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  • A Field Guide to the Planets

    Professor Sabine Stanley, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Now that we’ve explored every major world in our solar system with cutting-edge science, it’s a perfect time to get to know the neighbors. Your instructor, Sabine Stanley, Ph.D., a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University, guides you through this system on a thrilling ride of discovery, illustrated by the phenomenal images NASA has gathered through its telescopes, cameras, and laboratories on Earth; in low-Earth orbit; and throughout the solar system.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Now that we’ve explored every major world in our solar system with cutting-edge science, it’s a perfect time to get to know the neighbors. Your instructor, Sabine Stanley, Ph.D., a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University, guides you through this system on a thrilling ride of discovery, illustrated by the phenomenal images NASA has gathered through its telescopes, cameras, and laboratories on Earth; in low-Earth orbit; and throughout the solar system.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  A Field Guide to the Planets
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      How the Solar System Family Is Organized
      Since 1962, robots have been exploring our solar system to help answer this most important question: Who are we? With fascinating data and images now in hand, explore this family album overview of our planets, dwarf planets, moons, asteroids, Kuiper Belt objects, and long-period comets-and fly through some of our solar system's most unique features! x
    • 2
      Mercury, the Extreme Little Planet
      Mercury is a planet of many solar system extremes-smallest planet, closest to the Sun, shortest year, most elliptical orbit, smallest axis tilt, and largest fraction of iron. Learn how these characteristics and others have resulted in a planet where the Sun sometimes moves backwards across the sky, where water ice has been found at the poles, and a magnetic field that offers more protection than Mars'. x
    • 3
      Venus, the Veiled Greenhouse Planet
      While the Venusian carbon dioxide atmosphere has resulted in a runaway greenhouse effect and the hottest surface temperature in the solar system, the Earth and Venus actually contain about the same amount of carbon. Explore the forces that resulted in the extreme atmospheric differences between these two otherwise-similar planets. x
    • 4
      Earth: How Plate Tectonics Sets Up Life
      Given the striking similarities between the four terrestrial planets, why is Earth the only one teeming with life? Proposed as a bold theory less than 70 years ago, could plate tectonics be a main driver of life on Earth? Explore the fascinating movement of our planet's surface and the many ways in which a geologically-active Earth has sustained our biologically-active planet. x
    • 5
      Orbiting Earth: Up through the Atmosphere
      Compared to Venus or the giant planets, Earth has a relatively thin atmosphere. And yet, without this single, fragile layer, life would not have evolved and thrived. Discover the unique properties of each atmospheric layer- and encounter specific ways we've explored each layer as a springboard to exploring the rest of our solar system. x
    • 6
      Exploring the Earth-Moon System
      Our Moon, formed from the Earth about 4.5 billion years ago, is by far the largest moon in the solar system relative to its planet's size. Explore the many ways in which this uniquely coupled system affects the tides on Earth and on the Moon, our rotation and revolution, the process of tidal locking, and even the planetary stability that has allowed for the development of life on Earth. x
    • 7
      Humans on the Moon: A Never-Ending Story
      Even before the invention of telescopes, humans were familiar with the dark lunar highlands and bright maria on the Moon's surface. But now, with knowledge gained from both robotic and crewed missions, you can also explore fascinating and complex lunar swirls, sinuous rilles, and the lava tubes that hold promise as ideal locations for future lunar bases. x
    • 8
      Exploring Mars from Space and the Ground
      Humanity's fascination with Mars is never-ending-from the days when we posited a planet covered in straight-line canals and vegetation to NASA's current Moon to Mars program. Learn how the intriguing similarities and differences between Earth and Mars have resulted in Mars' planet-wide dust storms, migrating polar ice caps, and 3.9-billion-year-old impact craters. x
    • 9
      Water on Mars and Prospects for Life
      Recent robotic exploration provides tantalizing evidence: Mars' barren landscape could have been much more Earth-like in the past. With warmer temperatures, a thicker atmosphere, and the possibility of water oceans and tsunamis, could Mars have an Earth sibling that supported life? Learn about the thrilling recent discoveries that will guide future exploration and scientific inquiry on the red planet. x
    • 10
      Near-Earth Asteroids and the Asteroid Belt
      Fans of science fiction, or the natural history of our planet, know that a collision with an asteroid has the potential to obliterate civilization as we know it. With 20,000 asteroids identified in near-Earth orbit, how can collision be avoided? Learn why these rocky bodies, and those in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, never accreted into planets and how we might harness their resources for future space travel. x
    • 11
      Mighty Jupiter, The Ruling Gas Giant
      Does Jupiter have a greater similarity to the Earth or to the Sun? It depends on which characteristics you consider. Explore the many ways in which Jupiter is unique among the planets and consider what our solar system would be like without it. This gas giant might seem too far away to make a difference in your daily life, but without Jupiter, life on Earth might never have had a chance. x
    • 12
      Jupiter's Planetlike System of Moons
      Today we know of 79 Jovian moons-the spherical Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, and dozens of other smaller, odd-shaped satellites. Learn why Jupiter's gravitational forces plus the orbital resonance of the three interior moons make these some of the most promising places to search for extraterrestrial life-and why scientists believe the Jovian system once included generations of other moons, now gone. x
    • 13
      Saturn and the Rings: Gravity's Masterpiece
      With its exquisitely complex ring system, NASA describes Saturn as the jewel of our solar system." Learn what decades of exploration have revealed about the origin and morphology of these ever-changing icy rings and how they interact with Saturn's closest moons. From the rings to propeller moonlets, a massive hexagonal polar storm, and the giant vortex, our fascination with Saturn never ends!" x
    • 14
      Saturn's Moons: Titan to Enceladus
      With a system of 62 moons located in and far beyond its ring system, Saturn has outer moons that are some of the most fascinating worlds in the solar system. Learn why Titan and Enceladus hold such promise in our search for extraterrestrial life-from global subsurface oceans of water on both moons, to Titan's Earth-like surface and organic molecules in its atmosphere. It's no wonder that NASA has announced its Dragonfly mission to Titan, scheduled to launch in 2026. x
    • 15
      Uranus: A Water World on Its Side
      What a fascinating world Voyager 2 revealed in 1986 during its short flyby of Uranus! Learn why Uranus seems to orbit on its side" surrounded by a delicate system of 13 rings and 27 moons, how we discovered its multi-polar magnetic field, and why scientists think Uranus might contain an ocean made of liquid diamond, with floating chunks of solid "diamond-bergs!"" x
    • 16
      Neptune: Windy with the Wildest Moon
      Neptune is the coldest, but also the stormiest, planet in the solar system and the only planet that cannot be seen with the naked eye from Earth. Its moon Triton is the only spherical moon in the solar system that's an irregular satellite that orbits opposite the direction of all the planets. Learn how tidal forces are not only changing that orbit, but also causing geologic activity on its surface-a surface that contains organic compounds. x
    • 17
      Pluto and Charon: The Binary Worlds
      Although Pluto is no longer categorized as a planet, Pluto the dwarf planet" and its "moon" Charon are considered the closest thing in the solar system to a binary planet system. Explore the fascinating revelations from the New Horizons mission, including Pluto's glacial flows, floating mountains, extreme seasons, unexpectedly complex atmosphere, and a surface that appears to be dusted in complex organic molecules." x
    • 18
      Comets, the Kuiper Belt, and the Oort Cloud
      Learn why scientists believe comets-the leftovers" of planet formation in the outer solar system-could be partially responsible for the flourishing of life on Earth, bringing both water and organic material to the inner solar system. And explore the more distant Oort Cloud, where billions of cometary objects orbit at the outermost boundary of the solar system." x
    • 19
      How Our Sun Defines Our Solar System
      Fly through the corona of what is by far the largest, most massive, and most significant object in the solar system: the Sun. In fact, at 99.9 percent of the total mass of the system, you could say the Sun IS the solar system. With its gravity, heat, light, magnetic fields, and plasma storms, learn how the Sun affects every object in the system-and how we are in a race to learn more about coronal mass ejections before one destroys trillions of dollar's worth of electronics on Earth. x
    • 20
      A Solar System Time Machine and Meteorites
      Today we see an orderly solar system with planets staying in their orbits around the sun, moons staying in their orbits around the planets, and comets coming and going in predictable fashion. But how did it all start? Learn how a molecular cloud gave rise to a proto-planetary disk in which our solar system developed step by step across time and space-and is developing still. x
    • 21
      What the Biggest Exoplanets Reveal
      Planets orbiting other stars used to be purely in the realm of science fiction. How did we begin discovering them by the thousands? Learn about the methods scientists have used to discover so many exoplanets so quickly. From hot Jupiters" to "mini-Neptunes" to planets whose clouds rain molten glass, these discoveries demonstrate that ours is not the only type of planetary system possible!" x
    • 22
      Closing in on Earthlike Exoplanets
      Beginning in 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope began staring intensively at a single patch of sky, about one quarter of one percent of the sky. After staring for four years straight, scientists had identified about 1,200 new planets. Sift through the Kepler discoveries for planets with a variety of Earth-like features, including presence in a habitable" zone, and learn why billions of Earthlike planets are estimated to exist in our galaxy." x
    • 23
      Planets Migrated in Our Early Solar System!
      The surprising detection of gas giant planets orbiting extremely close to other stars has led to the realization that planets can form in one part of a stellar system and then migrate to another part. Did that happen in our own solar system? Learn about the evidence for a Late Heavy Bombardment" on the Moon, Mars, and Mercury, how migration of one or more giant planets could have caused it, and how such migration could have affected the solar system we see today." x
    • 24
      Human Futures in the Solar System
      What are the next big ideas that will help us ask and answer the next big questions? Consider the fascinating future technologies of centimeter-sized satellites propelled by laser photons, liquid mirror telescopes on the Moon, a magnetic shield large enough to help terraform Mars, and more. Nourish your imagination, and experience the inspiration of space exploration! x
  • The Instant Sommelier: Choosing Your Best Wine

    Instructor Paul Wagner, Wine Author and Lecturer

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    With nearly 150,000 wines for sale in the U.S. market, the world of wine can seem needlessly complex. Cut through the clutter with eight down-to-earth, practical, and accessible lessons that will take the intimidation factor out of choosing, drinking, and enjoying wines, led by Professor Paul Wagner, who has dedicated his career to what he calls, “democratizing wine appreciation.” From swirl to finish, he’ll introduce you to the vocabulary you need to speak intelligently about wine and to understand what each term means when it comes to finding wines you’ll love.
    View Lecture List (8)
    With nearly 150,000 wines for sale in the U.S. market, the world of wine can seem needlessly complex. Cut through the clutter with eight down-to-earth, practical, and accessible lessons that will take the intimidation factor out of choosing, drinking, and enjoying wines, led by Professor Paul Wagner, who has dedicated his career to what he calls, “democratizing wine appreciation.” From swirl to finish, he’ll introduce you to the vocabulary you need to speak intelligently about wine and to understand what each term means when it comes to finding wines you’ll love.
    View Lecture List (8)
    8 Lectures  |  The Instant Sommelier: Choosing Your Best Wine
    Lecture Titles (8)
    • 1
      How to Explore Your Glass of Wine
      In this lesson, we explore how to use four of our five senses to explore a glass of wine, and what these senses can tell us not only about the wine, but also about our own taste profiles and sensitivities. This is the first step toward determining which wines we really like the best. x
    • 2
      Key Elements in Wine and How to Taste Them
      When sommeliers talk about wine, they focus on a few key elements that define wine style and character. Now that you know how to use your senses to taste wine, let's use those tools to identify these elements and help you understand them. And in the meantime, this will also let you speak to those crazy sommeliers in their own language! x
    • 3
      Choosing White Wines
      What kind of white wines do you like? In this lesson, we'll explore the best-known white wines and get a basic idea of what each one tastes like. Once you are familiar with these, you'll be able to talk to a sommelier in a restaurant without fear, and you'll be able to use these examples to understand thousands of other wines in the world. x
    • 4
      Choosing Red Wines
      Now that you have a firm grip on white wines, let's tackle red wines using the same basic techniques. And since there are even more styles of red wine than white, this one will be even more fun-and more helpful in your visits to a restaurant or wine shop. x
    • 5
      Choosing Sparkling and Dessert Wines
      While 90 percent of the world's wines fall into the categories of red and white, here is where we discover the rest, from sparkling wines and roses to legendary dessert wines and aperitifs. Sure, sparkling wine may be perfect for celebrations, but by the time we are done with this lesson, you'll use it for far more than that. And you'll have a lot of other wines that will serve just as well. x
    • 6
      The History of Wine: From Babylon to James Bond
      Since the beginning of recorded history, wine has enjoyed a special place in social celebrations around the world. In this lesson, we follow the course of wine's role in society and how it affects the way we enjoy wine today. x
    • 7
      The Wine Service Ritual in Restaurants
      There are few things that cause as much anxiety as ordering wine at a fine dining restaurant. And yet, it doesn't have to be this way. This lesson explains each step of formal wine service, gives tips on the best way to proceed, and focuses on how you can you best use this moment to make sure that your wine, and your dinner, are a success. x
    • 8
      Having Fun with Wine
      Wine isn't just another drink. It's part of a meal, part of a celebration, or maybe just a celebration in itself. This lesson will lead you through the ways that wine can add joy to lots of different occasions and guide you to find the ones that might be best for you or for your guests to enjoy in any situation. x
  • Learning German: A Journey through Language and Culture

