope Urban II’s 1095 call for Christians to take the Holy Land back from the Muslims. x
    • 11
      The Fourth Crusade and the Crusader States
      In the century after Pope Urban II, a “crusading impulse” had taken over medieval western Europe. In this lecture, you will examine the Fourth Crusade, which began in 1198 and culminated with the sack of Constantinople in 1204. Then turn to the Children’s Crusade that followed. x
    • 12
      The Fourth Lateran Council and the Jews
      The Fourth Lateran Council marked a turning point for Jewish communities in medieval Europe. In this first of two lectures on the Jewish experience around 1215, Professor Armstrong provides an overview of anti-Semitism in medieval European society. Reflect on the uneasy relationship between Jews and Christians. x
    • 13
      The Jews in 1215 and Beyond
      Continue your study of the Jewish experience in medieval Europe. Examine the aftermath of 1215 and the Fourth Lateran Council's insistence on Christian dominance. In the 13th century, institutional persecution began trickling down to the masses, leading to blood libel accusations, among other abominations. x
    • 14
      Francis of Assisi and the Mendicant Orders
      As you may recall, the Fourth Lateran Council attempted to curb the formation of new monastic orders, yet the Church soon after granted an exception for the Franciscans and the Dominicans. Dive into the background of these orders, meet St. Francis of Assisi, and see how his life inspired the creation of a new religious order. x
    • 15
      The Crusade against the Cathars
      Catharism is a version of Christianity even more revolutionary than the mendicant orders you studied in the last lecture. In fact, Catharism was so radical that some people argued its belief system was not Christianity at all. See why, in the early 13th century, the pope turned his attention away from the Crusades abroad to root out Catharism at home. x
    • 16
      Mongol Culture before Genghis Khan
      Too often, western history books portray the Mongols as bloodthirsty murderers and destroyers hellbent on destroying civilization, but the true story of Mongol society is much different. As Marco Polo relayed after a visit to Kublai Khan, the Mongols did much to stabilize the societies they conquered. Explore the dual identity of the Mongols. x
    • 17
      The Mongols and the Rise of Genghis Khan
      The rise of Genghis Khan is an amazing, unbelievable story. How did a low-ranking man from the Mongolian steppes rise up to be one of the greatest military leaders the world has ever seen? In this lecture, Professor Armstrong surveys the dazzling rise of Genghis Khan, outlines his military strategy, and surveys his conquests across Asia. x
    • 18
      The Battle of Beijing
      By the early 13th century, Genghis Khan had defeated all of his immediate rivals and brought a number of regional tribes under his banner, including the Huns, Turks, and Tatars. His crowning achievement was his success at the Battle of Beijing, when he consolidated his control of China. As you'll discover, the battle was decidedly one-sided from the start. x
    • 19
      What Happened to the Mongols after 1215?
      When Genghis Khan died, his greatest legacies were his tradition of warfare as well as the way he unified so many disparate groups of people. In this final lecture on the Mongols, follow the story of his sons and grandsons, and witness the collapse of the largest, contiguous political entity ever to exist. x
    • 20
      The Status of Women in 1215
      To tackle the subject of what the world was like in general for women in 1215, Professor Armstrong returns to medieval Europe, which was home to many powerful and well-educated women. Explore the lives of three exemplary women of the time: Hildegard of Bingen, Héloïse, and Eleanor of Aquitaine. x
    • 21
      Literary Trends in the Early 13th Century
      Religious writing was flourishing in 1215, and religious tracts and guides provide a crucial window into 13th-century spirituality and behavior. Beyond religion, however, the Norse and Icelandic sagas offer great insight into the myths, events, and stories of a pagan, pre-Christian past, while the Arthurian legend grew in popularity throughout the medieval world. Review this amazing—and sometimes amazingly weird—literature. x
    • 22
      The Islamic World in 1215
      In the 13th century, the Islamic world was experiencing a golden age of art, science, education, and more. From Baghdad’s House of Wisdom to figures such as Avicenna, Averroës, Saladin, and more, take a tour of this grand world. Learn about the foundations of modern medicine and mathematics. x
    • 23
      Japan and Samurai Culture
      Mongol culture affected huge swaths of the world, including Japan. After reflecting on the feudal structure of Japan in the 13th century, Professor Armstrong traces the rise of the shoguns, which is rooted in the 1185 conflict between the Taira and Minamoto clans. Examine the history of shoguns, the samurai, and more. x
    • 24
      The World after 1215
      Much of this course has been about looking back to a watershed year in world history. In this final lecture, Professor Armstrong looks forward to consider how the events from this course shaped the centuries that followed. With a shifting climate, the decline of population, and the catastrophic Black Death in the 14th century, we can look back and see that the year 1215 is truly an anomalous time. x
  • Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness

    Qi Gong Expert Lee Holden,

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    If you’ve been looking for exercise that can improve your health after even the most basic practice and is accessible no matter your age or body type—you’ve found it in Master Lee Holden’s Qi Gong. The practice of Qi Gong, time-tested over thousands of years, will improve your physical fitness, free your mind, and energize your life with renewed vitality. You will feel confident every step of the way as you follow Master Holden’s guidance into a more peaceful and energized life.

    View Lecture List (12)

    If you’ve been looking for exercise that can improve your health after even the most basic practice and is accessible no matter your age or body type—you’ve found it in Master Lee Holden’s Qi Gong. The practice of Qi Gong, time-tested over thousands of years, will improve your physical fitness, free your mind, and energize your life with renewed vitality. You will feel confident every step of the way as you follow Master Holden’s guidance into a more peaceful and energized life.

    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Introduction to Qi Gong
      In this lesson, you will be introduced to the flowing movements of Qi Gong, and the deep, slow breath that powers those movements. Qi is the life force that circulates through the body, bringing vitality to every organ and structure. When qi is blocked, the bodily systems can't perform at their peak, and ill health can result. The breathing, stretching, and strengthening techniques in this lesson will help ensure a fresh supply of energy to all parts of your body. You'll learn a variety of simple movements including Shaking, Spreading the Feathers, Opening the Flow, and Centering. x
    • 2
      Qi Gong for Better Breathing
      When we spend our whole day sitting down, slightly slumped over the desk, our life force energy can become pretty low. But when we stand up, pull our shoulders back, open our heart, and breathe deeply with awareness and purpose, we elevate the life force within us. With that goal in mind, this lesson includes the movements of Wave Breathing, Holding Up the Sky, Rooster Spreads His Feathers, Soaring Crane, and Great Bear Swims in the Ocean. At the end of this lesson, you will feel both more relaxed and more energized—almost as if the air were breathing you. x
    • 3
      Qi Gong Mindfulness in Motion
      Mindfulness is the simple-sounding act of being aware of the present moment, and recent research has shown it to have a strong positive effect on both mental and physical health. But for most of us—whose minds tend to wander here and there, over and over—mindfulness can be a challenge. In this series of Qi Gong movements, we use the power of breath and energy circulation to bring our thoughts back to the present, again and again. Movements such as Waterways, Clearing, Tiger Claw, Fireflies in the Lantern, and Lotus help us experience the present moment, exactly as it is. x
    • 4
      Qi Gong for the Upper Back and Neck
      We live in an age of inactivity and repetitive motion, with many of us spending hours every day hunched over our computers and smartphones—all of which causes strain in the upper back and neck. But even if we had proper support, posture, and movement throughout the day, our neck muscles must support and balance our head during every waking moment. In this lesson, you’ll use deep abdominal breathing and strong but gentle movements to help clear tension from the neck, upper back, and shoulders. Movements include Silk Reelings, Water Waves, Clearing, Spreading the Feathers, and Bear Swimming in the Ocean. x
    • 5
      Qi Gong for Healthy Joints
      When we think of our joints, most of us think of the large joints: shoulders, hips, knees, and maybe elbows. But we actually have hundreds of joints in the body, although not all are movable (like those in the skull). The energy in our moveable joints can become stagnant over time through repetitive motion, improper posture, and stress. The simple but effective movements of Qi Gong, combined with deep breathing techniques, can bring energy and suppleness back to all our joints. In this lesson, movements include Spinal Cord Breathing, Turtle Neck, Silk Reelings, and Opening the Flow. x
    • 6
      Qi Gong for Arms, Wrists, and Hands
      This lesson is about opening energy throughout the tendons, muscles, ligaments, and joints of the lower arms, allowing for a greater range of motion and better qi circulation down through the fingers. Although arthritis symptoms often begin in the hands, many types of exercise and movement practices ignore the need to increase strength and flexibility in the hands. In this lesson, you're encouraged to listen to the needs of your body, giving yourself as much or as little stretch as you want. Movements include Silk Reelings, White Crane Soaring, Opening the Flow, and Baby Bird Learning to Fly. x
    • 7
      Qi Gong for Headaches
      Almost everyone has experienced headache pain at one time or another, and many of us experience headaches frequently. The most common type of headache, the tension headache, can be caused by tightened muscles in the back of the neck and the scalp. Qi Gong relieves that tension, increases circulation, and calms the mind—all working together to ease the pain, and leave you feeling refreshed and energized. The movements in this lesson include Wave Breathing, Clearing, Spreading the Feathers, Waterfall, and Pulling Down the Sky to the Six Directions. x
    • 8
      Qi Gong for Strong Bones
      In Chinese medicine, bones are considered to be the energy storage areas of the body, representing deep vitality. They are also the source of our red blood cells, made in the bone marrow. We know that if weight-bearing exercises aren't used to stimulate the bones, our bones can become more porous as we age. This Qi Gong routine uses the force of your own body weight to strengthen your bones. In addition, these exercises will help increase the flow of your qi and your overall vitality. You'll learn movements including Knocking on the Door of Life, Shaking, The Fountain, Opening the Flow, Flying, and Bone Breathing. x
    • 9
      Qi Gong for High Blood Pressure
      When your blood pressure is consistently too high, the heart has to work harder than normal and the vessels can become damaged, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. A recent meta-analysis of studies of more than 2,000 patients concluded that Qi Gong is an effective therapy for hypertension. By using Qi Gong to relieve stress, relax your mind and body, and relieve stagnation to increase the free flow of energy, the risk of high blood pressure can be reduced. In this lesson, you will learn the movements of Water Waves, The Boa, Swimming Dragon, Repulse the Monkey, and Embracing the Tree, among others. x
    • 10
      Qi Gong for Energy and Vitality
      Holding tension in the body—whether or not we’re aware of it—can restrict the flow of qi and dampen our sense of vitality. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to activate your own qi and how to move with strength, flexibility, and intentionality. These slow, meditative movements will strengthen the energy system of the entire body. You’ll learn movements including Knocking on the Door of Life, Chi Massage, Turning a Water Wheel, Between Heaven and Earth, Embracing the Tree, Monk Holding the Pearl, and Bamboo in the Wind. x
    • 11
      Qi Gong for Anxiety
      While occasional anxiety is a normal and expected part of life, anxiety disorders significantly affect the lives of 40 million adults in the United States each year. The opposite of anxiety is flow, a feeling of internal peace and relaxation you can discover through the practice of Qi Gong. This lesson will help you find that equanimity, where the body is relaxed, the mind is at peace, and anxiety is held at bay. This routine is like a mini vacation from all the things in life that pull you off your center. You'll learn movements including Wave Breathing, Cleansing Breath, Drop and Shake, Qi Massage, and Cloudy Hands. x
    • 12
      Qi Gong Five Elements Energy Balance
      There are five elements that represent the energy in nature and in each of us—water, wood, fire, earth, and metal—one energy differentiated into many forms. We ourselves are an extension of the Earth, always lifting up to the sun and the universe. The human body is a powerful conductor of electricity and qi, and when the elements and energy are balanced inside of us, we feel happy, healthy, and at peace. In this lesson, you’ll learn a variety of postures to help balance your energy, including Sword Hand, Snake Spits Out the Tongue, and Embracing the Tree. x
  • Law School for Everyone: Constitutional Law

    Professor Eric Berger, JD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Americans wage many of today’s fiercest policy debates and culture wars as battles over constitutional meaning. In the 12 lectures of Law School for Everyone: Constitutional Law, Professor Eric Berger offers the same introduction to constitutional law he provides to his own law students. You’ll come away from this course with a better understanding of our founding document’s many nuances and complexities, and the central role it plays in shaping our way of life.

    View Lecture List (12)

    Americans wage many of today’s fiercest policy debates and culture wars as battles over constitutional meaning. In the 12 lectures of Law School for Everyone: Constitutional Law, Professor Eric Berger offers the same introduction to constitutional law he provides to his own law students. You’ll come away from this course with a better understanding of our founding document’s many nuances and complexities, and the central role it plays in shaping our way of life.

