New Releases!
New Releases!
  • World War II: Battlefield Europe

    Professor David R. Stone, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Designed in partnership with HISTORY® and using a distinctly European perspective, World War II: Battlefield Europe provides a fresh lens through which to study major battles, larger-than-life personalities, twists of fate, and tales of intrigue. Over 24 lectures, a military historian reveals the strategic decisions behind U-boat assaults, D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, the fall of Berlin, and so much more.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Designed in partnership with HISTORY® and using a distinctly European perspective, World War II: Battlefield Europe provides a fresh lens through which to study major battles, larger-than-life personalities, twists of fate, and tales of intrigue. Over 24 lectures, a military historian reveals the strategic decisions behind U-boat assaults, D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, the fall of Berlin, and so much more.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  World War II: Battlefield Europe
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Battle of Moscow, December 1941
      Start this series with an examination of what Professor Stone sees as the critical turning point of World War II: the Battle of Moscow in December 1941. At the opening of the fight, Hitler stood on the verge of total victory; by the end, a massive Soviet counteroffensive marked the beginning of the end for the Nazis. x
    • 2
      Anti-Semitism and the Nazis
      Hitler's effort to exterminate the Jews of Europe is a central part of the way we think about Nazism and World War II. Here, investigate the evolution of anti-Semitism in Europe from a belief system rooted in religion to a new form of anti-Semitism that was racial and biological-an evolution that paved the way for the Holocaust. x
    • 3
      Tearing Up the Treaty of Versailles
      What elements in the Treaty of Versailles made it a priority for Hitler to undermine and destroy? What factors kept other global powers from stopping Hitler's rise to power? What made the Spanish Civil War a symptom of World War II? How did the fate of Czechoslovakia weaken Stalin's faith in an alliance with the West? x
    • 4
      The War Begins, 1939
      With Germany's land grab in 1939, Britain and France reluctantly concluded that Hitler was bent on European domination. Follow the story of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, the dramatic invasion of Poland in September 1939, and the rise of a new kind of German warfare called blitzkrieg (lightning war")." x
    • 5
      The Nazis Rise to Power, 1922-1933
      Adolf Hitler launched a catastrophic war that killed an estimated 60 million people. What brought this murderous individual-and his murderous ideology-into power in Nazi Germany? In this lecture, Professor Stone puts the rise of Nazi Germany in context of the European environment of the 1920s and 1930s. x
    • 6
      The Fall of France, Spring 1940
      Investigate how Hitler achieved such a rapid and smashing initial advance in World War II. Topics include Germany's campaigns in Denmark and Norway, the collapse of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's government, the French defeat in the Battle of the Meuse River, and the rise of the Vichy regime under Marshal Philippe Petain. x
    • 7
      The Battle of Britain-and the Blitz
      Study the strategic decisions during one of the most dramatic chapters in World War II: the Battle of Britain. Why did Britain keep fighting from a seemingly hopeless position? Why did Hitler attempt to use air power to drive Britain out of the war? How did the island nation eventually deliver Hitler his first real failure? x
    • 8
      Britain and Germany's Standoff at Sea
      Here, explore how Grand Admiral Erich Raeder and Karl Donitz shaped Germany's surface and U-boat fleets, how Germany and Britain faced a whale-elephant" problem during the war at sea, and how the daring British attack on the naval base at Taranto in 1940 hinted at the attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor a year later." x
    • 9
      Hitler, Stalin, and Operation Barbarossa
      By the spring and summer of 1940, the Hitler-Stalin Pact was under real strain. Go inside the strategic decision-making behind Hitler's decision to break his non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union and to ignite Operation Barbarossa in a grand (and flawed) effort to invade and conquer Stalin's Russia. x
    • 10
      Roosevelt, Isolationism, and Lend-Lease
      Follow the transition in the United States from a period of isolationism in the 1920s to preparations for possible war with Germany in 1940. Topics include the five neutrality acts designed to prevent the United States from being drawn into war, the push for U.S. rearmament in the late 1930s, and the Plan Dog Memorandum: a classic piece of military strategy. x
    • 11
      North Africa and the Battle of el-Alamein
      Trace the Mediterranean and North African campaigns through 1943, with a focus on Mussolini's ambition to create a new Roman empire-an ambition that would collapse into ignominious failure. Also, investigate the mechanics of the climactic battle of el-Alamein and the Anglo-American invasion of North Africa code-named Operation Torch. x
    • 12
      The Battle of Stalingrad, 1942-1943
      Turn now to the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the epic struggles of World War II-and in all of military history. Professor Stone puts the dramatic Stalingrad campaign into a broader strategic context and reveals how the German army's losses made a possible victory in Europe impossible to imagine. x
    • 13
      Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Europe
      Take a step back from the chronology of World War II to think about how European countries occupied by Nazi Germany both collaborated with and resisted their occupiers. You'll look at heroic examples of resistance and espionage in Norway, the French resistance against Germany, and important partisan movements in Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. x
    • 14
      The Holocaust
      In the second half of 1941, Hitler decided to murder every Jew in Europe. How did the extermination camp system operate? How did one escapee manage to inform others about the horrors of Auschwitz? What could the Allies have done to stop (or even slow down) the Holocaust? x
    • 15
      U-Boats and the Battle of the Atlantic
      First, explore the development of submarine warfare and the typical stages of a submarine encounter in the Atlantic. Then, examine how German U-boats caught the United States off guard and how British intelligence helped ships avoid German wolf packs." Lastly, take a closer look at the strategy of the Battle of the Atlantic, where the Allied struggle was finally won." x
    • 16
      The Allies Invade Italy: Sicily to Anzio
      Was the Allied invasion of Italy a strategic necessity or, as many at the time suggested, a sideshow? Consider both sides in this lecture on Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, and two key battles-at Monte Cassino and Anzio-that illustrate the incredible tenacity of Allied soldiers, but also the uninspired generalship that led to an enormous waste of lives. x
    • 17
      Strategic Bombing over Germany
      While precise figures are difficult to determine, it's estimated that some 500,000 lives in Germany were lost to Allied bombing. In this lecture, ponder the costs and rewards of strategic bombing during World War II in terms of dollars and human lives. Should Britain and the United States have invested their resources in something else? x
    • 18
      Allied Industry, Spying, and Wonder Weapons
      Discover the ways that intelligence (from spying to espionage to assassination) contributed to the Allies' ultimate battlefield success. Follow Germany's desperate search for miracle weapons like the V-2 rocket. Explore why the real miracle weapon of World War II wasn't a weapon at all, but mass industrial production. x
    • 19
      Soviets, Germans, and the Eastern Front
      Learn how military events on the Eastern Front from 1943 to 1945 drove political deal-making between the Germans and the Soviets. Focus on Operation Citadel, the German counteroffensive at Kursk; how Germany's smaller allies, including Hungary and Romania, got off Hitler's sinking ship; and the largest operation of World War II (which followed 17 days after D-Day), the Soviet offensive in Belorussia that resulted in the biggest defeat in German military history. x
    • 20
      D-Day at Last, June 1944
      Go behind the scenes of the most iconic military operation of the war: the D-Day invasion of mainland Europe. Focus on Germany's strategy for defense against the coming invasion (including debates over fighting before or after the Allies arrived ashore) and the Slapton Sands landing exercise, where hundreds of Allied soldiers died after an attack by small German attack craft known as E-boats. x
    • 21
      Hitler Runs Out of Options, Fall 1944
      Follow the progress of Allied forces as they steadily ground down German formations, reinforcements, and supplies. Finally, reach the last major German offensive of the Western Front at the Battle of the Bulge, which carved a hole 60 miles deep and 30 miles wide in the American line. x
    • 22
      Soviet Push to Berlin and Yalta Power Play
      With overwhelming advantages in men, tanks, and artillery, the Soviets smashed through German lines in Poland and made their way toward Berlin. Learn how this push set the stage for the momentous agenda at the Allied leadership conference in Yalta, where plans were made to stop a future Germany from starting another global war. x
    • 23
      Eisenhower's Endgame in Europe
      Why did Hitler keep fighting even when he knew all hope was lost? Why did his generals and their armies stick with him? How did the Allies finally bring an end to German resistance? How did Eisenhower and the Soviets debate the terms of surrender? Find out in this penultimate lecture. x
    • 24
      War's End: Picking Up the Pieces
      From the fate of everyday Germans and captured German leadership to the creation of NATO and the European Union, take stock of the global situation at the end of World War II. It was a time that would see a system of cooperation for the Allies-as well as the dawn of a lengthy Cold War with the Soviet Union. x
  • Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom

    Professor Douglas O. Linder, J.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    In Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom, you will learn how liberty increased in our country when individuals sued for freedoms and when cases were brought specifically to test the limits of the Constitution. In 24 fascinating lectures, Professor Douglas O. Linder of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law takes you behinds the scenes of the trials that recognized many of the liberties we enjoy today.