    Professor James Pfrehm, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Taught by Professor James Pfrehm of Ithaca College, this course teaches all the skills needed to understand and speak basic German. Focusing on major attractions in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, these lessons are perfect preparation for anyone who wants to experience German-speaking culture first-hand: from conversing with locals to reading signs and menus to navigating the railways and Autobahn.
    View Lecture List (30)
    Taught by Professor James Pfrehm of Ithaca College, this course teaches all the skills needed to understand and speak basic German. Focusing on major attractions in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, these lessons are perfect preparation for anyone who wants to experience German-speaking culture first-hand: from conversing with locals to reading signs and menus to navigating the railways and Autobahn.
    View Lecture List (30)
    30 Lectures  |  Learning German: A Journey through Language and Culture
    Lecture Titles (30)
    • 1
      Willkommen!
      Guten Tag! Your first lesson in German introduces you to useful expressions and some of the distinctive sounds of the language. Professor Pfrehm shows how to turn u into u (u with an umlaut) and how to transform ch, spoken in the front part of the mouth (as in ich, meaning I"), into German's back-of-the-throat ch (as in the composer Bach). And, you'll discover why German is worth learning." x
    • 2
      Definite Articles, Gender, and Nouns
      Meet German's three definite articles-der, die, and das-which correspond to masculine, feminine, and neuter grammatical genders. Get tips on how to predict the gender of nouns. Learn the names of the letters of the alphabet and their pronunciations. Survey the countries where German is an official language. And add to your growing vocabulary-from der Arm (arm) to die Zeit (time). x
    • 3
      Personal Pronouns and the Verb sein
      Warm up with Zungenbrecher (literally, tongue-breakers"). These are phrases that add fun to learning German pronunciation. Then study the singular and plural forms of the personal pronouns. Practice conjugating the most important verb in the German language, sein (to be). Finally, discover how to make singular nouns plural, looking for patterns that will aid memorization." x
    • 4
      Regular Verbs in the Present Tense
      Begin with the greeting, Wie geht's? (more formally, Wie geht es Ihnen?) Rehearse responses, such as, Es geht mir gut and Es geht mir Ausgezeichnet. Practice conjugating present-tense regular verbs, and discover the wonderful utility of the indefinite pronoun man. Finally, learn the German names and nationalities for European countries. Along the way, encounter a new sound: the a-umlaut, a. x
    • 5
      Indefinite Articles and Numbers to 100
      Indulge your appetite for German by learning the protocol for ordering drinks in a pub and treats in a bakery. Dip into the relevant vocabulary, focusing on the indefinite articles and the numbers from 0 to 100, which are pleasingly like numbers in English. Get a taste of German's famous system of word endings, known as inflections, which are packed with useful grammatical information. x
    • 6
      Eine Reise nach Wien und Salzburg
      Travel to two cities in Austria, Vienna (called Wien) and Salzburg, to practice your fundamental skills in German. Learn useful expressions for giving directions. Then investigate the beautifully simple word gern, which expresses approval or enjoyment. Find out how to negate a statement with a well-placed nicht. And along the way, you'll drool over Vienna's multitude of delicious coffee libations! x
    • 7
      Asking Questions and Numbers above 100
      Start with another satisfying Zungenbrecher. Then get acquainted with the different ways of asking questions-both open-ended and close-ended questions. Survey the interrogative pronouns, focusing on the special uses of wo, wohin, and woher, which all mean where," but with distinct implications regarding motion and place. Finally, learn to count to a billion! (Without saying every single number on the way.)" x
    • 8
      The Nominative and Accusative Cases, and kein-
      Plunge into German's grammatical case system, covering the nominative and accusative cases, which correspond to the subject and direct object. View a declension table of nominative and accusative endings for articles, and practice them in a tour of a typical house, learning household words. And discover how to negate a noun phrase with kein, and the supreme utility of the expression, es gibt. x
    • 9
      Time in German and Possessive Pronouns
      Wie viel Uhr ist es? (What time is it?) Learn to tell time and how to read a railway timetable. Rehearse using the prepositions um, von, and bis in a temporal context. Also discover that German has three distinct words that cover our English term, time." Then dive into possessive pronouns-in singular and plural, as well as nominative and accusative-picking up new vocabulary along the way." x
    • 10
      Coordinating Conjunctions and der- Words
      Coordinating conjunctions-such as aber, denn, oder, sondern, and und-allow you to link two dependent clauses in expressive ways. Get the hang of these simple words that let you say complex things. Then unlock the secret of German syntax with the Word Position Model. Finally, study a handy class of noun modifiers, called der-words, that have endings patterned after the definite article. x
    • 11
      Modal Verbs and More Accusative
      Use the public service messages on German Bierdeckeln (beer coasters) to launch into modal verbs-a two-part verb construction that expresses desire, necessity, or possibility, as in Ich mochte Deutsch lernen (I would like to learn German). Review the months, seasons, and days of the week. Also, see how the accusative case is used with certain expressions of time and after specific prepositions. x
    • 12
      Eine Reise nach Munchen und Rothenburg ob der Tauber
      Prost! Open with toasting customs at Oktoberfest in Munchen (Munich). Your visit to this vibrant city and to charming Rothenburg ob der Tauber introduce you to stem-vowel changing irregular verbs-those that undergo a simple vowel change in the present tense, second-person familiar, and third-person forms. These verbs are generally so common that the irregular forms are quickly memorized. x
    • 13
      Present Perfect and da- and wo- Compounds
      Learn to form compounds with da- and wo- plus a preposition, as in dahin (to there) and wohin (to where?). Then leave the present tense to meet your first past-tense form, confusingly called the present perfect. Concentrating on verbs classified as weak, discover that their present perfect forms are satisfyingly regular. Finally, practice getting these syntactic elements in the right order. x
    • 14
      Ich hab' mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren
      Via a love story, encounter irregular strong verbs in the present perfect tense. Along the way, find out where the terms weak and strong come from (hint: the same scholar who compiled a famous collection of German fairy tales). Then explore vowel changes, known as ablaut, which characterize strong verbs. Cover all seven ablaut classes. Also, learn about model verbs and mixed-class verbs. x
    • 15
      Separable-Prefix Verbs
      Open with a tutorial on the refuse recycling system in Germany, leading to final pointers on the present perfect, which for native speakers is the most widely used tense for expressing past events in everyday speech. Then tackle another widely used grammatical feature, separable-prefix verbs, seeing how they fit into the Word Position Model introduced in Lesson 10. Finally, go clothes shopping! x
    • 16
      Subordinate and Infinitive Clauses
      Meet two German superstars-singers Herbert Gronemeyer and Annemarie Eilfeld-in a dialogue that covers subordinate and infinitive clauses. Together with indirect questions, which are formed just like subordinate clauses, these constructions take your German fluency to a new level. Then, use the Word Position Model, plus fresh insights into word order, to build a classic long sentence in German. x
    • 17
      More Infinitive Clauses and the Dative Case
      Sankt Nikolaus (Father Christmas) sings a holiday song and introduces the useful dependent clause, um...zu + infinitive. Also learn how to deal with the dative-the case used for indirect objects and that answers the question, to whom or for whom?" Practice fitting this form between the subject and direct object, and see how it relates to the case forms you've already learned." x
    • 18
      Eine Reise nach Zurich und Zermatt
      Visit two attractions in German-speaking Switzerland: the charming city Zurich and the Alpine resort Zermatt. Featuring a chocolate factory and other delights, the dialogue brings up the dative forms of possessive pronouns, which follow the pattern of ein-words. Next, learn the dative endings for der-words. Finally, discover an interesting exception to word order rules presented earlier. x
    • 19
      Reflexive Verbs and Pronouns
      Learn parts of the human body from two unusual experts: male and female Schaufensterpuppen (mannequins). Then, visit a German doctor in a dialogue that introduces reflexive verbs and pronouns. These verbs involve actions that refer back to the subject of the clause, such as sich fuhlen (to feel; or literally, to feel oneself). The examples you cover take pronouns in the accusative case. x
    • 20
      More Dative and Subordinating Conjunctions
      Continue your study of reflexive verbs and pronouns by looking at constructions that require the pronoun in the dative case. One example is the very useful sentence Das ist mir egal (I don't care). Then step back and consider the four major uses of the dative. Also learn how "The Blue Danube" waltz by Johann Strauss II is the key to learning some of the most common prepositions with dative objects. x
    • 21
      The Simple Past
      Delve into the checkered past of Professor Pfrehm as you learn about ... the past-the simple past, that is. This tense is different in form from the present perfect you learned in Lessons 13-15, but its meaning is the same, though it is mostly used in formal writing. Cover the simple past forms of the verbs sein, haben, and geben, and the modal verbs mussen, konnen, mogen, durfen, wollen, and sollen. x
    • 22
      Bauerin Barbel und die drei rotbartigen Zwerge
      Enter the world of fantasy with a Marchen (fairy tale) designed especially for this course to present verbs in the simple past tense. Featuring a widow in distress, strange little men with red beards, and a gruesome plot twist, the story is so thrilling that the seven classes of simple past endings for strong verbs, plus the much less complicated paradigms for weak verbs, will go down like candy. x
    • 23
      More Simple Past and Relative Pronouns
      Reach the exciting conclusion of the fairy tale from the previous lesson, while finishing your exploration of the simple past. Then turn to vocabulary for professions and the workplace, using it to construct sentences that present a new grammatical element: relative pronouns. Learn 12 of the 16 relative pronouns, which happen to be identical to the definite articles (with one exception). x
    • 24
      Eine Reise nach Hamburg und Cuxhaven
      Travel to two more intriguing destinations in the German-speaking world: the bustling German port of Hamburg and the quaint seaside town of Cuxhaven. Hear about die Wattwanderung, a remarkable walk across an extensive mudflat near Cuxhaven. Meanwhile, learn to form the imperative mood, which is used to issue commands, and practice constructing relative clauses with prepositions. x
    • 25
      Two-Way Prepositions and Verbs That Use Them
      So far, you have studied prepositions that always take the dative case (bei, mit, von, etc.) or the accusative (durch, bis, fur, etc.). Now, look at those that can take either case, depending on the context. These two-way" prepositions include an, auf, and in. Study the verbs that often accompany them, expressing either location (and, therefore, dative) or placement/destination (hence accusative)." x
    • 26
      Comparative/Superlative and Adjective Endings
      Professor Pfrehm introduces his three favorite German-language movies-a war film, a spy drama, and a sci-fi thriller-giving tips on the best way to watch them to improve your German comprehension, all while being entertained! His goal is not film criticism, but rather teaching you how to construct comparative and superlative sentences. After that, he tackles the three sets of adjectival endings. x
    • 27
      The Genitive Case and the Passive Voice
      Practice your first joke in German. Then meet the fourth and final German case-the genitive-completing your study of the case system. See how von + a dative construction performs the same function as the genitive. Then turn to prepositions that take the genitive, such as wegen, trotz, and laut. Finally, plunge into the passive voice, learning how to turn the object of a sentence into the subject. x
    • 28
      The Subjunctive Mood
      So far, you have been using mostly the indicative mood-the verbal form used to express reality and facts-with a brief foray into the imperative mood used to express commands (in Lesson 24). Now, learn the mood for expressing contrary-to-fact or hypothetical situations: the subjunctive. The dialogue centers around the frustrations and second thoughts attending the purchase of a new smartphone. x
    • 29
      Eine Reise nach Wittenberg und Berlin
      Dig deeper into the subjunctive by learning to express hypotheticals in the past tense. The dialogue takes you through eastern Germany via the famous Autobahn: first to Wittenberg, site of Martin Luther's historic challenge to the Catholic Church, and then on to Berlin, where you survey some of the many monuments and museums, including sites commemorating the Berlin Wall and the Holocaust. x
    • 30
      Our Journey: The End or Just the Beginning?
      Finish with a series of unaided dialogues of increasing difficulty, covering grammar you have studied in the course. You'll be surprised at how much you understand! Looking ahead, Professor Pfrehm offers tips and strategies for improving your German, from getting a German-speaking, video-chat pal to subscribing to German language podcasts. And so, viel Gluck, auf Wiedersehen, und bis gleich! x
  • The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin

    Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    In the 12 lectures of The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin, investigate communism’s journey from a theory to a movement that rocked the world. You’ll meet thinkers and revolutionaries like Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky; unpack the meaning of texts like Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto; and experience the shock and awe of the Paris Commune, Lenin’s October Revolution, and other events.
    View Lecture List (12)
    In the 12 lectures of The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin, investigate communism’s journey from a theory to a movement that rocked the world. You’ll meet thinkers and revolutionaries like Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky; unpack the meaning of texts like Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto; and experience the shock and awe of the Paris Commune, Lenin’s October Revolution, and other events.
    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      The Locomotive of History
      Come to see Lenin's arrival at Petrograd's Finland Station in April 1917 as one of the most important turning points in modern history: the establishment of a communist regime after decades of theory. Also, preview the themes you'll explore in these lectures, and get solid definitions of terms such as communism and socialism. x
    • 2
      Marx and Engels: An Intellectual Partnership
      The revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would rock society-and soon affect the lives of millions of people. Here, explore their body of theory (known as dialectical materialism") and learn how Marxism offered something different: a tableau of history with starring roles played by the toiling masses and economic forces." x
    • 3
      The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital
      First, unpack the meaning of the revolutionary messages in The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. Then, use a basic vocabulary of Marxist concepts to better understand Marx's model of history and economics. Last, examine how the revolutionary lives of Marx and Engels sought to unify theory with practice. x
    • 4
      The 1871 Paris Commune as a Model of Revolt
      Investigate the violent upheaval of the Paris Commune in 1871: a political experiment that lasted a mere 10 weeks. The Paris Commune would make Marx one of the most feared and hated men in the world; although it failed, Marx considered it a living example of the dictatorship of the proletariat."" x
    • 5
      Marxism after Marx
      In the decades following the death of Marx in 1883, the socialist movement grew-but also became highly factional over arguments about theory and organizational tactics. In this lecture, learn about the rise of political parties in Germany and America, the establishment of the Second International, and the struggle over revisionism."" x
    • 6
      Revolutionary Russias
      Why did a Marxist regime come to power in Russia of all places-especially when Marx considered it an unpromising place for a proletarian revolution? Professor Liulevicius tackles this question and also probes Russia's revolutionary tradition and the ideas of Georgi Plekhanov, the figure who did the most to bring Marx's teachings to Russia. x
    • 7
      The Making of Lenin
      Take a detailed look at the life of Lenin, whose ideas and actions propelled him to become the first man to bring communist theory into power in 1917. Here, focus on Lenin's hardness in the face of the 1891-1892 famine, his manifesto What Is to Be Done?, and the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions. x
    • 8
      World War I as a Revolutionary Opportunity
      With the outbreak of the First World War, Lenin-who called war an accelerator of history"-had the world crisis he could turn to his advantage. Topics here include Marxist debates over the philosophies of defensism vs. defeatism, the arrival of Leon Trotsky and his theory of "permanent revolution," and the widening rift between socialists and communists." x
    • 9
      Red October: How the Bolsheviks Seized Power
      The Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917, a moment that would be celebrated afterward as Red October, or the Great October Socialist Revolution. Here, examine the formula for success behind the Bolshevik takeover, the mythologizing of Red October in film and music, and the dawn of a new secret police force: the Cheka. x
    • 10
      Rosa Luxemburg: A Revolutionary Martyr
      Spend time with one of the most famous women radicals in history: the Polish-German socialist Rosa Luxemburg. Follow her revolutionary activities throughout Switzerland, Poland, and Germany; her support of spontaneous revolt over centralized conspiracy; her struggles with the ambiguities of revolutionary devotion; and her ultimate martyrdom. x
    • 11
      The Red Bridge to World Revolution
      How does a revolutionary regime build a bridge to world revolution? After a look at the Third International, or Comintern," created in 1919 to spread the message of global revolution, explore failed attempts at sovietizing Hungary and Bavaria and the Soviet-Polish War of 1920, which dashed remaining hopes for linking up with Germany." x
    • 12
      Toward a New Communist Civilization
      Follow the trajectory of Bolshevik social experiments to inaugurate a new civilization up through the death of Lenin in 1924. You'll learn about Lenin's monumental propaganda" plan, which changed the appearance of Russia; the nationalist program of "putting down roots"; party recruitment drives and purges; and even the mummification of Lenin's body." x
  • Introduction to the Qur'an

    Professor Martyn Oliver, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Despite the fact that nearly 25 percent of the world’s population is Muslim, misinformation and ignorance about Islam and its place in the world continue to thrive, and the result has been a great deal of conflict and confusion. Often, much of what is misunderstood about Islam is the result of a lack of information—and some dangerous and prolific myths. To combat these myths and to appreciate the complexity of Islam, Dr. Martyn Oliver, a Senior Professorial Lecturer at American University, presents the 12 in-depth lectures of Introduction to the Qur’an to provide you with a multifaceted approach to Muhammad, Islam, and the revelation known today as the Qur’an.