    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Law School for Everyone: Constitutional Law
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Origins and Functions of the Constitution
      While the U.S. Constitution left many important issues unresolved, it was clearly designed to serve several primary purposes (regardless of disagreements over how it serves those purposes). Travel back to the 18th century and investigate the origins of the founding document of the American experiment—a story of crisis, rebellion, and compromise. x
    • 2
      The Marshall Court and the Constitution
      At the core of most issues in constitutional law is one question: Who decides? So why is it that the U.S. Supreme Court became the ultimate arbiter of constitutional questions? Explore this question by examining a pair of Chief Justice John Marshall’s famous opinions—Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland. x
    • 3
      The Scope of the Executive Power
      Using the 1952 opinion of Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company v. Sawyer, probe the slippery issue of how much power the U.S. president wields under the Constitution. One nuanced perspective comes from Justice Robert H. Jackson and his theory of executive power that views presidential power primarily through the lens of Congressional action. x
    • 4
      Congress and the New Deal Commerce Clause
      Learn how Congress’s power—as we understand it today—was shaped significantly by constitutional transformations that occurred during the 1930s. See how the Court ultimately vindicated robust Congressional powers under the Commerce Clause, and how President Franklin D. Roosevelt packed the courts with judges sympathetic to his transformative New Deal policies. x
    • 5
      Congress and the Commerce Clause Today
      Turn now to the ways the Commerce Clause has been interpreted in the decades since the New Deal era. Discover how the Court expanded Congress's power still further in Wickard v. Filburn, and how the Court revisited the Commerce Clause in cases addressing a variety of pressing social issues, including racial segregation and affordable health care. x
    • 6
      Individual Liberty: Contracts and Privacy
      According to Professor Berger, individual liberty is one of the most doctrinally and culturally controversial topics in constitutional law. Find out how crucial a role the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause has played when it comes to individual rights with a look at famous cases, including Lochner v. New York and West Coast Hotel v. Parrish. x
    • 7
      Liberty Disputed: Abortion and Gay Rights
      Court decisions on some of America's most controversial issues have relied on substantive due process. Take a closer look at how the Court confronted two of these issues: abortion (in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey) and LGBT rights (in Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges). x
    • 8
      Equal Protection and Civil Rights
      Explore the history of the Court’s civil rights decisions—including Korematsu v. United States and Brown v. Board of Education—as a way to better understand the complex relationship between law and culture. Just how did changed attitudes about race help shape seismic changes in constitutional law? x
    • 9
      The Affirmative Action Conundrum
      Here, Professor Berger walks you through the constitutionality of affirmative action, in which public institutions give preferences on the basis of race. Key to this insightful lecture is a look at strict scrutiny, in which the Court reviews policies extremely carefully—and ostensibly without giving the government the benefit of the doubt. x
    • 10
      Sex Discrimination and Women's Rights
      Of all the constitutions in the West, the U.S. Constitution is the only one without a provision that explicitly declares equal rights for the sexes under the law. From Minor v. Happersett in 1875 to United States v. Virginia in 1996, discover how the courts have ruled on sex-based classifications. x
    • 11
      The Nature of the Judicial Power
      Sometimes, the courts don't decide important issues before them. In this lecture, take a closer look at why courts quite often choose not to decide a particular case on its merits. Topics here include justiciability doctrines (court-made decisions under which courts impose limitations on their power), sovereign immunity, and official immunity. x
    • 12
      The Politics of Constitutional Law
      While judges are not (as some people assume) politicians in robes, they are certainly not immune from political influences. Explore the role of politics in constitutional law through the high-stakes confirmation battles over judicial nominees (including the battle over the seat of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia). x
  • Law School for Everyone: Legislation and Regulation

    Professor Peter J. Smith, J.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    A recent addition to the traditional law school curriculum, legislation and regulation are becoming more of a mainstay in some of the country’s top law schools. Law School for Everyone: Legislation and Regulation examines everything from the nature of regulation, to the challenge of interpreting statutes based on the spirit versus the letter of the law, to the role of federal agencies in our legal system.

    View Lecture List (12)

    A recent addition to the traditional law school curriculum, legislation and regulation are becoming more of a mainstay in some of the country’s top law schools. Law School for Everyone: Legislation and Regulation examines everything from the nature of regulation, to the challenge of interpreting statutes based on the spirit versus the letter of the law, to the role of federal agencies in our legal system.

    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Law School for Everyone: Legislation and Regulation
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Making Sense of Legislation and Regulation
      Statutes, unlike judicial opinions, tend to be brief—yet they're packed with meaning. Using a deceptively straightforward law about the use of vehicles in a public park, get an introduction to interpreting legislation and regulation. Should a statute’s plain meaning govern? Should we rely on what can be discerned about the statute’s intent? Or should we give effect instead to what seems to be the spirit of the law? x
    • 2
      Regulation by Statute and by Common Law
      What’s distinctive about legislation as a form of regulation? In this lecture, examine how courts have applied common-law tort and contract principles in order to regulate private behavior and choices. As you’ll discover through an in-depth look at environmental regulation and incentives for car manufacturers, things are rarely—if ever—simple. x
    • 3
      Legislation and the Administrative State
      Compared to most other Western democracies, it's much more difficult to pass legislation in the United States at the federal level. Here, Professor Smith uses the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to unpack how the unique features of the U.S. legislative process affect judicial interpretation of statutes. x
    • 4
      Touchstones of Statutory Interpretation
      At the heart of statutory interpretation: the ability to read a legal text. Learn to do just that by thinking about how less formal kinds of interpretation in everyday life can help you interpret legal texts, and discover how 1892's Holy Trinity Church v. United States highlights the differences and similarities between interpreting legal and non-legal texts. x
    • 5
      The Letter versus the Spirit of the Law
      A central problem related to legislation and regulation is the famous conflict between the letter and the spirit of the law. How do we reconcile the words of a statute with the legislature's apparent purpose? Study the famous 1889 case Riggs v. Palmer and 1967's Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and join the debate for yourself. x
    • 6
      When Is Statutory Meaning Plain?
      Consider just how robust our commitment to the plain meaning of statutes should be. Cases like Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill and West Virginia University Hospitals v. Casey illuminate whether departures from the letter of the law in order to enforce the law's spirit should be exceptions or the rule. x
    • 7
      Semantic and Substantive Interpretive Rules
      Focus on the “canons of construction”: the additional set of background understandings that courts rely on to interpret statutes. McBoyle v. United States, from 1931, helps you grasp the difference between “semantic” canons (generalizations about conventional English language usage) and “substantive” ones (presumptions in favor of a particular set of outcomes). x
    • 8
      How Do Courts Really Interpret Statutes?
      Using the famous case of man charged with distributing LSD, probe whether the enterprise of statutory interpretation is hopelessly incoherent and unpredictable. Also, ponder whether it's possible to articulate a theory of statutory interpretation that explains what courts actually do to resolve disputes over the meaning of statutes. x
    • 9
      Federal Agencies as Regulatory Bodies
      Investigate how the U.S. federal government regulates, and the relationship between this regulation and legislation. You’ll focus on how agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission “enforce” federal law—and whether we should permit Congress to give agencies in the executive branch the power to decide important questions of policy. x
    • 10
      Political Control of Agency Decision Making
      What can Congress do when it doesn’t approve of how a federal agency exercises the power Congress gave it? With this lecture, start thinking about how regulation by federal agencies—in hot-button matters such as immigration law and trade—raises critical questions about political control and constitutionality. x
    • 11
      Judicial Review of Agency Rulings
      In the United States, judicial review by the courts is the principal way federal agencies are kept in check. Professor Smith explains two basic forms of review the courts exercise over agency decisions: ensuring that they're procedurally sound, and ensuring they're well-reasoned and based on appropriate considerations. x
    • 12
      Weighing Agency Interpretations of Statutes
      Examine Chevron v. NRDC, the seminal case on the weight courts should give to a federal agency’s interpretation of a federal statute. Then, take a closer look at two other cases that offer a sense of how courts approach statutory ambiguity—MCI Telecommunications v. AT&T and FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco. Conclude by considering the complicated interaction among legislatures, courts, and government agencies by which U.S. law and policy are implemented. x
  • Mastering Linear Algebra: An Introduction with Applications

    Professor Francis Su, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Taught by Professor Francis Su of Harvey Mudd College, this course covers the topics of a first-semester college course in linear algebra, including vector spaces, dot and cross products, matrix operations, linear transformations, determinants, eigenvectors and eigenvalues, and much more. Professor Su introduces many fascinating applications of linear algebra, from computer graphics to quantum mechanics.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Taught by Professor Francis Su of Harvey Mudd College, this course covers the topics of a first-semester college course in linear algebra, including vector spaces, dot and cross products, matrix operations, linear transformations, determinants, eigenvectors and eigenvalues, and much more. Professor Su introduces many fascinating applications of linear algebra, from computer graphics to quantum mechanics.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Mastering Linear Algebra: An Introduction with Applications
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Linear Algebra: Powerful Transformations
      Discover that linear algebra is a powerful tool that combines the insights of geometry and algebra. Focus on its central idea of linear transformations, which are functions that are algebraically very simple and that change a space geometrically in modest ways, such as taking parallel lines to parallel lines. Survey the diverse linear phenomena that can be analyzed this way. x
    • 2
      Vectors: Describing Space and Motion
      Professor Su poses a handwriting recognition problem as an introduction to vectors, the basic objects of study in linear algebra. Learn how to define a vector, as well as how to add and multiply them, both algebraically and geometrically. Also see vectors as more general objects that apply to a wide range of situations that may not, at first, look like arrows or ordered collections of real numbers. x
    • 3
      Linear Geometry: Dots and Crosses
      Even at this stage of the course, the concepts you've encountered give insight into the strange behavior of matter in the quantum realm. Get a glimpse of this connection by learning two standard operations on vectors: dot products and cross products. The dot product of two vectors is a scalar, with magnitude only. The cross product of two vectors is a vector, with both magnitude and direction. x
    • 4
      Matrix Operations
      Use the problem of creating an error-correcting computer code to explore the versatile language of matrix operations. A matrix is a rectangular array of numbers whose rows and columns can be thought of as vectors. Learn matrix notation and the rules for matrix arithmetic. Then see how these concepts help you determine if a digital signal has been corrupted and, if so, how to fix it. x
    • 5
      Linear Transformations
      Dig deeper into linear transformations to find out how they are closely tied to matrix multiplication. Computer graphics is a perfect example of the use of linear transformations. Define a linear transformation and study properties that follow from this definition, especially as they relate to matrices. Close by exploring advanced computer graphic techniques for dealing with perspective in images. x
    • 6
      Systems of Linear Equations
      One powerful application of linear algebra is for solving systems of linear equations, which arise in many different disciplines. One example: balancing chemical equations. Study the general features of any system of linear equations, then focus on the Gaussian elimination method of solution, named after the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, but also discovered in ancient China. x
    • 7
      Reduced Row Echelon Form
      Consider how signals from four GPS satellites can be used to calculate a phone's location, given the positions of the satellites and the times for the four signals to reach the phone. In the process, discover a systematic way to use row operations to put a matrix into reduced row echelon form, a special form that lets you solve any system of linear equations, and tells you a lot about the solutions. x
    • 8
      Span and Linear Dependence
      Determine whether eggs and oatmeal alone can satisfy goals for obtaining three types of nutrients. Learn about the span of a set of vectors, which is the set of all linear combination of those vectors; and linear dependence, where one vector can be written as a linear combination of two others. Along the way, develop your intuition for seeing possible solutions to problems in linear algebra. x
    • 9
      Subspaces: Special Subsets to Look For
      Delve into special subspaces of a matrix: the null space, row space, and column space. Use these to understand the economics of making croissants and donuts for a specified price, drawing on three ingredients with changing costs. As in the previous lecture, move back and forth between a matrix equation, a system of equations, and a vector equation, which all represent the same thing. x
    • 10
      Bases: Basic Building Blocks
      Using the example of digital compression of images, explore the basis of a vector space. This is a subset of vectors that, in the case of compression formats like JPEG, preserve crucial information while dispensing with extraneous data. Discover how to find a basis for a column space, row space, and null space. Also make geometric observations about these important structures. x
    • 11
      Invertible Matrices: Undoing What You Did
      Now turn to engineering, a fertile field for linear algebra. Put yourself in the shoes of a bridge designer, faced with determining the maximum force that a bridge can take for a given deflection vector. This involves the inverse of a matrix. Explore techniques for determining if an inverse matrix exists and then calculating it. Also learn proofs about properties of matrices and their inverses. x
    • 12
      The Invertible Matrix Theorem
      Use linear algebra to analyze one of the games on the popular electronic toy Merlin from the 1970s. This leads you deeper into the nature of the inverse of a matrix, showing why invertibility is such an important idea. Learn about the fundamental theorem of invertible matrices, which provides a key to understanding properties you can infer from matrices that either have or don't have an inverse. x
    • 13
      Determinants: Numbers That Say a Lot
      Study the determinant—the factor by which a region of space increases or decreases after a matrix transformation. If the determinant is negative, then the space has been mirror-reversed. Probe other properties of the determinant, including its use in multivariable calculus for computing the volume of a parallelepiped, which is a three-dimensional figure whose faces are parallelograms. x
    • 14
      Eigenstuff: Revealing Hidden Structure
      Dive into eigenvectors, which are a special class of vectors that don’t change direction under a given linear transformation. The scaling factor of an eigenvector is the eigenvalue. These seemingly incidental properties turn out to be of enormous importance in linear algebra. Get started with “eigenstuff” by pondering a problem in population modeling, featuring foxes and their prey, rabbits. x
    • 15
      Eigenvectors and Eigenvalues: Geometry
      Continue your study from the previous lecture by exploring the geometric properties of eigenvectors and eigenvalues, gaining an intuitive sense of the hidden structure they reveal. Learn how to calculate eigenvalues and eigenvectors; and for vectors that are not eigenvectors, discover that if you have a basis of eigenvectors, then it's easy to see how a transformation moves every other point. x
    • 16
      Diagonalizability
      In this third lecture on eigenvectors, examine conditions under which a change in basis results in a basis of eigenvectors, which makes computation with matrices very easy. Discover the property called diagonalizability, and prove that being diagonalizable is the equivalent to having a basis of eigenvectors. Also explore the connection between the eigenvalues of a matrix and its determinant. x
    • 17
      Population Dynamics: Foxes and Rabbits
      Return to the problem of modeling the population dynamics of foxes and rabbits from Lecture 14, drawing on your knowledge of eigenvectors to analyze different scenarios. First, express the predation relationship in matrix notation. Then, experiment with different values for the predation factor, looking for the optimum ratio of foxes to rabbits to ensure that both populations remain stable. x
    • 18
      Differential Equations: New Applications
      Professor Su walks you through the application of matrices in differential equations, assuming for just this lecture that you know a little calculus. The first problem involves the population ratios of rats and mice. Next, investigate the motion of a spring, using linear algebra to simplify second order differential equations into first order differential equations—a handy simplification. x
    • 19
      Orthogonality: Squaring Things Up
      In mathematics, “orthogonal” means at right angles. Difficult operations become simpler when orthogonal vectors are involved. Learn how to determine if a matrix is orthogonal and survey the properties that result. Among these, an orthogonal transformation preserves dot products and also angles and lengths. Also, study the Gram–Schmidt process for producing orthogonal vectors. x
    • 20
      Markov Chains: Hopping Around
      The algorithm for the Google search engine is based on viewing websurfing as a Markov chain. So are speech-recognition programs, models for predicting genetic drift, and many other data structures. Investigate this practical tool, which employs probabilistic rules to advance from one state to the next. Find that Markov chains converge on at least one steady-state vector, an eigenvector. x
    • 21
      Multivariable Calculus: Derivative Matrix
      Discover that linear algebra plays a key role in multivariable calculus, also called vector calculus. For those new to calculus, Professor Su covers essential concepts. Then, he shows how multivariable functions can be translated into linear transformations, which you have been studying since the beginning. See how other ideas in multivariable calculus also fall into place, thanks to linear algebra. x
    • 22
      Multilinear Regression: Least Squares
      Witness the wizardry of linear algebra for finding a best-fitting line or best-fitting linear model for data—a problem that arises whenever information is being analyzed. The methods include multiple linear regression and least squares approximation, and can also be used to reverse-engineer an unknown formula that has been applied to data, such as U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings. x
    • 23
      Singular Value Decomposition: So Cool
      Next time you respond to a movie, music, or other online recommendation, think of the singular value decomposition (SVD), which is a matrix factorization method used to match your known preferences to similar products. Learn how SVD works, how to compute it, and how its ability to identify relevant attributes makes it an effective data compression tool for subtracting unimportant information. x
    • 24
      General Vector Spaces: More to Explore
      Finish the course by seeing how linear algebra applies more generally than just to vectors in the real coordinate space of n dimensions, which is what you have studied so far. Discover that Fibonacci sequences, with their many applications, can be treated as vector spaces, as can Fourier series, used in waveform analysis. Truly, linear algebra pops up in the most unexpected places! x
  • Understanding the Quantum World

