11 New Releases On Sale Now!
11 New Releases On Sale Now!
  • How to Sing
    Course  |  How to Sing

    Professor Dawn Pierce, AD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    These expertly designed lessons break down the elements of voice technique into graspable steps, guiding you to build solid skills as a singer and to express yourself through any kind of music or style. In this course, you’ll learn how to find freedom of movement and flexibility in the vocal mechanism; produce clear tone; develop resonance; and interpret a text and communicate your connections to it in your singing.
    View Lecture List (24)
    These expertly designed lessons break down the elements of voice technique into graspable steps, guiding you to build solid skills as a singer and to express yourself through any kind of music or style. In this course, you’ll learn how to find freedom of movement and flexibility in the vocal mechanism; produce clear tone; develop resonance; and interpret a text and communicate your connections to it in your singing.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  How to Sing
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Anyone Can Sing
      Begin the course with a first look at the physiology of singing, as it represents a refined coordination of posture, breath, and tone. Learn about the approach you'll study in this course, based in a thorough view of the science of singing, as well as the art of vocal expression. Then practice basic vocalizations for freeing the voice and testing your range, and finish with a familiar song. x
    • 2
      Vocal Warm-Ups
      Learn effective vocal warmups, to build proper coordination and balance for your most beautiful singing. Consider the physiological benefits of warmups, and how to care for your vocal instrument. To begin, practice full-body warmup exercises. Follow this with vocal exercises for energizing your breath, engaging with tone, sharpening vocal agility and vowel production, and increasing resonance and range. x
    • 3
      Aligning the Spine
      A flexible alignment is the foundation for solid vocal technique. Study the structure of the spine and practice exercises to find a free and dynamic posture for your best sound production. Examine lower body and pelvic alignment and note how these affect your singing. Also learn how slightly elevating the sternum and strengthening the back and shoulder muscles help free the breath. x
    • 4
      Head and Neck Posture
      Explore head and neck alignment that support a freely functioning vocal mechanism. Visualize the cervical spine and its seven vertebrae, and grasp why head position is crucial for ease in vocal vibration. Practice a range of movements and exercises to experience how vocal tone is affected by head posture, to learn how to maintain a free neck alignment, and to find your optimal, dynamic posture for singing. x
    • 5
      How to Practice Anything
      Regular and effective practice is crucial for developing your singing skills. Study three primary facets of efficient practice: Evaluate your progress; strategize a plan of action, and integrate your new skills. Grasp what a typical practice session will look like, from your warmup and assigned exercises to applying your new abilities to the music. Also, remember to sing for fun! x
    • 6
      The Anatomy and Physiology of Breath
      Now focus on the respiratory system, a foundational element for singing. Get to know the organs and structures that come into play when you sing: the airway, the lungs, the muscles of respiration, and the motions of inhalation and exhalation. Work with exercises to increase flexibility, lung capacity, and the function of your breathing, with both immediate and long-term benefits for singing. x
    • 7
      Inhalation for Singing
      Take a closer look at the important role of inhalation in vocal technique. Explore three kinds of breath: clavicular (the upper chest), thoracic (the ribcage), and diaphragmatic (the lower abdomen). Then practice a gentle, three-part yoga breath that uses all of them. Next, apply this holistic way of breathing to a song, maintaining a dynamic posture and guiding your inhalation to release low into your body. x
    • 8
      Exhalation for Singing
      In vocal technique, consider how the quality of the exhalation determines the quality of the inhalation. Study the appoggio technique, which focuses on encouraging sternum elevation and rib position during the exhalation. Practice exercises to maintain an open upper body and suspend the inclination to collapse on the exhale, releasing the inhalation and engaging appoggio on the exhale. x
    • 9
      Coordinating the Phases of Breath
      This lesson breaks down breathing into four phases associated with singing: inhalation, suspension, exhalation, and recovery. Work with exercises to coordinate these phases to create habitual patterns for breath. Using the song chosen for this lesson, experiment with how to make decisions about where you will breathe and divide the phrases. Then learn specific tools to troubleshoot aspects of breathing and posture that may be challenging. x
    • 10
      Sound Production
      Take an overview of the anatomy and structure of the larynx: the cartilage, ligaments, and muscles that house and support the vocal cords. Then look at how phonation or sound production works, and how pitch is made. Explore phonation through a series of exercises, working to create a healthy vocal tone and a balanced, free laryngeal position, without extraneous tensions. x
    • 11
      Onset: Engaging Balanced Tone
      In singing, the ideal initiation of sound creates a clear, clean tone. Look at the spectrum of ways to start tone, beginning with aspiration, or breathiness." Contrast this with a glottal "plosive" onset and see how both can fatigue the voice. Work with exercises to find an easy, more neutral, and efficiently balanced onset of sound, with minimal effort. Apply this work, using the song "Amazing Grace."" x
    • 12
      Resonance: Exploring Vocal Colors
      Grasp how the vocal tract acts as a resonator and study the physiology of the three main areas of vocal resonance. Learn to shape and control your resonance through exercises that explore vibration in the internal spaces of the vocal tract, creating different sounds and colors. Work to achieve a well-balanced resonance throughout your range, maintaining awareness of the internal spaces. x
    • 13
      Utilizing the Soft Palate
      Examine the role of the soft palate in singing. Locate the position of the palate and learn about its physiological functions. Work with mental imagery that will naturally activate and lift the soft palate, and discover how the soft palate affects vocal sound. Using helpful materials and props, work to engage with a more flexible, agile palate, which will respond naturally when you sing. x
    • 14
      Releasing Jaw Tension
      Consider why jaw tension is undesirable for healthy and natural voice production. Study the parts of the of the jaw, the muscles that control jaw movement, and the motion of the jaw hinge. Work to cultivate a free and neutral jaw position, exploring the release of internal muscles. Using a song, find how the jaw can move independently of vowels, pitch, and the movement of the tongue. x
    • 15
      Your Voice Type
      Begin to explore your voice category, and learn a general way to classify your voice, with the goal of making the most of your own vocal mechanism and choosing repertoire that allows you to shine. Study vocal registration," encompassing what are called chest voice, head voice, and falsetto. Find the point where your own voice shifts registers, as a guideline for understanding your voice type." x
    • 16
      Maximizing Your Vocal Range
      With regular practice and solid technique, you can learn to develop and maximize your natural range. Start by further exercising your range. Then explore self-massage of the muscles and joints around the larynx, and work with exercises to develop flexibility in these muscles to expand and unite your range. Using The Star-Spangled Banner," experiment with breath, phrasing, and the large range of the song." x
    • 17
      Training Your Tongue
      Freedom and release of the tongue are essential to healthy vocal technique. Learn about the anatomy of the tongue and its eight muscles and how excess tongue tension is common for singers. Do a series of exercises to work for freedom and to let go of any pushing, retracting, or pressure on the larynx. Over time, explore the effects of these tools and incorporate them into your practicing. x
    • 18
      Articulating Vowels
      Look into vowel production in singing and how independence of the articulators (the jaw, tongue, and lips) can help to maximize vocal freedom and flexibility. Practice forming vowels without jaw engagement. Learn about the International Phonetic Alphabet, which represents speech sounds. Then work with exercises to form tongue vowels, lip vowels, and diphthongs, bringing them into another fun, original song. x
    • 19
      Articulating Consonants
      Take a deep dive into the classification of consonants and how they function in singing. Work with eight categories of consonants and discover both where they are formed within the vocal tract and how they are formed by the articulators. Explore voiced and unvoiced consonants, as they relate to sustained tone, and apply your knowledge to the poetic text of a song. x
    • 20
      Diction for Singing
      Clear diction and phrasing are fundamental to vocal artistry. In this lesson, explore how we communicate meaning through pronunciation and syllabic stress. Begin to work with phrasing, how words are stressed relative to each other, and which words to emphasize as important. Consider how to place vowels and consonants in a sung phrase, and start to address intention and meaning in singing text. x
    • 21
      Engaging with Lyrics
      In approaching lyrics, study how to interpret the text. Begin by researching the piece, learning about the librettist, the time period, and the historical context. Also research the composer and how the piece was written. Using the text of an original song, and your character analysis worksheet, work to find your own expressive connection with the piece and create your interpretation of the song. x
    • 22
      Communicating through Song
      Bring your vocal skills to the areas of expression and performance. Grasp the importance of aligning your intention with the message your listeners are receiving. Explore how factors such as posture, facial expressions, physical gestures, vocal resonance, and articulation all communicate. Sing Auld Lang Syne," and practice communicating different attitudes and expressive intentions." x
    • 23
      Making Each Performance Personal
      Study core principles of vocal artistry in performance. Learn ways to connect imaginatively with your text and character, to believe in what you're communicating, and to share your unique perspective as a performer. Working with the song Danny Boy," see how sight, sound, and touch feed your imaginative work, and how specificity in your artistic choices gives your work depth and authenticity." x
    • 24
      Singing's Surprising Benefits
      Having arrived at the end of this course, reflect on your work and consider the physical and mental health benefits that singing brings, including the specific physiological effects of singing and how the lifestyle of singing encourages good choices for overall health and well-being. Conclude by singing a final original song, applying everything you've learned, then embrace the goal of scheduling a performance. x
  • Survival Mentality: The Psychology of Staying Alive