    View Lecture List (12)

    Despite the fact that nearly 25 percent of the world’s population is Muslim, misinformation and ignorance about Islam and its place in the world continue to thrive, and the result has been a great deal of conflict and confusion. Often, much of what is misunderstood about Islam is the result of a lack of information—and some dangerous and prolific myths. To combat these myths and to appreciate the complexity of Islam, Dr. Martyn Oliver, a Senior Professorial Lecturer at American University, presents the 12 in-depth lectures of Introduction to the Qur’an to provide you with a multifaceted approach to Muhammad, Islam, and the revelation known today as the Qur’an.

    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Introduction to the Qur'an
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Finding a Path into the Qur'an
      Why study the Qur'an? Dr. Martyn Oliver explores the myth and mystery of the Qur'an, including the origins of this most central of Islamic texts, God's perfect word as revealed by Muhammad. For believers, the Qur'an and its divinity are certain, but for the scholar, the text is not so neatly defined. x
    • 2
      7th-Century Mecca: Religion and Oral Tradition
      Ancient Mecca and its surroundings, into which the Qur'an was born, was a place founded economically and socially upon a diverse range of customs, traditions, and peoples. Examine the religious history of the region and the ways in which this cosmopolitan city undoubtedly influenced the messages of the Qur'an. x
    • 3
      The Qur'an Becomes a "Book"
      Muhammad, like most of the people in 7th-century Mecca, was illiterate. What challenges of interpretation for modern scholars are presented by translation from oral tradition to written text, and again from that text into other languages? Was anything lost (or added) in translation between the death of Muhammad and the first canonized text of the Qur'an two hundred years later? Perhaps. x
    • 4
      From Mecca to Medina: The Revelation Transforms
      Learn how the Meccan verses are both radical and evangelical-an economic and cultural threat to Mecca, but also statements of a powerful ideology defining Allah as sole creator and ultimate judge. Later verses of Medina focus, as did Muhammad, on the development of an enduring and cohesive community of diverse peoples, eventually uniting much of the Arabian Peninsula. In these origins of the revelation is where the history of Islam is born. x
    • 5
      God and Tawhid: Divine Nature in the Qur'an
      What does the Qur'an tell us about God? Cultures throughout human history have speculated about the essence of the divine. As we move into the content of the Qur'an itself, we explore the nature of an experiential God, who is both the narrator and central focus of this revelation to Muhammad. x
    • 6
      The Qur'anic Creation Story
      Origin myths provide insight into the values of a people. While the Qur'an lacks a traditional in the beginning" narrative, it reveals a number of stories about the first humans and divine creation. Learn here about Satan's fall from grace, his arrogant disobedience of God's command, and his promise to lure humans into the selfsame fall." x
    • 7
      Judgment Day and the End Times: Yawm ad-Din
      Did Dante Alighieri model his Divine Comedy after the Qur'anic descriptions of heaven and hell? In this lecture, we will delve into the regional history; the co-existing theologies; and finally, the actual Qur'anic depictions of both a beautiful garden of endless, sensual bliss and, for the less deserving, a fiery pit of eternal torment. x
    • 8
      Abraham, Moses, and Qur'anic Faith
      In both Christian and Jewish traditions, Moses and Abraham are held as prophets and ideal examples of faith. In this lecture, discover how these Biblical characters appear in the Qur'an in ways that cement Muhammad's role as prophet, and Mecca's place as the geographic center of Islam. x
    • 9
      Prophethood in the Qur'an: Jesus and Others
      We will learn that numerous other Biblical figures also appear in the Qur'an, including Jesus, Mary, Noah, and Joseph (of Genesis). Each account has parallels to the stories presented in the Christian and Jewish traditions, but the Qur'anic versions emphasize the oneness and exclusive divinity of God. x
    • 10
      From the Qur'an to Islam: Creating a Practice
      How did the Five Pillars of Islam grow from deep roots in the Qur'an? How might the words and deeds of the Prophet provide insight for believers? Finally, what role does this struggle to understand, from the Arabic word ijtihad, play in the ritual practices that define Islam? Delve into each pillar and its Qur'anic origins, as well as the substantial interpretive history of Islam. x
    • 11
      Sharia and Jihad: The Qur'an as Legal Text
      The untranslated words sharia and jihad might best be understood as searching for God's will" and the "universal struggle for justice," rather than the simplistic, and thus fundamentally inaccurate, concepts of judicial law and holy war. Consider the complex meaning of each term, and how it is further explicated through a rich history of fatwa, or legal opinion." x
    • 12
      Qur'anic Philosophy, Theology, and Mysticism
      The final lecture in this outstanding series reflects on the extensive philosophical, theological, and mystical underpinnings of Qur'anic study. Dr. Oliver speaks powerfully about the role of personal struggle to live according to God's will-a struggle that shapes the religious life of individual Muslims and Islamic communities alike around the world. x
  • The Great Tours: African Safari

    James Currie, Safari Guide

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Discover the safari adventure for you in The Great Tours: African Safari. Taught by the highly experienced safari guide James Currie, these 24 exciting lectures take you onto the plains and into the jungles of Africa. From UNESCO World Heritage sites to stunning bird sanctuaries, and from national parks to hidden-gem wilderness areas, experienced travelers and armchair enthusiasts alike will enjoy this exhilarating tour of Africa.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Discover the safari adventure for you in The Great Tours: African Safari. Taught by the highly experienced safari guide James Currie, these 24 exciting lectures take you onto the plains and into the jungles of Africa. From UNESCO World Heritage sites to stunning bird sanctuaries, and from national parks to hidden-gem wilderness areas, experienced travelers and armchair enthusiasts alike will enjoy this exhilarating tour of Africa.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Great Tours: African Safari
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Evolution of the Modern Safari
      Begin your journey with a look at the origins and evolution of the safari, from its African roots as a trading journey to the hunting expeditions of the early 1900s to a form of popular tourism. Consider how Africa changed over the 20th century, and witness the rise of ecotourism. Survey the nature of safaris today. x
    • 2
      Comparing Self-Drive and Guided Safaris
      Before you embark on your safari, you have a critical decision to make. Do you want to rent a car and manage your own safari-which offers the most freedom, privacy, and affordability-or do you want to hire a guide to plan your itinerary, outfit your trip, and educate you along the way? Consider the pros and cons of each. x
    • 3
      Safaris in East Africa
      Get an introduction to the five major safari categories. After reviewing them in total, this lecture delves into safaris in East Africa-namely, in Kenya and Tanzania. Explore the wildlife on the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara. Experience the hair-raising sounds of predators. And learn about the major threat that may exist for an East African safari. x
    • 4
      Safaris in Southern Africa
      Continue your study of safari categories. Here, tour the astounding wealth of Southern Africa, from the enormous Kruger National Park to Zimbabwe's big-game landscape and to the wild wetlands of Zambia. Southern Africa is an awe-inspiring mix of desert and wetland safari activities. Find out what to expect and how to plan a trip to this magnificent region. x
    • 5
      Water Safaris
      Shift your attention to the rivers and wetlands of Botswana, where the opportunity to view wildlife from the water is like nothing else. Whether from a boat or a dugout canoe (or mokoro"), and whether you are birdwatching or big-game viewing, a water safari is without a doubt the crown jewel of the African safari experience." x
    • 6
      Desert Safaris
      The majority of safari experiences concentrate in the continent's fertile savannahs and wetlands, but the arid regions of Namibia and the Atlantic coast of Africa hold countless treasures. Here, journey into the oldest desert in the world, view the magnificent red sand dunes, and learn about survival in a seemingly inhospitable climate. x
    • 7
      Primate Safaris
      Trek into the tropical mountains and valleys of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to get a first-hand look at our closest living relatives. From studying gorillas to chimpanzees, there is nothing more enchanting than sitting on the damp forest floor and gazing into the eyes of a great ape. x
    • 8
      Night Safaris
      A night drive into the African bush offers a glimpse into a completely different world, from nocturnal animals to the breathtaking sky. This lecture covers the basics of a night safari: what animals you might see, how they might behave, and what tools you need for successful and responsible viewing of animals at night. x
    • 9
      Photographic Safaris
      Thus far, this course has covered where to go. Here, consider how to experience the safari. Should you soak it all up with the naked eye, or should you bring along your camera equipment to document it all? Whether you're using an iPhone or the latest and greatest DSLR, learn a few strategies for capturing your trip on film. x
    • 10
      Walking Safaris
      While the most common image of a safari is one of riding into the bush in a 4x4 truck to get an up-close view of big mammals, a walking safari can be one of the most stunning ways to experience Africa. Step away from the bustle of the modern world, slow down, and pay attention to the many wondrous details you can see by foot. x
    • 11
      African Predators
      Now that you have surveyed the range of geographies and types of safaris, shift gears to begin a multi-lecture unit on the flora and fauna you might see on your safari. Here, start with the predators-the crowd-pleasing carnivorous animals at the top of the food chain. Meet the killer" cats and dogs." x
    • 12
      African Herbivores and Antelopes
      Continue your study of safari animals with this lecture on the hunted"-grazing herbivores that have evolved to thrive in the dangerous jungles and savannahs. From buffalo and antelopes to zebras and impalas, examine an array of herbivores and their astonishing adaptations for survival." x
    • 13
      Giants of the African Bush
      Meet the giant mammals of the African landscape: the elephant, the rhinoceros, the giraffe, and the hippopotamus. Each of these mega-herbivores is truly captivating, but they are also threatened by poaching. As you get to know each species, reflect on the illegal wildlife trade for some of the largest animals in the world. x
    • 14
      Africa's Great Apes and Other Primates
      In Lecture 7, you learned some ins and outs of a primate safari." Now, take a closer look at the great apes you might meet. Study the differences between lowland and mountain gorillas, consider the baboons and monkeys of the open plains, and learn about the much-adored nocturnal primates." x
    • 15
      Africa's Small Mammals
      The giant animals might be the immediate crowd-pleasers, but the smaller mammals of Africa can be equally fascinating, and they play a critical role in the ecosystem. From mongooses and rabbits to the strange-looking pangolin, get an up-close look at an abundance of small mammals. x
    • 16
      Africa's Reptiles and Amphibians
      Snakes, lizards, toads, and frogs have a nasty reputation. They're creepy, crawly, slithery, and cold-blooded. Yet reptiles and amphibians are an important part of Africa's ecosystem, and, as you will learn in this lecture, there is much more to these fascinating creatures than their nasty reputation. Learn about crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and more. x
    • 17
      Key Birds of Africa
      What would a safari be without the avian delights you are sure to encounter in Africa? Ostriches, eagles, flamingos, herons: Africa is home to countless species of truly amazing birds. Examine the stunning world of Africa's birdlife, and see what equipment you need to make the most of your birding safari. x
    • 18
      Top Birding Spots of Southern and East Africa
      Africa is home to roughly a quarter of the world's bird species, so anyone interested in avian diversity should make it a point to visit the continent. In this lecture, you will travel to some of the top birding destinations in Southern Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. Gain indispensable guidance for encountering things that fly. x
    • 19
      Africa's Trees, Plants, and Flowers
      Spotting the notable animals or identifying bird species might be a primary goal of your African safari, but getting to know the common botanical species is an integral part of the experience. Learn about Africa's different biomes and the plants best suited for each region, and reflect on the intricate connections among the roots, branches, and flowers of life. x
    • 20
      Island and Beach Safaris
      Did you know Africa is home to world-class beaches, wildlife-rich islands, exceptional scuba diving, and some of our planet's best surfing breaks? Here, you will tour the tropical islands and beaches that offer an experience like no other. Travel to Madagascar, surf the coast of Cape Town, snorkel the reefs of the Seychelles, and more. x
    • 21
      The Sounds of an African Safari
      Listen: When you go on an African safari, you step away from the hum of household electronics, the wails of car horns and sirens, and experience the call of the wild. The chattering of crickets and frogs, the late-night howls of jackals, the iconic roar of the lions. Learn to observe not just with your eyes, but with your ears. x
    • 22
      Safari Destinations off the Beaten Path
      This course, so far, has traversed all the popular geographies and methods for taking a safari. Now, follow some of the less-traveled roads. Get to know the hospitality of Senegal, the deserts of Morocco, and the cultural melting pot of Ethiopia. See some of the hidden gems" sprinkled across the continent." x
    • 23
      Cities and Other Safari Additions
      The word safari" comes from the Swahili word for "journey." While safaris typically involve journeys into the wilderness, the cities and cultures of Africa offer a different kind of journey. From Cape Town to Nairobi and from the Zulus to the Maasai, experience the thriving cultures and communities across Africa." x
    • 24
      Tips for a Sustainable Safari
      The safari experience has changed mightily over the last century, and today, sustainability is one of the most important considerations for tourism. This course closes with a look at responsibility and conservation and what some of the leaders in the safari industry are doing to support local communities and to protect endangered species. x
  • Law School for Everyone: Corporate Law

    Professor George S. Geis, JD, MBA

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Recreating a traditional law school course in corporate law, Law School for Everyone: Corporate Law guides you through the foundations of the field, the history of corporations, and the problems that plague them (including insider trading). Using iconic court cases and studies involving today’s top corporations, these 12 lectures are a fascinating look at where corporate law works well—and where it falls short.