    Professor Erica W. Carlson, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Quantum theory baffles even physicists, but it also gives them unprecedented insight into nature—and it can do the same for you, once you understand the fundamentals. Open your mind and broaden your scientific horizons with this 24-lecture course on the quantum world.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Quantum theory baffles even physicists, but it also gives them unprecedented insight into nature—and it can do the same for you, once you understand the fundamentals. Open your mind and broaden your scientific horizons with this 24-lecture course on the quantum world.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Understanding the Quantum World
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Particle-Wave Duality
      Begin your journey into the quantum world by focusing on one of its most baffling features: the behavior of quantum entities as both particles and waves. Following her approach of presenting analogies over equations, Professor Carlson gives a handy way of visualizing this paradox. Then she takes you further into quantum weirdness by using a slinky to show how waves can be quantized. x
    • 2
      Particles, Waves, and Interference Patterns
      Investigate one of the most famous demonstrations in physics: the double-slit experiment. See how electrons behave as both particles and waves when passing through two parallel slits in a plate and then striking a screen. Bizarrely, the wave properties disappear when the electrons are monitored as they pass through each slit, showing our inability to have complete information of a quantum state. x
    • 3
      Observers Disturb What They Measure
      Consider what life would be like if quantum effects held at our everyday scale. For instance, there would be no trouble sitting in three chairs at once! Learn what happens when a particle in such a mixed state is forced by measurement to assume a definite position—a situation known as wave function collapse. This leads to the important quantum principle that observers disturb what they measure. x
    • 4
      Bell’s Theorem and Schrödinger’s Cat
      Ponder two celebrated and thought-provoking responses to the apparent incompatibility of quantum mechanics and classical physics. Bell’s theorem shows that attempts to reconcile the two systems are futile in a certain class of theories. Next, Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment implying that a cat could be both dead and alive if the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics holds. x
    • 5
      Quantum Paradoxes and Interpretations
      Review the major theories proposed by physicists trying to make sense of the paradoxes of the quantum world. Look at the Copenhagen interpretation, Einstein’s realist view, the many worlds interpretation, quantum Bayesianism, non-local hidden variables, and other creative attempts to explain what is going on in a realm that seems to be governed by probability alone. x
    • 6
      The Position-Momentum Uncertainty Relation
      Heisenberg's uncertainty principle sets a fundamental limit on how much we can know about an object's position and momentum at the same time. Professor Carlson introduces this simple equation, showing how it explains why atoms have structure and come in the diverse forms of the periodic table of elements. Surprisingly, the stability of our everyday world rests on uncertainty at the quantum level. x
    • 7
      Wave Quantization
      Electrons don't just orbit the nucleus—they simultaneously exist as standing waves. Go deeper into what standing wave modes look like in one, two, and three dimensions, discovering that these shapes explain the quantization of energy states in an atom. As usual, Professor Carlson introduces useful analogies, including the standing waves produced in a vibrating drum head. x
    • 8
      Quantum Wave Shapes and the Periodic Table
      Focus on standing waves of electrons around nuclei, seeing how the periodic table of elements results from what electrons do naturally: fall into the lowest energy state given the total electric charge, existing electron population, and other features of an atom. Learn the Pauli exclusion principle and a handy mnemonic for remembering the terminology for atomic orbitals, such as 1s, 2p, 3d, etc. x
    • 9
      Interference of Waves and Sloshing States
      Watch what happens when electrons are put into wave forms that differ from standing waves. Your goal is to understand why some of these superposition states are unstable. Professor Carlson notes that the sloshing of an electron back and forth in an unstable state causes it to act like an antenna, radiating away energy until it falls to a lower energy level. x
    • 10
      Wave Shapes in Diamond and Graphene
      What accounts for the dramatic difference between diamond and graphene (a sheet of graphite one atom thick), both of which are composed of pure carbon? Study the role of electrons in molecular bonds, applying your knowledge of electron standing waves. In carbon, such waves make possible several types of bonds, which in diamond and graphene result in remarkably different physical properties. x
    • 11
      Harmonic Oscillators
      A clock pendulum is an example of a classical harmonic oscillator. Extend this concept to the atomic realm to see how quantum waves behave like harmonic oscillators. Then learn how quantum physics was born at the turn of the 20th century in Max Planck’s solution to a paradox in the classical picture of oscillating atoms. His conclusion was that the energies of oscillation had to be quantized. x
    • 12
      The Energy-Time Uncertainty Relation
      Return to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle from Lecture 6 to see how quantum uncertainty also extends to energy and time. This has a startling implication for energy conservation, suggesting that short-lived “virtual” particles can pop into existence out of nothing—as long as they don’t stay around for long. Consider evidence for this phenomenon in the Lamb shift and Casimir effect. x
    • 13
      Quantum Angular Momentum and Electron Spin
      Continue your investigation of the counterintuitive quantum world by contrasting angular momentum for planets and other classical objects with analogous phenomena in quantum particles. Cover the celebrated Stern–Gerlach experiment, which in the 1920s showed that spin is quantized for atoms and can only take on a very limited number of discrete values. x
    • 14
      Quantum Orbital Angular Momentum
      Having covered electron spin in the previous lecture, now turn to orbital angular momentum. Again, a phenomenon familiar in classical physics relating to planets has an analogue in the quantum domain—although with profound differences. This leads to a discussion of permanent magnets, which Professor Carlson calls “a piece of quantum physics that you can hold in your hand.” x
    • 15
      Quantum Properties of Light
      Among Einstein’s insights was that light comes in discrete packets of energy called photons. Explore the photoelectric effect, which prompted Einstein’s discovery. See a do-it-yourself project that demonstrates the photoelectric effect. Close by surveying applications of the quantum theory of light to phenomena such as lasers, fluorescent dyes, photosynthesis, and vitamin D production in skin. x
    • 16
      Atomic Transitions and Photons
      Dive deeper into the interactions of light with matter. Starting with a hydrogen atom, examine the changes in energy and angular momentum when an electron transitions from one orbital to another. See how the diverse possibilities create a “fingerprint” specific to every type of atom, and how this is the basis for spectroscopy, which can determine the composition of stars by analyzing their light. x
    • 17
      Atomic Clocks and GPS
      Peer into the structure of a cesium atom to see what makes it ideal for measuring the length of a second and serving as the basis for atomic clocks. Then head into space to learn how GPS satellites use atomic clocks to triangulate positions on the ground. Finally, delve into Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity to understand the corrections that GPS must make to stay accurate. x
    • 18
      Quantum Mechanics and Color Vision
      Probe the quantum events that underlie color vision, discovering the role of the retinal molecule in detecting different frequencies of photons as they strike cone cells in the eye’s retina. Also investigate the source of color blindness, most common in men, as well as its inverse, tetrachromacy, which is the ability to see an extra channel of color information, possessed by some women. x
    • 19
      A Quantum Explanation of Color
      Now turn to the sources of color in the world around us, from the yellow glow of sodium street lights to the brilliant red of a ruby pendant. Grasp the secret of the aurora, the difference between fluorescence and phosphorescence, and the reason neon dyes look brighter than their surroundings. It turns out that our entire experience of color is governed by the quantum world. x
    • 20
      Quantum Tunneling
      Anyone who makes use of a memory stick, a solid-state hard drive, or a smartphone relies on one of the most baffling aspects of the quantum world: quantum tunneling. Professor Carlson uses a roller coaster analogy, combined with your newly acquired insight into wave mechanics, to make this feat of quantum sorcery—the equivalent of walking through walls—perfectly logical. x
    • 21
      Fermions and Bosons
      Investigate why two pieces of matter cannot occupy the same space at the same time, reaching the conclusion that this is only true for fermions, which are particles with half-integer spin. The other class of particles, bosons, with integer spin, can be in the same place at the same time. Learn how this feature of bosons has been exploited in lasers and in superfluids such as liquid helium. x
    • 22
      Spin Singlets and the EPR Paradox
      Study the most celebrated challenge to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics: the paradox proposed by Albert Einstein and his collaborators Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen—later updated by David Bohm. Is quantum mechanics an incomplete theory due to hidden variables that guide the outcome of quantum interactions? Examine this idea and the experiments designed to test it. x
    • 23
      Quantum Mechanics and Metals
      Analyze how metals conduct electricity, discovering that, in a sense, electrons “surf” from one metal atom to the next on a quantum mechanical wave. Probe the causes of electrical resistance and why metals can never be perfect conductors. Finally, use the Pauli exclusion principle to understand the optimum distribution of electrons in the different quantum states of metal atoms. x
    • 24
      Superconductivity
      Close with one of Professor Carlson’s favorite topics: superconductivity. As noted in Lecture 23, when electrons flow through a metal, they lose energy to resistance. But this is not true of superconductors, whose amazing properties trace to the difference between bosons and fermions. Learn how quantum stability allows superconductors to conduct electricity with zero resistance, then step back and summarize the high points of your quantum tour. x
  • How to Write Best-Selling Fiction