    Professor Nancy Zarse, PsyD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    When we hear about someone surviving a great challenge, we often hear that the person “rose to the occasion.” But in fact, psychologists find that in moments of terror, people revert to their lowest level of training and preparation. Knowing that, the trick is to bring up your “lowest level” by continually improving your training and preparation, practicing for survival now, and building the resilience that will sustain you in times of adversity. In Survival Mentality: The Psychology of Staying Alive, you’ll learn how to prepare now to give yourself the very best chance of surviving a life-threatening emergency.

    View Lecture List (12)

    When we hear about someone surviving a great challenge, we often hear that the person “rose to the occasion.” But in fact, psychologists find that in moments of terror, people revert to their lowest level of training and preparation. Knowing that, the trick is to bring up your “lowest level” by continually improving your training and preparation, practicing for survival now, and building the resilience that will sustain you in times of adversity. In Survival Mentality: The Psychology of Staying Alive, you’ll learn how to prepare now to give yourself the very best chance of surviving a life-threatening emergency.

    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Survival Mentality: The Psychology of Staying Alive
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      What It Means to Survive
      Surviving a crisis requires successfully navigating both the event itself and the elements you bring with you to the event. Learn why the specific words you use during the crisis-whether thought or spoken-can make a significant difference in your survival. x
    • 2
      Developing an Internal Locus of Control
      Discover why having an internal locus of control will help you in a crisis-as well as, at work, in relationships, and even with your health. You'll be better able to adapt your coping strategies to the crisis at hand, learn new strategies as necessary, and anticipate and prepare for problems. x
    • 3
      Listening to Your Instincts
      Your instincts exist for only one purpose: to help you survive. And yet, we disregard our instincts over and over. Understand how you can better recognize and use your instincts, while always distinguishing between instinct, impulse, and feelings. x
    • 4
      Listening to Your Intuitions
      Your intuitions occur without conscious thought or choice. But unlike instinct, your intuitions are the result of all your life experiences, forming a set of expectations about the world, within a region of the brain that acts without conscious thought. Learn how to strengthen your intuition so you can better trust it in a crisis. x
    • 5
      Managing Your Emotions under Threat
      The ability to manage your emotions is absolutely crucial in an emergency; the higher your emotional arousal, the worse your judgment. Professor Zarse presents several strategies that can help you to best manage your emotions in a crisis and allow you to focus on making appropriate decisions under extreme pressure-potentially life-or-death decisions. x
    • 6
      How Everyday Experience Prepares You for Crisis
      While you might not realize it, each of us has training and experience that we can bring to bear in a critical incident. Learn to identify your skills and abilities that will help you survive in an emergency. Consider the skills you can develop now to be better prepared for a future challenge. x
    • 7
      Making Decisions under Pressure
      How do you make rapid, accurate decisions in stressful situations when the stakes couldn't be higher? Explore the differences between natural, recognition-primed, and pre-playing decision-making, and discover why a psychologically safe environment leads to richer learning and to making the best possible decisions during a crisis. x
    • 8
      Developing Situational Awareness
      You are already constantly collecting information about your surroundings, both consciously and unconsciously. Master the OODA loop to improve your situational awareness-observe, orient, decide, and act. Originally developed for use in the military, this protocol can increase your chances of surviving a critical incident. x
    • 9
      Perseverance toward a Positive Outcome
      In critical incidents, perseverance often makes the difference between those who survive and those who don't. Explore the factors that contribute to perseverance, from grit to attention control to self-confidence. Learn how to improve your mental conditioning and why it might be your most important survival preparation. x
    • 10
      Protective Factors That Increase Your Odds
      A variety of surprising factors can work in your favor when you find yourself in a crisis-surprising only because we don't tend to think of them as survival tools. See how community involvement and a robust social network can help you navigate emergencies as they insulate you against stress and trauma. x
    • 11
      Resilience in the Aftermath of Trauma
      What happens after you live through an emergency in which your life was on the line? While physical injuries are obvious, unseen psychological injuries can be devastating. But what about people who not only survive a crisis, but thrive? Learn about the inspiring experience of post-traumatic growth, and what those survivors have in common. x
    • 12
      We Survive Together: The Power of Community
      Not all life-or-death situations are experienced at an individual level; some occur at a community or national level. Learn how leadership, preparedness, and relationships can make the difference in whether or not a community, or an entire country, survives an existential or real-life crisis and thrives in the aftermath. x
  • The Mongol Empire
    Course  |  The Mongol Empire