    View Lecture List (24)

    In Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom, you will learn how liberty increased in our country when individuals sued for freedoms and when cases were brought specifically to test the limits of the Constitution. In 24 fascinating lectures, Professor Douglas O. Linder of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law takes you behinds the scenes of the trials that recognized many of the liberties we enjoy today.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Liberty on Trial in America: Cases That Defined Freedom
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Trial of Anne Hutchinson
      There was no toleration of religious dissent in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1600s; you either accepted Puritan orthodoxy, or you could leave. And there certainly was no room for religious argument for a woman! When Anne Hutchinson shared with others her religious ideas and gathered a following, the governor put her on trial for heresy. Explore the trials, defense, and punishment of the woman sometimes called “America’s first feminist.” x
    • 2
      The Trial of John Peter Zenger
      Freedom of speech was not a recognized liberty in the early years of American colonies. Speech critical of the powers that be could land one in legal trouble—even if everyone involved agreed the statements were true. Explore the colonial history of the press freedom, voter suppression, and attempts to influence juries as they all came together to affect the libel trial of John Peter Zenger. Did this landmark freedom of the press case actually set any precedent? x
    • 3
      Two Slave Trials
      The citizens of the newly formed United States could not agree on the overall moral issue of slavery, but they were willing to take up its more narrow legal issues. Gain a greater understanding of the many ways in which the legal system supported the institution of slavery by examining the trials of two slaves: Anthony Burns, whose freedom was eventually purchased by abolitionists, and Celia (no last name), who was hanged. x
    • 4
      The Trial of John Brown
      John Brown was an abolitionist who believed he could end slavery by arming the slaves. His plan, however, came to a tragic end at Harper's Ferry, VA, when guards were killed as he seized the federal armory and only a few slaves joined his revolt. Instead, Brown was charged with treason, murder, and slave insurrection. Learn how John Brown's trial and execution nevertheless played a significant role in the eventual end of slavery in the United States. x
    • 5
      The Trial of Susan B. Anthony
      Susan B. Anthony believed she was a citizen of the United States according to the Fourteenth Amendment—and, as such, she believed she had the right to vote. But in 1872, the law was not on her side. So when she dropped her ballot into the box at the West End New Depot in Rochester, NY, on Election Day, she was arrested. Learn about the trial that brought nationwide attention to the issue of women’s suffrage. x
    • 6
      The Trial of the Haymarket Eight
      Labor tensions were already at the boiling point in Chicago, when someone threw a bomb into a group of police officers. Although the bomb thrower was never found, eight defendants were tried by a jury handpicked by the bailiff, and seven were found guilty and sentenced to death—for the crime, it was claimed, of inciting violence. Explore the ways in which this trial became a key event in the history of free speech in America. x
    • 7
      The Trial of John T. Scopes
      In 1925, Tennessee enacted a law making the teaching of evolution in any state-supported school a crime. John Scopes was a young science teacher at the time who agreed to serve as a test case for the law, defended by Clarence Darrow. Explore the heated opinions expressed on both sides and how the trial's publicity brought the issue directly into American homes. x
    • 8
      The Sweet Trials, Race, and Self-Defense
      In 1925, Dr. Ossian Sweet, an African American, bought a home for his family in a white neighborhood of Detroit. When a white crowd gathered around the house and violence broke out, one member of the crowd was killed. Police charged everyone in the Sweet home with premeditated murder. Explore Clarence Darrow's defense, and what the trial revealed about American society at that time. x
    • 9
      Jehovah's Witnesses and Flag-Salute Cases
      Between 1938 and 1946, the Supreme Court handed down 23 opinions involving civil liberties issues raised by Jehovah's Witnesses. Explore two of those cases, both of which address whether or not Jehovah's Witnesses can be forced to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. Learn why the Court came down first on one side of the issue, and then the other. x
    • 10
      Korematsu v. United States
      In 1942, two months after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed an executive order requiring that all Japanese Americans move to “relocation camps” as a matter of national security. Fred Korematsu refused, was arrested for violating an “exclusion order,” and convicted. Learn how Korematsu carried his fight against what he thought was an “un-American” law all the way to the Supreme Court, and why the decision ultimately went against him. How did history and subsequent Courts treat this decision? x
    • 11
      Segregation on Trial
      In 1892, the Supreme Court, in a case involving the conviction of Homer Plessy for sitting in a section of a Louisiana train designated for “whites only,” established the principle of “separate but equal.” Learn about Charles H. Houston, the African American lawyer who made it his life’s work to challenge Jim Crow laws and who won a critical Supreme Court victory in the case of Gaines v. Missouri, paving the way for the Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Houston’s work for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to end segregation led his successor, Thurgood Marshall, to say he was just carrying Houston’s bags—and that Houston was the Moses who charted the legal path to racial equality. x
    • 12
      The Lenny Bruce Trials
      Today, Lenny Bruce is considered a trailblazer of American stand-up comedy addressing the now-common themes of politics, sex, and religion. But in the 1950s and '60s, he was considered an obscene subversive, and arrested numerous times. Explore the ways in which Bruce and the First Amendment affected each other. Today's authors, publishers, poets, and comedians owe a debt of gratitude to Bruce. x
    • 13
      The Evolving Right to Marry
      Richard Loving wanted to do nothing more than to marry the woman of his dreams. But Richard was white, and Mildred, according to the commonwealth of Virginia, was “colored,” which made it illegal for them to marry. Learn how the case of this modest, unassuming couple went all the way to the Supreme Court, and how the Court’s ruling eventually led to marriage equality for same-sex couples, as well. x
    • 14
      Wisconsin v. Yoder
      In the 1960s, the Amish had several disagreements with the state concerning their children's education. But most important, they did not believe their children should be required to attend school past the age of 16. Explore the conflicting views and goals of these parents, schools, and state. Learn how the issue made it to the Supreme Court, which conflicting liberties were considered, and why the Court decided in favor of the parents. x
    • 15
      Furman v. Georgia
      Public support for the death penalty in the United States has historically ebbed and flowed. In 1972, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment as then administered was unconstitutional, many legal experts—including some justices—believed that would end the death penalty. Learn why that was not the case, and explore the deep complexities of the law as it relates to capital punishment. x
    • 16
      The Trial of Daniel Ellsberg
      Is it legal for an individual to copy top-secret documents and release them to the press? Is it legal for agents of the government to break into a psychiatrist’s office to look for information about a criminal defendant? Can the government legally stop a newspaper from publishing classified material? Explore how these questions—and their answers from the courts—affected the country’s political life during the Nixon administration, and ultimately led to the president’s resignation. x
    • 17
      The Road to Roe v. Wade
      Norma McCorvey knew two things: She was pregnant and she did not want the baby. Desperate for an abortion, she agreed (under the name “Jane Roe”) to take the case to court, and ultimately the Supreme Court. As you learn about the famous decision that resulted, you’ll also gain a better understanding of the many other ways in which American courts have intervened in personal decisions related to sterilization and birth control, as well as abortion. x
    • 18
      The Right to an Intimate Life
      Should the government interfere in activities in your bedroom? Well into the 20th century, every state had laws prohibiting at least one sexual act, even between heterosexual married couples in the privacy of their own home. Explore the numerous lawsuits and trials that eventually extended the protection of privacy to include intimacy, regardless of sexual orientation. x
    • 19
      The Ruby Ridge Trial
      Do we Americans have the freedom to isolate ourselves, hold and express views considered racist and hateful by the majority, and stockpile legally purchased weapons? Do we have the liberty to sell a sawed-off shotgun? Explore the complex story and resultant trial that started with Randy and Vicki Weaver wanting to separate themselves from mainstream society, and ended with three dead at Ruby Ridge. x
    • 20
      The Trials of Jack Kevorkian
      Jack Kevorkian believed strongly that individuals should have the right to end their pain and suffering, and with his inventions of the “thanotron” and the “mercitron,” Kevorkian helped hundreds do just that. Legally tried, having escaped conviction time after time, a final trial proved his undoing. Explore Dr. Kevorkian’s work on behalf of an individual’s right to euthanasia, why he believed he was taking a stand for liberty, and why he was eventually convicted of second-degree homicide. x
    • 21
      Boy Scouts of America v. Dale
      Do private organizations have the right to exclude members based on criteria that many—maybe even most in society—find objectionable? When the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) expelled scout leader James Dale because he way gay, Dale challenged the BSA’s authority to use sexual orientation as a basis for exclusion. In a case pitting Dale’s claimed right to be free from discrimination against the associational rights of the Scouts, the Supreme Court sided with the Boy Scouts. Examine why the U.S. Supreme Court decided as it did, and the effects and implications of its ruling. x
    • 22
      Kelo v. City of New London
      Does a city have the right to use eminent domain to take private property and sell it for private development if the city believes that development will improve the city’s economy? Learn how Susette Kelo’s refusal to sell her “little pink house” in New London, CT, led to a Supreme Court case addressing what she described to Congress as “eminent domain abuse”—and why she lost the case. x
    • 23
      The Citizens United Case
      U.S. candidates have a long history of trying to outraise and outspend their opponents to win elections. This has meant, oftentimes, that big corporations and wealthy donors determine election outcomes and, at least potentially, gain an opportunity to influence the votes and policies of the candidates they helped elect. In response, Congress had repeatedly tried to curtail such “corrupting” activities. Explore why, then, in 2010, the Supreme Court declared any ban on political spending by corporations to be unconstitutional—and why, at the same time, most polls show strong support for a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling. x
    • 24
      Liberty for Nonhumans?
      Many Americans were initially excluded from “liberty and justice for all.” Is it possible that future trials will result in greater liberties for apes, cetaceans, and elephants? Learn how “Tommy” became the first chimpanzee to have a suit for his freedom filed on his behalf and why one judge on the New York Court of Appeals says the issue of fundamental rights for nonhuman animals is not going away. x
  • Understanding the Old Testament