    Professor James Scott Bell, JD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Embark on an insightful, intimate, and extraordinarily revealing look at the elements of best-selling fiction. Get a comprehensive, eye-opening, and illuminating survey of the entire writing process, as well as a full breakdown of how dozens of best-selling authors have implemented these best practices in their own writing. As an aspiring author, you will gain a wealth of tools that that will not only improve your ability to write, but will also increase your enjoyment of the craft.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Embark on an insightful, intimate, and extraordinarily revealing look at the elements of best-selling fiction. Get a comprehensive, eye-opening, and illuminating survey of the entire writing process, as well as a full breakdown of how dozens of best-selling authors have implemented these best practices in their own writing. As an aspiring author, you will gain a wealth of tools that that will not only improve your ability to write, but will also increase your enjoyment of the craft.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  How to Write Best-Selling Fiction
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Tell Me a Story
      Mr. Bell introduces you to the seven critical success factors of fiction and shows you how best-selling writers put them into practice. He explores literary genres through the success of best sellers written by authors such as Harper Lee and Gillian Flynn. He then challenges you to see if you have what it takes to be a best-selling author, as he outlines the 10 characteristics that a serious writer must possess. Discover why he surprisingly counts talent among the least important of the traits. x
    • 2
      Anatomy of a Best Seller
      What is a novel? Looking at examples from writers including John Grisham, Michael Connelly, George Pelecanos, J. D. Salinger, Suzanne Collins, Thomas Harris, and more, Mr. Bell analyzes first what makes a novel, and then, what makes a novel successful. He also provides his own insights by looking at the role luck plays in creating a best seller. Learn how you first must “master the pyramid” before you can “try your luck on the wheel of fortune.” x
    • 3
      Developing Ideas
      Jump-start your creativity with a selection of fun exercises, including “What-If Moments” and “The First-Line Game.” Mr. Bell cites best-selling authors such as Alice Sebold and Mickey Spillane to demonstrate the importance of creating unique elements: a twist, a character, a setting, a relationship. Find out how to create the ever-important elevator pitch. x
    • 4
      The LOCK System: A Foundation for Your Novel
      Using a proprietary system of his own invention, Mr. Bell introduces you to the foundational principles of a successful novel: LOCK (Lead, Objective, Confrontation, Knockout). He’ll demonstrate how famous authors such as Stephen King, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Theodore Dreiser, Michael Connelly, and others utilize these fundamental elements. Review the five types of endings and discover the pros and cons of each. x
    • 5
      Structuring Your Novel
      Learn why stories need—and love—structure. By rethinking a structure as a recipe, you realize you can still be original and creative within the template that works for best sellers. Dive into the writing styles of “pantsers” versus “plotters” and get a better understanding of whether you want to aim for a plot-driven or a character-driven story. And using the writings of John Grisham, Ernest Hemingway, James Patterson, Stephen King, E. L. Doctorow, Lee Child, and others, evaluate the traditional mythical structure of a three-act story. x
    • 6
      Act I: The Disturbance
      See how James M. Cain, Harlan Coben, Anne Lamott, Ken Follett, James Clavell, and Dean Koontz often use a jolt or disturbance in the first few pages, if not the very first sentence, to hook a reader in, and how that often contributes to the book becoming a best seller. Look at other elements that you will need to include in the first act that will build up the character bonding and tension, which will keep readers riveted. Mr. Bell reveals an easy-to-use visual map that will help you plot out the most important elements for each act. x
    • 7
      Act II: The Arena of Conflict
      Building out Act Two means creating an “arena of conflict”—this is where your lead realizes he or she needs to overcome a challenge. Mr. Bell introduces you to the concept of a “mirror moment” and provides examples of authors who have demonstrated this technique, such as Margaret Mitchell, Suzanne Collins, Mario Puzo, Harper Lee, Thomas Harris, and Dashiell Hammett. Uncover three other elements that make a great second act and get introduced to the four options which will get your character to the final battle. x
    • 8
      Act III and Resolution
      Mickey Spillane noted, “The first chapter sells the book. The last chapter sells the next book.” Mr. Bell has already provided the tools to get your reader hooked with the first chapter—and potentially the first line! Now, he provides the five strategies that will help you end your book in a way that gets your reader craving your next title. x
    • 9
      Jump-off-the-Page Characters
      Now that you know the secrets of a page-turning plot, Mr. Bell opens the toolbox for creating characters. Learn how to use unpredictability so your readers don’t get bored with cliché characters or trite traits. Calling on the practices used by best-selling writers including Michael Connelly, Richard Stark, David Morrell, Harper Lee, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lee Child, and Janet Evanovich, you’ll see how to develop flaws and baggage to make your characters relatable and human. Plus, get hints about building secondary characters, villains, and what it takes to keep a character interesting through an ongoing series. x
    • 10
      Bringing Characters to Life
      Mr. Bell reveals two ways to bring your characters to life, along with a myriad of techniques you can put into practice, including a list of questions to “ask” your character, a timeline, a voice journal, a simple relationship grid, and the areas you should plan to research. Study famous characters developed by Marcel Proust, Lawrence Block, Jim Butcher, Walter Mosley, Robert Crais, James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Joyce Carol Oates, and more to reveal the techniques the best sellers use. Learn how minor details such as patterns of speech, dress, physical appearance, mannerisms, tics, eccentricities, and even names can have a major impact. x
    • 11
      Point of View
      What does your point of view provide? The most important component of a point of view is that it establishes intimacy between a reader and a character. Dive into the concepts of point of view including: first person, omniscient, second person, and third person (limited and open). Study how Henry Fielding, Charles Dickens, Mario Puzo, James Clavell, J. D. Salinger, Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John D. MacDonald, Suzanne Collins, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Herman Melville, and others use point of view successfully. x
    • 12
      The Essentials of Dazzling Dialogue
      Mr. Bell demonstrates how dialogue is the fastest way to improve any manuscript. He introduces the five functions of dialogue and breaks down the importance of vocabulary, syntax, and specifics like regionalism to help build the character. Examine examples from Orrie Hitt, Margaret Mitchell, John Howard Lawson, Charles Webb, and others. Explore the importance of subtext—what is underneath the words and how it can suggest secrets, fears, memories, yearnings, or hopes. x
    • 13
      Tools for Talk
      Gain insightful tips to keep realistic dialogue from being predictable by learning how to script the unexpected. Mr. Bell challenges you with exercises like determining the opposite of what a reader would assume a response should be, curving the language, and assigning “roles” to your characters to better form relationships, conflict, and realistic conversations. You’ll also gain tips for invoking silence—white space and inner monologues. Dive into the nuts and bolts of grammar in dialogue. x
    • 14
      Voice and Style
      What is voice? Mr. Bell hasn’t found a good definition, so he gives you his own. Citing examples from Janet Evanovich, Elmore Leonard, Douglas Adams, Tom Robbins, Dashiell Hammett, John D. MacDonald, Raymond Chandler, and others, you’ll gain the knowledge to master your voice by getting into your character. Then, delve into the rudimentary lessons of a good writer: showing versus telling, avoiding narrative summaries, writing great descriptions, and using telling details. Mr. Bell demonstrates some easy tools for helping you avoid common pitfalls, such as plotting an intensity scale and a seven-step checklist for creating a setting. x
    • 15
      Make a Scene
      According to Mr. Bell, a scene consists of objective, obstacles, and outcome. A character always has a goal in every scene, and without a challenge to the goal there is no momentum. See how Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Michael Connelly use an emotional beat—emotion, analysis, and decision—to build conflict and tension in a scene and keep it going. Dissect the elements to create and use a successful hook and how to end each chapter on a prompt that will make the reader want to keep reading. x
    • 16
      Subplots and Parallel Plots
      Understand how weaving in smaller conflicts and challenges—subplots and parallel plots—is a great way to expand a story’s range. Learn the three types of subplots. See how authors such as Jim Butcher, Margaret Mitchell, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly, and Suzanne Collins successfully integrate subplots into their main story lines. Mr. Bell introduces a formula for determining how many subplots your book should have and a simple grid you can use to manage multiple plots. x
    • 17
      Deepening the Reader’s Emotional Experience
      Emotions can be tricky. You must walk a fine line to portray enough emotion to make your story and characters gripping and memorable, but also to avoid melodrama where the emotional hook feels contrived. Mr. Bell shows you how to map the hot spots so you don’t get bogged down writing it. He’ll unpack the power of authors who have mastered delivering an emotional punch, such as John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, John Harvey, and Raymond Chandler. He also introduces an exercise that helps you create strong yet concise emotional moments, and examines the power of metaphors to deepen emotional connection. x
    • 18
      First Pages That Grab the Reader
      Starting a scene is one of the most important parts of a book. Mr. Bell introduces you to the different kinds of beginnings and investigates the benefits of using a prologue. With examples from Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, Ken Kesey, Michael Connelly, Suzanne Collins, John Gilstrap, Mickey Spillane, and David Morrell, you’ll learn how to start your scenes with a bang, raise big questions, and then switch things up in the next scene, so your readers are on the edge of their seats. x
    • 19
      Revising Your Novel
      Learn the two most important rules of writing and then hear Mr. Bell’s corollary to those rules. Revisions are extremely important and take a lot of discipline. Get helpful tips for a revision schedule, learn why you need to take a cool-off period before taking a first pass, gain tricks for helping you re-read with fresh eyes, and use shortcuts for marking places you need to come back to so you can read straight through. Mr. Bell also provides excellent advice about using outside readers, both professionals and “beta readers.” x
    • 20
      Blunders and Baloney
      Mr. Bell provides an overview of the most common blunders that could knock you out of the running for publication before you even get started, including awkward flashbacks, fluffy dialogue, being overly happy, or being too predictable. Using examples from best-selling writers including Sarah Pekkanen, Jodi Picoult, Dan Koontz, Mark Twain, and Toni Morrison, he re-evaluates some of the most common writing advice, busting common misconceptions and myths. x
    • 21
      Getting Published
      Mr. Bell unpacks the most important parts of a book proposal that you would send to an agent or a publisher: query, synopsis, and sample chapters—defining each, and breaking down what you should and shouldn’t do. He investigates the pros and cons of using an agent and publisher and gives invaluable advice on what to look for in an agent, how to negotiate a publishing contract, the importance of copyrights, how to protect yourself, and the most important component: getting paid! x
    • 22
      The Self-Publishing Option
      Is self-publishing a viable option? Are the writers who make a living through self-publishing simply lucky? Do you have what it takes to become an “author-preneur?” Mr. Bell spends an entire lecture breaking down the pros and cons of the self-publishing alternative. Gain a plethora of tips of how to find success when self-publishing and learn how to sort through the details like covers, formatting, picking a platform, marketing, and how to price your book. x
    • 23
      Marketing Your Work
      Even if you have an agent, you are still responsible for some aspects of marketing. But you don’t have to have an MBA or be a professional marketer to be a successful advocate for your work. Mr. Bell introduces you to the most important marketing tools. Get tips on selecting a marketable title, creating taglines, finding customers, using social media, building a website, using emails and newsletters, and knowing which self-publishing tools are worth the investment. x
    • 24
      Conquering the Mental Game of Writing
      Look at the most common reasons for writer's block and get tips for how to change your mental state when you feel blocked—see how something as simple as changing your location can change your mood and your mindset. Discover how to find inspiration in unusual places. And finally, Mr. Bell provides advice for dealing with rejection, which all writers face on occasion. Learn how to set your expectations and rejection won’t defeat you. x
  • The Great Tours: Washington D.C.

    Professor Richard Kurin, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Washington DC is a world-class city, offering a multitude of unforgettable sights. In this travelogue, you’ll discover the many layers of history and human endeavor that created DC’s urban environment, such as departments of the U.S. government, monuments and memorials, world-class museums, lesser-known historic gems, neighborhoods and historic homes, and contemporary DC’s range of culinary and recreational activities.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Washington DC is a world-class city, offering a multitude of unforgettable sights. In this travelogue, you’ll discover the many layers of history and human endeavor that created DC’s urban environment, such as departments of the U.S. government, monuments and memorials, world-class museums, lesser-known historic gems, neighborhoods and historic homes, and contemporary DC’s range of culinary and recreational activities.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Great Tours: Washington D.C.
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      How Washington DC Came to Be
      To begin your journey to this world-class city, uncover the origins of the District of Columbia and how the location for our national government was chosen. Learn about the original design and vision for the city by artist/engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant. Then trace the creation and colorful history of the National Mall, and the building of the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. x
    • 2
      The White House and the Presidency
      Track the history and the dramatic fortunes of the White House, from its building, expansion, burning, reconstruction, and further expansions down to the present. Then visit the White House, beginning with the Oval Office and Cabinet Room and following the route of a White House tour. Also visit the parks adjoining the White House, and the Jefferson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorials on the National Mall. x
    • 3
      The Capitol Building and the Legislature
      At the seat of the U.S. legislature, learn how the Capitol building was designed, constructed, and expanded in the early years of the nation. Tour the architectural and artistic wonders of the building, from the Capitol Rotunda to the Statuary Hall, Brumidi Corridors, Hall of Columns, and other key features. Conclude with the House and Senate Chambers, and the surrounding parks and gardens. x
    • 4
      The Supreme Court and the Law of the Land
      Study the founding and history of the Supreme Court, from its early era as an itinerant legal body to the completion of the Court building in 1935 under William Howard Taft. Tour this extraordinary structure, its interior features, court facilities, and artistic decoration. Then explore the Court in action, encompassing courtroom procedure and how cases are selected, adjudicated, and ruled upon. x
    • 5
      The Nation’s Knowledge: Library of Congress
      Visit the stunning premises of the world’s largest library, starting with the story of the library’s creation in the 18th century. Begin your tour with the monumental Jefferson Building, with its glorious Beaux Arts décor, followed by the remarkable facilities of the Adams and Madison buildings. Also visit the extraordinary Folger Shakespeare Library, and DC’s beloved Eastern Market. x
    • 6
      The State, Treasury, and Justice Departments
      Look into the origins and functions of the State Department, and visit the United States Diplomacy Center, as well as the stellar Diplomatic Reception Rooms. Continue with the Treasury Department’s Federal Reserve buildings, the beautiful Treasury Building, and the operations of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Then take in the fascinating history and headquarters of the FBI. x
    • 7
      Veterans Memorials on the Mall
      At the first of three iconic war memorials, learn the poignant story behind the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, and how this once controversial monument is now considered a masterpiece. From there, take account of the artistically conceived Korean War Veterans Memorial, and finally the World War II Memorial, and its moving tribute to the “Greatest Generation.” x
    • 8
      Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon
      Grasp the historic connections between Arlington National Cemetery and the American Civil War. At the Cemetery, begin by visiting some of the gravesites of famous citizens, and the former mansion of Robert E. Lee. Among landmark sites at Arlington, see the Memorial Amphitheater, the Tomb of the Unknowns, the Marine Corps Memorial, Air Force Memorial, and the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. x
    • 9
      George Washington’s Mount Vernon
      At the home and estate of George Washington, trace Washington’s early life, and his inheritance and expansion of the plantation now known as Mount Vernon. Tour the estate, highlighting the impressive interior features of the mansion, a major focal point of social and political life in Virginia. In nearby Alexandria, visit historic sites associated with the life and career of George Washington. x
    • 10
      Ford’s Theatre and Lincoln’s Washington DC
      This lecture considers how the Civil War and the Lincoln presidency transformed the city. Among key sites of the era, explore the historic Willard Hotel and its dramatic connection with Lincoln; Fort Stevens and its wartime role; the Clara Barton National Historic Site; and President Lincoln’s Cottage, the “summer White House.” Then visit Ford’s Theatre, the site and memorial of the Lincoln assassination. x
    • 11
      Washington’s Civil Rights Landmarks
      Witness the impact on Washington of the civil rights movement, beginning with the life and work of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and the national historic site of his home. As the focus of the lecture, take an in-depth tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, its major galleries, and 36,000 artifacts that tell the nation’s story through the lens of the black experience. x
    • 12
      The Holocaust Museum
      Study the background of the extraordinary United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, its mission to preserve the history of Nazi atrocities against Jews and other persecuted groups, and the movement to memorialize these events through a museum and education center. Observe how the museum poignantly evokes pre-war Jewish experience, the horror of the Holocaust, and its aftermath and legacy, through images, personal objects, and oral histories. x
    • 13
      Museums on the Mall: Smithsonian and Beyond
      In a panoramic overview of the Smithsonian Institution, begin at the National Museum of American History, and its collection of historical treasures. Continue with the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the phenomenal collections of the National Air and Space Museum. Conclude with the wealth of art museums on the National Mall. x
    • 14
      Washington, City of Scandal
      Delve into the history of political scandals in Washington, and how the nation has come to terms with them. Learn first about the 19th-century Burr Conspiracy, focusing on former Vice President Aaron Burr. Then take stock of the scandals under President Ulysses S. Grant, the infamous Teapot Dome scandal, and finally the Watergate scandal, finishing at the Newseum, a media history museum. x
    • 15
      The Kennedy Center and the DC Arts Scene
      Within Washington’s hotbed of live entertainment, visit the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, with its multiple performance spaces. Then learn about the National Theatre, The Shakespeare and Folger theatres, DC’s outstanding regional theaters, and music offerings from the National Symphony Orchestra to venues featuring jazz, rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, and alternative music. x
    • 16
      Neighborhoods of Northwest DC
      DC’s Northwest Quadrant is home to some of the city’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods. Take in the beautiful architecture of Embassy Row, and that of two magnificent nearby mansions. Visit the Dupont Circle neighborhood and its extraordinary museums, as well as those of The George Washington University. Finish with a first look at the history and cultural richness of Georgetown. x
    • 17
      Washington’s Historic Homes and Gardens
      Washington’s private homes provide a fascinating window into the city’s history. Begin at the pre-Revolutionary colonial building of the Old Stone House, which shows how early DC citizens lived. Then discover three grand and storied mansions in Upper Georgetown. Visit the remarkable Octagon House; the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden of Marjorie Merriweather Post; and Woodlawn Plantation, which became a “free labor colony” with lots owned and farmed by free African Americans. x
    • 18
      Spiritual DC: The National Cathedral and More
      Take account of the plethora of religious institutions in Washington and consider the role of faith in the city’s history. Stop first at St. John’s Episcopal Church, closely associated with the presidency, and DC’s architecturally rich Catholic churches. Visit Jewish and Muslim houses of worship, and finally take in the historic and artistic treasures of the Washington National Cathedral. x
    • 19
      Smithsonian’s National Zoo
      Trace the history and mission of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, a Smithsonian institution now housing 300 animal species. Learn about the National Zoo’s remarkable exhibits of zoological rarities, from the clouded leopard to the giant panda. Take note of the National Zoo’s approach to recreating natural habitats, and the institution’s deep involvement with animal research and conservation of endangered species. x
    • 20
      Dining Out in Washington DC
      Washington offers an astonishing wealth of dining experiences, from historic to contemporary. First discover two of DC’s longstanding food traditions: seafood and soul food. Visit treasured historic restaurants around the city, and delve into the city’s world cuisine, from Ethiopian and Mediterranean to global fusion. Also take note of food festivals that take place in DC throughout the year. x
    • 21
      Washington’s New Waterfront
      Investigate the history of DC’s riverfronts on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, and the outstanding revitalization programs now underway. Stop at Kingman and Heritage Island Park, and Anacostia Park, featuring trails, boat tours, and wildlife watching. Then visit National Harbor, District Wharf, and the Georgetown waterfront, with their many dining, shopping, and cultural offerings. x
    • 22
      Washington for Sports Fans
      Sports have a longstanding place in the history and culture of DC. Track the backstory of baseball, football, and basketball teams in Washington, and learn where to watch and play these highly popular sports now. Delve also into DC’s hockey and soccer scene, and the abundance of “imported” sports in the capital, from rugby and cricket to Irish hurling and Gaelic football. x
    • 23
      Exploring Washington’s Great Outdoors
      DC contains an array of beautiful green spaces, offering an alternative to the urban landscape. Among many, discover the story and the amenities of historic Rock Creek Park, and the riverfront walks and outdoor activities along the Potomac Heritage Trail. On the Anacostia River, visit Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, with its plethora of wildlife, and the botanical riches of the United States National Arboretum. x
    • 24
      The National Archives and the Future of DC
      Finally, learn about the treasures within the National Archives, including original copies of America’s founding documents, historic murals, and the poignant “Records of Rights” exhibit. Revisit the history of DC, and consider city plans that were never realized, “disappeared” Washington, and proposals for the city’s future. Conclude with thoughts on the dynamic, changing environment of DC. x
  • Adobe Photoshop CC:  The Complete Guide