    View Lecture List (12)

    Recreating a traditional law school course in corporate law, Law School for Everyone: Corporate Law guides you through the foundations of the field, the history of corporations, and the problems that plague them (including insider trading). Using iconic court cases and studies involving today’s top corporations, these 12 lectures are a fascinating look at where corporate law works well—and where it falls short.

    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Law School for Everyone: Corporate Law
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Questions and Conflicts in Corporate Law
      Begin the course by familiarizing yourself with the key players in a corporation, including stockholders, creditors, boards of directors, officers (such as CEOs and CFOs), and employees. Then, consider some of the fundamental questions involved in corporate law, exemplified by the 1919 decision in Dodge v. Ford Motor Company. x
    • 2
      Corporations and Their Agents
      The law of agency, which governs agents (such as Hollywood agents and sports agents) is one of the most important areas of law which most people have never heard of. Here, explore key topics in agency law, including how an agency relationship is formed and the details of fiduciary duties (special legal obligations agents owe to their principals). x
    • 3
      Things Corporations Can and Cannot Do
      Take a closer look at the history and nature of corporations and how they behave. How did corporations begin in the United States? What do you need to create a corporation today? What can a corporation legally do after it has been established? Professor Geis answers these and other eye-opening questions. x
    • 4
      Boards of Directors and the Duty of Care
      There are a number of different obligations in corporate law for boards of directors. In this lecture, focus on the first fiduciary requirement: the duty of care. Generally speaking, the duty of care requires directors to behave carefully when they make decisions about what their corporation will do. x
    • 5
      Business Opportunities and the Duty of Loyalty
      According to the duty of loyalty, directors and senior executives must put their corporation's interests ahead of their own. What happens when the law should worry about an executive's loyalty? How do the duty of loyalty and the business judgment rule interact? What can we learn from a 2004 court case involving eBay shareholders? x
    • 6
      Executive Pay and the Duty of Good Faith
      Explore two of the most important contexts for the duty of good faith in corporate law: executive compensation and the obligation of a board to monitor its firm's activities. Learn how courts evaluate how much executive pay is too much, and how the Caremark standard" requires corporate directors to ensure their firm doesn't engage in illegal activities." x
    • 7
      Shareholder Lawsuits: Goals and Limitations
      Why-and how-do shareholder lawsuits come about? Who gets to control the litigation of them? What can corporations do to get rid of pesky cases that aren't in the best interest of most shareholders? More generally, how do boards of directors delegate governance? Tackle these and other questions in this lecture. x
    • 8
      Securities Regulation and Fraud
      Some shareholder lawsuits are managed by an entirely different set of laws, known as federal securities laws. Discover how federal law has stepped in to regulate corporate fundraising and trading activity (including the creation of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the 1930s) and has put a stop to fraudulent statements. x
    • 9
      Insider Trading Laws and Their Complexities
      Using two landmark court cases (SEC v. Texas Gulf Sulphur and Chiarella v. United States) and our country's strong tradition of buyer/seller beware, examine the legal complexities of insider trading laws. Thanks to an ambiguous patchwork of laws, some trades are allowed while others are prohibited. x
    • 10
      Corporate Control Battles and the Law
      Take a deep dive into the world of internal shareholder fights for control: how they work and what rules can tip the balance of power. You'll explore ways to influence managerial decision-making, including proxy fights (which can get very expensive) and shareholder proposals (which act like voter propositions for a popular referendum). x
    • 11
      Corporate Law of Mergers and Acquisitions
      Mergers and acquisitions are extreme events in the life of a corporation. They can catapult a new corporation to success-or sink CEOs. Professor Geis explains the reasons companies merge, the business synergies that two firms hope to attain by merging, what merger lawyers do, and a special type of merger knowing as a cash-out" merger." x
    • 12
      Hostile Takeovers, Defenses, and the Future
      First, explore the inner workings of hostile takeovers of all kinds, where individuals (or entire companies) try to take over another company against its will. Then, Professor Geis offers some bold predictions about five topics in corporate law everyone should keep their eyes on in the years to come. x
  • Law School for Everyone: Contracts

    Professor David Horton, JD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    In Law School for Everyone: Contracts, join Professor David Horton for a revealing investigation of contract law. Over 12 lectures, you’ll get an introduction to contract essentials, including offers, acceptances, counteroffers, fraud, duress, and unconscionability. These and other concepts come alive in court cases that range from the outrageous to the heart-rending to the ridiculous.

    View Lecture List (12)

    In Law School for Everyone: Contracts, join Professor David Horton for a revealing investigation of contract law. Over 12 lectures, you’ll get an introduction to contract essentials, including offers, acceptances, counteroffers, fraud, duress, and unconscionability. These and other concepts come alive in court cases that range from the outrageous to the heart-rending to the ridiculous.

    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Law School for Everyone: Contracts
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Contract Formation in the Internet Age
      In today's age of electronic contracts like browsewraps and clickwraps, contract law can entangle you without ever knowing it. Use internet-era contracts as a jumping-off point for exploring the objective theory of contracts and the critical role that the manifestation of assent plays in the formation of a binding contract. x
    • 2
      Understanding Offer and Acceptance
      How can you tell when parties have forged a contract? In this lecture, use two famous court cases to examine why agreements often are the product of a process known as offer and acceptance. Also, learn about the two bodies of law that make up contracts: the common law and the Uniform Commercial Code. x
    • 3
      The Mysterious Consideration Doctrine
      Use the classic case of Hamer v. Sidway as an introduction to one of contract law's great mysteries: the doctrine known as consideration. First, define this elusive rule. Then, discuss its history and the lively debate over its policy purposes. Finally, take a brief look at the consideration doctrine's contemporary relevance. x
    • 4
      Contract Offers You Can't Revoke
      Refine your understanding of contract formation by examining some situations that buck this niche's general rules. Here, you'll explore the slippery distinction between bilateral contracts and unilateral contracts. You'll also study the special nature of (and limits on) firm offers. x
    • 5
      Liability without a Binding Contract
      Promissory estoppel and restitution are two contract-like doctrines developed by the courts that sometimes allow a plaintiff to collect-even when elements of a contract are missing. In this lecture, unpack these liability theories and some of the reasons their issues remain unsettled to this day. x
    • 6
      Defenses to Contract: Fraud and Duress
      Just because a party agreed to something doesn't necessarily mean a court should treat that agreement as legitimate. Join Professor Horton for a closer look at several defenses to enforcement recognized by contract law, including duress (such as physical compulsion and improper threats) and fraud (including misrepresentation and fraud in the execution")." x
    • 7
      Mistake and Other Contract Defenses
      Some contractual agreements can be marred by mistakes: beliefs not in accord with the facts. Discover how the law struggles mightily with situations in which one or both parties are wrong about some basic assumption that animates their exchange. Also, learn about other rules that can make deals voidable, including mental incapacity and infancy. x
    • 8
      Third Parties in Contract Law
      Contracts can affect dozens-even thousands-of third parties to whom you or your client will be obligated. Using court cases from 1859 and 1918, trace the history of third-party beneficiaries and examine the related issue of assignment and delegation: when a party to a contract can transfer their rights or duties to someone else. x
    • 9
      When a Contract Needs to Be in Writing
      The relationship between contract and writing is much more complex than you might think. First, look at the statute of frauds: a 1677 rule nullifying certain kinds of agreements if they're not in writing. Then, examine the powerful doctrine of the parol evidence rule, which privileges the contractual text over what the parties might have intended. x
    • 10
      Contract Interpretation and Implied Terms
      What should courts do when parties disagree about what their agreement means? What can we learn about this from the great case Raffles v. Wichelhaus? What is so controversial about how judges read and interpret insurance policies? How do implied terms prohibit parties from abusing their power under a contract? x
    • 11
      Building Contracts and Breaching Them
      Survey the basic building blocks of contracts and the rules for assessing when a contract is breached. These include express conditions (such as force majeure), which say that parties don't have to perform if certain events occur or don't occur, and anticipatory repudiation, or performing terribly and not correcting the problem. x
    • 12
      Remedies for Breach of Contract
      The default remedy for a breach of contract is money damages-but sometimes calculating expectation damages can be complicated. And sometimes, plaintiffs fall back on alternative paths to recovery, known as reliance damages (which reimburse plaintiffs for expenses the defendant's breach renders worthless). Explore these and other remedies in this final lecture. x
  • The Power of Body Language

    Instructor Vanessa Van Edwards,

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Join CreativeLive instructor and body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards to learn how to use nonverbal communication to become the most memorable person in any room. In The Power of Body Language, Ms. Van Edwards will show you how to be able to identify exactly what impression your verbal and nonverbal language is giving, and how to make a powerful, positive impact on everyone around you.

    View Lecture List (27)

    Join CreativeLive instructor and body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards to learn how to use nonverbal communication to become the most memorable person in any room. In The Power of Body Language, Ms. Van Edwards will show you how to be able to identify exactly what impression your verbal and nonverbal language is giving, and how to make a powerful, positive impact on everyone around you.

    View Lecture List (27)
    27 Lectures  |  The Power of Body Language
    Lecture Titles (27)
    • 1
      Body Language Quiz and First Impressions
      Body Language Quiz and First Impressions x
    • 2
      Elevator Pitch Clinic
      Elevator Pitch Clinic x
    • 3
      How Body Language Changes Perception
      How Body Language Changes Perception x
    • 4
      Microexpressions: Decoding the Face
      Microexpressions: Decoding the Face x
    • 5
      Microexpressions Continued
      Microexpressions Continued x
    • 6
      Discovering & Addressing Emotional Needs
      Discovering & Addressing Emotional Needs x
    • 7
      Questions & Self-Diagnosis
      Questions & Self-Diagnosis x
    • 8
      How Your Body Reacts
      How Your Body Reacts x
    • 9
      Power Body Language
      Power Body Language x
    • 10
      Lie Detection Challenge
      Lie Detection Challenge x
    • 11
      Perfect Elevator Pitch
      Perfect Elevator Pitch x
    • 12
      Elevator Pitch Mistakes & Fixes
      Elevator Pitch Mistakes & Fixes x
    • 13
      Elevator Pitch Practice & Critique
      Elevator Pitch Practice & Critique x
    • 14
      Networking Body Language Tips
      Networking Body Language Tips x
    • 15
      Increasing Income with Nonverbal Actions
      Increasing Income with Nonverbal Actions x
    • 16
      Nonverbal Sales Pitch
      Nonverbal Sales Pitch x
    • 17
      Reading Their Cues
      Reading Their Cues x
    • 18
      Verbal Mirroring & Sales Mistakes
      Verbal Mirroring & Sales Mistakes x
    • 19
      Human Lie Detection Steps 1-3
      Human Lie Detection Steps 1-3 x
    • 20
      Human Lie Detection Steps 4-5
      Human Lie Detection Steps 4-5 x
    • 21
      Human Lie Detection Steps 6-7
      Human Lie Detection Steps 6-7 x
    • 22
      Putting Your New Skills to the Test
      Putting Your New Skills to the Test x
    • 23
      Your Nonverbal Brand
      Your Nonverbal Brand x
    • 24
      Body Language for Photographers
      Body Language for Photographers x
    • 25
      Body Language Hacks
      Body Language Hacks x
    • 26
      Negotiation Tips
      Negotiation Tips x
    • 27
      Students Pitch with Their New Skills
      Students Pitch with Their New Skills x
  • Cooking Basics: What Everyone Should Know

    Chef-Instructor Sean Kahlenberg, AOS

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Presented in partnership with The Culinary Institute of America and filmed at the CIA’s flagship facility in Hyde Park, New York, Cooking Basics: What Everyone Should Know provides the step-by-step instructions you need to become a confident, productive cook in your own home. Your instructor, Chef Sean Kahlenberg, carefully walks you through the many dozen original recipes he presents in this course in 24 easy-to-follow lessons. Afterward, you’ll serve and enjoy each mouth-watering meal with pride!

    View Lecture List (24)

    Presented in partnership with The Culinary Institute of America and filmed at the CIA’s flagship facility in Hyde Park, New York, Cooking Basics: What Everyone Should Know provides the step-by-step instructions you need to become a confident, productive cook in your own home. Your instructor, Chef Sean Kahlenberg, carefully walks you through the many dozen original recipes he presents in this course in 24 easy-to-follow lessons. Afterward, you’ll serve and enjoy each mouth-watering meal with pride!