    Professor Craig G. Benjamin, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Taught by Professor Craig Benjamin of Grand Valley State University, this course follows the Mongol mounted warriors who emerged out of Central Asia in the 13th century to conquer much of the known world. Although the Mongols fought with unparalleled brutality, they aspired to many of the civilized values of their victims and helped trigger long-lasting cultural interchange between East and West.
    View Lecture List (24)
    Taught by Professor Craig Benjamin of Grand Valley State University, this course follows the Mongol mounted warriors who emerged out of Central Asia in the 13th century to conquer much of the known world. Although the Mongols fought with unparalleled brutality, they aspired to many of the civilized values of their victims and helped trigger long-lasting cultural interchange between East and West.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Mongol Empire
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Mongols' Place in World History
      Starting with eyewitness accounts of the arrival of fierce Mongol armies at unsuspecting cities across Eurasia, Professor Benjamin launches his survey of the rise and decline of the Mongol Empire, the largest the world has ever known. After outlining the content of the course, he sketches the history of civilizations destined to be controlled by the Mongols-from China to Persia to Eastern Europe. x
    • 2
      The Origins of Eurasian Steppe Nomadism
      Use a big history" perspective to understand the origin of militarized nomadism in the pastoral culture that developed on the grasslands of Eurasia beginning 7,000 years ago. Consider the paradox of nomadic empires that rarely build cities, yet still interact with the great civilizations on the periphery of the Eurasian steppe. Focus on the importance of the horse and composite bow to nomadic military power." x
    • 3
      Nomadic Predecessors of the Mongols
      In this lecture, set the stage for the leader who founded the Mongol Empire in the early 13th century, Chinggis Khan (also spelled Genghis Khan). See how previous Mongolian-centered steppe empires established a template that was perfected by Chinggis. Trace these precursors to Turkic rulers in the 7th and 8th centuries, and to the Xiongnu steppe empire a thousand years earlier. x
    • 4
      The Rise of Chinggis Khan
      Drawing on The Secret History of the Mongols, written soon after Chinggis Khan's death in 1227, chart the rise of the obscure son of a minor Mongol chief to earn the title Strong" or "Universal Ruler": Chinggis Khan. His martial daring and hairbreadth escapes have all the drama of a Hollywood epic. There is even a beautiful and formidable love interest, Borte, who Chinggis chose as his wife." x
    • 5
      Chinggis Khan's Early Conquests
      Having consolidated his power over the Mongol tribes, Chinggis Khan had to decide what to do next with his unbeatable army, and how to prevent it from dissolving into division and chaos. Review the geopolitical situation in inner Eurasia at this time. Then follow Chinggis's forces on their first campaigns outside of Mongolia. Their number-one target was the Jin dynasty in China, longtime antagonists of the nomads. x
    • 6
      Mongol Institutions under Chinggis Khan
      Spotlight three innovations introduced by Chinggis Khan to unify and modernize the Mongol state: his reorganization of Mongol society; his taxation reforms; and his creation of a new law code, the Great Yasa, which included injunctions designed to protect horses, water, and wild animals. The code also specified seemingly minor breaches of decorum that were punishable by death. x
    • 7
      Chinggis Khan's Khwarazmian Campaign
      Take off on the brutal campaign called by one historian a masterpiece of Mongol warfare at all levels." This was Chinggis Khan's military operations in the early 1220s against Shah Muhammad, ruler of the Khwarazmian Empire, located in the regions of modern-day Iran and Central Asia. Incited by the shah's murder of his traders and emissaries, Chinggis led a vengeful invasion of death and destruction." x
    • 8
      The Death of Chinggis Khan
      Ever restless, Chinggis Khan withdrew from his western conquests to start a new campaign thousands of miles away in northwestern China. Learn about the hunting accident that reportedly led to his death in 1227, the mystery surrounding his burial place, and his chosen successor among his sons. Then weigh the legacy of Chinggis Khan. Was he a civilizing force or an agent of unparalleled disaster? x
    • 9
      Ogedai Khan's Western Campaigns
      Chinggis Khan's third son and successor, Ogedai, wasted no time striving to fulfill his father's dying order: Life is short. I could not conquer all the world. You will have to do it!" The new khan took up unfinished business against the Jin dynasty in China and sent a force to subdue lands in Eastern Europe, defeating the cream of European knighthood. Discover what stopped his onslaught." x
    • 10
      Mongol Queens and the Contest for the Empire
      Delve into the administration and politics of the Mongol Empire during the 10-year hiatus from expansion that followed the death of Ogedai in 1241. Learn about the Mongols' remarkably swift pony express," and spotlight two influential queens, Toregene and Sorkaktani, who managed the empire and paved the way for their favored candidates for Great Khan: Guyuk and his successor, Mongke." x
    • 11
      Dividing the Empire: A Tale of Four Brothers
      Relive the exploits of four sons of Tolui, the youngest heir of Chinggis Khan. Among other adventures, Mongke Khan led the attack on China's Song dynasty in concert with his brother Qubilai, eventually to become the legendary Qubilai Khan. Meanwhile, Hulagu Khan engineered the brilliant siege of Baghdad, while the youngest brother, Ariq Boke, attempted to usurp the khanate, sparking a civil war. x