    Instructor Ben Willmore, Photoshop Expert

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    In Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide, photographer and world-renowned Photoshop instructor Ben Willmore will guide you through 21 lessons, starting from the very basics of accessing files and using the most popular effects to gradually progressing into advanced tools and techniques that can open up a whole new world of photo editing possibilities. Whether you want to brighten a family photo, create an amazing photo collage to promote your business, or anything in between, you will be able to easily find and use the right tools for the job.

    View Lecture List (21)

    In Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide, photographer and world-renowned Photoshop instructor Ben Willmore will guide you through 21 lessons, starting from the very basics of accessing files and using the most popular effects to gradually progressing into advanced tools and techniques that can open up a whole new world of photo editing possibilities. Whether you want to brighten a family photo, create an amazing photo collage to promote your business, or anything in between, you will be able to easily find and use the right tools for the job.

    View Lecture List (21)
    21 Lectures  |  Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide
    Lecture Titles (21)
    • 1
      Introduction to Photoshop
      Begin by looking at what Photoshop is and its many features, starting with your first step: opening files. Then move on to resolution and color settings, file formats, managing panels, creating and using presets, and more. Also gain a valuable understanding of the differences between Adobe Lightroom, Bridge, and Camera RAW. x
    • 2
      How to Use Camera RAW
      Most of the basic adjustments users need to make to their photographs can be done in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR)—an easy, one-stop shop containing the best of Photoshop. Look at the capabilities of ACR and, through several demonstrations, why up to 70% of your image finishing can be accomplished there. x
    • 3
      Making Selections in Adobe Photoshop
      What do you do if you want to alter just a small portion of your photograph at a time? Learn the different editing tools and techniques for making selections in Photoshop, including the lasso, quick selection, and paint tools. Begin with simple shapes and progress to more complex and precise challenges. x
    • 4
      Using Layers in Adobe Photoshop
      Layers in Photoshop comprise the various elements of your image and they are an important concept to understand before moving into more advanced territory. Build a solid foundation in this first of several looks at the concept, as you explore not just the technical how-to aspects, but also how to think about layers and what you want to accomplish. x
    • 5
      Using Layer Masks in Adobe Photoshop
      Adding and removing elements from images is about more than cut-and-paste. When you understand how to use masking via layers in Photoshop, you can manipulate your images in surprising new ways. Watch as Mr. Willmore shows you how to alter specific portions of a single image and how to create a new image by masking and combining several shots. x
    • 6
      Tools Panel in Adobe Photoshop
      Get an overview of the editing tools panel and where to find the tools you need for various adjustments. Resize, trim, and rotate images with the crop tool; match colors with the eyedropper; navigate the color panel and brush panel; set up and store preset elements and swatches in the libraries panel; and more. x
    • 7
      Adjustment Layers in Adobe Photoshop
      Often, you need to make adjustments to a particular part of an image, but without disturbing the other elements. Learn to use adjustment layers in Photoshop to make tonal adjustments to specific portions of your images, as well as how to reduce color noise or adjust brightness and contrast. x
    • 8
      Color Adjustments in Adobe Photoshop
      Learn the essentials of color adjustment in the Properties Panel, including hue, saturation, and lightness (HSL), as well as color matching and manipulation. See how you can isolate colors for adjustment without altering the other colors present and why you should be aware of the settings that can affect your tools. x
    • 9
      Retouching Images in Adobe Photoshop
      Begin your basic photo editing fixes with spot removal in Camera RAW. Then, turn to how to eliminate or downplay unwanted objects using the spot healing brush, followed by a look at how to fill in empty areas with the magic wand tool or the selection tool and the fill option. Also look at the healing brush and using paint tools for retouching. x
    • 10
      Layer Blending Modes
      Explore the layer blending modes menu, which you'll find throughout Adobe Photoshop, which can allow you to change the ways your tools and layers interact with each other. Use this handy tool to create all sorts of eye-catching effects, including how to layer similar images, create repeating patterns, and much more. x
    • 11
      How to Use Filters in Adobe Photoshop
      How do you combine multiple photographs to create a panorama? And how do you avoid making effects look artificial or generic? Learn how to use filters in Adobe Photoshop so you can fix problem areas, heighten contrast and detail, and create special effects, such as making your photos look like paintings. x
    • 12
      Advanced Photoshop Masks
      Take what you have learned about masks so far and turn to more advanced techniques. Learn how to use advanced masks to isolate a part of your photo so you can make targeted adjustments on that portion only. Also get valuable guidance on when you should use complex techniques and when it may be better to keep it simple. x
    • 13
      Using Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop
      Fundamentally change the way you think about Photoshop as you learn about using smart objects, which allows you to preserve the original properties even after saving and closing. Look at how the function works, when it can help you—and when it can get in your way. x
    • 14
      Photography for Photoshop
      Mr. Willmore helps you consider some things you might shoot with Photoshop in mind, such as taking multiple shots to stitch together as a panorama. Also, see how shooting in HDR can give you multiple versions of the same image that you can combine or adjust according to your needs. x
    • 15
      Photo Retouching in Photoshop
      Learn to do more advanced photo retouching in Photoshop with blend modes, the magic wand tool, the adjustment brush, and more. Understand how to determine which tools are best for the corrections you want to make, and when you should tackle things manually and when you can automate instead. x
    • 16
      Warp, Bend, Liquify
      The ability to warp, bend, and liquify your images is important when you want to place them on curved surfaces, add them to other photos, or make them match a particular perspective. Incorporate some of tools you have learned previously and combine them with new techniques that will allow you to move and combine your images in new ways. x
    • 17
      Advanced Photoshop Layers
      Use what you have learned about layers as you explore some of the hidden features and unique settings in advanced Adobe Photoshop layers that can take your skills to the next level. With these insights, you will be able to do more complex manipulations and adjustments and further increase your photo editing toolkit. x
    • 18
      Photoshop Tips and Tricks
      The more you work with Photoshop, the more you will uncover about its capabilities— and the techniques and workarounds that can make your experience even better. Learn helpful and time-saving Photoshop tips and tricks like scanning photos in bulk, using the histogram to make your adjustments, and automated color correction. x
    • 19
      Photoshop Actions
      Now that you know many of the tools and techniques Photoshop has to offer, learn how Photoshop actions allow you to automate common tasks to make your workflow faster and more efficient. Once you know what you need to accomplish, you can add plugins, shortcuts, and design presets that will make your Photoshop experience even better. x
    • 20
      Troubleshooting Photoshop
      Even the most experienced Photoshop users can run into trouble, and some issues are more common than you might think. Follow Mr. Willmore as he demonstrates some of the things that can go wrong in Photoshop and how to go about troubleshooting in a variety of situations. x
    • 21
      Photoshop Q&A
      Once you know the most important tools—and quite a few tricks and hidden gems— what is the next step? Close the course by looking at specific issues and roadblocks many users encounter as Mr. Willmore holds a Photoshop Q&A, where he fields questions from students via Skype. x
  • Theories of Knowledge: How to Think about What You Know

    Professor Joseph H. Shieber, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Delve into the exciting world of knowledge, belief, and truth in Theories of Knowledge: How to Think about What You Know. Taught by acclaimed Professor Joseph H. Shieber of Lafayette College, these 24 mind-bending lectures take you from Plato to Hume to contemporary neurobiologists, and from wide-ranging social networks to the deepest recesses of your own brain.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Delve into the exciting world of knowledge, belief, and truth in Theories of Knowledge: How to Think about What You Know. Taught by acclaimed Professor Joseph H. Shieber of Lafayette College, these 24 mind-bending lectures take you from Plato to Hume to contemporary neurobiologists, and from wide-ranging social networks to the deepest recesses of your own brain.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Theories of Knowledge: How to Think about What You Know
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Philosophy and Transformative Experiences
      What do philosophical “theories of knowledge” have to do with everyday life? If you believe the field of epistemology is esoteric and abstract, you’ll be surprised by how fundamental it is to everyday life. In this opening lecture, reflect on how we make “transformative” experiences—and why common sense might lead us astray. x
    • 2
      Knowledge, Truth, and Belief
      Philosophers have been ruminating on the nature of knowledge for thousands of years. Using Plato as your guide, investigate the relationship between “knowledge,” “truth,” and “belief.” Professor Shieber brings in contemporary psychology and what we know about child development to show how we come to know what we know. x
    • 3
      Foundationalism: Descartes's Evil Demon
      We’re all familiar with Descartes’s cogito, ergo sum, or “I think, therefore I am.” Delve into this powerful analysis of reality to discover what Descartes meant. As you’ll learn, he was trying to develop an infallible explanation for his knowledge of the world, which led him deep inside his own mind. x
    • 4
      The Coherence Theory of Knowledge
      Turn from Descartes's theory of infallible knowledge to fallible yet still internal theories of reality. The most prominent theory is coherentism, a framework for understanding the world in terms of logical cohesion and consistency. While this theory has much to offer, you'll also wrestle with several key challenges. x
    • 5
      Externalist Theories of Knowledge
      Not all theories of knowledge rely on internal justification. Here, you will explore several 20th-century approaches to knowledge that don't require that justification is internally accessible. Consider how to gauge beliefs in terms of external consistency, accuracy, reliability, and validity. x
    • 6
      Problems with Self-Knowledge
      Given all this talk of beliefs and external reality, surely it's safe to say we at least understand ourselves, right? Traditional, Cartesian epistemology may consider self-knowledge the foundation of all other knowledge, but as current research in psychology, biology, and neuroscience shows, our self-knowledge is far from complete or even accurate. x
    • 7
      Does Sense Perception Support Knowledge?
      One of the most significant sources of knowledge comes from sense perception—what we see, hear, smell, and experience of the world. Yet our common-sense way of thinking about sense perception is misleading at best. In this first of two lectures on perception, unpack the role of our senses in justifying beliefs about the world. x
    • 8
      Perception: Foundationalism and Externalism
      Continue your study of sense perception with a look at what it implies about the internalist and externalist theories you have studied so far. After examining several problems with internalist foundationalism, Professor Shieber explores how cognitive psychology supports an externalist view of knowledge. x
    • 9
      The Importance of Memory for Knowledge
      Memory plays a crucial role in knowledge because all of our perceptions are impermanent and fleeting. Here, you will examine the nature of memory. Are memories stored experiences in the mind, or are they past events themselves? And does memory merely preserve belief, or can you gain new knowledge from your memories? x
    • 10
      Confabulations and False Memories
      One of the most intriguing aspects of memory is just how fallible it is as a guide to reality. In this lecture, you will turn to how memory fits into the internalist and externalist theories of knowledge. False memories, confabulations, source theories, and forgotten evidence show just how tricky memory really is. x
    • 11
      The Extended Mind
      We are quickly approaching a future of augmented reality, simulated consciousness, brain implants, and more. These brain enhancements raise a number of philosophical questions: What counts as your mind? And is an enhanced brain a better brain? Consider the role of smart phones and photographs in preserving memory. x
    • 12
      Do We Have Innate Knowledge?
      Step back to one of the Enlightenment's most captivating debates: Do we know the world through our own minds (as Descartes argued) or through empirical evidence (as Locke and Hume argued)? After unpacking this debate, see how Kant came to the rescue to distinguish between a priori and a posteriori knowledge. x
    • 13
      How Deduction Contributes to Knowledge
      Much of our belief system stems from things we have not experienced directly; rather, we infer much of our knowledge through the processes of logical reasoning. Here, tackle the role of deduction, in which inference stems from the logical relationship of a series of steps. Consider syllogisms, “if-then” arguments, and other deductive procedures. x
    • 14
      Hume's Attack on Induction
      Deduction and induction are the two types of logical inference. In this first of two explorations of induction, you will examine the reliability and usefulness of induction. You'll start with David Hume's challenge to induction to see whether it can be used to generate knowledge at all. And even if knowledge comes from inductive inference, are humans any good at it? x
    • 15
      The Raven Paradox and New Riddle of Induction
      Continue your tour of induction by looking at a few logical puzzles. There are no easy answers to the raven paradox or the new riddle of induction, but picking apart these challenges can offer valuable lessons about inductive inference. Revisit Hume's attack, and reflect on how Bayes's theorem of probability applies to inductive reasoning. x
    • 16
      Know-How versus Propositional Knowledge
      So far, this course has tackled “propositional knowledge”—or knowledge that X is true. But knowledge-that isn’t the only kind of knowledge. Although philosophers didn’t think much about knowledge-how (know-how) until recently, it has much to teach us—especially about internalist and externalist theories of knowledge. x
    • 17
      Knowledge Derived from Testimony
      Sensory perception, memory, self-awareness, and logical inference are all personal sources of knowledge, but much of our knowledge comes from consulting others' expertise. Discover the breadth of knowledge that comes from testimony, and find out what perils exist in relying on the word of others. x
    • 18
      Social Psychology and Source Monitoring
      To evaluate knowledge that comes from testimony, you might think we analyze the trustworthiness of the source and weigh our beliefs accordingly. But as social psychology tells us and you will see here, we are very bad at spotting liars, and we tend to accept testimony without consciously monitoring the source of the information. x
    • 19
      Testimony through Social Networks
      Social networks play a powerful role in how we acquire knowledge from others. Here, explore the nature of our social networks—how many close friends we tend to have, and how many people are in our wider social network—and then see how our networks provide us information, and how reliable the information is. x
    • 20
      The Reliability of Scientific Testimony
      Previously, you discovered the “social externalist” theory of testimony. Examples from the scientific world provide evidence for this view of ensuring accurate testimony. Reflect on several scientific achievements made possible by “socially distributed cognitive processes”—processes where the sum is greater than the individual players. x
    • 21
      Testimony in the Media
      The media is a great example of a socially distributed process—but how do we know the information is reliable and accurate? Go inside the world of media fact-checking and how our media consumption impacts our knowledge. Consider the challenge of ensuring accuracy in the age of “click-bait.” x
    • 22
      Pragmatic and Moral Encroachment
      Much of this course has focused on the truth-likelihood of knowledge, without focusing on the particular interests of the knower. In this lecture, survey two key challenges to this approach: First, do your practical interests impact whether you have knowledge? Second, do your moral concerns impact whether you have knowledge? x
    • 23
      Radical Skepticism: The Brain in a Vat
      Return to the beginning, in which you studied Descartes’s radical skepticism. While there are many problems with Descartes’s theory of knowledge, his fundamental skepticism is tough to reckon with. How do we know we are not just a brain in a vat, à la The Matrix? Delve into several arguments against this scenario. x
    • 24
      The Future of Epistemology
      Epistemology is an old field, but in the 21st century there has been an explosion of new ideas, approaches, and applications. Conclude the course with a look at the future of the field, including “formal epistemology,” “epistemic injustice,” and the potential integration of externalist, foundationalist, and coherentist approaches to knowledge. x
  • The Agency: A History of the CIA