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Cooking Basics: What Everyone Should Know
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Risotto and What to Do with the Leftovers
      Rice is one of the most versatile grains in the world, and this risi e bisi, “rice with peas,” is one of the most delicious ways to use it. Among other techniques, you’ll learn how to keep the chlorophyll from turning black while cooking, how to relax the risotto on the plate for best presentation, and how to make perfect arancini with the leftovers. x
    • 2
      Choosing the Best Method to Cook Vegetables
      Should you peel a vegetable before cooking or not? Cook it in water or oil? Put a lid on the pot or leave it off? Add salt to the water—and if so, why? Chef Kahlenberg answers these questions and more as he begins with kitchen basics. Learn which knives you need in the kitchen and other tools you might need to add. x
    • 3
      An Elegant Corn Soup with Lobster
      In this lesson, you will cook, shave, and milk corn to create a delicious corn soup with julienned vegetables, an accompaniment to freshly cooked lobster. And once the lobster is cooked, you'll learn the correct way to separate it to best access all its sweet meat. x
    • 4
      Sauteed Scallops with Roasted Cauliflower
      As you begin to prepare your scallops, Chef Kahlenberg shares the “secret” way chefs decide whether or not this seafood is truly fresh. You’ll also learn how to season and baste scallops to perfection. Roasted and puréed cauliflower seasoned with a white mirepoix makes just the right side dish. x
    • 5
      How to Poach an Octopus
      In this lesson, you’ll learn a dual-cooking method for preparing octopus—poaching and sautéing—for just the right flavor and consistency, as well as how to cut and plate the octopus. Your meal is completed with fingerling potatoes and a Spanish romesco sauce. x
    • 6
      How to Break Down and Roast a Chicken
      In this lesson, you'll learn how and why to truss a chicken before roasting and the best way to season and oil the bird. Using a chef's thermometer, you'll learn how to manage the Maillard reaction while making sure the interior retains its juices. x
    • 7
      Braising Short Ribs and Making Polenta
      Cooking short ribs takes patience because it takes time to break down the connective tissue in the protein—but the result is well worth it! In this lesson, you will simmer, steam, and braise the meat before plating with cheesy polenta and delicious root vegetables. x
    • 8
      Pork Milanese and the Art of Breading
      Learn how to safely pound pork to create a thin, wide cutlet that will fill almost your entire plate. You’ll also learn how to bread the pork with seasoned flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, and how to pan fry it, not deep fry. In addition, you’ll make a beautiful salad with suprêmed grapefruit. x
    • 9
      Grilled Salmon: Breaking Down a Round Fish
      Starting with a whole salmon, you'll learn how to check for freshness; create the filets; and remove the ribs, pin bones, skin, and as much bloodline as possible. In addition to finishing the salmon on a grill pan, you'll learn how to parch and cook quinoa for a delicious quinoa pilaf. x
    • 10
      One-Dish Cookery: Coq au Vin
      Coq au vin is a French chicken dish, all made in one pot. You’ll learn how to create a 24-hour marinade, braise the chicken while keeping the fond golden-brown, safely add and cook off brandy, and create the perfectly sized cartouche for oven cooking. To accompany the chicken, you’ll make a pomme purée and a garnish of onions and mushrooms. x
    • 11
      Monkfish: From Bycatch to Haute Cuisine
      You might think monkfish is an unusual choice for a gourmet meal: It’s a bottom-feeder formerly called garbage fish and is considered so “ugly” that it’s almost never sold with the head on. But with Chef Kahlenberg’s instruction, you will turn monkfish to a golden-brown delicacy, accompanied by a whole-grain salad. x
    • 12
      How to Make Rack of Lamb Persillade
      What really brings color to this meal is the bright green persillade that will coat the lamb after it has been seared in a pan and before it goes into the oven. You’ll also learn to make a caponata—a warm vegetable salad with eggplant, raisins, capers, and pine nuts—as an accompaniment. A beautiful meal. x
    • 13
      Making Your Own Pasta: Potato Gnocchi
      Gnocchi, sometimes called Italian dumplings, is a pasta made with flour and potatoes. Learn about a few of the 200+ types of potatoes, their range of starch-to-moisture ratios, and which potatoes are best for making gnocchi. You’ll learn to mill, cut, and shape this pasta with a gnocchi pallet—and make a delicious sauce to accompany this Mediterranean comfort food. x
    • 14
      Making Your Own Pasta: Butternut Agnolotti
      In this lesson, you'll learn how to determine exactly how much flour and eggs you'll need to measure for pasta. Once the dough is made and rested, you'll learn how to use the pasta roller until the dough is exactly the correct consistency and how to use a piping bag to insert the roasted butternut squash mixture. Delicious! x
    • 15
      Cooking the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey
      To brine or not to brine? While there are pros and cons to both, in this lesson, you'll learn Chef Kahlenberg's method of brining and cooking turkey, as well as creating delicious stuffing and cranberry sauce. With the chef's tips on prep and cook times, it will all come together exactly as you've always hoped. x
    • 16
      Seafood Delight: How to Make Cioppino
      Cioppino is a Portuguese seafood stew that made its way to San Francisco and is now considered a classic of that area. For this dish, you'll learn how to prepare shrimp, mussels, calamari, clams, halibut, and scallops, as well as cleaning, cutting, and cooking leeks. Grill a baguette to finish and you'll have the perfect seafood meal! x
    • 17
      Finding Your Roots: Maple-Roasted Celeriac
      While vegan menus can be a challenge for any chef, as umami can be difficult to include, Chef Kahlenberg shares his own tricks to address the issue. You'll learn how to clean, peel, and prepare celeriac; clean and prepare a variety of carrots; and how to season, cook, and plate this delicious vegan meal. x
    • 18
      How to Make Great Paella
      Paella is an ancient, summertime, one-pot seafood and rice dish originating near Valencia, updated here to include pork and chicken. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to render fat from chorizo to use as a cooking medium, create a sofrito, parch rice, bloom saffron, prepare artichokes—and bring it all together in one special pan for a unique culinary experience. x
    • 19
      Smoking Pork with Mexican Street Corn
      This recipe requires a bit of advanced planning, as the marinated and fully seasoned pork must be smoked for 16 hours. You'll also learn how to prepare corn so it can both steam and grill at the same time for maximum flavor, and to create and dress the perfect Virginia slaw. x
    • 20
      Dover Sole: Breaking Down a Flat Fish
      Dover sole is a flat fish and a bottom-feeder that almost always comes whole with the intestines left in, requiring very different preparation and cooking than a round fish. Chef Kahlenberg demonstrates how to remove the skin by hand, which must be done before cooking. You'll also make perfectly sized fondant potatoes, as well as beautiful asparagus. x
    • 21
      You Too Can Make Ratatouille
      This French vegetable stew is given such a beautiful presentation by Chef Kahlenberg that it almost looks like a work of art! Step by step, you'll learn how to remove the bitterness from eggplant and how to cut all vegetables to the exact same size, including using a ring mold for the red and green peppers. In addition, you'll make a delicious branzino and tapenade. x
    • 22
      Making Roast Beef and Potato Gratin
      Learn how to trim, score, and tie beef before you start cooking to help with flavor and presentation later on. After oven searing, you'll use a chef's thermometer to determine when to remove the meat, resting it with carryover cooking to complete the process. You'll learn to make a delicious potato gratin, as well. x
    • 23
      Patience, Pickles, and Crispy Fried Chicken
      These easy-to-make pickles need to sit in brine for one week before eating, so you'll need to start early on that one! The chicken also requires patience, as you'll prepare your 9-cut, leaving it for 24 hours in brine and then 24 hours in buttermilk. At that point, it will be ready for dredging in spiced flour and fried to a beautiful golden brown. Coleslaw is the perfect way to top off this classic American dish. x
    • 24
      My Big Steak: Executing a Three-Course Meal
      In this lesson, you'll learn how to create a three-course meal and have it all come together with perfect timing. You'll prepare filet mignon from a beef tenderloin, create a spinach salad, a potato salad, and a chocolate tarte with raspberry coulis. Bon appetit! x
  • The Wonders of America's State Parks

    Instructor Joe Yogerst,

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    In The Wonders of America’s State Parks, join best-selling travel writer Joe Yogerst for a virtual tour of over 100 state wilderness areas stretching from New England to the Alaskan frontier to the Hawaiian Islands. You’ll learn how these parks came into existence, what makes them a special part of America’s story, and how to get the most out of a visit—whether you want historical insights or panoramic views.

    View Lecture List (24)

    In The Wonders of America’s State Parks, join best-selling travel writer Joe Yogerst for a virtual tour of over 100 state wilderness areas stretching from New England to the Alaskan frontier to the Hawaiian Islands. You’ll learn how these parks came into existence, what makes them a special part of America’s story, and how to get the most out of a visit—whether you want historical insights or panoramic views.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Wonders of America's State Parks
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Niagara Falls: America's Oldest State Park
      Start your tour of some of the most breathtaking state parks in the United States with a look at the nation’s oldest state park: Niagara Falls in Upstate New York. Established in 1885, this state park is home to three majestic falls—American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls—and a rich array of flora and fauna. x
    • 2
      The Pennsylvania Wilds: Wilderness Reborn
      The state parks of north-central Pennsylvania, located within the Pennsylvania Wilds Conversation Landscape Initiative, lure more than 12 million people each year. In this lecture, explore some of the can't-miss features at Cherry Springs State Park, Leonard Harrison State Park, Cook Forest State Park, Sinnemahoning State Park, and more. x
    • 3
      New York’s Adirondacks: “Forever Wild”
      Stretching more than 6 million acres of Upstate New York, Adirondack Park boasts over 3,000 lakes and ponds; 30,000 miles of rivers and streams; and 5,500 campsites. From the “Great Camps” of the Gilded Age’s rich and famous to Lake Placid, learn what makes this large tract of land just as important as the nation’s federal reserves. x
    • 4
      Exploring New Hampshire's White Mountains
      Dive into the adventures within the White Mountain National Forest. There's Franconia Notch, home to the legendary (and defunct) rock formation, the Old Man of the Mountain; Crawford Notch State Park, founded the same year the White Mountain National Forest was established; and Bretton Woods, which lies at the base of Mount Washington. x
    • 5
      The Yankee Coast: Plymouth to Montauk
      Drive just an hour and a half from Plymouth to Newport and you can visit every single state park covered in this lecture. Start with the Pilgrim Memorial (America's most famous rock), then journey to the masonry bastion of Fort Adams in Rhode Island, and end up at Montauk Point and Camp Hero State Parks at the far eastern tip of Long Island. x
    • 6
      New Jersey Pineland Legends and Landscapes
      A lurking, devilish crypto-creature. A ghost town from the 19th century. Towering coastal lights and undeveloped barrier islands. These are just a few of the many fascinating aspects of the state parks found inside New Jersey's Pinelands and the famous Jersey Shore, including Wharton State Forest and Island Beach State Park. x
    • 7
      The Tidewater South: America's Birthplace
      Visit a region of Virginia and Maryland where you can experience more than 400 years of American history, including the Jamestown settlement and the battle of Yorktown. In addition, learn about the unspoiled natural wonders you can find at places like Assateague State Park and the Great Dismal Swamp. x
    • 8
      Georgia and Carolina Islands: Lost in Time
      Get up close and personal with barrier island state parks in Georgia, South Carolina, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Discover the incredible variety of history, culture, and outdoor adventures waiting for you in spots like Reynolds Mansion State Park, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, and Jockey's Ridge State Park. x
    • 9
      Southern Appalachian Peaks and Valleys
      Get a taste of what you can expect from a state park road trip through the southern Appalachians. Mr. Yogerst reveals the scenic jewels you can find within Alabama’s DeSoto State Park, northwest Georgia’s Fort Mountain, northeast Georgia’s Tullulah Gorge (the “Grand Canyon of the South”), and South Carolina’s Mountain Bridge. x
    • 10
      The Florida Keys: Tropical Paradise Parks
      See what is so special about Florida’s state park system—and the archipelago in which they’re found. Here, dive into several state parks in the Florida Keys, including John Pennekamp State Park, Bahia Honda State Park, Curry Hammock State Park, and the San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve State Park. x
    • 11
      West Texas: Where the West Is Still Wild
      Visit two awe-inspiring state parks in West Texas: first, Big Bend Ranch, located on the Rio Grande River and home to a vast backcountry you can only explore on unpaved desert roads, and second, Palo Duro Canyon, a 20-mile-wide canyon that offers the best horseback riding in the Texas Panhandle. x
    • 12
      Adventures in the Ozarks and Ouachitas
      What the Ozarks and Ouachitas—two rugged highland areas separated by the Arkansas River Valley—lack in height they more than make up for in the sheer variety of things to do there. Join Mr. Yogerst on an exploration of spots like the Ozark Folk Center State Park, Onondaga Cave State Park, and Lake Ouachita State Park. x
    • 13
      State Parks along the Mighty Mississippi
      The vast majority of natural and human landmarks along the 2,320-mile stretch of the Mississippi River can be found at state parks. Here, take a trip down Old Man River and hop from Itasca State Park in Minnesota through Columbus-Belmont State Park in Kentucky all the way to Rosedown Plantation in Louisiana. x
    • 14
      Presidential Parks in the Land of Lincoln
      Trace the formative years of Abraham Lincoln's life and learn how history and nature shaped one of the nation's most iconic presidents. You'll visit Lincoln Homestead State Park, Lincoln State Park, Lincoln's New Salem State Park, Brown County State Park, and John James Audubon State Park. x
    • 15
      The Great Lakes: Back from the Brink
      In recent years, the state parks in and around the Great Lakes have benefitted from major restoration efforts, making them must-see places to visit. In this lecture, explore Mackinac Island in Michigan, Indiana Dunes State Park near Chicago, South Bass Island State Park in Ohio's Lake Erie Archipelago, and more. x
    • 16
      The Black Hills: Nature and Native Heritage
      Attend a riveting buffalo auction where prices range as high as $5,000 per animal. Explore 71,000 acres of woodland, prairie, lakes, and mountains. Visit the renowned boomtown of Deadwood. These are just a few of the many adventures on offer in the Black Hills of South Dakota—all of which you’ll learn about here. x
    • 17
      Parks of the Colorado Front Range
      Despite being one of our national treasures, very little of the Colorado Rockies is protected by the National Park Service. Discover why the best way to explore Colorado's mighty mountains is by visiting amazing state parks from State Forest State Park in the far north to Lincoln Park in the heart of Denver to the dinosaur graveyard at Garden Park Fossil Area. x
    • 18
      Southwest Red Rock and Desert Canyon Parks
      From the strange serenity of Cathedral Rock to flaming red sandstone formations in the Valley of Fire to a basin named for the famous Kodachrome slide film, tour the desert canyon landscapes of the American Southwest. It's a grand loop that takes you through 900 miles of scenery and 200 years of geologic history. x
    • 19
      California's Badlands: Anza-Borrego
      Mr. Yogerst gets a little personal in this lecture on California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park—which he’s been going to his entire life. Explore the melted landscape of the Borrego Badlands, the sandy trails of Coyote Canyon, the majesty of the Salton Sea, and the natural springs of the Vallecito Valley. x
    • 20
      Big Blue: The Beauty of Lake Tahoe
      Lake Tahoe holds the title of the largest alpine lake in North America, and it's a scenic wonder (and recreational treasure) all year round. Spend some time poking around the lake's iconic state parks, including Emerald Bay on the California side and Sand Harbor on the Nevada shore. x
    • 21
      California's Coastal Redwood Parks
      Northern California's coastal redwoods are among the tallest and oldest living things on the planet. Learn what makes coastal redwoods different from their cousins in the Sierra Nevada, what mobilized federal and state efforts to save the redwoods, and the best ways to see them for yourself at Prairie Creek, Del Norte Coast, and Jedediah Smith state parks. x
    • 22
      Washington's Orca Islands: The San Juans
      Want a fascinating glimpse of quirky American history? Look no further than a journey through the state parks of the San Juan Islands. Tour this mosaic of islands and waterways, home to state parks that reflect the archipelago's bucolic lifestyles, including Lime Kiln Point State Park and Matia Island Marine State Park. x
    • 23
      Alaska's State Parks: The Last Frontier
      Sprawling across 1.6 million acres of wilderness, Wood-Tikchik is one of the largest state parks in the United States (around the same size as Delaware). Chugach, on the other hand, is an easily reachable state park just miles from downtown Anchorage. Both parks—and their can’t-miss sights—are covered here. x
    • 24
      Hawaii's Primeval Napali Coast
      Hawaii's Napali Coast is a vision of paradise on Earth, with remote beaches, rainforest valleys, 40-story waterfalls, ancient villages, and plenty of wildlife. End this course on a tropical note with a look at spots including Ha'ena State Park, Na Pali Natural Area Reserve, and Waimea Canyon State Park. x
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: How Life Works