    • 12
      The Strengths of Mongol Military Organization
      Survey the armament, tactics, and organization of the Mongol military machine. Far from being a mob of fanatical mounted warriors, the Mongols were superbly trained and disciplined. Consider the close connection between their traditional hunting practices on the steppe and the skills needed to outsmart and defeat another army. Few fighting forces in history have been as consistently effective. x
    • 13
      The Mongols in China
      Follow Qubilai Khan's conquest, unification, and leadership of China, which was the world's most technologically advanced state at the time. In order to overcome China's formidable defenses, Qubilai had to adopt new tactics, including ships and catapult heavy artillery. During Qubilai's reign as the first head of the Yuan dynasty, he hosted and employed an exotic visitor from the West: Marco Polo. x
    • 14
      The Mongols in East and Southeast Asia
      Driven by the Mongols' sacred mission to conquer the world, Qubilai Khan twice mounted invasions of Japan. Both times he was defeated by the samurai warrior ethic, with a generous assist from catastrophic typhoons. Termed kamikaze-or divine winds"-these storms were afterwards seen as heavenly protectors by the Japanese. Also, learn how Qubilai had mixed success subduing states in Southeast Asia." x
    • 15
      The Mongols in Central Asia
      After the Mongol Empire broke apart, descendants of Chinggis Khan's middle sons Chagatai and Ogedei ruled large parts of Central Asia. Investigate the internecine, familial strife that plagued this region, exacerbated by conflicts with the Mongol rulers of China, Persia, and Russia. Despite the political chaos, the economy functioned relatively well, with Silk Road commerce flourishing. x
    • 16
      The Mongols in Persia and the Middle East
      Using the contemporary chronicle of Rashid al-Din as a guide, turn to the history of Mongol rule in Persia and the Middle East. An important element of the story is the clash of religions in a region that was becoming increasingly Muslim. A good example is the Mongol ruler of Persia, Oljeitu, who was raised as a Christian, converted to Buddhism, later to Sunni Islam, and then to Shi'a Islam. x
    • 17
      The Mongols in Russia: The Golden Horde
      Travel to the Golden Horde, the farthest west of the khanates established after the death of Mongke Khan in the mid-13th century. Named by Russian chroniclers, the Golden Horde was a fertile arena for civil war and eventually played a pivotal role in the rise of Moscow and the Russian state. Hear about a notorious incident of germ warfare instigated by the Mongols, involving bubonic plague. x
    • 18
      The Pax Mongolica: Eurasia Reconnected
      Follow in the footsteps of a succession of travelers who gave Europeans their first glimpse of the extraordinary cultural diversity of Asia during a period of stability called Pax Mongolica. Marco Polo is the most famous of these medieval globetrotters. Evaluate the veracity of his account, and hear about lesser known merchants, envoys, missionaries, and adventurers who also made the arduous trip. x
    • 19
      The Collapse of the Mongol Empires
      Chart the disintegration of the Mongol Empire, observing its rapid collapse in the Persian Ilkhanate in 1335 and Yuan China in 1368. Also, analyze the much more gradual break-up of the Chagatayid khanate and the Golden Horde, as the Mongols splintered into smaller, more autonomous units. Finally, focus on some of the long-lived successor states to the Mongols, such as the Ming dynasty in China. x
    • 20
      Timur the Lame, a.k.a. Tamerlane
      Launch into the career of the last of the great Mongol rulers, Timur, the reputed Scourge of God"-also known as Tamerlane from his lameness due to a war wound. War was the lifeblood of this minor Turco-Mongol noble, who rose to found the Timurid Empire. Cover his early exploits and his campaign against Toqtamish, khan of the Golden Horde. Also learn about Moscow's miraculous escape from Timur." x
    • 21
      Timur's Major Campaigns
      Ride with Timur on his major expeditions that brought him infamy throughout Eurasia and made European monarchs shudder with fear. Cover two invasions of Persia and the destruction of Baghdad; an incursion into India and the sacking of Delhi; a military operation into Anatolia, where he defeated the army of Ottoman sultan, Bayezid I; and his final planned assault on the Ming dynasty in China. x
    • 22
      Samarkand: Timur's Cultural Capital
      Take a break from conquests to explore Timur's fabled capital, Samarkand, located in present-day Uzbekistan. Already rich in history, the city was reborn under Timur, financed by booty and built by artisans captured during his campaigns. Investigate Timur's mausoleum and the effort of Soviet-era archaeologists to reconstruct his appearance, which some argue provoked an ancient curse. x
    • 23
      From Mughals to Soviets: Eurasia after Timur
      Track the fortunes of several of Timur's descendants, who attempted to govern the remnants of his vast empire. Among them was his grandson, Ulugh Beg, a matchless astronomer, scholar, and patron of civilization, but unfortunately an indifferent ruler. Also consider the history of Inner Eurasia over a period of more than six centuries, from the early 15th century to the end of the 20th century. x
    • 24
      The Mongols and the Making of the Modern World
      Close the course by assessing the heritage of the Mongols from a variety of perspectives-as conquerors, unifiers, social and political revolutionaries, as promoters of religious tolerance, protectors of commerce, and even as facilitators of the spread of plague across Eurasia, but also as disseminators of crucial technologies that undoubtedly played a role in the making of the modern world. x
  • Exploring the Mayan World