    Professor Hugh Wilford, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Few organizations are as fascinating, as mysterious—and as controversial—as the Central Intelligence Agency. In The Agency: A History of the CIA, Professor Hugh Wilford transforms decades of research into an engrossing 24-lecture course that helps you better understand the role the CIA has played in recent American history, from the Cold War to the War on Terror.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Few organizations are as fascinating, as mysterious—and as controversial—as the Central Intelligence Agency. In The Agency: A History of the CIA, Professor Hugh Wilford transforms decades of research into an engrossing 24-lecture course that helps you better understand the role the CIA has played in recent American history, from the Cold War to the War on Terror.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Agency: A History of the CIA
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Secrecy, Democracy, and the Birth of the CIA
      Why did the United States create a secret foreign intelligence service in the first place? For the answer, examine three key periods of U.S. government intelligence before the birth of the CIA: the American Revolution to the late 1930s, World War II, and the postwar years from 1945 to 1947. x
    • 2
      George Kennan and the Rise of Covert Ops
      Professor Wilford reveals how the CIA transformed from an intelligence agency to housing the United States’ premier covert-action unit in the space of just two years. Central to this conversion is George F. Kennan, who declared “political warfare” against the Soviet Union through his policies of both containment and “rollback.” x
    • 3
      The CIA, China, and the Korean War
      Discover how the CIA, with its attention drawn to Asia, failed to rein in the growing emphasis on covert operations and restore its focus on intelligence gathering and analysis. Two factors you'll focus on: the lack of public scrutiny of the CIA's actions and the arrival of future CIA director Allen Dulles. x
    • 4
      The Iran Coup of August 1953
      More than any other operation, the 1953 Iran Coup created a culture of covert action that would shape the CIA's future. First, study the shifting political attitudes toward Iranian nationalism. Then, learn about the Iran operation itself (TP-AJAX). Finally, ponder who was most responsible for Mohammad Mosaddeq's fall from power. x
    • 5
      Regime Change in Guatemala
      In this lecture, explore the CIA’s role in the Guatemalan coup (the operation codenamed PB-SUCCESS) that brought about a new era of murderous dictatorship to the country—and a surge of anti-American sentiment across Central and South America that has haunted U.S. relations with the region to this day. x
    • 6
      Operation Rollback in Eastern Europe
      One of the CIA’s first major setbacks was the tragic failure of the Hungarian uprising, despite the agency’s attempts to liberate the Eastern Bloc countries during the early 1950s. Here, investigate CIA efforts to organize anti-communist Eastern European émigrés to liberate their homelands and the creation of Radio Free Europe to counteract communist-controlled media. x
    • 7
      U-2 Spy Missions and Battleground Berlin
      Focus on the CIA’s efforts to gain intelligence about its chief Cold War enemy: the Soviet Union. Professor Wilford covers how the CIA employed human agents as spies (HUMINT), how the CIA attempted to intercept Soviet signals (SIGINT), and how the CIA used advanced technology—like the U-2 spy plane—to gather intelligence (TECHINT). x
    • 8
      The CIA in Syria, Indonesia, and the Congo
      Go inside the CIA's three major covert ops setbacks of the late 1950s. The first was a follow-up attempt at regime change in Syria (1957), the second was an attempt to unseat the Indonesia leader Sukarno (1958), and the last was the effort to remove the Congolese prime minster, Patrice Lumumba (1960). x
    • 9
      Under Orders: The Agency Targets Castro
      Why were both Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy so dead-set on removing Fidel Castro from power? How did the CIA plan to use hallucinogens to assassinate the communist dictator? What made the CIA’s Bay of Pigs covert operation such a resounding—and public—disaster? x
    • 10
      Missile Crisis in Cuba and at Langley
      The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 was arguably the defining moment in the Cold War: 13 days in which the world came closest to a nuclear confrontation. Using recent scholarship, Professor Wilford unpacks the CIA's performance during the crisis and how it sparked a return to traditional intelligence work instead of covert ops. x
    • 11
      Unquiet American: Edward Lansdale in Vietnam
      Get a more complete understanding of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War by including the CIA in the larger narrative—specifically the fascinating and controversial Edward Lansdale. Learn how the CIA tried to win the war through nation-building and counterinsurgency, and how it provided the military with tactical and strategic intelligence. x
    • 12
      CIA Fronts and the Ramparts Exposé
      Why did the CIA secretly fund groups of Americans at home in the United States—the longest-running and most expensive operation of the Cold War era? What did the groups themselves think of the roles they played? Investigate how the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union quickly became a global ideological battle. x
    • 13
      Spies in Hollywood: Romance and Thriller
      Since its inception, the CIA has deliberately tried to influence the purveyors of culture in film, television, and literature. Visit the cultural front of the Cold War as the CIA becomes a secret patron of American musicians, artists, writers, and filmmakers. Also, take a closer look at how popular culture, in turn, shaped the CIA. x
    • 14
      Nixon, Kissinger, and the Coup in Chile
      Professor Wilford challenges the dominant narrative of the CIA's involvement in the Chilean coup of 1973. Learn why the organization was less responsible than other U.S. players (such as Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger), and why the coup illustrates the agency's decline during the 1970s as a chief weapon of the Cold War. x
    • 15
      Watergate, Nixon, and the Family Jewels
      Using recently released government records, unpack the domestic CIA operations of the Nixon era and discover a systemic culture of secret government overreach—with the CIA at the center. Topics include the program known as MH-CHAOS, the CIA’s contributions to Watergate, and journalist Seymour Hersh’s 1974 exposé of CIA domestic intelligence operations. x
    • 16
      James Angleton and the Great CIA Molehunt
      Explore intelligence officer James Angleton’s dramatic hunt for Soviet moles inside the CIA, a story of deception, betrayal, and tragedy. Angleton’s story—and his ultimate fate—hold powerful lessons for our own time, when secret state power is the source of renewed public debate and concern. x
    • 17
      Colby, Church, and the CIA Crisis of 1975
      The 1970s saw a growing movement against the CIA, from congressional joint-oversight committees to whistleblowers like Philip Agee. Was the CIA out of control? What forces drove the antagonism toward the agency, and why were they so powerful in the spring of 1975? Discover the answers here. x
    • 18
      The CIA, Carter, and the Hostage Crisis in Iran
      Go inside the story of the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis that wracked Jimmy Carter's presidency, with a particular focus on the CIA's failure to anticipate Iran's Islamic revolution. Despite the geopolitical gloom, spend some time examining the one bright spot for the CIA: the successful rescue of six diplomats who avoided capture. x
    • 19
      Reagan, Casey, and the Iran-Contra Scandal
      The start of the Reagan presidency saw a return to the unchecked freedom of the CIA's golden age. Then came the Iran-Contra Scandal, which culminated in criminal charges, convictions, pardons, and dismissals. As you'll learn, the potential for 1970s-style conflict between Congress and the CIA remained. x
    • 20
      Afghanistan, the Soviets, and the CIA
      Turn now to the final years of the Cold War and the CIA's adventures in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Also, investigate the agency's intelligence about the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union a decade later. Do covert operatives deserve credit for bringing these events about? x
    • 21
      Intelligence Failure: The Road to 9/11
      First, follow the rise of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda during the final decades of the 20th century and the dawn of the terrorist organization’s war with the United States. Then, Professor Wilford addresses the provocative question of why the CIA failed to predict—or disrupt—the terrorist attacks of September 11. x
    • 22
      CIA Advance in Afghanistan, Retreat in Iraq
      Trace the CIA’s role in the first years of the War on Terror—years that were among the darkest in the agency’s history. Focus on the agency’s major setbacks in the War on Terror, including the failure to capture Osama bin Laden and the faulty evidence that led to the Iraq War. x
    • 23
      CIA Renditions, Interrogations, and Drones
      Examine the CIA’s role in two phases of the War on Terror: the capture and interrogation of suspected terrorists and, after those methods were discredited, the killing of terrorists using drone strikes. By the end of the Obama era, the agency had regained some of its stature—and had become more vulnerable. x
    • 24
      The CIA Balance Sheet: Wins and Losses
      What does a balance sheet of the CIA's wins and losses since its creation look like? As Professor Wilford reveals, the CIA's intelligence performance hasn't been as poor as some have argued. But there still remains, in the world's largest democracy, an abiding tension between secret government power and accountability. x
  • The Skeptic's Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media

    Professor Roy Benaroch, M.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    As consumers of medical news, how can we know whether the article we just read is based on solid science or worthless trash? Professor Roy Benaroch of Emory University School of Medicine provides just the direction we need in The Skeptic’s Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media. In 24 fascinating lectures that address the most important health issues of our day, Dr. Benaroch shares six questions that will help us distinguish between good reporting and bad.

    View Lecture List (24)