    Professor Robert D. Miller II, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    The Old Testament is one of the foundational documents of Western civilization. In this course, you’ll study a selection of the major books of the Old Testament, probing their meaning and relevance. Among these, you’ll explore the prophets, the wisdom literature, and the apocalyptic literature, finding their deeper historical and religious import, as well as their sublime literary treasures.
    View Lecture List (24)
    The Old Testament is one of the foundational documents of Western civilization. In this course, you’ll study a selection of the major books of the Old Testament, probing their meaning and relevance. Among these, you’ll explore the prophets, the wisdom literature, and the apocalyptic literature, finding their deeper historical and religious import, as well as their sublime literary treasures.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Understanding the Old Testament
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Old Testament as Literature
      Consider the historical and literary contexts of the Old Testament, and take an overview of this course. Then, study the events contained within the first six days of creation. For each day, note what was created, how God evaluated it, and how the events of the days are interconnected. Also, observe how the events establish an elaborate pattern and what that pattern meant to ancient Israelites. x
    • 2
      The Genesis Creation Story
      Look at the creation of humanity according to Genesis Chapter 1, and in particular, at how we interpret the idea that humans were made in the image and likeness of God. Then learn about the unique seventh day- the Sabbath-and how the Sabbath was also a day of creation. Investigate the intriguing question of the authorship of the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Pentateuch or Torah. x
    • 3
      What God Intended for Adam and Eve
      Here, delve into the story of the Garden of Eden. Grasp God's purpose in creating humans as beings that are both material and spiritual. Consider the significance of the god-like role given to Adam to name other creatures. Learn how woman was created as a counterpart (and even rescuer) of man, and how the creation story accounts for a world that is not what God intended. x
    • 4
      When Things Go Wrong in the Garden of Eden
      In the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, explore how ancient Israelites understood the nature of sin. Follow Adam and Eve's transgression in eating the forbidden fruit and note how this act disrupts both the relationship between the two humans and between humanity and nature. See how the ultimate consequence of the humans' actions is the loss of fellowship with God. x
    • 5
      Abraham, the Father of Three Faiths
      In a deep look at the figure of Abraham, the spiritual father of three major religions, examine the features of the Covenant made between God and Abraham as Abraham embarks on his legendary journey. Study the three promises God makes, and what God asks of Abraham. Learn about the paradox embodied in God's command that Abraham sacrifice his son, and what this signifies about the nature of faith. x
    • 6
      Moses and the Exodus
      Read the Call of Moses to liberate the Israelites in Egypt and observe how it resonates with the call of other Biblical prophets. Investigate the Hebrew name of God, Yahweh; how God's nature is expressed in the name; and why Jews did not speak or write it. Finally, take account of scholarly controversy regarding interpretations of the Ten Plagues and the meaning of the Exodus from Egypt. x
    • 7
      The Ten Commandments
      Consider why the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, has a significance beyond that of the other 603 commandments in the Torah, and note how the Ten are numbered within different religious traditions. Examine each of the commandments and grasp how these directives by God were intended not to constrain humanity, but to guarantee freedom, of the community and of each individual. x
    • 8
      The Covenant Code in Exodus
      The Covenant Code contains some of the oldest laws of ancient Israel. Read the Code's many laws, on subjects from religious regulations to social justice, noting that they are considered divine in origin. Compare the Code to the laws of other ancient Near Eastern societies. Learn how, more than legal codes, the laws functioned as moral education regarding notions of human justice. x
    • 9
      Leviticus at a Crossroads
      The book of Leviticus sets out the ways Israelites were to live as God's people. Delve into three sections of the text, beginning with sacrificial practices. Examine five types of ritual sacrifice and the motives or purposes of each. Investigate the Manual of Impurities, which includes dietary rules on the purity of food. Then learn about the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year. x
    • 10
      Deuteronomy to Kings
      Take account of the context of Judges, within the Old Testament books that reveal the story of the Israelites in the Promised Land. Assess different accounts of how the Israelites came to the land of Canaan. Then witness the violent cycle in which they fell into idolatrous behavior, then wound up in enslavement, followed by God sending them a series of charismatic leaders (judges") to free them." x
    • 11
      The Book of Judges
      Follow the unfolding narrative of Judges, as the leaders sent to free the Israelites themselves fall from virtue. Study the stories of Gideon and his son, Abimelech, and note archaeological discoveries that show amazing similarities to the biblical story. Conclude with the trials of Jephthah and Samson, and the tragic conclusion of Judges, as Israel descends into immorality and violence. x
    • 12
      The Books of Samuel
      Chart the origins of prophecy in ancient Israel, with prophecy seen during ecstatic, trancelike spiritual practices. Observe how Samuel, the last judge, initiated monarchy among the Israelites, appointing Saul as king. Trace the disastrous reign of David, and the story of Bathsheba. Then meet the wise Solomon, builder of the first temple to Israel's God, where worship-significantly-focused on a text, not an image. x
    • 13
      The Books of Kings
      Examine the role of the prophet in ancient Israel as the conscience of the nation. Study the life of the prophet Elijah, his actions to affirm the supremacy of God, and his later disillusion and disobedience to God. Grasp Elijah's role in the fall of the Israelite kingdoms of Israel and Judah to Assyria and Babylon, a story which, nevertheless, ends on a note of hope. x
    • 14
      Biblical Short Stories: Ruth and Esther
      Discover the genre of the biblical short story: Old Testament books that recount single plots, often focusing on displaced women. Learn the story of Ruth, of the land of Moab-Israel's hated enemy, who survived in Bethlehem through loyalty and resourcefulness. Also, encounter the Jewish, Persian Queen Esther, who saved her people by honoring her Jewishness while being queen of a gentile society. x
    • 15
      Amos, Prophet of Justice
      Explore the preaching of the prophet Amos and his passionate theme of justice for the poor and vulnerable. Note how, as an outsider, Amos brings the northern kingdom of Israel to task for its crimes against the poor, seen in acts such as debt slavery, distortions of justice, and the treatment of concubines. Contemplate Amos's three woes" against Israel, and also his concluding vision of hope." x
    • 16
      The Prophet Isaiah in Three Movements
      Examine the three distinct sections of Isaiah: first, the prophet's stern denunciation of social injustice, and his intimation of a new era of peace under a messianic king; next, a promise of restoration and redemption for Israel, through the figure of the Suffering Servant"; and finally, the vision of a post-exile Jerusalem, where all peoples are included within the worship of God." x
    • 17
      Jeremiah, Persecuted Prophet
      Within the life and preaching of the prophet Jeremiah, study the book of Jeremiah, Chapter 7, regarding his temple sermon" preaching against idolatry, injustice, and fraudulent worship. Witness the prophet's response to his later persecution, and his struggle against his own call to be a prophet. Also read the hopeful prophecy in which God offers a new covenant to Israel, a covenant of forgiveness which will be everlasting." x
    • 18
      Daniel and Apocalyptic Literature
      In approaching the prophetic oracles and stories of the book of Daniel, delve into the genre of Apocalyptic literature-revelation which discloses a transcendent reality. Note the appearance in Daniel of the figure of the Son of Man," a divine, human-like being enthroned by God. Study the story of Daniel's exile to Babylon and take account of its message for diaspora Jews." x
    • 19
      How Scholars Study Psalms
      Uncover the musical nature of the book of Psalms, which were prayers that were originally sung, and how the Psalms embody the words of humans to God. Study the poetic features of the Psalms, highlighting parallelism (correspondence of lines). See how these patterns structure the Psalms and help to decipher meaning. Learn about the titles of the individual Psalms and what they tell us, and how the Psalms fall into five sections or books."" x
    • 20
      The Music of the Psalms
      In a second look at Psalms, investigate the primary psalm genres-hymns, thanksgivings, and laments- taking account, in each, of who is speaking within a given Psalm and with what intent. Also delve into lesser genres, such as wisdom psalms, pilgrimage songs, and penitential psalms. Discover how psalms are structured, and how these beloved prayers express the gamut of human emotions. x
    • 21
      Proverbs in the Bible: Wisdom Literature
      As context for the book of Proverbs, discover the Old Testament genre of wisdom literature" and the varieties of knowledge it encompasses. In the first, nine sections of Proverbs, study the use of paired metaphors that guide the reader's understanding. Examine the use of personification in Proverbs to express wisdom: as referred to as a woman, as present with God at creation, and as equivalent to the nature of the universe." x
    • 22
      Job's Suffering and Understanding
      Immerse yourself in the mysteries of the book of Job, first identifying its biblical genre and unusual literary structure. Witness God's wager with the accuser, who questions Job's faith, and see the unfolding of the guiltless Job's ensuing tribulations and reckoning with God. Contemplate the many historical explanations of God's actions, and what the narrative suggests about divine providence and human value. x
    • 23
      Ecclesiastes and the "Vanity of Vanities"
      Grapple with the fascinating and elusive text of the book of Ecclesiastes. In the apparent bleakness of Qohelet's words, grasp why many through the centuries have found the book depressing. With a careful and rigorous reading, plumb the verses for their deeper meaning: a singular vision of affirmation, reaching beyond the futility of human life to an authentic joy in the gifts of God. x
    • 24
      Slaying the Dragons of the Old Testament
      Conclude by examining a recurrent image within the Old Testament: the figure of the dragon as the personification of evil. Look back through the entire Old Testament at the metaphor of dragon-slaying, at the hands of God, and explore its appearance within earlier mythic traditions. Through multiple textual references, see how this unusual metaphor constitutes an analogy for human suffering and redemption. x
  • Understanding the New Testament