    Professor Edwin Barnhart, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Visually compelling and unlike anything The Great Courses has produced before, Exploring the Mayan World feels like your favorite travel show. In eight immersive episodes, decode cultural messages hidden in ancient Maya sites; explore the legacy of Spanish interactions with the Maya as they are reflected in modern towns; chat with archaeologists, artisans, and other local experts; and witness the Maya legacy in food, music, fashion, and art.
    View Lecture List (8)
    Visually compelling and unlike anything The Great Courses has produced before, Exploring the Mayan World feels like your favorite travel show. In eight immersive episodes, decode cultural messages hidden in ancient Maya sites; explore the legacy of Spanish interactions with the Maya as they are reflected in modern towns; chat with archaeologists, artisans, and other local experts; and witness the Maya legacy in food, music, fashion, and art.
    View Lecture List (8)
    8 Lectures  |  Exploring the Mayan World
    Lecture Titles (8)
    • 1
      Mérida
      Start your adventures in the Maya world with a trip to Mérida: the capital of Yucatán and the cultural capital of the entire peninsula. You’ll visit a factory in a run-down hacienda where they’re reviving the industry that made the Yucatán so rich more than 100 years ago; explore the mega-mansions lining Mérida’s Paseo de Mont; and go shopping for the perfect hammock and guayabera shirt. x
    • 2
      Chichén Itzá
      First, travel to Izamal, the “yellow city” named after the Maya sky god. Here, you’ll tour the city’s rich history—including a hike up a pyramid as high as a 10-story building and a walk through the Convent of St. Anthony of Padua, designed as a Christian teaching tool for the Maya. Then, venture on to Chichén Itzá, where you’ll get up close and personal with magnificent achievements of Maya architecture, including an observatory, a ceremonial ball court, and a sacred cenote. x
    • 3
      Ek’ Balam
      Join Dr. Barnhart for a trip to two of his favorite places in the Yucatán: Valladolid and Ek’ Balam. The first is a city established on the foundations of a Maya city called Zací and offers travelers a chance to see a traditional agave distillery and an all-female troop of competitive horseback riders. The second is the well-preserved ruins of what was once a Maya capital, and it’s where you’ll witness fantastic stucco facades and reenactors demonstrating musical instruments and the Maya ball game. x
    • 4
      Tihosuco
      More fun in the Maya world awaits in this fascinating episode where you’ll accompany Dr. Barnhart as he writes his name in Maya hieroglyphs, talks to howler monkeys, plunges into a geological cathedral, and more. It’s all part of his journey to Tihosuco, home to perhaps the largest episode in world history of an oppressed people fighting for their independence. Sites you’ll visit include the Cenote Suytun, Punta Laguna National Park, the Caste War Museum, and the Iglesia de Santo Niño Jesus. x
    • 5
      Mayapán
      Around 1250, Mayapán replaced Chichén Itzá as the new capital of the Yucatán—and one founded on a league of representational government. In this episode, you’ll get a chance to explore the rich history and culture of the site and its surrounding region. Learn about the infamous destruction of sacred Maya codices during public acts of faith held by the Spanish friar Diego de Landa, sample delicious dishes of grilled pork and ground pumpkin seeds, and spend some time looking over the shoulder of a ceramic artist working to keep Maya artistic traditions alive in the 21st century through reproductions of ancient pottery. x
    • 6
      Uxmal
      Discover what makes Uxmal such a marvel of Maya urban planning. Dr. Barnhart walks you through archaeological features, including the Pyramid of the Dwarf, the Palace of the Governors, and the Nunnery Quadrangle. Plus, spend some time exploring the Loltun Caves: a site that was once used for religious meditation and rituals, and where you'll find handprints dating back 10,000 years. Cap off your adventure with a sampling of hot chocolate-made the traditional Maya way. x
    • 7
      Celestún
      Your first stop in this episode is Kabáh, the second-largest ruin featuring the Puuc architectural style, where you’ll find over 200 faces of Chaac the rain god and a rare example of literate public art. Next, visit Bécal, famous for producing some of the best jipijapas (or, as tourists call them, panama hats) in the Yucatán. Finally, take a trip to the Celestún biosphere, a wetland reserve spanning some 150,000 acres that’s famous for the thousands of flamingos that flock there. x
    • 8
      Labná
      Labná, the last of the ancient sites you’ll hit on this trip, is an architectural wonder crowned by the three buildings everyone comes here to see: the Palacio, the El Mirador pyramid, and the Labná Arch. After decoding the cultural messages in these famous works, travel back to Mérida, where your journey began. Here, you’ll follow Dr. Barnhart through the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, watch him sample modern takes on traditional Maya cuisine at a boutique hotel and spa, and catch an evening revival of a Maya ball game in Mérida’s central square. x
  • How Science Shapes Science Fiction