    As consumers of medical news, how can we know whether the article we just read is based on solid science or worthless trash? Professor Roy Benaroch of Emory University School of Medicine provides just the direction we need in The Skeptic’s Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media. In 24 fascinating lectures that address the most important health issues of our day, Dr. Benaroch shares six questions that will help us distinguish between good reporting and bad.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Skeptic's Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Hormone Replacement Therapy
      For decades, the pharmaceutical industry and the press praised hormone replacement therapy as a panacea for menopausal symptoms and women's long-term health. But that all came to a screeching halt in 2002. Discover what the scientific studies that caused this sudden turnaround really said. And are men falling prey today to the same marketing tactics regarding testosterone? x
    • 2
      Concussions and the Future of Football
      What happens to billions of neurons when the gelatinous brain slams into the side of the hard skull? While the media has focused some attention on high-profile cases of concussion and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, learn how selective reporting can lull us into believing an issue has been adequately addressed when that is far from the truth—and lives are at stake. x
    • 3
      New Drugs on the Block
      Is prescription drug “X” a wonder drug or a disastrous failure? It can be almost impossible to answer that question based on what’s presented in the press. Using two drugs as case studies, you’ll learn how to better understand and evaluate the media description of prescription drugs, and why institutional changes regarding data availability can make all the difference. x
    • 4
      Is It Time for Medical Marijuana?
      By examining the story of marijuana and our changing perceptions of its safety and usefulness, you'll learn how different stakeholders can affect media coverage, drive social change, and influence legislation. Given that the medical use of cannabis in the United States has not been driven by well-designed scientific studies, how can we best interpret the news reports addressing its efficacy and safety? x
    • 5
      The Media and Weight Loss
      The media focus on weight loss comes as no surprise. With two of every three Americans being overweight, we certainly need sound nutrition and weight-loss advice based on solid science. But is that what we’re getting? Learn how to read beneath the hyperbole-filled headlines—“Fats are Bad!”; “Fats are Good!”—to determine if an article’s content is really salient to your own health. x
    • 6
      Alternative Medicine in the News
      Millions of Americans every year turn to alternative-medicine approaches that have never been rigorously studied or have even been disproven. Learn why fish oil supplements are a $1.2-billion industry, despite research that shows no health benefit from their use, and why individuals continue to turn to stem cell “infusions” despite sometimes dire consequences. x
    • 7
      The Media's Take on Mental Health
      While mentally ill individuals are more likely to become victims of crime than to be violent perpetrators, their depiction in TV and film has skewed our perceptions of the risk they pose to society. The Associated Press has recently encouraged journalists to cover these issues more fairly and accurately. But as you'll discover by looking at related news articles, we still have a long way to go. x
    • 8
      The Media and the Internet
      You’d never believe people who told you they lived off air only, never eating. Yet one “Breatharian” couple received widespread media coverage on the internet, broadcast sites, and in print. Why are we so gullible? Learn how to think like a skeptic when reading news in any medium, remembering that while internet “clickbait” races continue to be faster and faster, real science is slow and steady. x
    • 9
      We Share Our World with Toxins
      While toxins are around us all the time and require a nuanced, sophisticated approach to understand, short and memorable headlines sell. Follow the fascinating media coverage of baby-food toxins and the new water system in Flint, MI, to discover the reasons for conflicting headlines and stories. Who got it right? And who got it so very wrong? x
    • 10
      Are Coffee and Wine Good for Your Heart?
      Learn why accurate reporting on the relationships between coffee, wine, and cardiovascular health—the number one cause of death in the United States—requires an understanding of real clinical endpoints as well as a desire to clearly explain the complicated answer to a seemingly simple question: Is this good for me or bad for me? With its ups and downs and missteps, the history of reporting on these topics is fascinating. x
    • 11
      Life Expectancy and Infant Mortality
      Why is life expectancy in the United States decreasing and infant mortality so high compared to other industrialized nations? Take a captivating look behind the scenes at the debate between scientists fighting for their individual points of view. Does the media explain the statistics behind their competing theories? If not, who suffers from the oversimplification of a “clickbait” headline? x
    • 12
      Is It Really OK to Stop Flossing?
      You might have seen a headline recently stating that flossing your teeth is a complete waste of time, or might have read that new guidelines mean your blood pressure might be high. But did you also read that many doctors do not agree with those changes? Probably not. Learn why health recommendations can suddenly change and how to determine if those changes apply to you. x
    • 13
      Does Cancer Screening Work
      We’ve all seen the stories about a cancer survivor whose life was saved by early screening—heart-warming stories that can make us want to run out and take every early-warning test in sight. But cancer screening is full of complexities that rarely make the news. Learn about the very real dangers of overdiagnosing, and how to determine which screenings are important for you. x
    • 14
      Drug Prices in the News
      In an ideal world, all medications would be available and affordable to those who need them. But the minutiae of prescription drug pricing can create a significant barrier. Learn about the unique role of the pharmacy benefit manager, how pharmaceutical companies work to keep generics out of the marketplace, and the ways in which gifts given by drug reps still influence doctors' prescribing habits. x
    • 15
      Selling Disease
      Discover how drug companies sometimes develop a drug first, and only then identify a disease the drug can address—think restless legs syndrome or chronic dry eye. Is the media helping us focus on our biggest health challenges, or pulling our attention over to the newest problems, problems potentially driven by pharmaceutical marketing? x
    • 16
      The Opioid Crisis
      Opioids had been around for a century before exploding into the crisis we have today. But the cause of the current crisis is not as simple as the story we often hear—greedy drug companies pushing greedy doctors to overprescribe. Learn what the most common cause of opioid death is today, and the role the news media can play with respect to educating families and creating pressure for policy change. x
    • 17
      Infections in the Headlines
      While the media has played an important role in educating the public about hygiene and the avoidance of disease, it has also been known to spread false rumors resulting in very real health consequences. Learn what the media got right and wrong in covering the recent outbreaks of Ebola and influenza. And our own take away? If we don't have time to read the full article, we shouldn't be skimming the headlines. x
    • 18
      Heath Risks in Our Environment
      Does your cell phone increase your risk for cancer? Does it really matter whether or not you use your seatbelt? Using your “Skeptic’s Toolkit,” learn how to examine the research that supports or (or doesn’t) the “risk” headlines to then make appropriate choices for you and your family. Exaggerating a risk might make for good “clickbait,” but it can lead to unnecessary fears and poor decision-making. x
    • 19
      Bad Science
      When doctors tragically rely on fraudulent or shoddy science published in reputable medical journals, patients can suffer. Even worse, explore the dark side of medical publishing, in which for-profit “journals” with worthy sounding titles publish trash articles reviewed by no one. When researchers’ work can be published for a fee, who really pays the price? x
    • 20
      Diet, Health, and the Power of Words
      From “superfood” to “pink slime” to acai, the media exerts a powerful effect on our concepts of food, diet, and health. Learn how to differentiate between nutrition-related scientific statements and marketing statements. When does the desire to eat whole, healthy foods become an unhealthy obsession? What role does the media play in influencing those choices? x
    • 21
      Genetics and the Media
      New information about the influence of our genes is released every day—but how does the press respond? With the example of genetic effects on obesity, you’ll discover how two antithetical headlines can result from the same scientific report. These overblown and overly simplistic headlines might attract readers, but they can muddy the waters of these complicated issues and even make readers skeptical of science itself. x
    • 22
      How to Stay Young
      Professor Benaroch will lead you through the exercise of finding solid, credible answers to a question on all of our minds: What's the best way to stay young and healthy? He'll illustrate how the skeptic's tools you've learned to use when reading or viewing media reports will help you answer this or any other health question. You'll be surprised where the research takes you! x
    • 23
      Cures for the Common Cold
      Use your “Skeptic’s Toolkit” to discover how to best address the common cold. What’s your best choice: Echinacea, good old chicken soup, vitamin C, vitamin D, or zinc? Will any of these options cure the cold or get rid of it faster than a placebo? You’ll find your answer by remembering that good journalism provides an honest headline followed immediately by solid facts and an accurate summary of the appropriate studies. x
    • 24
      The Media's Role in Improving Health
      Discover the positive role the popular media played in encouraging us to put our cigarettes down, our seatbelts on, and not mix drinking and driving. This is media at its best, working creatively and effectively in the interest of public health. What issues could the media address today to positively impact our public health? x
  • Language Families of the World

    Professor John McWhorter, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    In Language Families of the World, Professor John McWhorter takes you back through time and around the world, following the linguistic trails left by generations of humans that lead back to the beginnings of language. Utilizing historical theories and cutting-edge research, these 34 astonishing lectures will introduce you to the major language families of the world and their many offspring, including a variety of languages that are no longer spoken but provide vital links between past and present.

    View Lecture List (34)

    In Language Families of the World, Professor John McWhorter takes you back through time and around the world, following the linguistic trails left by generations of humans that lead back to the beginnings of language. Utilizing historical theories and cutting-edge research, these 34 astonishing lectures will introduce you to the major language families of the world and their many offspring, including a variety of languages that are no longer spoken but provide vital links between past and present.

    View Lecture List (34)
    34 Lectures  |  Language Families of the World
    Lecture Titles (34)
    • 1
      Why Are There So Many Languages?
      There are over 7,000 languages in the world and many linguists believe they likely all developed from a single source language in the distant past. Get an introduction to the concept of language families, understand how languages change over time, and discover what linguistics can teach us about our own history. x
    • 2
      The First Family Discovered: Indo-European
      While the Indo-European family of languages was not the first group to be identified as related, it is the family that has received much of the research and classification that became the basis of modern linguistics. Uncover what defines Indo-European languages, which include Latin, English, French, Armenian, Latvian, Sanskrit, and many more. x
    • 3
      Indo-European Languages in Europe
      Begin a deep dive into the earliest roots of Indo-European languages with a look at Germanic, Romance, Balto-Slavic, Greek, Albanian, and Celtic languages. See how Indo-European languages contradict common notions about how language works and uncover some of the mysteries that are yet to be solved. x
    • 4
      Indo-European Languages in Asia
      One-fifth to one-sixth of the world speaks one of the Indo-European languages of India. Trace back to the branching of the Indo-European tree, when the European languages split from the Indo-Aryan varieties like Sanskrit that would become Hindi and others. Explore many variations that evolved and see why it can be so difficult to differentiate between a language and a dialect. x
    • 5
      The Click Languages
      Shift from Indo-European to some of the most endangered languages in the world: the “click” languages, formally known as Khoisan. Spoken in southern Africa, these endangered languages share a distinctive profile, and yet likely did not all come from a single family. Explore where they may have begun and how they work. x
    • 6
      Niger-Congo: Largest Family in Africa I
      The Niger-Congo family consists of anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 different languages. While they are part of the same family, they do not adhere to an identified pattern like Indo-European. What links this immense family together? What is the essence of the Niger-Congo? What can these languages tell us about migration patterns? Explore these questions and more. x
    • 7
      Niger-Congo: Largest Family in Africa II
      Look closer at some of the unique aspects of the Niger-Congo family, including the use of tone, and see how different languages can spring from the same original materials. Since the work of classifying languages is on-going, you may be surprised to see how many can develop in proximity and share words but be part of different groups altogether. x
    • 8
      Languages of the Fertile Crescent and Beyond I
      Follow the migration of peoples from Africa to the Middle East by looking at the language family that developed in the Fertile Crescent: Afro-Asiatic. This first look at this family focuses on the widely known Semitic branch, which includes Arabic and Hebrew. Examine what defines this group of languages and uncover the roots of the first alphabets. x
    • 9
      Languages of the Fertile Crescent and Beyond II
      Move beyond the Semitic languages to look at other subfamilies of Afro-Asiatic, including what some call the “Berber” subfamily and several other subfamilies spoken south of the Sahara, and see what they can teach us about the nature of language. Close with a look at Somali oral poetry and its complex use of alliteration. x
    • 10
      Nilo-Saharan: Africa's Hardest Languages?
      Afro-Asiatic languages are prevalent in the north of the African continent, and Niger-Congo in the south, with a narrow band of a third family running between: Nilo-Saharan. The Nilo-Saharan languages are immensely different from each other, so how do linguists know they are related? Examine the unique features of this family. x
    • 11
      Is the Indo-European Family Alone in Europe?
      Meet the other family of languages in Europe: Uralic, which includes Estonian, Finnish, and Hungarian. Eccentric and tidy at the same time, this family stretches across the north of Europe and into Russia and parts of Asia. See why Turkish was once thought to be part of this family and how Uralic languages differ from Indo-European and others. x
    • 12
      How to Identify a Language Family
      How do linguists establish connections between languages and determine their common roots when it is nearly impossible to see a language change in real time? Take a look at the languages of Polynesia to see how changes can be followed backwards to reveal connections between different languages, then turn to the Indo-European and Uralic families. x
    • 13
      What Is a Caucasian Language?
      Named for the Caucasus mountains where they originate, the Caucasian languages are actually three different families: Northwestern, Northeastern, and a Southern one that includes Georgian. Explore these grammatically complex languages to better understand how they work and how so many different varieties can spring from a relatively small area. x
    • 14
      Indian Languages That Aren't Indo-European
      The “Big Four” languages (and many others) of southern India are not part of the Indo-European family but rather the Dravidian. Look at what the distribution of Dravidian languages says about where they come from and how they got where they are now—including some languages on the brink of extinction—and explore some of their unique features. x
    • 15
      Languages of the Silk Road and Beyond
      The languages called Altaic are spoken across Asia, from Turkey through Mongolia and to northeastern regions of Asia. Understand why there is some debate among linguists as to whether they comprise one family or are made of three separate ones as you look at how these languages function, including nuances like a mood known as “evidentiality.” x
    • 16
      Japanese and Korean: Alike yet Unrelated
      Are Japanese and Korean part of the Altaic family? They share some features of the other Altaic languages, yet some linguists believe they are separate. Take a brief foray through the fascinating Japanese writing system as you look deeper into the language. Then, turn to Korean, comparing and contrasting it with Japanese and other Asian languages. x
    • 17
      The Languages We Call Chinese
      Explore the Asian languages beyond Japanese and Korean, looking into several families along the way. See why Mandarin and Cantonese, though both considered Chinese, are a classic example of two different languages being mistaken for dialects—thanks in part to a shared writing system and cultural proximity. x
    • 18
      Chinese's Family Circle: Sino-Tibetan
      Chinese is one branch of the Sino-Tibetan family and the other branch, Tibeto-Burman, consists of around 400 languages spoken in southern China, northeastern India, and Burma. Look at features of languages from both branches and see what linguists can assume about the proto-language from which they may have sprung. x
    • 19
      Southeast Asian Languages: The Sinosphere
      How can languages that have very different origins still seem to be structurally related? To find out, look at the concept of a Sprachbrund and understand why contact is just as influential as origin when it comes to resemblances between otherwise unrelated languages—in this case, the influence of Chinese on other Asian languages. x
    • 20
      Languages of the South Seas I
      Journey to the South Seas to begin an investigation into Austronesian, one of the world's largest and most widespread language families. See what connects Austronesian languages to other families, as well as how they differ from European languages, and trace the way Austronesian languages have spread across far-flung locations. x
    • 21
      Languages of the South Seas II
      The languages of Polynesia are estimated to be some of the newest languages in the world, emerging only in the last millenium. Look back to the earliest cultures of the Polynesian islands to see how the languages likely originated and were disseminated, branching into separate sub-groups like Oceanic and the three that are all spoken on the small island of Formosa. x
    • 22
      Siberia and Beyond: Language Isolates
      How do some languages end up isolated amidst other, unrelated families? Look at pockets of language in Siberia, Spain, and Japan that are not related to those that surround them and better understand what the nature of language—and human migration and settlement patterns—can tell us about these unique places. x
    • 23
      Creole Languages
      Since all languages come from one original language, technically no one language is older than another. However, when two languages are forced into proximity, often a makeshift fusion of the two can emerge as a new language, known as a creole. Learn how a hierarchical, stopgap form of communication can become a true language. x
    • 24
      Why Are There So Many Languages in New Guinea?
      Turn your attention to one of the most linguistically rich places on Earth: the island of New Guinea, and discover why, thanks to its history and isolating terrain, it is home to hundreds of languages in a relatively small area. See how pronouns allow linguists to find connections between these languages, and explore some of their unusual traits. x
    • 25
      The Languages of Australia I
      Once the home of over 250 languages, Australia now only has about a dozen languages that will be passed to sizable generations of children. Take a look at some of the over two dozen language families in Australia and better understand how both separation from a common ancestor and proximity to a different language will cause a language to change in different ways. x
    • 26
      The Languages of Australia II
      Continue your examination of the languages of Australia, including the first Australian language to be documented by Europeans. Many of these languages present a case study in language obsolescence (as English dominates the continent) and language mixture (the emergence of creole languages due to European contact). x
    • 27
      The Original American Languages I
      Like Australia, North America was home to at least 300 distinct languages before English became dominant. Professor McWhorter takes you through some of the theories linguists have regarding the relationship of various Native American languages and the origins of humans and their varieties of speech on the North American continent. x
    • 28
      The Original American Languages II
      Zoom in on some of the larger families of North America and gain valuable insight into what they can tell us about language in general. You will get the chance to examine languages that are on the brink of extinction today, see which languages have contributed words currently used in American English, and more. x
    • 29
      The Original American Languages III
      Continue your journey through the languages of North America, including a language that uses no sounds that require the lips to touch. As you look at the unique grammatical features of languages across the continent, you will also consider what happens when languages die out and their complexities are lost to future generations. x
    • 30
      The Original American Languages IV
      Follow Native American migrations to encounter the language families that moved south to take root in Central and South America. From a language variety that incorporates whistling to some with object-subject-verb word order—and even one that resulted from a mass kidnapping—you will experience a range of fascinating linguistic developments. x
    • 31
      Languages Caught between Families
      The line between different language families is often blurred. Languages from different families that have been brought together can create a hybrid that belongs to both, and every combination happens in different ways and to varying degrees. Look at several examples of this phenomenon (which even includes English). x
    • 32
      How Far Back Can We Trace Languages?
      Embark on a quest that some believe may be impossible: tracing the relationships between the macro language families. See how the pursuit of evidence connecting the language families is complicated by time, accidental similarities, lost languages, and more, as you also look at several plausible theories that could offer solutions. x
    • 33
      What Do Genes Say about Language Families?
      The idiosyncrasies that show up in DNA allow us to trace back to common ancestors, much like language traits allow us to chart language-family relationships. Take a look at the concept of glottochronology and see what linguistic theories have been confirmed by genetics in places like Europe, India, and Polynesia—as well as some surprises. x
    • 34
      Language Families and Writing Systems
      What do writing systems tell us about language? Better understand why writing actually tells us more about human ingenuity in communication than it tells us about spoken language. Close with a consideration of the cultural importance of language, its preservation and loss, and the realities of a more linguistically homogeneous future. x
  • Effective Research Methods for Any Project