    Professor Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Taught by Professor Kevin Ahern of Oregon State University, this course covers the essential topics of a first-semester college course in biochemistry and molecular biology, introducing amino acids, proteins, enzymes, genes, and dealing with the intricate workings of living cells. A background in high school-level chemistry is helpful.
    View Lecture List (36)
    Taught by Professor Kevin Ahern of Oregon State University, this course covers the essential topics of a first-semester college course in biochemistry and molecular biology, introducing amino acids, proteins, enzymes, genes, and dealing with the intricate workings of living cells. A background in high school-level chemistry is helpful.
    View Lecture List (36)
    36 Lectures  |  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: How Life Works
    Lecture Titles (36)
    • 1
      Biochemistry Is the Science of Us
      Get started on the subject that Professor Ahern calls “the science of us”— biochemistry and its allied field molecular biology, which both tell us who we are. Discover the handful of elements involved in biochemical reactions; the bonds they form; and the wide array of molecules that result, including amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Also, learn about the major types of living cells. x
    • 2
      Why Water Is Essential for Life
      Investigate why water is so singularly suited to life. Composed of two hydrogen atoms for each oxygen atom, water molecules have a polar charge due to the uneven arrangement of shared electrons. See how this simple feature allows water to dissolve sugars and salts, while leaving oils and fats untouched. Also learn what makes water solutions acidic or basic, and how this property is measured on the pH scale. x
    • 3
      Amino Acids: 20 Building Blocks of Life
      Take a tour through the 20 amino acids that link together in different combinations and sequences to build proteins. Besides water, proteins are the most abundant molecules in all known forms of life. Also the most diverse class of biological molecules, proteins make up everything from enzymes and hormones to antibodies and muscle cells—all based on an alphabet of 20 basic building blocks. x
    • 4
      From Peptide Bonds to Protein Structure
      Learn how peptide bonds join amino acids to form an almost unlimited number of protein types. The order of amino acids matters, but even more important are the shapes they form. Survey primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary protein structures, with examples—from silk (a fibrous protein with mostly secondary structure) to the intricately folded hemoglobin protein (a quaternary structure). x
    • 5
      Protein Folding, Misfolding, and Disorder
      Discover how proteins fold into complex shapes, often with the help of molecular chaperones. Then learn the deadly consequences of proteins that do not fold properly, leading to degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and prion diseases. Also look at intrinsically disordered proteins, which lack a fixed structure, permitting flexible interactions with other biomolecules. x
    • 6
      Hemoglobin Function Follows Structure
      Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from lungs to tissues and then takes away carbon dioxide for exhalation. Learn how structure is the key to this complicated and vital function. Also see how variant forms of hemoglobin, such as fetal hemoglobin and the mutation behind sickle cell anemia, can have life-saving or fatal consequences—all depending on structure. x
    • 7
      Enzymes' Amazing Speed and Specificity
      Witness how structure and function are related in enzymes, which are a group of proteins that stimulate biochemical reactions to run at astonishing speed. One example is OMP decarboxylase, an enzyme that produces a crucial component of DNA in a blistering 0.02 second, versus the 78 million years that the reaction would normally take! Analyze the mechanisms behind these apparent superpowers. x
    • 8
      Enzyme Regulation in Cells
      How do cells control the tremendous power of enzymes? Study the ways that cells regulate enzyme activity by directing the synthesis and breakdown of biomolecules. One reason biochemists care so much about enzymes is that many medical conditions result from enzyme activity that is excessive or insufficient. Consider examples such as hemophilia, hypertension, and high cholesterol. x
    • 9
      Fatty Acids, Fats, and Other Lipids
      Lipids are a varied group of molecules that include fats, oils, waxes, steroids, hormones, and some vitamins. Survey the fats that obsess us in our diets and body shapes, notably triglycerides in their saturated and unsaturated forms. Then explore the role lipids play in energy storage and cell membrane structure, and cover the multitude of health benefits of the lipid vitamins: A, D, E, and K. x
    • 10
      Sugars: Glucose and the Carbohydrates
      Probe the biochemistry of sugars that provide us with instant energy, feed our brains, direct proteins to their destinations, and communicate the identity of our cells. On the other hand, when present in large quantities they can lead to Type 2 diabetes, and the wrong sugar markers on transfused blood cells can even kill us. x
    • 11
      ATP and Energy Transformations in Cells
      Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the fuel that powers many processes in living cells. Every day we make and break down our own body weight in ATP. Focus on the chemical reactions behind this impressive energy conversion system, which is governed by the Gibbs free energy equation. These reactions, which can proceed either forward or backward, are among the most important in biochemistry. x
    • 12
      Breaking Down Sugars and Fatty Acids
      A metabolic pathway is a series of biochemical reactions, where the product of one serves as the substrate for the next. Biochemists compare these pathways to road maps that show the network of reactions leading from one chemical to the next. Follow the metabolic pathway called glycolysis that breaks up glucose and other sugars. Then trace the route for fatty acid oxidation. x
    • 13
      Metabolism Meets at the Citric Acid Cycle
      The products from the reactions in the previous lecture now enter the Krebs citric acid cycle. The outcome of these reactions, in turn, link to many other pathways, with the Krebs cycle serving as the hub directing the intricate traffic of metabolic intermediates. After decoding the Krebs cycle, use it to illuminate a deep mystery about cancer cells, which suggests new therapies for the disease. x
    • 14
      Energy Harvesting in Animals and Plants
      Thus far, your investigations have accounted for only part of the energy available from food. So where's all the ATP? In this lecture, see how ATP is produced in abundance in both animal and plant cells, largely via mitochondria (in animals and plants) and chloroplasts (in plants only). You also learn why we need oxygen to stay alive and how poisons such as cyanide do their deadly work. x
    • 15
      How Animals Make Carbs and Fats
      Take a tour of cell manufacturing, focusing on metabolic pathways that use energy to synthesize key molecules, including sugars, complex carbohydrates, fatty acids, and other lipids. Along the way, learn why alcohol and exercise don't mix, how our bodies create short- and long-term energy stores, and why some essential fatty acids can lead to health problems if their ratios are not optimal. x
    • 16
      Cholesterol, Membranes, Lipoproteins
      The word “cholesterol” evokes fear in anyone worried about coronary artery disease. But what is this ubiquitous lipid and how harmful is it? Examine the key steps in cholesterol synthesis, learn about its important role in membranes, and discover where LDLs (“bad” cholesterol) and HDLs (“good”) come from. It isn’t cholesterol alone that is plugging arteries in atherosclerosis. x
    • 17
      Metabolic Control during Exercise and Rest
      See how cells manage complex and interconnected metabolic pathways, especially in response to exercise and a sedentary lifestyle. Then discover the secret of warm-blooded animals and what newborn babies have in common with hibernating grizzly bears—with lessons for combatting obesity. Also, learn about a drug from the 1930s that helped people burn fat in their sleep—as it killed them. x
    • 18
      How Plants Make Carbs and Other Metabolites
      Study how plants use sunlight and reduction reactions to build carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. This synthesis of food from air and water occurs in a series of reactions called the Calvin cycle. While humans exploit plants for food and fiber, we also utilize a multitude of other plant molecules called secondary metabolites. These include flavors, dyes, caffeine, and even catnip. x
    • 19
      Recycling Nitrogen: Amino Acids, Nucleotides
      Nitrogen is a key component of amino acids, DNA, and RNA, yet animal and plant cells are unable to extract free nitrogen from air. See how bacteria come to the rescue. Then follow the flow of nitrogen from bacteria to plants to us. Also look at strategies for reducing our reliance on environmentally unsound nitrogen fertilizers by exploiting the secret of 16-feet-tall corn plants found in Mexico. x
    • 20
      Eating, Antioxidants, and the Microbiome
      Discover how to eat in a way that minimizes harm and efficiently fixes the inevitable damage from living. Learn that certain cooking methods can increase the formation of harmful compounds. And substances such as antioxidants found in some foods can reduce the impact of damaging chemical reactions within cells. Also cover recent findings about gut bacteria that have changed our views about diet. x
    • 21
      Hormones, Stress, and Cell Division
      Cellular communication depends on specific molecular interactions, where the message and the receiver are biomolecules. Follow this process for signaling molecules such as the hormones epinephrine, adrenalin, and epidermal growth factor, which stimulates cells to divide. Cellular signaling is like the children's game called telephone, except the message is usually conveyed accurately! x
    • 22
      Neurotransmitters, the Brain, and Addiction
      When you touch a hot stove, you recoil instantly. How do nerve cells process information so quickly? Trace nerve impulses—which involve electrical signals and neurotransmitters—as they pass from neuron to neuron, and from neuron to muscle cells. Study molecules that block nerve transmissions, such as snake venom and Botox treatments, and look at the role of dopamine in addiction behaviors. x
    • 23
      The Biochemistry of Our Senses
      Most of the reactions you have studied so far occur outside everyday awareness. Now investigate the most important biochemical signals that we habitually notice: the molecular reactions that give rise to the five senses. Analyze the sensory origins of colors, sounds, tastes, smells, and touch, mapping them through the nervous system. Observe how the senses are “tuned” to enhance our survival. x
    • 24
      From Biochemistry to Molecular Biology
      Trace the pathways of two widely ingested molecules: caffeine and fructose. Caffeine fools the body—usually harmlessly—into increasing glucose in the blood, while too much fructose can lead to unhealthy accumulation of fat in the liver. Then focus on two topics that link with the upcoming molecular biology segment of the course: androgen insensitivity and the molecular mechanisms of aging. x
    • 25
      DNA and RNA: Information in Structure
      Advance into the last third of the course, where you cover molecular biology, which deals with the biochemistry of reproduction. Zero in on DNA and how its double-helix structure relates to its function. Then look at the single-stranded RNA molecule, which is a central link in the process, “DNA makes RNA makes protein.” Also consider how viruses flourish with very little DNA or RNA. x
    • 26
      DNA Replication in Bacteria; PCR in the Lab
      Focus on DNA's ability to replicate by matching complementary base pairs to separated strands of the helix. Several specialized enzymes are involved, as well as temporary segments of RNA. Explore this process in bacteria. Then investigate the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a Nobel Prize-winning technique for copying DNA segments in the lab, which has sparked a biotechnology revolution. x
    • 27
      Chromosome Replication, Telomeres, Aging
      Examine the cell cycle of eukaryotic cells like our own and the cycle's effect on DNA replication. Discover that a quirk in the copying of linear DNA leads to shrinking of chromosomes as cells age, a problem reversed in egg and sperm cells by the telomerase enzyme. For this reason, telomerase might appear to be the secret to immortality except its unregulated presence in cells can lead to cancer. x
    • 28
      DNA Mismatch and Excision Repair
      Cells go to great lengths to prevent mutations. Luckily, these measures are not quite perfect, since nature relies on mutations to drive evolution. Study the methods that cells use to minimize alterations to their DNA. Find that DNA repair can interfere with cancer treatment, when the malignant cells survive medical therapy by repairing their DNA faster than the treatment can halt the repair. x
    • 29
      DNA Recombination, Gene Editing, CRISPR
      Delve deeper into DNA replication, learning that a process called genetic recombination assures that no two individuals will have the same DNA, unless they are twins derived from a single fertilized egg. Trace the new technologies that have arisen from our understanding of recombination and repair of DNA, notably CRISPR, which permits precise alteration of gene sequences. x
    • 30
      Transcribing DNA to RNA
      RNA is more than simply a copy of the DNA blueprint. Focus on the synthesis of RNA, covering how it differs from DNA replication. Also learn how human cells shuffle their genetic code to make about 100,000 different proteins using fewer than 30,000 coding sequences. Finally, see how knowledge of transcription occurring after death helps forensic scientists establish the time of death accurately. x
    • 31
      Translating RNA into Proteins
      Learn how cells solve the problem of reading information in messenger RNA and using it to direct protein synthesis. Focus on how different parts of the translation apparatus work together through sequence-specific interactions. Also discover how antibiotics kill bacteria and what makes the bioterrorism agent ricin so deadly. Close by investigating techniques to create biological drugs on demand. x
    • 32
      Protein-Synthesis Controls and Epigenetics
      Explore the controls that determine which genes are expressed at a given time, where in the body, and to what extent. Controls that act over and above the information in DNA are called epigenetic, and they can be passed on to offspring for a generation or two. Consider the case of honeybees, where a special food affects which genes are expressed, turning an ordinary larva into a queen bee. x
    • 33
      Human Genetic Disease and Gene Therapy
      Roughly 10,000 human diseases may be caused by mutations in single genes. Review the nature of genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, and Alzheimer’s. Also examine diseases that emerge from mutations in mitochondrial DNA. Finally, assess the challenges of using gene therapy and other technologies to treat genetic diseases—issues that raise technical, legal, and ethical problems. x
    • 34
      Cancer Mechanisms and Treatments
      Cover the ways that cells become cancerous, notably through a series of unfortunate mutations that lead to uncontrolled cell division. Genetics, environmental factors, infections, and lifestyle can also play a role. Learn why elephants don't get cancer. Then look at approaches to treating cancer, including use of agents that target rapidly dividing cells, whose side effects include hair loss. x
    • 35
      Biotechnology, Stem Cells, Synthetic Biology
      Molecular biology allows scientists and engineers to manipulate the recipes written in our genes. Spotlight some of the developments drawing on these techniques, including cloning, reprogramming cells, harnessing stem cells, and initiatives in “synthetic” biology, a new field that lets researchers create genomes that have never before existed, essentially fashioning entirely new life forms. x
    • 36
      Omics: Genomics, Proteomics, Transcriptomics
      Close by surveying exciting developments in molecular biology that are now unfolding. One area has been dubbed “omics,” based on the explosion of applications due to genomics, which is the decoding of human and other genomes. Thus, we now have “proteomics,” “transcriptomics,” and other subfields, all exploiting our knowledge of the DNA sequences responsible for specific biochemical pathways. x
  • The Real History of Secret Societies