    Professor Charles L. Adler, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    View scientific knowledge through the lens of fiction in and explore theories, concepts, and formulas that may seem daunting in more academic settings. How Science Shapes Science Fiction showcases the ways fiction has an amazing capacity to teach us about ourselves and the nature of the world we live in.
    View Lecture List (24)
    View scientific knowledge through the lens of fiction in and explore theories, concepts, and formulas that may seem daunting in more academic settings. How Science Shapes Science Fiction showcases the ways fiction has an amazing capacity to teach us about ourselves and the nature of the world we live in.
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    24 Lectures  |  How Science Shapes Science Fiction
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Science and Fiction! The Wayfarers Series
      Begin your journey into the heart of how science shapes science fiction with a look at the world created by Becky Chambers in her galaxy-spanning Wayfarers book series. As you examine the “meta-question” of how authors decide to use science in their stories, you will zero in on four specific scientific ideas and how they utilize principles that are both real and imagined when creating a believable and engaging story. x
    • 2
      Cheating the Science: Protector
      Our understanding of science changes all the time. How do writers use science to help build their stories while also keeping these stories from becoming immediately dated or unbelievable? They cheat. Using Larry Niven's novel Protector, as well as several other books by Niven and other sci-fi authors, Professor Adler demonstrates how writers can simplify and bend scientific ideas like evolution for the sake of narrative. x
    • 3
      Prediction: From the Earth to the Moon
      Turn now to Jules Verne, considered the progenitor of “hard” science fiction stories. As you look at one of the earliest literary excursions into science fiction and what it gets right about launching spacecraft, consider whether sci-fi can predict the future. Along the way, you will also look closely at how stories can use science in ways that are hopeful and adventurous, as well as realistic and informative. x
    • 4
      World-Building in The Left Hand of Darkness
      How do writers build fictional worlds that feel real, especially when a world is a completely different planet from our own? In this lecture, go on a scientific tour of two constructed worlds: the planet Gethen, from Ursula K. Le Guin's novel The Left Hand of Darkness, and Sukien, a world Professor Adler himself created for a Japanese television series. Look at the ways sci-fi writers pick and choose the science that makes these worlds work in fiction. x
    • 5
      Advanced World-Building in Avatar
      In this second lecture on worldbuilding, look at the habitable moon Pandora from James Cameron's blockbuster film Avatar. What kind of astronomical conditions must exist to allow a moon to develop an ecosystem similar to that of a planet? Dive into the science that supports the lush, exotic world of Pandora and its inhabitants and consider the possibility of such places in our universe. x
    • 6
      Action and Reaction in The Avengers
      Superheroes have their own special niche in science fiction. Dissect the reality that underlies the physics-defying powers of comic book heroes. How does Iron Man's suit work? Could a shield like Captain America's iconic accessory really exist? What conditions could allow a hero like The Flash to run on water? Look closely at the science of superhero cinema to answer these questions and more. x
    • 7
      Space Travel and 2001: A Space Odyssey
      Space travel may be the single most common feature of science fiction, but not every story treats the science the same way. Here, you will see why the space travel depicted in the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey has stood the test of time and is still among the best portrayals in the genre. Explore four aspects of space flight through the lens of this sci-fi classic. x
    • 8
      Interplanetary Travel and The Martian
      Could humans travel to Mars and survive there? This hypothetical scenario is the premise of the successful novel and film The Martian. Look closer at the story of Mark Watney's lone survival on the Red Planet and see how it raises numerous scientific questions about travel from Earth to other worlds, and how we would create a livable environment on a planet so unlike our own. x
    • 9
      Space Battles and Energy Weapons: Star Wars
      Space battles and interstellar warfare make a lot of appearances in science fiction. While no battles have actually happened in space in the real world, the Star Wars films present some fascinating hypotheticals about orbital mechanics, laser technology, space debris, and more. Consider the real science behind the classic battles that have come to define these iconic films. x
    • 10
      Advanced Rocket Systems in Star Trek
      A definitive science fiction series, Star Trek offers many scientific and technological ideas to explore. In this lecture, take a closer look at propulsion systems that may (or may not) be possible in the far future by digging into the science behind space travel experiments in the 20th and 21st centuries, including various forms of atomic power. x
    • 11
      Relativity and Time for the Stars
      Traveling to distant planets raises questions about time and relativity, which is what you will examine through Robert Heinlein’s 1956 novel Time for the Stars. Dive into the history of Einstein’s revolutionary theory and how it has been interpreted—and misinterpreted—by science fiction writers for decades. And learn why even the mistakes sci-fi writers make can help us better understand science. x
    • 12
      Black Holes, Wormholes, and Interstellar
      Another common scientific feature of many sci-fi stories are black holes and wormholes. As we continue to speculate and learn more about the nature of these mysterious phenomena in the real world, see how films like Interstellar offer a fascinating glimpse into the possibilities—while also offering an example of when an extreme focus on science can actually be hazardous to good storytelling. x
    • 13
      Time Travel and Doctor Who
      Dive into the concept of time travel with one of the longest-running science fiction television series in history: the British phenomenon, Doctor Who. Through the fan-favorite episode “Blink,” explore the nature of time and it’s 4th-dimensional relationship to physical space, consider the many paradoxes of time travel, and think about whether time machines are even possible at all. x
    • 14
      Teleportation and Star Trek
      Take another look at Star Trek, this time with a focus on teleportation and transporter technology. While transporter technology was first introduced in the series to cut filming costs, it raises interesting scientific questions. Can matter be instantaneously moved across long distances? What are the risks of human teleportation? Is the modern 3-D printer a real-life version of the matter replicator? x
    • 15
      Cyberspace and the Singularity: Neuromancer
      Robots and artificial intelligence have been part of science fiction for over 100 years, though in reality we are still far away from meeting truly sentient machines. Consider the robotic characters featured in properties like Star Wars and Star Trek as you explore consciousness and the possibilities of the computerized future in William Gibson's cyberpunk novel Neuromancer. x
    • 16
      Steampunk Science and Leviathan
      There are a number of subgenres within science fiction with their own distinct styles and intents. One distinct subgenre is steampunk, which is defined by its historical time period and focus on rethinking the science of the past. Through Scott Westerfeld's novel Leviathan and other steampunk stories, Professor Adler explores the retro-scientific possibilities of genetic engineering, giant mechanical vehicles, and early computing technology. x
    • 17
      Design Your Own Dragon: Game of Thrones
      Science fiction writers don't just build worlds that are different from our own; many also design unique creatures to populate those worlds. Look at the intersection of biology and physics as you explore dragons in fictional stories like Game of Thrones. As you will see, there is probably a reason most stories featuring dragons are considered fantasy rather than science fiction. x
    • 18
      Planetary Ecology in Dune
      Ecology is a particularly complex science to get right in fiction. Turn to Frank Herbert’s classic Dune to see how writers can use scientific principles to create entire ecosystems—and how they decide what science to highlight and what to ignore. Along the way, look at major real-world ecological projects and controversial theories that have influenced sci-fi. x
    • 19
      Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Contact
      Carl Sagan is the rare sci-fi creator who is more famous for being a science educator than a fiction writer. As you will learn, his extensive background in science not only allowed him to portray interstellar communication theories with accuracy in his novel Contact, but his work also influenced real-world research. Explore the possibilities of communication with alien species and why a lot of scientists believe we are not alone in the universe. x
    • 20
      UFOs, ESP, and The X-Files
      The long-running television show The X-Files explored a host of conspiracy theories and scientific mysteries. In this lecture, you will examine two popular topics the show tackled over the course of its nine-season run: UFOs and “superhuman” abilities like ESP. While the show was great at using these mysterious phenomena to tell thrilling stories, much of the science may be unreliable at best. x
    • 21
      Social Sciences and the Foundation Series
      The social sciences play a huge role in any good science fiction story. Here, dive into the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov and explore how anthropology, sociology, history, and other subjects shape how worlds are created in science fiction. Along the way, you'll also look at sociology in other influential stories and see what chaos theory has to say about predicting the future. x
    • 22
      Designed Languages and Arrival
      Dive into the science of linguistics and language creation through the film Arrival, as well as other notable stories, through which Professor Adler explains the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and the relationship of language to time and our perception of reality itself. Do we shape language or does language shape us? As you contemplate this question and other mysteries, you will also look at the challenges of creating fictional languages. x
    • 23
      Cosmology, the Mind, and Star Maker
      Many science fiction stories are told from the perspective of a few key characters. In this lecture, the scope widens astronomically as you consider Olaf Stapledon's influential 1937 novel Star Maker and how it manages to tell a story that encompasses a cosmic scale in terms of both time and space. Examine the different scales of potential civilizations in the universe and consider the possibilities presented by both scientists and storytellers. x
    • 24
      Science Fiction's Purpose: Childhood's End
      Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End brings this course to its fitting conclusion with a consideration of science fiction as a genre with limitless potential to explore some of our biggest questions. As you will learn, these questions are often scientific, but they are also much bigger than anything we can tackle with a mathematical formula or technological advancement alone. Ultimately, science fiction has the same goals as any other art: to explore the human condition through fiction. x
  • Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA

    Author Sam Kean,

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Assuming the viewer has no background in science, these 12 half-hour lectures cover the fundamental properties of DNA, the techniques that have unraveled its mysteries, the exciting revelations that have come to light, and the stories of the all-too-human scientists involved. Witty and informative, the lectures are delivered by science writer and podcaster Sam Kean, author of the bestseller The Violinist’s Thumb.
    View Lecture List (12)
    Assuming the viewer has no background in science, these 12 half-hour lectures cover the fundamental properties of DNA, the techniques that have unraveled its mysteries, the exciting revelations that have come to light, and the stories of the all-too-human scientists involved. Witty and informative, the lectures are delivered by science writer and podcaster Sam Kean, author of the bestseller The Violinist’s Thumb.
    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Genes versus DNA
      Your investigation begins with the independent discoveries of genes and of DNA in the mid-1800s—which were not understood to be related for almost a century! Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, used pea plants to discover what discrete units of inheritance are, later called genes. Meanwhile, biochemist Friedrich Miescher extracted a sticky substance from the nuclei of cells later called DNA. Follow both trails into the 20th century, as chromosomes are discovered and the realization finally begins to dawn that genes and DNA may be related. x
    • 2
      The Quest for DNA's Structure
      Join the quest to understand the molecular biology of the gene with the famous blender experiment, which showed that DNA, not proteins, transmit genetic information. Then look at five scientists who competed to solve the mystery of DNA's structure, including Rosalind Franklin and a team of rookie investigators who stumbled embarrassingly in their first attempt: American James Watson and Englishman Francis Crick. x
    • 3
      The Double Helix Revealed
      Enter the home stretch in the race to find the structure of DNA. With eminent chemist Linus Pauling leading the pack, longshots James Watson and Francis Crick got a key clue from rival investigator Rosalind Franklin-without her knowledge. Meanwhile, Cold War politics delayed Pauling. Analyze the reasoning that led Watson and Crick to their 1953 breakthrough, and consider why Franklin didn't beat them to it. x
    • 4
      From Genetic Codes to DNA Fingerprints
      Because DNA is only a blueprint, the discovery of its double helix structure was just the beginning. Trace the next big step: understanding how DNA synthesizes proteins through the intermediary of RNA. Here again, a dark horse researcher—Marshall Nirenberg—made the crucial breakthrough. Then see how DNA fingerprinting became possible in the 1980s, and study how two baffling crimes were solved using this technique. x
    • 5
      The War over the Human Genome
      Cover the “Manhattan Project” of DNA: the Human Genome Project to sequence all three billion base pairs of human genetic material. Two separate teams, led by Francis Collins and Craig Venter, competed bitterly to reach this costly goal, which required new technologies and controversial methods. Examine the politics and unexpected legacy of this effort, which was declared complete in 2003. x
    • 6
      How DNA Controls Itself and Shapes Our Culture
      The decoding of the human genome paved the way for Project ENCODE, designed to identify functional elements in the genome. Focus on examples that are central to human culture, such as language. Probe the foxp2 gene that appears to play a role in speech, together with other genes. Consider the role of mutations and nature's gene splicing in boosting our brain and cognitive abilities. x
    • 7
      Microbes Manipulate Us, Viruses Are Us
      Investigate the curious career of microbes in our bodies—not just the ones that make us sick, but more crucially, those that get incorporated into our DNA, driving evolution in unpredictable ways. For instance, the placenta that makes most mammals distinct from egg-laying animals appears to be an adaptation derived from an invasive virus. Learn why 8% of our genome is viral in origin. x
    • 8
      How Epigenetics Turns Genes On and Off
      Every cell in the human body has essentially the same DNA, yet cells behave very differently, partly due to epigenetics. In epigenetics, the DNA genetic sequence remains constant, but the activity of that sequence changes as genes get switched on and off. More surprising, epigenetics also explains how the inheritance of traits can be influenced by environmental factors, such as health issues in the children and grandchildren of famine survivors. x
    • 9
      Apes, Humans, and Neanderthals
      In the wake of the Human Genome Project, scientists were able to chart our shared heritage with a multitude of species. Most startling was evidence of breeding between modern humans and Neanderthals in the deep past, with a small percentage of Neanderthal DNA present in major human populations today. Peer into the human genome to read these and other clues about our multifaceted history. x
    • 10
      How DNA Reveals History
      DNA has solved age-old mysteries about prehistory: Where did humans originate? When did we first start wearing clothes? How did the agricultural revolution spread? Also delve into historical questions that DNA has answered, involving figures such as King Tut, Genghis Khan, Thomas Jefferson, and King Richard III. Consider Abraham Lincoln to ask where we draw the line in reading genetic secrets from the past. x
    • 11
      CRISPR's Rise, Promise, and Peril
      Investigate the first precision technique for genetic engineering, CRISPR, heralded as holding the potential for science fiction-like manipulation of the human genome. Trace the history of CRISPR-based techniques from a coastal salt marsh, to the biochemistry lab at a yogurt plant, to top research universities, pharmaceutical firms, and the fight over patents. Consider the potential for abuse of this powerful tool. x
    • 12
      How DNA Redefines Medicine and Our Future
      Look at the genetic basis for certain diseases and how personalized genetic medicine might be customized to the hidden histories that each of us have written in our DNA. Discover what makes the challenges so daunting and focus in particular on the different mechanism behind different cancers, and how genetics helps us disentangle the differences. Ponder what new insights into the workings of DNA may be next. x
  • Shocking Psychological Studies and the Lessons They Teach