    Professor David Brakke, Ph.D., M.Div.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Join Professor David Brakke, an award-winning Professor of History at The Ohio State University, for Understanding the New Testament. In these 24 eye-opening lectures, he takes you behind the scenes to study not only the text of the New Testament, but also the authors and the world in which it was created.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Join Professor David Brakke, an award-winning Professor of History at The Ohio State University, for Understanding the New Testament. In these 24 eye-opening lectures, he takes you behind the scenes to study not only the text of the New Testament, but also the authors and the world in which it was created.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Understanding the New Testament
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Paradox of the New Testament
      The New Testament is comprised of 27 books by more than a dozen authors, yet it is also presented as a single, unified text. How do you resolve the paradox of one book versus many? In this opening lecture, see how historians view the New Testament and why they are excited by its diversity of voices. x
    • 2
      The Jewish Origins of Christian Faith
      Before delving into the New Testament, you first must look at ancient Judaism for context about the birth of Christianity. Here, explore key stories and themes of the Old Testament-including God's covenants with Abraham, Moses, and David, as well as Jewish eschatology-to understand the world of Jesus of Nazareth. x
    • 3
      1 Thessalonians and Paul's Ministry
      The New Testament includes many types of narrative, among them gospels, epistles, and revelations. In this first lecture on Paul's epistles, you will reflect on the chronologically earliest book of the New Testament. Examine the structure of a Pauline letter, and find out what his mission of evangelism was all about. x
    • 4
      The Salvation of Gentiles in Galatians
      Continue your study of Paul's epistles with a detailed look at his letter to the Galatians. In it, he offers a scathing rebuke to a congregation he believes has backslid after his departure. Find out why he believed it was so important to establish faith in Jesus as the one and only quality that gets you into heaven. x
    • 5
      Romans on God, Faith, and Israel
      Paul's letter to the Romans is his theological masterpiece. Because he had never been to Rome, he wrote this letter to introduce himself and his teachings to lay the groundwork for his arrival. Unpack the key message of his theology-namely, that one is made righteous solely through faith in Jesus Christ. x
    • 6
      Community Conflicts in 1-2 Corinthians
      In this first of two lectures about Paul's letters to the Corinthians, you will consider one tension inherent to Christian congregations. In Paul's theology, everyone is equal in the eyes of the Lord, yet Corinth was a prosperous and diverse city. How did Paul reconcile economic, intellectual, and educational diversity with religious unity? x
    • 7
      Worship and Leaders in Paul's Congregations
      The two letters to the Corinthians give us great insight into Paul's theology, but they also provide interesting historical evidence for how early Christian congregations operated. How did believers worship? Who were the church leaders? What were the roles for men and women? Find out what the letters tell us about the community. x
    • 8
      Paul's Theology on Slavery and Christ
      Although Paul's letters to Philemon and to the Philippians are very different, they have two important things in common. Paul wrote them both from prison, and they each concern slavery. Gain insight into Paul's views around imprisonment, as well as his ideas about Christ's humanity and divinity. x
    • 9
      Adapting Paul's Teachings to New Situations
      Not all of Paul's letters were composed by the apostle himself. The three Deutero-Pauline" letters (2 Thessalonians, Colossians, and Ephesians) likely date to the years after Paul's death. In content, they seek to reassure readers that a series of events must occur before the end times arrive and that faith in Christ is all that is necessary for salvation in the present." x
    • 10
      Jesus as the Suffering Son of Man in Mark
      Shift your attention from Paul's epistles to the gospels, starting with the Gospel According to Mark. After reviewing what historians know about the author and the book's composition, Professor Brakke surveys the time of Jesus' ministry and death and explicates the key themes of Mark's gospel. x
    • 11
      Jesus as the New Moses in Matthew
      The unknown Christian who wrote the gospel now called Matthew presents a different theological portrait of Jesus and his ministry than Mark. Whereas Jesus in Mark is a mysterious figure, Matthew emphasizes Jesus' divinity. In this lecture, compare the two gospels and what scholars believe about their composition. x
    • 12
      The Church in the Gospel of Matthew
      Continue your study of the Gospel of Matthew, which gives us the only mention of the word church" in all of the four gospels. Consider Matthew's interest in forming and leading the church, and reflect on the conflict, in Matthew, between the Jesus who teaches Jewish law and the Jesus who critiques Jewish leaders." x
    • 13
      Luke and Acts on God's History of Salvation
      The Gospel of Luke is the first book in a two-volume work, the second being the book of Acts. Luke presents himself as a historian, so consider the two-volume Luke-Acts as a historical work. Who were Luke's sources? What story does he want to tell? How and why does his story unfold? x
    • 14
      Luke's Inclusive Message
      The grand narrative in the books Luke through Acts spans 60 years and presents a unified narrative of early Christian history. In this second lecture on Luke, look at the people and parables presented in his history-particularly the women, both named and anonymous, he writes about. Encounter a truly expansive, inclusive vision for Christianity. x
    • 15
      The Apostles and Church in Luke and Acts
      Because Luke was writing as a historian, probably between the years A.D. 90 and A.D. 120, he didn't merely re-create the past. Rather, Luke has a perspective on the history he tells. Unpack his vision of early Christian history and consider what message he is sending to his readers. Compare that message to the earlier Gospel according to Mark."" x
    • 16
      Jesus as the Divine Word in John
      The Gospel according to John" is an anomaly, set apart from the other three "Synoptic Gospels." Although the basic story of Jesus remains the same, running from the ministry of John the Baptist to the death and resurrection of Jesus, John's gospel contains more philosophy and has been called a more "spiritual" gospel." x
    • 17
      Jesus and the Jews in the Gospel of John
      In addition to its spiritual philosophy, the Gospel of John also contains troubling rhetoric around Jews and Judaism. Investigate the reasons behind John's depiction of the Jews and why it is so negative. See why John's portrayal of Jesus has made this gospel both an object of theological controversy and a source of deep spirituality. x
    • 18
      The Community of John after the Gospel
      What happened when an early Christian community began to fall apart? Disagreements over theology, challenges to church leadership, or disintegration of the group altogether were common, and the letters of John tackle these problems head-on. Delve into early efforts to unify a fractured church. x
    • 19
      In Search of the Historical Jesus
      The Historical Jesus" refers to the man named Jesus of Nazareth as opposed to the Christ we find in the gospels-a challenge for historians given that the gospels are our primary sources. Trace the development of biblical scholarship and research after the Renaissance and Enlightenment, when scholars began to think critically about the man named Jesus." x
    • 20
      Interpreting Abraham in Hebrews and James
      You might think of Abraham as belonging to the Old Testament, but he plays a mighty role in the writings of the New Testament. In the book of Hebrews, Abraham appears as a model of faith, whereas, in James he is an object of controversy over how people are saved-by faith alone or by faith and works. x
    • 21
      Churches in Crisis in 1-2 Peter and Jude
      Along with James and the three letters of John, 1-2 Peter and Jude are known as the catholic" or general epistles because they are addressed to multiple congregations, or Christians, in general. See what these most recent books of the New Testament tell us about a mature and growing religious movement." x
    • 22
      New Leaders in the Pastoral Epistles
      Paul's first and second letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus form a special group of epistles because they were written not to congregations but to church pastors, offering advice for how individual leaders ought to conduct themselves and guide their congregations. Together, they help us explore the development of an independent, organized religion. x
    • 23
      Revelation: Envisioning God's Reality
      The book of Revelation presents a complex; symbolic; and, at times, even bizarre vision of the present day and the future. In this lecture, Professor Brakke outlines why the Romans persecuted the Christians before turning to the content of Christ's revelation to John. Dive into this fascinating, challenging book. x
    • 24
      The Quest for Unity in the New Testament
      In this final lecture, revisit the paradox between the New Testament's diversity and unity, a single text comprised of 27 different books. See how theologians and scholars over the years have tackled this paradox. Examples include the Christian leaders Irenaeus, Origen, and Martin Luther, as well as modern historical researchers. x
  • Taking Control of Your Personal Data

    Professor Jennifer Golbeck, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    We have never before in human history been able to share so much about ourselves so quickly. Neither have we ever been so exposed to forces that want to take advantage of that capability. This course will open your eyes to the surprising extent of that exposure and will discuss your options for keeping your personal data as safe as possible, help you determine your personal privacy profile, and understand the current U.S. laws and proposed state laws regarding privacy.
    View Lecture List (12)
    We have never before in human history been able to share so much about ourselves so quickly. Neither have we ever been so exposed to forces that want to take advantage of that capability. This course will open your eyes to the surprising extent of that exposure and will discuss your options for keeping your personal data as safe as possible, help you determine your personal privacy profile, and understand the current U.S. laws and proposed state laws regarding privacy.
    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Taking Control of Your Personal Data
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      How Your Data Tells Secrets
      You probably know that anything you post on the internet is fair game; it can be used by advertisers, political parties, and others to target you with messages. Learn what else they use—from scratches on your camera lens in your pictures to a “like” from a friend-of-a-friend—to learn about you in unexpected detail and to predict your future behavior with surprising accuracy. x
    • 2
      The Mechanics of Data Harvesting
      No matter how careful you are about your online presence, information can be uncovered about you from data you didn't even know was being collected. One Washington Post reporter discovered that within one week, 5,400 hidden apps and trackers had received data from his phone! Learn some steps you can take to limit access to your personal information. x
    • 3
      Privacy Preferences: It's All about You
      How much do you care about your privacy? How concerned are you that specific individuals or groups could access your data? Examine why you must honestly identify your privacy profile before determining how to protect your online presence. Then, you can explore the privacy options that best meet your needs, knowing that it's always a tradeoff between privacy and convenience. x
    • 4
      The Upside of Personal Data Use
      We tend to be comfortable with the internet “knowing” about us when we understand how it acquired our data and how it’s being used. While ads geared to our purchase history might be annoying, we don’t find them nefarious. But you’ll be shocked to learn just how valuable those “recommender” algorithms are to the companies that own them. x
    • 5
      Online Tracking: Yes, You're Being Followed
      You don’t have to post information about yourself on a social media site to leave a trail of personal information; you’re unwittingly doing that every single time you visit a website—any website. Your IP address, cookies, browser fingerprinting, and more, create and track an electronic trail of your activities. Explore how you can block these trackers and hide your web activity to protect your privacy. x
    • 6
      Nowhere to Hide? Privacy under Surveillance
      When you accepted that car-tracking device from your auto insurance company, you chose to exchange some privacy for potential discounts. But you’ll be surprised to learn about the many other choices you make that you did not know could invade privacy—from using a medical device in your own bedroom to visiting the directory kiosk in a shopping mall, and much more. x
    • 7
      Consent: The Heart of Privacy Control
      When was the last time you thoroughly read and understood the privacy policies of your social media platforms? If you’re like most people, the answer is “never.” But how can you control your personal information if you don’t understand what you’re consenting to? Explore the myriad ways in which a lack of transparency has created societal harm in the past—and potential solutions. x
    • 8
      Data Scandals and the Lessons They Teach
      The website has assured you that your data is secure, so what can go wrong? Learn what the Cambridge Analytica, Google Buzz, and Ashley Madison scandals, among others, have taught us about data security. These debacles resulted in more than just personal inconvenience. Although we can never know the full extent of their effects, we do know lives were at stake. x
    • 9
      The Dark Web: Where Privacy Rules
      Is there any way to keep your comings and goings on the internet completely private? The answer might be the ominous-sounding dark web—not accessible from regular web browsers and not indexed by search engines. Explore the dark web and its Tor browser. Learn exactly how they protect your privacy and why you might, or might not, want to go that route. x
    • 10
      Algorithmic Bias: When AI Gets It Wrong
      Algorithms are built to learn from the vast amount of data collected about us for a variety of purposes, including significant decisions addressing employment, mortgage lending, and more. Discover how both the data and the algorithms can include accidental bias. Learn how this bias can impact people's lives, and what steps can be taken to address the issue. x
    • 11
      Privacy on the Global Stage
      Europeans legally own all data about themselves, and companies must comply with their wishes. In the United States, two-party communications are protected, but third-party communications (e.g., on Facebook) are not. In China, with an intrusive government, citizens have no expectations of privacy. Explore how these different privacy paradigms affect daily life—from bank loans to dating. x
    • 12
      Navigating the Future of Personal Data
      Examine the case of DNA and the fascinating effects of its changing access, use, and expected privacy—from interesting personal information to help in crime fighting to discrimination. With technology changing so quickly, can any real privacy assurances ever be made? Explore the California Consumer Privacy Act and the ways in which that law could affect all of us, in any U.S. state. x
  • Getting Your Legal House in Order

    Professor Sally Hurme, JD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    In Getting Your Legal House in Order, author and elder law attorney Sally Balch Hurme gives you a practical, step-by-step foray into your legal affairs. From property rights to wills and trusts to insurance and estate planning, these 18 eye-opening lectures give you everything you need to prepare your finances and your future. Filled with accessible advise, this course should be required viewing for people of any age.