    Professor Richard B. Spence, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Secret societies have attracted some of history’s most brilliant, and some of its most evil, minds. Often demonized by their enemies, many secret societies have become the stuff of myths and conspiracy theories. Award-winning Professor Richard B. “Rick” Spence brings the expertise of HISTORY® as he guides you through the fascinating, often mystifying—sometimes disturbing—occasionally inspiring world of brotherhoods, sisterhoods, orders, cults, and cabals that have influenced human culture from ancient times to the present.
    View Lecture List (26)
    Secret societies have attracted some of history’s most brilliant, and some of its most evil, minds. Often demonized by their enemies, many secret societies have become the stuff of myths and conspiracy theories. Award-winning Professor Richard B. “Rick” Spence brings the expertise of HISTORY® as he guides you through the fascinating, often mystifying—sometimes disturbing—occasionally inspiring world of brotherhoods, sisterhoods, orders, cults, and cabals that have influenced human culture from ancient times to the present.
    View Lecture List (26)
    26 Lectures  |  The Real History of Secret Societies
    Lecture Titles (26)
    • 1
      Small-Town Secrets
      Get a brief introduction to the realm of secret societies you will study throughout the course, seen through the personal experience of Professor Spence in his home town of Taft, California. Often demonized by their enemies and misunderstood by outsiders, many secret societies have become the stuff of myths and conspiracy theories. x
    • 2
      Secret Societies: The Underworld of History
      Meet Willa Rhoads. She was 16 when she died. Her body was discovered in October 1929—five years after her death—which opened the door to a public awareness of the Divine Order of the Royal Arms of the Great Eleven, also known as the Blackburn Cult. Professor Spence intentionally opens his course with an obscure story to introduce you to the idea that secret societies come in many forms and operate under many names. x
    • 3
      The Knights Templar
      Uncover the story behind The Knights Templar—a military monastic founded two centuries earlier, during the Crusades who persevered through time to become the subject of so much rumor, speculation, and outright fantasy that it’s almost impossible to separate fact from fiction. Are they guardians for a holy bloodline reaching back to Jesus and Mary Magdalene or are they secret devil worshippers? Are they connected to the heretical Islamic sect known as the Assassins or the Jewish mystics known as Kabbalists? x
    • 4
      Masonic Revolutions in America and France
      Secret societies do often work behind the scenes to change the world, although not often in the way the stories claim. Professor Spence looks at the secret societies behind the Boston Tea Party and Bastille Day. Understand the part that the Sons of Liberty, the Society of the Friends of the Constitution (the Jacobins), the Grand Orient Lodge, the Nine Sisters Lodge, and other groups played in these important revolutions and see how famous names such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, and additional founding fathers were involved with these—and other—secret groups. x
    • 5
      Bolsheviks, Masons, and Russian Revolution
      Were the Bolsheviks a political movement or a secret society? Dive into this question as you survey the rich history of governmental secret societies who combated revolutionary conspiracies with their own conspiracies. You will gain a vivid appreciation for the allure of the elite, and the power of conspiracy, showing that history is made not by the inactive majority but by active minorities—including Trotsky, Lenin, Kaplan, and others. And you’ll see that there is no better active minority than a well-oiled secret society. x
    • 6
      Adolf Hitler and the Thule Society
      Start with the history of the smaller secret societies that were popping up all over Germany at the end of the 19th century. Then look at how the larger societies and individuals, which have already been covered in this course, will weave through the background of Hitler's rise to power. Then explore the role that secret societies played, or might have played, in Hitler's rise; how they influenced his beliefs; and how the Nazi leader came to embrace secret-society methods for his own purposes. x
    • 7
      Synarchy, Schemers, and Vichy France
      The 1930s has been called “a low, dishonest decade.” It saw economic crisis, the rise of Hitler, Stalinist terror, and the general decline of democracy. Were the events coincidence or consequences? Was there a hidden hand at work undermining democratic institutions and encouraging dictatorship? And was this hidden hand something called Synarchy? Dive into the movements and events that have been tied back to various Synarchy ideas and see how it may have bled over into America with the so-called Business Plot of 1934. x
    • 8
      Ancient Mystery Cults
      Travel back to Ancient Greece to hear what we do know of The Eleusinian Mysteries—which are among the most ancient and prestigious of the Greco-Roman world and were guarded on pain of death. This first secret society—which had endured for almost 2,000 years, and counted among its members the likes of Socrates, Plato, Plutarch, and Cicero—ceased to exist. Or did it? After reviewing the history of the Great Mysteries of 391, Professor Spence considers if secret societies ever die or if they just change into something else. x
    • 9
      The Islamic Assassins
      Travel to a historic empire that stretched from Anatolia to Central Asia as you get to know The Assassins, who’s roots reach back at least as far as the beginning of Islam in the 7th century. This invisible empire was led by Hasan-i-Sabah who called his acolytes asasiyun, “the faithful.” See how “assassin”—our generic term for professional killer, especially one who commits political murders—is linked to these asaiyun, who were notably the cause of 200 years of terrorism and murder, including a chief minister, a sultan, viziers, emirs, and even a Crusader king. x
    • 10
      The Medieval Cathars
      Professor Spence starts with the 1244 the fall of Montsegur, which most history books note as The Cathars last stand as an organized movement. Yet, as Professor Spence demonstrates, this influential group shows up over and over throughout history. The true origins of the Cathars are lost in time, yet it's clear they didn't spring from nothing. See how The Cathars inherited and adapted much older beliefs, and how they undoubtedly influenced other groups to come. x
    • 11
      The Rosicrucians
      Did you know there is a secret-society theme park right in the middle of Silicon Valley? Professor Spence introduces you to The Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis, or Rosy Cross, or just AMORC for short. AMORC might be the first commercially marketed secret society. During the early 20th century, the mystical order’s grand imperator, H. Spencer Lewis, advertised in magazines, radio, and comics, claiming that “The Secrets Entrusted to the Few,” including skills like levitation and telepathy, could be yours for a low price and enticing the likes of Walt Disney and L. Ron Hubbard. See how this group—or more accurately, the idea of this group—wove itself throughout both history and society. x
    • 12
      The Illuminati
      Even if you haven’t taken notice of secret societies before, you’ve heard of the Illuminati, a group so prevalent they have been satirized by Taco Bell. Explore the roots of the 28-year-old Adam Weishaupt’s secret society—the Order of Perfectibilists, which later became the Order of the Illuminati, or, in German, the Illuminatenordern: The Order of the Enlightened. Discover how Weishaupt envisioned nothing less than “A New World,” which necessitated destruction of Christianity and all other forms of religion. Professor Spence demonstrates the goals of Weishaupt’s Illuminism, the influence of the movement—even reflected in the modern-day promises of Communism, and the famous names associated with the Illuminati. x
    • 13
      The Freemasons
      The Freemasons inspired and influenced many societies, so much so that many object to the idea that their group is secret. They don't hide their existence. However, they did popularize the idea of secrecy: adopting a clandestine set of identifying factors, ensuring their rituals and initiations are complicated and intimidating, and even having a term for outsiders or non-members. Discover the multiple evolutions and adaptions of Freemasons, which has helped to keep this group shrouded in mystery. x
    • 14
      Ireland's Secret War for Independence
      The Irish Republican Army was a tightly organized secret society battling the greatest power on Earth, the British empire, and, after Bloody Sunday, perhaps the best known. But they were not the first secret society to practice resistance in Ireland. Professor Spence introduces you to The Whiteboys, the Peep o’Day Boys, the Orange Order, the Sons of the Shamrock, Young Ireland, the Molly Maguires, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and more—outlining the effect these secret societies had both on Ireland and on America as they migrated to the United States. x
    • 15
      Debunking the Elders of Zion
      Professor Spence opens the door on secret society conspiracy that permeated across countries and decades, with each iteration more complicated and bizarre than the last. The Learned Elders of Zion never actually existed, but to this made-up secret society was attributed a real-life protocol to take over the world, which caused—and continues to cause—incalculable harm and religious intolerance. Discover the deceitful origins and global impact of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. x
    • 16
      Mafia! Criminal Secret Societies
      We are exposed to them all the time in movies, television, and novels, so do criminal gangs really qualify as secret societies? Yes: They’re selective in membership, require oaths and initiations, and members usually advance through grades or ranks. Starting with the biggest—and most feared—all-female gang in the London underworld, Professor Spence turns a spotlight on organized crime. From the early 20th century, Thuggees of India to the modern-day Mafias that have arisen in cities all over the world, you’ll get to know the seedy underbelly of society like never before. x
    • 17
      Aleister Crowley, Occultism, and Espionage
      Focusing on the worldwide impact of Aleister Crowley, Professor Spence highlights the murky connections between secret societies, occultism, and espionage. Credited with being “the wickedest man in the world,” the reason America joined the war, a Satanist, the “Leader of Irish Hope,” and a number of other nefarious titles, you may be surprised to see the number of world-changing events Crowley had his hands in. Although once you discover the extent of power stemming from the secret societies he was involved with, including his turn as a spy, it may not be so surprising after all. x
    • 18
      Red Octopus: The Communist International
      Discover how some politically-driven secret societies have far-reaching impact, as Professor Spence dives into a period of time when America was full of Soviet espionage and clandestine communist activity. Through a number of interlinked, connected history, he demonstrates how the Communist party relied on proven secret society techniques, such as selective recruitment, rigorous discipline, and fanatical loyalty. Then note, once you start integrating secret societies inside secret societies—as the American communist party became infested with FBI informants—they can quickly wither to insignificance. x
    • 19
      Japan's Black and Green Dragons
      The 1942 fictional Bela Lugosi film Black Dragons was not just a figment of a screenwriter’s imagination. The real-life group was described as a “nationalistic organization” that aimed to “inform the Japanese people of their … rights to dominate the world” and enjoyed a close relationship with the Japanese crime syndicate, the yakuza. Examine how the Black Dragons had a huge impact in pushing Japan into fanaticism, militarism, and a devastating war. Explore additional Asian-based groups, including the Green Dragons and the Genyosha (or Dark Ocean), and how they dabbled in everything from major bombings to a plan to assassinate Charlie Chaplin. x
    • 20
      Italy's Secret Government: The P2 Lodge
      Propaganda-Due, or P-2 , an Italian pseudo-Masonic organization has been tied to a number of shady crimes and mysteries, including corruption, bribes, and even murder—but was made up of senior military and police officers, parliament members, journalists, and the heads of all three of Italy’s intelligence agencies. In fact, this exclusive society was rumored to be Italy’s secret government. Learn how this organization grew to include such important figures and what, exactly, its intent was. x
    • 21
      From the KKK to the Black Shriners
      Professor Spence turns his focus to the United States and looks at uniquely American secret societies, including the sham group known as the U. S. Secret and Civil Service Society, Self-Supporting Branch. He also covers the disturbing emergence and evolution of the Ku Klux Klan. The history of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine—or the Shriners is also covered. Discover how the secret societies that emerged during this period provided foundation for and acted as a reflection of America at the turn of the century. x
    • 22
      Bohemian Grove, Bilderbergers, and Elites
      Sometimes being among the 1 percent is not exclusive enough. Get to know the elite secret societies that only recruited members who were already—or would likely be—rich or influential, including the Bohemian Club, the Schlaraffia, the Sath-Bhai or Asiatic Brethren, the FOGC, the Skull & Bones Society, and more. These primarily men-only clubs are rumored to have dabbled in black arts, unusual rituals, and conspiratorial agendas. Discover which famous, influential, and prominent big names were members of these privileged groups. x
    • 23
      Secret Societies for Aging Swingers
      In what sounds like the start of a bad joke involving L. Ron Hubbard, J. Edgar Hoover, and Charles Manson, Professor Spence introduces you to a crazy-sounding story about Aleister Crowley’s secret society, Ordo Templi Orientis, as he debates the merits of truth around it. From there, hear some fantastical stories about UFOs, the Priory of Sion, the American Heraldry Society, the Society of St. John of Jerusalem—known as Shickshinny Knights, and other groups and events developed from hoaxes and disinformation that was intentionally designed to distract and mislead. x
    • 24
      Terrorism's Long Trail of Secret Cells
      From the 1920 Wall Street bombing to the events of 9/11, see where secret societies have embraced terrorism as a mind game throughout history. Most secret orders are more or less harmless, but Professor Spence peers inside some which have used violence to further their agendas, including the Ku Klux Klan, the Red Army Faction, the Weathermen, the Symbionese Liberation Army. Professor Spence also provides an overview of the evolution of Islamic extremism. x
    • 25
      Secret Societies: The Never-Ending Story
      Professor Spence provides some final examples of secret societies that reinforce what their common characteristics are and what their leaders are like. Taking an in-depth look at The Order—an American society of anti-Semites, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis—as well as FEAR (Forever Enduring, Always Ready), the Silver Legion of America (Silver Shirts), and others, he demonstrates how so many of these secret societies begot, influenced, or resulted in other ones, keeping the tradition going, suggesting that there are hundreds, if not thousands, more that have remained secret. x
    • 26
      UFOs and the Elusive George Hunt Williamson
      On the afternoon of 20 November 1952, a small group of people milled around a canyon outside Desert Center, California. Among them was 25-year-old George Hunt Williamson, an ex-military man and amateur archaeologist. Consider the possible connection between a desert cult and the UFO craze of the 1950s. x
  • Visual Literacy Skills: How to See