    Professor Amanda M. Rosen, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Any good research rests upon, above all else, method. This brilliantly conceived course gives you a deep, detailed, and practical guide to proper research methods. As groundwork, you’ll grasp the features of good research and what defines it. You’ll then study research methodology, from the classic experiment to surveys, case studies, field research, and more. Finally, you’ll learn to analyze your data and communicate your findings.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Any good research rests upon, above all else, method. This brilliantly conceived course gives you a deep, detailed, and practical guide to proper research methods. As groundwork, you’ll grasp the features of good research and what defines it. You’ll then study research methodology, from the classic experiment to surveys, case studies, field research, and more. Finally, you’ll learn to analyze your data and communicate your findings.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Effective Research Methods for Any Project
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Why Research Methods Matter
      Begin by considering the fundamental purposes of research. Grasp the nature of research as systematic study to understand or explain the world. Learn important distinctions in research, starting with the notions of basic research vs. applied research. Then define exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory research, and their implications, and examine the six steps of the scientific method. x
    • 2
      Characteristics of Good Research
      Take a thorough look at what distinguishes sound research from unsound research. Study important criteria for good research, useful both for evaluating the research of others and for structuring our own, noting how good research is systematic, objective, empirical, cumulative, and transparent. Also learn in detail how to spot poor research, and about potential pitfalls for researchers. x
    • 3
      Doing Research Ethically
      Assess the range of ethical considerations—codes, norms, and principles—that apply to doing research. Look first at the history of ethical violations, and regulations that now exist to govern research. Then review three key principles of ethical research. Delve into the matters of personal ethics in research, ethical review boards, and the process of obtaining consent for research. x
    • 4
      From Topic of Interest to Research Question
      Most research starts with an underlying topic. Examine different ways to select a topic for your research, and practice an exercise for topic selection. Note how it is vital to develop a compelling research question to focus your project, and how good research questions are “unanswered,” appropriate in scope, and empirical. Finally, study five tips for creating good research questions. x
    • 5
      What's Already Known? The Literature Review
      Here, discover why a literature review—a study of the scholarly literature related to your topic—is an essential first step in the research process. Take account of the many benefits that a literature review provides, and the dangers of skipping this step. Grasp how to find the scholarly sources you need, how to identify the core findings in the literature, and how to write your findings up. x
    • 6
      Generating Hypotheses and Theories
      Learn how theories drive research, when they're needed, and how to develop a theory, looking first at the literature. Then see how hypotheses function as testable statements that suggest an answer to your research question, and how theory and hypothesis closely intersect. Study four rules for writing a good hypothesis, and work with templates for writing hypotheses that follow these rules. x
    • 7
      Selecting a Research Design
      This lecture explores a range of approaches to research design, and how to choose one that is best for your project. First, examine both quantitative and qualitative research methods, from experiments and surveys to case studies and field research. Then study key considerations for research design, and see how different kinds of research questions lend themselves to specific methodologies. x
    • 8
      Measuring Concepts and Phenomena
      Grasp how sound research rests on the ability to measure the variables within your research study. Learn how to conceptually define your variables of interest, and how to “operationalize” and measure your variables prior to data collection. Look at four main levels of measurement, the need for precise data, and the importance of reliability and validity in your measurements. x
    • 9
      Choosing Populations, Samples, and Cases
      For your research design, investigate the population of cases or data points that apply to your project, and the sample or subset of this population that you will actually study. Delve into key issues in sampling, and learn to define the size of the sample you need. Finally, see how to determine which cases make it into your sample, and review two broad approaches to sampling. x
    • 10
      The Classic Experiment
      Look deeply into the procedure of the classic or “true” experiment, the hallmark of good scientific research. Study the four requirements or features of a true experiment, and consider the two types of validity that apply to experiments: internal validity and external validity. Then, review the three most common designs for a true experiment, and how they function in practice. x
    • 11
      The Value of Quasi Experiments
      Refine your understanding of the classic experiment by studying alternative research designs that are closely related. Observe the example of an impactful research study that did not fulfill the full requirements of a true experiment. Dig into the broad category of quasi-experimental designs which, though they fall short of the classic experiment, can still produce very valuable research. x
    • 12
      Designing and Conducting a Survey
      In the first of two lectures on surveys, observe how surveys are used to find out about peoples' opinions and behaviors. Look at the various kinds of surveys, which sorts of projects are most suitable for surveys, and evaluate the costs and benefits of different types of surveys. Then learn how to write a survey, highlighting five important principles for creating effective survey questions. x
    • 13
      Understanding Election Polls
      Focus now on election polling. First, delineate the critical difference between scientific and unscientific polling, and why scientific polling is much more reliable. Study five rules for good polling, which help us evaluate which polls we can trust. Apply these rules to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and gain insight into why the polling did not match the election results. x
    • 14
      Research by Case Study
      Case studies examine either one or a small number of cases, with the goal of in-depth understanding of their complexities. Take account of the wide range of uses of case studies in research, and when a case study is a good choice. Learn how case studies make use of multiple types and sources of data, and consider five categories of cases that lend themselves to the case study approach. x
    • 15
      Interpretivism and Field Research
      Learn how the “interpretivist” approach to research differs substantially from the “positivist” approach we’ve studied so far, highlighting subjective interpretation as opposed to positivism’s search for objective, rational truths. See how the interpretivist approach is applied to field research, and delve into the use of interviews and observation as methods of gathering qualitative data. x
    • 16
      Applied, Evaluative, and Action Research
      Explore “applied” research, which aims at applying knowledge to problem-solving. First study evaluation research, typically used to evaluate actions or programs in business and government. Then learn about action research, which seeks collaborative solutions to real-world problems, and how to do it. Look also at market and product research, used to determine what consumers want. x
    • 17
      Gathering and Preparing Data
      Take stock of the kinds of data we’ve looked at, such as data from experiments, interviews, surveys, observation, and the written record. Learn how to put your data into a practical format—most often, using a spreadsheet. Then study coding, the process of transforming raw data into usable categories. Then, look at data analysis programs you can use to help process and analyze your data. x
    • 18
      Using Statistics to Interpret Data
      Descriptive statistics are simple calculations that help us describe and understand our data. Learn how to use the three calculations of central tendency, which shows us the middle or center of our data, variation, showing how much variation there is in the data, and frequency, which shows how frequently each value appears. Note how the use of “z scores” gives further insights into your data. x
    • 19
      Statistical Inferences from Data
      Inferential statistics allows us to make inferences and draw conclusions from our data. Begin by studying some key principles for interpreting the implications of your findings. Then review three tests that researchers use to analyze their data and get answers: “Z tests,” “T tests,” and the ANOVA test, which are commonly used to compare statistical differences between groups. x
    • 20
      Assessing Correlation and Causation
      For your data analysis, study correlation, the relationship or association between two or more variables, and causation, the idea that a change in one variable causes a change in another. Learn how to identify whether a correlation exists between your variables, and to distinguish the form and strength of that relationship. Note that establishing correlation does not establish causation. x
    • 21
      From Bivariate to Multivariate Analysis
      In this final lesson on quantitative analysis, study three important analytic tools: cross-tabulation tables, which allow us to visually examine the relationship between two variables; chi-squared values, which indicate how likely it is that any pattern or relationship we observe is due to chance; and linear regression, useful in establishing whether one factor or variable causes another. x
    • 22
      Foundations of Qualitative Analysis
      Begin your study of qualitative methods by noting the differences between quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis, which usually involves identifying patterns and meaning in texts. Explore different scenarios where you may want to use a qualitative approach. Then study one overall, basic approach to qualitative analysis, and see how this approach works in practice. x
    • 23
      Qualitative Analysis Variations
      Observe how qualitative analysis is less linear than quantitative approaches, and can involve a re-ordering of the steps in the research process. Review several additional qualitative methods, from “grounded theory,” which looks at the implications of core concepts embedded in data, to methods used to interpret texts, conversations, personal narratives, policy, and decision-making. x
    • 24
      The Art of Presenting Your Findings
      As a final step in the research process, review the range of different approaches to sharing and communicating your findings, from formal to less formal. Take a detailed look at the structure and contents of a formal research report presenting your results, as well as the matters of peer review and the assessment of your work. Conclude with thoughts on the nature and goals of research. x
  • How to Build Your Own Furniture

    Instructor George Vondriska, Woodworking Expert

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Designed for woodworkers at almost every level of experience, How to Build Your Own Furniture guides you step by step through several exciting furniture projects. Over the course of 10 lessons, master woodworker George Vondriska gives you the knowledge and confidence to build beautiful tables and chairs crafted to withstand everyday use—and that you can be proud of.

    View Lecture List (10)

    Designed for woodworkers at almost every level of experience, How to Build Your Own Furniture guides you step by step through several exciting furniture projects. Over the course of 10 lessons, master woodworker George Vondriska gives you the knowledge and confidence to build beautiful tables and chairs crafted to withstand everyday use—and that you can be proud of.

    View Lecture List (10)
    10 Lectures  |  How to Build Your Own Furniture
    Lecture Titles (10)
    • 1
      All about Wood
      Before you start a woodworking project, whether it's a picture frame or a table, you need to know the medium you're working with. How do you know which wood to use and when? What's the difference between particle board and plywood? What does hard" and "soft" wood even mean? What's the difference between wood that's plain sawn versus wood that's quarter sawn? How does lumber go from a tree to the individual plank you use for the job? How do you calculate board feet to make sure you purchase the right amount of material for your project? In this lesson, you'll come away with answers to these and other questions about wood. By the end, you'll have the knowledge to make more informed and economically-sound shopping decisions-and better, more professional woodworking projects." x
    • 2
      Mastering Mortise-and-Tenon Joints
      Mortise-and-tenon joints are commonly used in everyday tables and chairs of all sizes, which means it's important for the structural integrity of your project that you make your mortise-and-tenon joints correctly. With help from Mr. Vondriska, you'll learn tips and tricks to get your joints to the right size using a variety of tools so you can adapt to what you have in your workshop. You'll learn what it takes to get a plunge router set up to accurately cut mortises and explore how to use a bench-top mortiser to cut square holes into a piece of hardwood. You'll also look at how to use drill presses and router tables to produce accurate tenons. With all the insights in this lecture, you'll be able to make accurately fitting joints that stand up to the test of time. x
    • 3
      Must-Have Furniture-Making Skills, Part 1
      If you're going to make furniture like chairs and tables, there's some core information that you'll need to have to ensure your projects come out strong and looking good. Here, you'll tackle the must-have furniture-making skills needed to work ably with your skill level and the tools you have in your workshop. In the first of two lessons on these critical skills, you'll dive into topics including joinery, mortise-and-tenon joints, and loose tenons. Sidestepping a core project, this lesson focuses instead on practicing these skills using pieces of wood you might have just lying around. By watching these skills in action, and practicing them, you'll find yourself more than able to tackle making your own furniture like a master woodworker. x
    • 4
      Must-Have Furniture-Making Skills, Part 2
      In this engaging lesson on must-have furniture-making skills, turn to topics like tapered legs (both two-sided and four-sided). Mr. Vondriska then moves on to skills involving mitered and non-mitered corners, and talks about right ways to compose a solid wood tabletop that's smooth and flat. And when it comes to furniture making, gluing is just as important as joinery. You'll explore how to glue pieces edge to edge so they stick, stay flat, and look great. With all the many skills you'll cover in this lesson, you'll be able to customize them to fit your particular experience level-as well as the woodworking tools you have around you. With just a little patience and practice, there's no excuse for not being able to make your own furniture. x
    • 5
      Build a Sofa Table
      Your project in this lesson: a mission-style sofa table made from quarter-sawn oak that's held together by 24 mortise-and-tenon joints. Mr. Vondriska shows you ways to tackle the process of making a sofa table, from choosing the right wood to applying the last coats of stain. Along the way, you'll learn tips like these: Yellow glue dries faster than white glue and is easier to sand. Cut slats from an edge of 6/4 wood to get a quarter-sawn appearance. When using a table saw, build your dado head to slightly exceed the length of your tenon. Drill oversized holes in your shelf support to allow for the wood's seasonal expansion and contraction. Remove your table's top and shelf before you apply finish. x
    • 6
      Chair-Making Essentials
      It's true that a lot of woodworkers, even seasoned ones, are challenged by making chairs. Because there are few pieces of furniture in a house that have to tolerate stress like a chair, it's essential that the joinery is the best it can possibly be. Here, examine the essentials of chair making, with a focus on offset mortise-and-tenon joints (as there are 24 such joints that go into the chair you'll learn how to make). Additional features you'll create include a handhold that makes it easy to move the chair around, and book-matched back slats made of walnut. Plus, you'll get more help from an expert upholsterer who shows you all sorts of accessible tips and tricks for making attractive, professional slip-seats for your chair. x
    • 7