    View Lecture List (18)

    In Getting Your Legal House in Order, author and elder law attorney Sally Balch Hurme gives you a practical, step-by-step foray into your legal affairs. From property rights to wills and trusts to insurance and estate planning, these 18 eye-opening lectures give you everything you need to prepare your finances and your future. Filled with accessible advise, this course should be required viewing for people of any age.

    View Lecture List (18)
    18 Lectures  |  Getting Your Legal House in Order
    Lecture Titles (18)
    • 1
      Get Your Legal Life Together Now!
      Begin your course with a survey of what makes up your legal house, from the ordinary day-to-day documents you already have to estate planning tools and considerations. You’ll quickly learn that “getting your legal house in order” is less daunting than it sounds—and it starts with an inventory you will take in this first lecture. x
    • 2
      Reducing Debt by Reading the Fine Print
      Too often, debt is easy to get into but hard to get out of, which is problematic because not only can debt limit your choices today, but it can also endanger the future for you and your loved ones. Here, you will review the major types of consumer debt, things you should consider before taking on debt, and the relationship between debt and your credit score. x
    • 3
      Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft
      Everyone is a potential target of identity thieves, and the best way to defend yourself is to understand how thieves operate. Whether it's a phony call from the IRS or someone rooting around in your trash for account numbers and passcodes, thieves can be wily. Learn several strategies for defending yourself and your data. x
    • 4
      Knowing Your Property Rights
      Property is central to American law, but as anyone who has run afoul of the local zoning board or a condominium's HOA understands, your name might be on the deed (or lease), but property restrictions are rampant. Explore the many rights, responsibilities, restrictions, and hassles of owning and renting property. x
    • 5
      Deciding Whether a Timeshare Is for You
      The marketing literature paints a lovely picture: an ownership stake in vacation property that will set your family up for years of getaways. Timeshares may be wildly popular, but an inside investigation of the costs shows they don’t always add up to a wise investment. Find out what you need to know before buying—or selling—a timeshare. x
    • 6
      Choosing the Insurance You Need
      Insurance is something you buy with the hope that you'll never have to use it. But if you ever do need it, you certainly want to make sure you are covered. Unpack some of the most common types of insurance and arm yourself with a newfound understanding of policies and coverage. x
    • 7
      Figuring Out Your Retirement Finances
      Making the leap from a regular paycheck in your working years to living off your savings in retirement can be scary, and planning ahead is the best way to take care of yourself. From 401(k)s and IRAs to annuities and defined-benefit pension plans, get to know the financial instruments that will take care of you in your golden years. x
    • 8
      Making the Most of Medicare and Medicaid
      No one has ever been accused of saying Medicare and Medicaid are easy to understand. Like the rest of the American health care system, Medicare and Medicaid are built around confusing concepts such as coverage, deductibles, coinsurance—and even “Medigap insurance.” Learn how to make the most of your medical insurance options in later life. x
    • 9
      Weighing the Benefits of Reverse Mortgages
      For some, a reverse mortgage can be a handy tool in retirement, providing a flow of steady cash backed by property you own. Here, you will find out what exactly a reverse mortgage is, how it works, who might want one, and why you might want to avoid them altogether. x
    • 10
      Comparing Retirement Communities
      Where do you want to live in retirement? From resort-like active 50+ communities to Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), today's seniors have more choices than ever before. Survey the ins and outs of age-specific communities, the continuum of care, and what to watch for when planning your finances. x
    • 11
      Drafting Your Estate Plan
      A will is a central document in your estate plan, a way to distribute property that is not already designated by some other way. Reflect on what a will does, why you might or might not need one, and what happens to your property if you die without one. Also, begin thinking about what you should include in a will. x
    • 12
      Understanding and Using Trusts
      Although you’ve no doubt heard of a “trust,” there is a great deal of confusion and misinformation around the concept. Continue reflecting on your estate plan in this lecture that demystifies what a trust is, why you might need both a will and a trust, what you don’t want to put in a trust, and a few special reasons to set one up. x
    • 13
      Controlling Who Gets Your Property
      How you own what you own can make a big difference when it comes time to settle your estate. Consider the legal theory of property “interests”—or rights of ownership—and how you would like your property divided up. Things get complicated in a hurry when it comes to joint ownership, you’ll want to pay close attention if you have a partial interest in a piece of property. x
    • 14
      Separating Probate Facts from Fiction
      At its most basic, “probate” is a court-monitored procedure that determines the validity of a will, inventories assets, and settles claims on an estate. Think of the court as a referee to a game involving heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, executors, administrators, and other players. Get to know how to make probate as smooth and simple as possible for your family. x
    • 15
      Conveying Your Personal Wishes in Writing
      The process of dividing up property can lead to nasty disputes within a family. Fortunately, you can take two easy steps to head off potential family feuds: Write a letter of instruction for your final wishes and another letter for your personal belongings. From organ donation to the type of funeral you want, a letter can save a lot of heartache. x
    • 16
      Creating a Financial Power of Attorney
      A “power of attorney” is a simple document that gives written authorization to someone to represent you or act on your behalf. As you will learn in this lecture, every adult should have a power of attorney for matters of health and a second power of attorney for matters of finance. See why, and then explore the responsibility of being an agent. x
    • 17
      Caregiving by Contract or Court Order
      Much has been written about caregiving, but in this lecture, you will study two legal aspects of the caregiving relationship: the compensation contract for hiring a caregiver or paying a family member for services and the process of working through legal guardianship. Discover a few legal nuances and why they are important. x
    • 18
      Preparing Medical Advance Directives
      One of the kindest things you can do for your family is spare them the distress of having to face decisions about your health care without knowing your wishes. In this final lecture, delve into advanced care planning (including health care powers of attorney)—what treatments you want, and in what circumstances. As with all the tools you have studied, an advance directive is about peace of mind. x
  • Fighting Misinformation: Digital Media Literacy

    Taught By Multiple Professors

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    The International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) has teamed up with The Great Courses to provide an outstanding eight-lecture series designed to arm you with the very skills needed to defuse the threat of misinformation media. Ms.Tara Susman-Peña, a senior technical advisor, and her colleagues at IREX, Mehri Druckman and Nina Odura, will lead you step by step through the history, evolution, science, and impact of misinformation in Fighting Misinformation: Digital Media Literacy, an eight-lecture course that helps you to develop the skills you need to combat fakes, stereotypes, and frauds within every kind of media source.

    View Lecture List (8)

    The International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) has teamed up with The Great Courses to provide an outstanding eight-lecture series designed to arm you with the very skills needed to defuse the threat of misinformation media. Ms.Tara Susman-Peña, a senior technical advisor, and her colleagues at IREX, Mehri Druckman and Nina Odura, will lead you step by step through the history, evolution, science, and impact of misinformation in Fighting Misinformation: Digital Media Literacy, an eight-lecture course that helps you to develop the skills you need to combat fakes, stereotypes, and frauds within every kind of media source.

    View Lecture List (8)
    8 Lectures  |  Fighting Misinformation: Digital Media Literacy
    Lecture Titles (8)
    • 1
      The Misinformation Threat
      Democracy depends on a well-informed, discerning electorate, equipped to judge the validity of the information available. In this first lecture, Ms. Susman-Peña and her esteemed colleagues at IREX delve into the concepts of misinformation and disinformation, and explain the critical ways in which falsehoods, slander, prejudice, and bad ideas can threaten American democracy. x
    • 2
      The Evolution of Media and Misinformation
      Options for news sources have expanded exponentially in the digital age. Content is at our fingertips from traditional news sources, but anyone can now be a publisher of information on the internet, and computer algorithms are influencing what you see every day. How do we sort the legitimate news from false, misleading, or opinion content? Travel with your instructors through the history of communication technology as you learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff. x
    • 3
      Misinformation and the Brain
      Humans often fail to critically evaluate the world around us. Take a close look at the machinations of misinformation, and how it can be used in conjunction with our natural cognitive biases to lead us astray. Learn about the role of reality distortion, the “Barnum effect,” selective recall, and confirmation bias in misinformation, and how techniques like “Label to Disable” and “Care before You Share” can help. x
    • 4
      Seeing Through Visual Misinformation
      Visual images have been selected, edited, reframed—even manipulated—before they reach us, often in ways designed to elicit an emotional response. Explore the impact of reuse and mislabeling, photo selection effect, and deliberate alteration or forgery to affect how we see and feel about an image. Then, employ Label to Disable to diffuse the threat of visual misinformation. x
    • 5
      Countering Fakes and Stereotypes in Media
      How do fake information and stereotypes combine to produce an especially damaging type of misinformation? Fake information, including fake social media accounts, fake chat messages, and fake reviews, can infiltrate our electronic lives. See how stereotypes can magnify the damage done by fake information, and consider the difficult questions presented by the human tendency toward bias. x
    • 6
      Journalistic Verification Skills
      Your ability to differentiate between fact and opinion and to judge the quality of media content is vital to a functional democracy. You do not have to go it alone. Learn how the professionals test and verify information, as well as what websites, plug-ins, and tactics can help you determine journalistic integrity and accuracy of information. x
    • 7
      Assessing Science and Health News
      How can we make good decisions about important health and science issues if we cannot trust the news we get about them? Scientific knowledge, by its very nature, is always changing, but using some simple methods described in this segment, you can ascertain the validity of health and science information. x
    • 8
      Technology, Misinformation, and the Future
      The rise of new technology has led to a simultaneous, exponential increase in misinformation—locally, nationally, and even internationally. Learn how artificial intelligence and augmented reality programs are being used to spread misinformation, and how media literacy, Label to Disable, and Care before You Share can be used to combat its spread. x
  • Everyday Guide to Beer
    Course  |  Everyday Guide to Beer