    Professor Carrie Patterson, MFA

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    In these 24 lessons, you’ll take a deep look at how the principles and skills of visual literacy directly inform our experience. You’ll learn the formal vocabulary of art, the principles of visual design, how visual language operates, and how to communicate visually. You’ll also learn how to cultivate powers of deep observation, how to generate original thought, and how to create your own art or design.
    View Lecture List (24)
    In these 24 lessons, you’ll take a deep look at how the principles and skills of visual literacy directly inform our experience. You’ll learn the formal vocabulary of art, the principles of visual design, how visual language operates, and how to communicate visually. You’ll also learn how to cultivate powers of deep observation, how to generate original thought, and how to create your own art or design.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Visual Literacy Skills: How to See
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Visual Power: What It Is and Why It Matters
      First, take into account the dominant role of visual input in the way we perceive, understand, and navigate the world. Consider the value of examining our visual experience and the visual choices we make, as they shape how we think, feel, and act. Practice two experiential exercises that train you to carefully observe what you see, and to explore the visual world through your other senses. x
    • 2
      Seeing as a Skill
      Begin to explore the components of visual literacy through specific exercises. Grasp how visual literacy involves accurately seeing, describing, and constructing meaning from your experience. Learn about the nature of visual syntax, and the importance of the function and context of what you see. Finally, examine how the modes of representation, abstraction, and symbolism function in art. x
    • 3
      Sensing and Perceiving: How You See
      Study the anatomy of the eyes, the physiology of seeing, and how the eyes process visual sensations. Then, observe how the brain translates sensation into perception by selecting, organizing, and interpreting information. Look at visual perception using the principles of Gestalt psychology, as the principles describe how the elements of perception are organized into a holistic visual experience. x
    • 4
      Should You Believe What You See?
      Delve into the most important aspect of our visual experience: the ways we create meaning from what we see. Learn about the nature of human cognitive function and how we conceptualize our perceptions of the world. Explore optical illusions, and how they're used in Op Art. Then, examine how changing cultural norms affect the work of artists and architects, influencing their visual choices. x
    • 5
      Representation and Illusion
      How do we define what is real? To begin to answer that question, look into representation in art, and how we value artists’ ability to create the illusion of form and dimension. Observe how photography alters our experience of the world, and how we tend to view photos as “truth.” Grasp the ways in which, in both photography and art, images are “constructed,” and how fact and fiction can overlap. x
    • 6
      Elements of Visual Syntax
      Visual syntax is the foundation for visual language. Look first at seven formal elements artists and designers use, such as line, shape, color, and texture. Learn about the principles of design that create a composition, including unity, emphasis, and balance. See how these elements and principles are used to create specific effects, by studying historic and contemporary interiors. x
    • 7
      Visual Foundations: Dot, Line, and Shape
      Take a systematic look at the visual elements artists and designers use in their creative work. Start with the dot, an individual point in space. Observe how artists use dots to establish location, form, and value. Continue with the properties and expressive uses of lines and implied lines in art. Finally, discover the principles of shapes, and study positive and negative space. x
    • 8
      Visual Foundations: Value
      Continue your study of visual language with value, the degree of lightness or darkness of a hue or a form. Assess value in the work of celebrated artists, and practice exercises that train the eyes to see value. Note how the materials you use influence your work with value, and evaluate the value of colors using a grayscale. Learn to change value in paint colors through tinting and shading. x
    • 9
      Visual Foundations: Color
      Observe how each human culture possesses a “language” of color, and how we assign meaning to colors. Look at different scientific systems for understanding color, and practice exercises to identify the dimensions of hue, value, and chroma. Grasp how color is relative to its surroundings, and how knowledge of color plays a key role in art, design, architecture, and any visual decision. x
    • 10
      Visual Foundations: Texture
      Consider texture as a vital component of our interaction with the visual world, noting how we experience texture through both touch and sight. Look into the physiology of touch, and the power of texture to produce strong physical and emotional responses. Explore texture through the techniques of collage, montage, and assemblage, and practice minute observation and the copying of textures. x
    • 11
      Visual Foundations: Space
      Study how artists and designers create the illusion of space in two dimensions. Begin with shallow space, a compositional approach which stresses the two-dimensional aspect of an artwork. See how artists indicate space and depth through the placement of objects and measuring of proportions within the picture plane. Learn about atmospheric perspective, linear perspective, and projection. x
    • 12
      Thinking in Three Dimensions
      This lesson explores the principles of three-dimensionality in art. Begin with a study of low relief artworks, where forms stand out against a flat surface, and do a studio exercise creating low relief in clay. Continue with high relief technique in clay, learning to model the volume of a form. Finish with a look at fully three-dimensional art, and create a simple freestanding sculpture. x
    • 13
      Building in Three Dimensions
      Architecture, design, and 3D art all rest upon knowledge of volume and mass. Grasp the vital role of the materials used in architecture, as they affect structure, volume, and the the experience of a space. Review a case study of a designed house, for its use of volume, material, proportion, and scale. Observe how design must balance volume and mass for both functional and visual concerns. x
    • 14
      The Limits of Space: Visual Landscapes
      Through landscape, explore how artists and designers navigate the complexities of space. Take a deep look at the rules of linear perspective as they apply both to art and to our immediate experience. Witness how artists capture the disordered sense of built environments through other perspective systems, and how they evoke a sense of timelessness and the infinite in depicting natural landscapes. x
    • 15
      Principles of Design
      Here, begin to refine and deepen your own skills as a visual communicator. Look first at the nature of composition, the arrangement of visual elements in relation to one another. Then delve into four fundamental principles of design: unity and variety, emphasis, balance, and proportion and scale. Learn specific methods for cultivating and applying these principles in your own life. x
    • 16
      Exploring Visual Time
      Witness the remarkable ways in which time operates in art and visual communication. Note how the experience of art is influenced by the creation time of the work, the duration of viewing, and how artists capture fixed moments and the progress of time. Practice ways of seeing and expressing time visually, and observe elements such as tempo, implied motion, and real time in visual experience. x
    • 17
      Strategies for Visual Storytelling
      Unpack the principles behind visual art that conveys a narrative or story. See how a narrative can be expressed within a still image (static visual narrative), within a moving image (dynamic visual narrative), and within a format that requires the participation of the viewer (interactive visual narrative). Practice the skills of static narrative, and learn to convey a story using still images. x
    • 18
      Symbol, Subject, Content, and Context
      Explore how symbols, subject matter, content, and context work together to create meaning. First, delve into the function of signs, symbols, and logos, and assess their remarkable power. Delineate subject matter in art, in relation to content, the impact or meaning of an artwork. Then grasp the vital importance of context, as it affects our understanding of symbol, subject, and content. x
    • 19
      Making Choices: Material, Method, and Style
      In art and design, your material, artistic method, and style all carry meaning. Take a thorough look at the matter of choosing your material, and the practical and aesthetic factors bearing on that choice. Observe how the artistic method you employ affects the work and its meaning. Finally, define what style is, and grasp how to develop and express style in your work and your life. x
    • 20
      Cultivating Creative Habits
      Look at ways to build daily habits that engage your visual skills and cultivate your creative self. Consider taking time at the start of your day to set the stage for creative thinking and work. Study strategies for remaining flexible and open, refining visual consciousness, and capturing creative thoughts, using drawing, reading, and writing. Identify artistic habits that you'd like to grow. x
    • 21
      The Visual Life: Active Observation
      Investigate what it means to become an intentional active observer. Consider practical ways to challenge or suspend ordinary perception in order to see in new ways and change your perspective. Practice convergent thinking and divergent thinking, non-linear brainstorming, sketching, and other techniques to expand your awareness and strip away assumptions about what you see. x
    • 22
      The Visual Life: Exploring and Connecting
      Contemplate the essence of innovative thinking, in making connections that may not be obvious within phenomena you observe. Practice pushing your thinking into new areas by arousing curiosity, exploring connections, doing research, and looking at the large picture. Study scenarios that foster original thought, ways to generate ideas, and how to structure a period of creative work. x
    • 23
      The Visual Life: Collecting
      Examine the human impulse to collect, curate, and appropriate objects, and consider collecting as an essential skill for artists and designers. Observe examples of personal and historical collections, as well as public and private collections, and look into how to begin collecting yourself. Also, learn how to curate and display your own collection, and study guidelines for collecting art. x
    • 24
      The Visual Life: Becoming a Maker
      Conclude with an inspiring view into the process of creating art and design. Inquire into what type of artistic works attract you, and explore different paths to becoming a maker of art. Learn to set creative goals, set up a workspace, and select materials. Finally, look at how to identify a theme and subject matter, and consider ways to discover your unique creative process. x
  • Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Readers and Writers

    Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Whether you want to write short stories, simply want better insight as a reader, or even if you are looking for a new lens through which to view American history, the 24 rich and informative lectures of

    Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Writers and Readers

    will show you the ins and outs of this infinitely adaptable—and intrinsically American—literary form.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Whether you want to write short stories, simply want better insight as a reader, or even if you are looking for a new lens through which to view American history, the 24 rich and informative lectures of

    Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Writers and Readers

    will show you the ins and outs of this infinitely adaptable—and intrinsically American—literary form.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Readers and Writers
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      “Come In Here”: How Stories Draw Us In
      Begin your exploration of American short stories with a look at one of the form's most important features: the opening sentence. Learn the four P's (people, place, perspective, and problem) and how they can help build a strong opening to a story. Then listen to multiple examples of first sentences and their various strengths and weaknesses. x
    • 2
      Discovering the American Short Story
      What defines a short story? And what makes American short stories unique? Take a look at some features and definitions that help explain the form and its boundaries, while also learning how the form has changed over time. You'll also get a partial reading list that will allow you to explore some of the greatest authors of different styles and eras. x
    • 3
      The Storytelling Instinct in America
      Storytelling can help us find meaning in chaos, foster empathy, and share lessons and values across generations. Look back into the past and see how oral and print cultures came in contact with each other in the Americas, creating a hybrid form of storytelling that continues into the present day. x
    • 4
      Storytelling and American Mythos
      After the Revolutionary War, American authors sought to forge their own national literary traditions. Examine the emergence of the short story as a patently American genre, beginning with the “sketches” of writers like Washington Irving. Along the way, you will see how writers have shaped the American mythos—the stories that tell us who we are. x
    • 5
      Sentimental Fiction and Social Reform
      Can stories change the way we look at the world? In the mid-19th century, many Americans believed you could use fiction to shape public opinion and morality. Look at the tradition of sentimental fiction and the writers that mastered the tools of emotion and empathy, focusing especially on the ways women contributed to the field. x
    • 6
      The Rise of Realism in American Fiction
      Realism dominated American short fiction from the end of the Civil War until the outbreak of World War I. See how four decades of social upheaval and the rise of print journalism motivated the rise of the “boys’ club” of realist writers, in opposition to the more feminine-influenced sentimental fiction of earlier decades. x
    • 7
      American Modernists
      The rise of modernism in the early 20th century was a self-conscious reaction to realism. Reflecting the rapid changes of the time, modernist short stories have an intentionally fragmented, staged feeling that many writers felt made the work more “literary.” Examine the work of modernist writers like William Faulkner, Gertrude Stein, and Jean Toomer. x
    • 8
      Contemporary American Storytelling
      Ernest Hemingway remains the single most influential short story writer of the 20th century. Disillusioned by World War I and heavily influenced by the objectivity of journalism, Hemingway changed the American short story—and possibly the American identity. Consider how this one writer revolutionized short fiction and influenced countless other authors. x
    • 9
      Setting or Donnée in American Short Fiction
      Shift from the history of American short fiction to the technical aspects of the form with a look at how writers build verisimilitude into their story worlds. Professor Cognard-Black guides you through several stories with different settings—or, more specifically, données—and shows how the writers convey time and place as well as mood, atmosphere, symbolism, and more. x
    • 10
      The Use of Detail in American Short Fiction
      What is the difference between fact and truth, and why does this distinction matter in fiction? Discover how writers use certain details to inform readers about the inner life of the characters and look closely at why the facts in a short story are never random. Works by Toni Morrison, James Thurber, and Lee K. Abbott demonstrate different levels of detail. x
    • 11
      Character: Who You Are in the Dark
      Creating characters that feel true to life means going below the surface and revealing their inner dimensions. Using the FAT principle of fiction (Feelings, Actions, and Thoughts) and looking at three major errors in fiction writing, compare and contrast flat, stock characters with the deeper characters that stick with readers long after the story has ended. x
    • 12
      American Dialogue and Interior Monologue
      Crafting good dialogue means listening to how real people talk, but also understanding that speech in a story is fundamentally different from the real thing. Using exercises from both real life and fiction, learn how purposeful dialogue can be crafted. Then, look at how internal monologue works and how it serves to reveal character in important ways. x
    • 13
      Standing Apart: The Third Person
      See why the point of view of a story is one of the most important choices a writer can make. Different perspectives create different reactions in the reader, and the third person has three distinct variations that allow writers to determine the level of objectivity and distance a story needs to create the best effect. Consider several examples and how they work. x
    • 14
      Standing Close: The First and Second Person
      There is power and there is peril in the first- and second-person perspectives. Both create close relationships with the story and both promote immediacy and empathy. However, they also have dangers that can derail a story if not handled properly. Explore both the first- and second-person perspectives and their effect on readers. x
    • 15
      Plot: What Characters Do Next
      Instead of looking at plot as a clearly defined journey from point A to point B, here you will see why plot should be dictated by characters and their choices. Understand how good short stories strike a balance between structure and (seeming) randomness to capture something that feels meaningful and true to life. x
    • 16
      Imagery in American Short Fiction
      Vivid imagery is crucial to good storytelling. Professor Cognard-Black takes you through several examples to see how sensory and figurative language can help create an immersive experience. Along the way, you will get useful introductions to tools like personification, allusion, symbolism, metaphor, and other literary devices through writers like Flannery O'Connor. x
    • 17
      Style in Traditional American Short Stories
      Compare and contrast two iconoclastic American writers, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway, to see how style encompasses every aspect of an author's writing, from word choice and sentence length to syntax and punctuation. You'll also receive a list of writing handbooks that can help you explore style. x
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      Experimental American Short Stories
      How is writing fiction like making a quilt? Turn your attention to the innovative short fiction that emerged in the turbulent years after World War II to find the answer. Look at the deconstructionist approach to short stories, focusing particularly on metafiction, and then explore the use of voice to create both intimacy and scope simultaneously. x
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      Genre Short Fiction in America
      Though genre fiction has a reputation for being frivolous or commercial, it has been an important part of America’s literary tradition since the 19th century. Focusing on the “big three” genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, you will see how genre fiction has grappled with the same issues and concerns as literary fiction, simply through different means. x
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      Graphic Short Fiction in America
      Short stories in the 21st century have broken out of traditional constraints of size and form to include more experimental modes, as you will explore here with graphic short fiction. Discover how visual storytelling works in short fiction and why the images and words must work together in ways that go beyond mere illustration. x
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      Postmodern Short Fiction in America
      While the postmodern era is hard to define, the features of postmodern fiction are rooted in artifice and hyperawareness. Consider how the “meta-experience” of postmodernism is created by going against the traditional ideas of immersion and author invisibility, and investigate how different authors accomplish this tricky balancing act. x
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      American Microfictions
      While the accepted length of a short story has always been somewhat vague, here you will see what kinds of storytelling feats can be accomplished with a drastically limited word count. Dive into microfictions written by Professor Cognard-Black and her writing students to see how even the briefest pieces can contain entire narrative worlds. x
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      Short Story Endings
      How can writers create endings that are both authentic to life and satisfying to readers? Reflect on endings from various short stories and see how they have changed over time. Also consider the ways writers create a sense of closure in fiction that never really happens in everyday life, yet feels authentic to human experience. x
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      A Hundred False Starts
      Even the greatest writers experience failure; the key is to fail creatively. Professor Cognard-Black closes the course with a look at the nature of publishing in today’s market, as well as how false starts and unfinished work can be a crucial part of the process of successful, fulfilling writing. As the careers of writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and many others demonstrate, the most important skill a writer—or a reader—can have is perseverance. x