    Distinguished Professor Emeritus Charles W. Bamforth, Pope of Foam

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Professor Emeritus Charlie Bamforth of the University of California, Davis, often referred to as the “Pope of Foam” within the beer industry, has spent more than 40 years crafting, writing, and teaching others about beer and how to make it. In the 12 lessons of the The Everyday Guide to Beer, Dr. Bamforth takes you on a journey through the history of this surprisingly complex beverage.
    View Lecture List (12)
    Professor Emeritus Charlie Bamforth of the University of California, Davis, often referred to as the “Pope of Foam” within the beer industry, has spent more than 40 years crafting, writing, and teaching others about beer and how to make it. In the 12 lessons of the The Everyday Guide to Beer, Dr. Bamforth takes you on a journey through the history of this surprisingly complex beverage.
    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Everyday Guide to Beer
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      8,000 Years of Beer
      Begin your journey with a primer on the history of beer and its place among peoples like the Sumerians, Egyptians, and the Medieval Benedictines. You'll learn about figures like Dukes William IV and Ludwig X of Bavaria and the Reinheitsgebot, and even hear the fascinating story behind the origin of British pub signs. x
    • 2
      Malt, Hops, Yeast, Water: How Beer Is Made
      Now that you've traveled through beer's history, you're ready to discover how it's made. You'll go in-depth with ingredients like malt and hops, and which geographic regions of the world each variety comes from. Then, Sierra Nevada's Head Brewer Scott Jennings will take you through the process of how this elite brewery produces its award-winning beer. x
    • 3
      A Grand Tour of Beer Styles
      Different fermentation techniques can result in radically different beer styles and flavors. Explore this concept within the context of products like ice beers, light beers, and dry" beers, as well as with unique categories like gueuze and lambics." x
    • 4
      All about Ales
      Ale is one of beer's most significant and diverse classifications. Here, you'll investigate popular versions like pale ales, India pale ales (IPAs), and Scotch ales. But did you know that porters and stouts are also ales? Go in depth with this important beer category and then discover the unique characteristics of each sub-type. x
    • 5
      All about Lagers
      Germany's impact on beer history cannot be overstated, and nowhere is this more prevalent than when drinking a glass of lager. A deceptively difficult beer to brew, this category includes styles like doppelbocks, marzens, and the increasingly popular Oktoberfest. But an Oktoberfestbier in Germany means something very different than it does in other parts of the world. x
    • 6
      Beers of the World: Who Drinks What
      The world's leading beer brand has significantly more market share than Budweiser and Coors Light combined, and you've likely never heard of it. In this lesson on the business of beer, find out how this is possible and what top producers like Anheuser-Busch InBev, and micro and regional breweries all mean for the industry as a whole. x
    • 7
      Enjoying Beer I: The Perfect Pour
      How a beer looks can influence our perception before we even take our first sip. Learn why everything from a beer's packaging and label to the bottles a brewery uses can affect our experience. You'll also discover how to pour a beer properly to get the appropriate amount of foam, and what nucleation sites in a glass do for both presentation and flavor. x
    • 8
      Enjoying Beer II: Maximizing Flavor
      Did you know that the aroma from hops is made up of at least 420 different compounds? Learn the typical flavor each type of malt infuses into a beer and how different chemicals combine to form the sweet, salt, sour, or bitter notes each style is known for. Conclude with the proper serving temperature for most of the major beer types you've learned about in previous lessons. x
    • 9
      Enjoying Beer III: Buying and Storing
      The way beer is stored, packaged, and distributed can have a huge impact on how it tastes. Ryan Mintzer, packaging and warehouse manager at Sierra Nevada, will take you through some of the brewery's best practices to ensure that each beer has optimal flavor and freshness before being poured into your glass. x
    • 10
      Pairing Beer with Food
      Pairing beer with food effectively can take some practice, but a few important tips will help you plan that next meal with confidence. Whether it's matching beer with existing recipes or actually adding it into a dish, beer's versatility should not be underestimated. Experience a five-course dinner menu with beer pairings, specially prepared by Jessie Massie, head chef at Sierra Nevada's Mills River Taproom. x
    • 11
      The Science of Quality Beer
      Quality in beer can be very subjective and a difficult thing to quantify. General Manager Brian Grossman, of Sierra Nevada's Mills River facility, and Quality Manager Liz Huber discuss this idea and how measurements of alcohol by volume (ABV), clarity, pH, and other checks are used to achieve desired results. x
    • 12
      Beer and Human Health
      Nutritious or just empty calories? In this final lesson, Dr. Bamforth will take you through the health benefits and risks associated with beer consumption, such as recommended consumption limits and why moderation has been preached since this beverage's early days. However, beer also contains antioxidants and an array of vitamins like niacin, folic acid, and riboflavin. x
  • The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters

    Professor David Brody, Professor of Painting and Drawing

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Many of us have the mistaken idea that only “born artists” can paint. But the truth is much more exciting—with the right training, anyone can learn the skill of painting! In The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters, artist David Brody teaches those skills in 34 easy-to-follow lessons. He begins by teaching the basics and then moves on to developing technique by having you copy from some of the world’s most iconic paintings.
    View Lecture List (34)
    Many of us have the mistaken idea that only “born artists” can paint. But the truth is much more exciting—with the right training, anyone can learn the skill of painting! In The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters, artist David Brody teaches those skills in 34 easy-to-follow lessons. He begins by teaching the basics and then moves on to developing technique by having you copy from some of the world’s most iconic paintings.
    View Lecture List (34)
    34 Lectures  |  The Complete Painter: Lessons from the Masters
    Lecture Titles (34)
    • 1
      The Grand Tradition of Painting
      Humans have been painting for more than 40,000 years and creating pigments for more than 300,000 years. You'll join that great tradition by making your own pigments and paints in this lesson. Learn why the masters began their careers by copying others and why this is the best time in history to learn to paint. x
    • 2
      Health and Safety in the Studio
      Oil-based paints are considered the most versatile medium for painters today. But with pigments, oils, and solvents comes the potential danger of toxicity and combustion. Learn how to take proper safety precautions-reading the Safety Data Sheet and product label for each item you buy, ventilating the room where you paint, and properly disposing of hazardous waste. x
    • 3
      Basic Painting Materials
      What are the must-haves" for your workspace? Learn about necessary supplies, including paper, pencils, additives, brushes, and the six specific tubes of paint you'll need for your first palette. You'll also learn why so many painters rely on the mahl stick-and how to build your own." x
    • 4
      Studio Setup and Brush Care
      Make sure your workspace meets your specific needs and preferences. Explore your lighting options for both natural and artificial light and learn how they impact your painting, palette, and subject. You'll also learn how to set your paints on the palette to allow for greatest efficiency and flexibility, and how to clean everything at the end of your session with brush cleaners you'll build yourself. x
    • 5
      First Exercises: Line and Mark
      Studying John Singer Sargent's Portrait of Madame X, you'll learn how the placement of the brush in your hand affects the types of strokes you can make. As you test various options with your own brush placement, pressure, speed, and dilutions, you'll experiment with a variety of lines and marks-and examine those of Van Gogh, Cezanne, and many others. x
    • 6
      First Exercises: Value, Edges, and Texture
      In this lesson, you'll experiment with many ways to change value by changing opacity, hatching, stippling, and more. You'll also learn a variety of ways to create an edge, making it hard or soft. You'll experiment with many different ways to both apply and remove paint, and learn about the relationships between thick and thin layers-and what will stand the test of time. x
    • 7
      Creating Basic Forms: Lines, Shapes, and Solids
      As you study line, texture, contour, space, and proportion, you'll learn how painters can start with a flat shape and create a three-dimensional solid. By examining Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and other paintings, you'll learn how artists build upon simple geometric figures to create highly organized groupings of interlocking shapes. x
    • 8
      Value: Making a Value Scale
      With the goal of painting grisailles and brunailles-paintings executed entirely in shades of gray or brown, respectively-you'll learn a step-by-step method for developing two appropriate value scales. In the process, you'll explore paint mixing, assessing the value of those mixtures, identifying and correcting mistakes, and understanding the effects of simultaneous contrast. x
    • 9
      Value: A Simple Still Life
      Before creating a brunaille based on Norman Lundin's Simple Still Life-Three Cups, you'll learn how to transfer the cartoon files-the underdrawings in your course guidebook-to your surface, as well as options for using the grid system to scale up or down. You'll visually take the painting apart to carefully identify the work's shapes, and then use your value chart to guide you through the painting process. x
    • 10
      Value: Mood, Palette, and Light
      Learn how value affects the mood of a painting-with a greater range of values bringing higher energy and a smaller range bringing a softer, calmer mood. Explore how value also can be used to create pattern, a focal hierarchy, and the illusion of space and three-dimensional volume. You'll also examine the way light can be used to give a flat effect or to produce greater drama with a chiaroscuro. x
    • 11
      Value: Block and Sphere in Grisaille
      By painting a chiaroscuro block and sphere in grisaille, you'll apply value mixing skills-with 17 different values in this exercise-and explore the way light affects rectilinear and curvilinear forms. You'll practice blending edges, experimenting with a variety of brushes and the use of horizontal and vertical strokes. x
    • 12
      The Figure and a Portrait in Brunaille
      In this lesson, you'll experiment with using value intuitively, leaving behind the numerical references you used previously. You'll learn how the illusion of a complex three-dimensional form is created as you work with value and shadows. And you'll learn to see the planar structure beneath an object, considering both value and edges as you bring life to the structure. x
    • 13
      Working with the Earth Tone Palette
      In this lesson, you'll explore the full palette of earth tones, black, and white-a palette that has been used for millennia in every geographic area. As you experiment with a color-mixing exercise, methodically developing a chart to reveal the full range of this palette, you'll observe the way the colors seem to change depending on their context. x
    • 14
      Ensuring Accurate Proportions
      Explore the benefits of the gridded velo, calipers, beam compasses, and even tracing paper. These tools have been used from da Vinci to the modern age for developing precise proportions when painting. Specifically, learn how to work with proportional dividers to help the accuracy of your work, whether you're copying from another painting or painting a still life. x
    • 15
      Composition: Shape, Ground, and Format
      Nothing is more important to the success of a painting than composition-the organization of elements that brings cohesion to the work. Learn how to look deeply at paintings to discover compositional patterns and to improve your own work by examining format, simple and compound aggregate shapes, the box strategy, the crucial role played by background," and more." x
    • 16
      Composition: Leonardo and the Armature
      Learn how to develop and work with an armature, the structure that determines the organization of elements in your painting and guides the viewer's eyes through your work. Whether it's the placement of a large figure or the angle of a hairline, generations of artists from diverse cultures have depended on the armature to bring visual power into their works. x
    • 17
      Composition: Balance, Focus, and Space
      Learn how to construct your painting to control the viewer's path through its visual information. What do you want the observer to attend to first, second, next? You'll explore the elements of compositional weight and balance, space, hierarchy, focal considerations, color, and more to understand the ways in which each of these factors affects your viewer's experience. x
    • 18
      Degas, Hammershoi, and Other Projects
      In this lesson, you'll practice the elements you've learned-from value to composition-with several painting assignments. In addition to a still life, you'll work with cartoons of paintings by Degas and Hammershoi, and numerous specific suggestions for painting groupings of geometric solids, fabric, and maybe even a room in your own home. x
    • 19
      Materials: Oil Paint Brands and Quality
      Two tubes of paint with similar names-or even the exact same name-can appear and behave very differently depending on their chemical composition and the processes used in manufacturing. In this lesson, you'll learn how to glean information from paint labels and how to utilize the Color IndexTM, often abbreviated CIGN, the international classification system for dyes and pigments. x
    • 20
      Materials: Oil Paint Characteristics
      Learn how opacity, tinting strength, permanence, and consistency affect your paint's performance, and how to identify these characteristics from the paint's label. You'll also learn how to make sure your paint is safe, how to proceed if the label does note a health hazard, and how to care for your paints once in your workspace. x
    • 21
      Color: Theory and Exercises
      Learn the difference between additive and subtractive mixing, how those processes impact the colors you'll see when you mix your paints, and why formal color theory doesn't always reflect how paints work in the real world. You'll begin to create your own color chart in order to experiment with the value, hue, and saturation of your particular paints. x
    • 22
      Color: Painting with Limited Palettes
      Examine the limited palettes used by some of the great masters throughout history-monochrome, dominant hue, analogous, split complementary, and more-and explore how they strategized color usage to create a particular mood in a painting. You'll build your own palette as you explore an exercise on color mixing, trying to match your paints to a specific color on a print. x
    • 23
      Materials: All about Medium
      All painters would love to find a medium that would cause the exact result they want with no negative effects. Instead, it's all about compromise. Learn about the pros and cons of linseed oil, oil of rosemary, odorless mineral spirits, hydrocarbon resins, balsams, yellow beeswax, and more. You'll experiment with making damar varnish and find recipes for numerous others. x
    • 24
      Materials: All about Brushes
      Although almost all artists today paint with brushes, painters have experimented with an enormous variety of tools-from fingers to squeegees. In this lesson, you'll explore the two main categories of brushes, their variability in price, and how to best care for them. You'll also learn why hog hair is the best natural bristle and why sable" brushes are almost never made from sable." x
    • 25
      Materials: Flexible Supports
      With step-by-step instructions, you'll build your own flexible support, starting with purchasing the supports and linen, and then stretching the linen over the frame. To create the needed barrier between the textile and the paint, you'll make a rabbit-hide glue solution and then prime with a lead white ground. You'll also learn a great variety of options for future experiments. x
    • 26
      Materials: Rigid Supports
      Many artists choose to paint on rigid supports-wood, metal, or even glass-which preserve paintings for much longer periods than flexible supports. Learn why plywood and composite panels are today's popular choice for those who paint on wood, how to prepare wooden surfaces before painting, and step-by-step directions for making your own gesso. x
    • 27
      Materials: Carpentry for the Studio
      Many artists want their own supports, studio tables, stretchers, and strainers made to custom specs to best meet their specific needs. In this lesson, you'll learn how to build chassis for canvases and panels, a painting table, and a brush table. Step-by-step instructions for the tables can also be found in the course guidebook. x
    • 28
      Project: A Modigliani Portrait
      In this lesson, you'll experiment with painting Amedeo Modigliani's Portrait of a Young Girl. In this work and others, Modigliani worked with the ratio of the canvas itself, as opposed to the natural proportions of the figure. You'll learn to see and paint those unusual proportions in his orange-blue complementary system. x
    • 29
      Project: A Degas Ballerina
      By painting a study of The Ballerina, by Edgar Degas, you'll work extensively with washes in a red-green complementary-analogous palette. You'll experiment with a great range of mark making, both positively with your brush and negatively with scratched hatchings, and work with several tools to remove paint as you emulate Degas' texture. x
    • 30
      Project: A Corot Landscape
      Painting a study based on Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's Bridge on the Saon at Macon-with its palpable illusion of light and air-gives you the opportunity to work with a greater depth of space than in any previous painting in this course and with brush strokes you haven't used before. You'll be challenged also by using his double complementary palette. x
    • 31
      Project: Derain's Portrait of Matisse
      In this lesson, you'll paint a study based on Andre Derain's iconic 1905 portrait of his friend Henri Matisse, using highly saturated color that modulates from light to dark and warm to cool as you move around the head. In copying Derain's style, you'll use hue, value, and brush marks to make sure the head is the focus of the piece. x
    • 32
      Project: A Porter Self-Portrait
      In this lecture, you'll paint a study based on a Fairfield Porter self-portrait. Porter focused on observational figure painting with works that relied on strong abstract shape relationships. In this painting, you'll work with opacity and density as you create all the large and small, positive and negative shapes that come together as a type of grid of interlocking puzzle pieces. x
    • 33
      Painting's Evolution: Indirect Painting
      Explore the significant differences between indirect and direct painting. You'll learn which tools and techniques to use depending on which type of work you want to produce-the historical indirect method of using thin translucent paint on top a smooth white panel, or the more modern method of using opaque paint on the rougher, less reflective surface of canvas. x
    • 34
      Nighthawks, The Scream, and Other Projects
      In this lesson, you'll study Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and Munch's The Scream. While viewers often think the Munch was painted in a moment of emotional outburst, both paintings were highly premeditated and meticulously created with numerous advanced studies. By examining the many steps these painters went through in preparation, you will improve your own artistic process as well. x
  • A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome

    Professor Gregory S. Aldrete, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    From Ben-Hur to Spartacus to Gladiator, get a front-row look at the great movies that have shaped ancient Rome’s role in popular culture and memory. The 12 lectures of Professor Gregory S. Aldrete’s A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome cover over 50 years of cinematic history and talent, and immerse you in the glory and grandeur—and even the folly—of classic and contemporary films set in Roman antiquity.

    View Lecture List (12)

    From Ben-Hur to Spartacus to Gladiator, get a front-row look at the great movies that have shaped ancient Rome’s role in popular culture and memory. The 12 lectures of Professor Gregory S. Aldrete’s A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome cover over 50 years of cinematic history and talent, and immerse you in the glory and grandeur—and even the folly—of classic and contemporary films set in Roman antiquity.

    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  A Historian Goes to the Movies: Ancient Rome
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Quo Vadis Kick-Starts the Sword-and-Sandal Genre
      Few films did as much to shape the modern movie-going public’s notions of ancient Rome as Quo Vadis. Discover how this film, released in 1951 by MGM Studios, ushered in the golden age of the so-called “sword-and-sandal” picture, with its irresistible formula of evil, arrogant Romans versus virtuous, devout Christians. x
    • 2
      Ben-Hur: The Greatest Chariot Race
      Ben-Hur, from 1959, was an enormous financial risk that nevertheless became a cash machine for MGM Studios. In this lecture, unpack the intricate tensions between the Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur and the Roman aristocrat Messala, then analyze the historical accuracies (and inaccuracies) of the film's iconic naval battle and chariot race sequences. x
    • 3
      Spartacus: Kubrick's Controversial Epic
      Discover what makes Spartacus—despite being one of the best-known cinema epics of ancient Rome—something of an oddity. It’s a gladiator film with only one scene of combat. Its production was rife with conflict. Its narrative misrepresents the real-life Spartacus’s goals. And it played an important role in Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist movement. x
    • 4
      Cleopatra: Spectacle Gone Wild
      How did the 1963 film, Cleopatra, bring about the destruction of the golden age of epic films set in ancient Rome—and destroy the old Hollywood studio system? How does this film treat the historical accounts of figures like Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian? Why do its grand costumes and sets still deserve admiration? x
    • 5
      The Fall of the Roman Empire and Ancient Epics
      With its $19 million price tag and its $4.75 million in returns, The Fall of the Roman Empire was an unmitigated financial disaster. From its connections to 1960s global politics to its elaborate reconstruction of the Roman Forum to its bleak ending, explore why some critics and scholars regard this as a sophisticated take on ancient Rome. x
    • 6
      I, Claudius: The BBC Makes an Anti-Epic
      Consider the 1976 BBC production of I, Claudius, which has been credited as one of the most influential and memorable portraits of the ancient world ever to appear on the screen—big or small. Set between 24 B.C. and A.D. 54, the miniseries created an intimate look at the reigns of emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius. x
    • 7
      Life of Brian: The Roman World's a Funny Place
      What would a parody of sword-and-sandal films, with all their genre conventions and clichés, look like? Discover how Monty Python’s Life of Brian, a witty parody of both biblical and Roman epic films, took on gladiatorial games, ancient Roman society and religion, and the human tendency toward factionalism and tribalism. x
    • 8
      Gladiator: The Historical Epic Revived
      Why did big-budget epics of the ancient world fall out of fashion? How did the 2000 film, Gladiator, single-handedly resuscitate a genre that had been dormant for nearly 40 years? What has recent scholarship revealed about the film’s portrayals of gladiator battles and the lives of ancient Roman emperors—their truths, falsehoods, and embellishments? x
    • 9
      Rome: HBO's Gritty Take on Ancient History
      To get a sense of what living in ancient Rome was really like for the average person, the best place to look is the HBO miniseries, Rome. Learn how, despite its flaws, this short-lived series offers accurate (if gritty) views of different religious beliefs, the role of slavery in ancient Roman society, and more. x
    • 10
      Centurion and The Eagle: The Legions in Britain
      Explore two films that take on the legendary story of an ancient Roman legion lost in the mists of Britain. Both Centurion and The Eagle, while not as well-known as some of the other films featured in this course, nevertheless, offer solid insights into Roman military tactics and raise central issues about Roman imperialism. x
    • 11
      Scipione l'africano and Fellini Satyricon
      While both were Italian productions, Scipione l’africano and Fellini Satyricon couldn’t be more dissimilar in style. Examine how these two films—one a pompous work of propaganda from 1937, the other a subversive piece of overindulgence from 1969—are best seen as products of the eras in which they were made. x
    • 12
      Bread and Circuses in Sci-Fi Films
      The Hunger Games, The Matrix, The Running Man, Rollerball, Ready Player One—each of these wildly different sci-fi films derive their premise from a line of poetry by the ancient Roman satirist Juvenal. How has a simple motif about “bread and circuses” powered some of the most memorable sci-fi plots in cinema? x
  • Experiencing Hubble: Exploring the Milky Way

    Professor David M. Meyer, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Taught by Dr. David Meyer of Northwestern University, this course takes you on a tour of the Milky Way galaxy through spectacular images during the Hubble Space Telescope's third decade of operation. You view stars, star cluster, nebulae, and more, while learning such concepts as star birth, planet formation, black holes, and galactic evolution. The result is a tour that is as awe-inspiring as it is instructive, while also showing what it means to live in a galaxy.
    View Lecture List (12)
    Taught by Dr. David Meyer of Northwestern University, this course takes you on a tour of the Milky Way galaxy through spectacular images during the Hubble Space Telescope's third decade of operation. You view stars, star cluster, nebulae, and more, while learning such concepts as star birth, planet formation, black holes, and galactic evolution. The result is a tour that is as awe-inspiring as it is instructive, while also showing what it means to live in a galaxy.
    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Experiencing Hubble: Exploring the Milky Way
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      The Unseen Face of Our Spiral Galaxy
      Your Hubble Space Telescope tour of the Milky Way galaxy begins with an overview of the spectacular images you will encounter in the course. Dr. Meyer notes that our location in the disk of the Milky Way makes it difficult to discern the galaxy's large-scale structure. But by studying clues both near and far, astronomers have identified another spiral galaxy that is a close match to ours. x
    • 2
      Viewing the Galaxy through a Comet
      Focus on Comet ISON as it passes inside the orbit of Jupiter, just a few light-minutes from Earth. In the same frame, Hubble reveals additional distant objects in our galaxy, but also galaxies billions of light years distant—a striking case of extreme depth of field. Discover that comets are icy leftovers from the formation of the solar system, and they populate the Oort Cloud, which extends partway to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri. x
    • 3
      A Cloud of Stardust: The Horsehead Nebula
      Your stop in this lecture is the famous Horsehead Nebula—a two-light-year appendage of a vast molecular cloud composed of gas and dust. Dr. Meyer discusses the physical processes that turn these clouds into stellar nurseries. The horsehead shape is the accidental outcome of ultraviolet radiation pouring from a nearby young star, which acts like a blowtorch on the dark nebular material. x
    • 4
      A Star Awakens: The Jets of Herbig-Haro 24
      Described in a Hubble press release as a “cosmic, double-bladed lightsaber,” Herbig-Haro 24 is a pair of energetic jets emerging from the polar regions of a newborn star. Such jets are a common feature in star-forming regions. Their high speed and tendency to form in pulses allow long-lived observatories like Hubble to show them in action via time-lapse movies made over several years. x
    • 5
      A Star Cluster Blossoms: Westerlund 2
      Visit some of the hottest, most luminous stars in the galaxy, the young cluster known as Westerlund 2. Compare this group with other star clusters, using the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram to grasp what color and luminosity say about stellar evolution. Drawing on this information, predict the future of Westerlund 2, and reflect on the cluster where the Sun probably formed 4.6 billion years ago. x
    • 6
      An Interstellar Cavity: The Bubble Nebula
      Focus on the delicate Bubble Nebula, a sphere of gas 8 light-years across, which is being inflated by the strong wind from a hot, young star 45 times more massive than the Sun. Many such structures have been recorded by Hubble, vividly showing the process of mass loss by stars—sometimes gradually, sometimes explosively—which enriches space with elements heavier than helium. x
    • 7
      The Interstellar Echo of a Variable Star
      In one of the most beautiful sequences ever photographed by Hubble, a ring of light radiates through a nebula—like ripples from a stone tossed in a pond. This view is the light echo of a Cepheid variable star, seen in time-lapse as it reverberates at light speed through the surrounding dust cloud. Learn how the properties of Cepheids are the key to measuring distances in our galactic neighborhood. x
    • 8
      Tracing the Veil of a Prehistoric Supernova
      Thousands of years ago, light from a stellar explosion in the constellation Cygnus reached Earth. Ever since, remnants of that supernova event have been speeding apart, until they now form a ghostly feature called the Veil Nebula. View Hubble and other telescopic images to learn how supernovae shape the elemental composition of the galaxy, making possible rocky planets such as Earth. x
    • 9
      The Stellar Vortex at the Galactic Center
      Begin a new section of the course that investigates the large-scale structure of the Milky Way. In this lecture, journey to the galactic center, which Hubble shows to be populated by millions of densely packed stars, orbiting a black hole with the mass of 4 million suns. Study other examples of supermassive black holes in galactic cores and theories on how they form. x
    • 10
      The Galactic Halo's Largest Star Cluster
      Over a hundred globular star clusters are scattered like sparkling snow globes in a halo around the Milky Way. Each is composed of hundreds of thousands to millions of stars. Explore Hubble's views of the inner regions of these clusters, learning their connection to the early epoch of star formation in the universe. Some of the clusters are remnants of dwarf galaxies, captured by the Milky Way. x
    • 11
      Satellite Galaxies: The Magellanic Clouds
      Zero in on the largest of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies: the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, known as LMC and SMC. View Hubble's images of the Tarantula Nebula with its brilliant cluster R136 in the LMC, and NGC 602 in the SMC (often voted as one of the top 10 Hubble photos of all time). Trace the likely history of the Magellanic Clouds and their link to the origin of the Milky Way. x
    • 12
      The Future of the Milky Way
      Finish your tour of the Milky Way by traveling to the nearest large galaxy, Andromeda, seeing it in a dazzling composite of 7,400 Hubble exposures in 411 star fields. Chart the fate of the Milky Way as Andromeda speeds toward it for a collision billions of years from now. Hubble's views of other galactic collisions show what to expect from this surprisingly graceful merger of two giant galaxies. x
  • America's Musical Heritage

    Professor Anthony Seeger, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    In Professor Anthony Seeger’s America’s Musical Heritage, learn how to listen to the music of America with new ears. Produced in collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings—proprietor of the vast treasury of American vernacular music—these 12 lectures explore more than 200 years of music from trailblazers like Scott Joplin, the Memphis Jug Band, Woody Guthrie, and many others.
    View Lecture List (12)
    In Professor Anthony Seeger’s America’s Musical Heritage, learn how to listen to the music of America with new ears. Produced in collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings—proprietor of the vast treasury of American vernacular music—these 12 lectures explore more than 200 years of music from trailblazers like Scott Joplin, the Memphis Jug Band, Woody Guthrie, and many others.
    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  America's Musical Heritage
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Inheriting America's Musical Traditions
      Use classic children's music-everything from jump rope rhymes to lullabies-as a fascinating window into America's musical traditions and how they open up a plethora of musical doors and memories. Also, get an introduction to some of the many incredible treasures contained in the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series. x
    • 2
      American Revolutionary and Wartime Music
      American music has shaped the meaning of war, making it a more shared experience. Take a closer listen to music from the Revolutionary War (The President's March") and the Civil War ("I'm Going Home to Dixie"), as well as anti-war songs including "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier."" x
    • 3
      European Empires and American Music
      The United States is built on a foundation of pre-existing musical heritages from people who were already in North America before the nation was born. Survey the musical traditions of the British, French, and Spanish empires, as well as influence from Indigenous groups-some of which still endure to this day. x
    • 4
      Minstrel Shows and Variety Shows
      In this lecture, Professor Seeger wrestles with the development of American minstrel shows in the 1830s, with their roots in slavery and racial stereotypes. Then, he reveals how these problematic shows laid the groundwork for other musical traditions, including circuses, medicine shows, and the popular entertainment known as vaudeville. x
    • 5
      Music of American Movement and Dance
      From square dances (the official state dance in over 20 states) to the waltz (one of America's earliest dance crazes), investigate the relationship between movement and music in the United States. Discover how the human body can synchronize itself to an external rhythm-a response known as rhythmic entrainment. x
    • 6
      Hymns, Spirituals, and Chants in America
      Examine the main strands of religious music in the United States. Among the many you'll look at are spirituals (both European and African variations); religious chants from Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim traditions; and ring shouts and shape-note singing. Also, spend time with popular compositions like Northfield" and "Amazing Grace."" x
    • 7
      Brass Bands, Powwows, and Folk Festivals
      How does music bring like-minded people together? In this lecture, turn to three traditions of voluntary, public music in America: brass bands, powwows, and folk music festivals. Learn how each tradition-despite their unique sounds and histories-offers fellowship, reinforces bonds, and helps foster a sense of communal history. x
    • 8
      American Music of Politics and Protest
      In the United States, the ties between music and political and protest movements are deep and long-standing. Here, explore political parodies known as zipper songs" and iconic songs about disenfranchised women, workers, and African-Americans, including "Bread and Roses," "Solidarity Forever," and "We Shall Overcome."" x
    • 9
      The Banjo: An African Gift to American Music
      Follow the story of the banjo, a musical instrument whose development is intertwined with larger American themes of slavery, conflict, struggle, ingenuity, and musical inventiveness. Plus, learn how musical instruments change shape and sound, and deepen your understanding of the ways we interpret cultural and musical ownership today. x
    • 10
      The Roots of Country Music in America
      Visit the Appalachian region of the Southeast and unearth the roots of country music" (a term that wasn't used until the 1950s) in mountain "hillbilly" music. Along the way, consider some of the many tropes of this genre of music, exemplified by a song from 1947 called "Goodbye, Old Paint."" x
    • 11
      American Piano, Ragtime, and Early Jazz
      From concert pianos to player pianos, explore the inner workings of one of music's most iconic instruments and its many variations. Then, witness the power of the piano in ragtime music (including Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag") and its role in the emergence of jazz, one of America's most thrilling musical forms." x
    • 12
      The Musical Gumbo of New Orleans
      What makes the city of New Orleans more musically extraordinary than other American cities? The answer: a rare combination of distinct musical and cultural influences coming together in one place. Professor Seeger closes out this course with an appreciation of the importance of place in American music. x