    Professor Thad A. Polk, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    In the six lectures of Shocking Psychological Studies and the Lessons They Teach, you will explore a range of ethically compromised psychological experiments from the past that have nonetheless contributed significant insight into the human condition. Dr. Polk spells out the contemporary ethical principles now in place to protect both subjects and science, but also examines why every new technological and scientific advancement brings a new set of ethical conundrums for us to grapple with.
    View Lecture List (6)
    In the six lectures of Shocking Psychological Studies and the Lessons They Teach, you will explore a range of ethically compromised psychological experiments from the past that have nonetheless contributed significant insight into the human condition. Dr. Polk spells out the contemporary ethical principles now in place to protect both subjects and science, but also examines why every new technological and scientific advancement brings a new set of ethical conundrums for us to grapple with.
    View Lecture List (6)
    6 Lectures  |  Shocking Psychological Studies and the Lessons They Teach
    Lecture Titles (6)
    • 1
      Lessons from Tuskegee and Facebook
      Today, research with human subjects is guided by a set of three ethical principles of the 1976 Belmont Report, but that was not always the case. In the first lecture of this six-lecture course, Professor Polk explores the famous Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and how its ethical violations ultimately led to the development of the Belmont Report and the ethical principles it identified. x
    • 2
      Pushing Good People to Do Bad Things
      Why do good people sometimes do bad things? Professor Polk encourages us to grapple with two of the most famous psychological studies on ethics and human psychology: Milgram's Obedience Study and the Stanford Prison Experiment. Each study offers invaluable lessons about human behavior. Look at the ways that these explorations into the causes of unethical human behavior were, themselves, astonishingly unethical. x
    • 3
      Experimenting on Vulnerable Children
      Arguably, the most vulnerable people in any population are the children. Childhood development studies can also provide invaluable insights into human psychology. Here, explore two studies where children were the focus: Neubauer’s twin study and Johnson’s “Monster Study” of testing the origins of stuttering. Discover why, according to the Belmont Report’s principles, these “subjects” might be identified more accurately as “victims.” x
    • 4
      Testing Psychochemical Weapons
      Government organizations such as the CIA and military are charged with protecting the public, but in these shocking experiments, vulnerable low-ranking soldiers and psychiatric patients were unwittingly subjected to psychoactive drugs. Uncover the ways in which these observational studies lacked both rigorous scientific design and adherence to any of the Belmont Report's principles. In fact, the results of these studies often led to hallucinations, paranoia, rage, and even death. x
    • 5
      Assigning Gender and Spying on Sex
      Studies of sex and sexual identity present unique ethical challenges for privacy and consent. In the next two studies, Professor Polk takes you into the private world of sexual identity and impulse. The Tearoom Trade Study considers the public identities and private choices of anonymous public sex participants. The John/Joan case explores the sexual identity of a biologically male child raised as a female. x
    • 6
      Current and Future Ethical Challenges
      Science still grapples with the ethics of studying human subjects. Increasingly, data is available about every aspect of human life through our uninhibited interactions with technology. The study of such data sets is affordable, widely generalizable, and easily accessible. But is it ethical? You'll also discover that the conclusions presented in scientific journals, even under our more rigorous ethical guidelines, may not be as reliable as we thought. x
  • Books that Matter: The Federalist Papers

    Professor Joseph L. Hoffmann, J.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Books That Matter: The Federalist Papers gives you the chance to delve into one of the most influential guides to the U.S. Constitution. Taught by acclaimed professor and legal scholar Joseph L. Hoffmann of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, these 12 thought-provoking lectures unpack the 85 brilliant essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay that serve essentially as the Bible of American government.

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    Books That Matter: The Federalist Papers gives you the chance to delve into one of the most influential guides to the U.S. Constitution. Taught by acclaimed professor and legal scholar Joseph L. Hoffmann of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, these 12 thought-provoking lectures unpack the 85 brilliant essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay that serve essentially as the Bible of American government.

    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Books that Matter: The Federalist Papers
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      A Blueprint for American Government
      Understanding The Federalist Papers starts with understanding who wrote them and why they were written. In this opening lecture, go back to 1787 to meet Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to find out what challenges they faced in communicating the need for the new U.S. Constitution. x
    • 2
      A Democracy or a Republic?
      The Framers of the Constitution believed pure democracy was something to be feared for the way it would lead to the rise of factions, which would in turn tear apart the system. Was it possible to create a new model that offered the benefits of representative democracy without the problems of factions? See how the Framers tackled this conflict. x
    • 3
      A Federation or a Nation?
      When the Framers gathered in Philadelphia to write a new constitution, they essentially were representing a loose federation of nation-states. Their original charge was to modify the Articles of Confederation, but there was a solid case for a strong central government. Examine this dilemma and the compromises that Madison and Hamilton made. x
    • 4
      American Federalism
      Given all the conflicts and compromises of 1787, how did the American federal system come about? How did the Framers solve the issues of the day while preserving flexibility for the future? Review the enumerated powers of the federal government and see how power was balanced between the federal government and the states. x
    • 5
      Dual Sovereignty
      The system that emerged under the new constitution gave the federal government the ability to determine the scope of its own powers. What checks did the system place on the federal government? Who gets to decide when the federal government has violated its powers? Reflect on the powers of the states and the American people. x
    • 6
      Popular Sovereignty and States' Rights
      The idea of popular sovereignty-the power of the American people-reshaped the relationship between the states and the federal government. In this lecture, consider the ever-changing relationship of the states to the federal government. See how the institution of slavery was the catalyst for a crisis. x
    • 7
      The Separation of Powers
      In Federalist Nos. 47 through 51, James Madison explains why the concept of separation of powers" is so important for the future of the American government. Dig into these five amazing essays to understand what the familiar term "separation of powers" really means-and why he was so optimistic about America's future." x
    • 8
      The Federal Legislature
      James Madison believed the legislature posed the greatest threat to the integrity of the system the Framers had so carefully designed. In Federalist No. 48," "Federalist No. 51," and elsewhere, he laid out warnings about the legislature seizing too much power, as well as the solution of a bicameral legislature. Delve into this thorny issue." x
    • 9
      The President of the United States
      Shift your attention from the legislature to the chief executive, the single most powerful government official in the world today. But, as you will learn in your exploration of The Federalist Papers, the Framers had a different view of the presidency. Review Alexander Hamilton's essays about the office and the powers of the president. x
    • 10
      The Federal Judiciary
      Round out your study of the branches of government with an in-depth look at the federal judiciary, one of the three branches of the federal government. The Framers believed the judiciary was the branch least likely to infringe on the liberty of the American people. Reflect on its role and its power, and then review the most important constitutional law case in American History: Marbury v. Madison. x
    • 11
      The Evolution of American Federalism
      The story of the Constitution is one of both stability and change. In this lecture, take a look at some of the most important ways the Constitution has evolved over the past 230 years. Consider whether the changes have largely honored the original spirit of the Constitution or broken faith with the vision of the Framers. x
    • 12
      The Future of the United States Constitution
      What does the future look like for America's democratic republic? As you have seen, one of the most important trends has been the gradual increase in federal power, but the tension between federal and state power remains. Is there still a future for republican government? What might a Second Constitutional Convention look like? And would we want to find out? x
  • World War II: The Pacific Theater

    Professor Craig L. Symonds, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    World War II: The Pacific Theater—produced by The Great Courses in partnership with HISTORY®—takes you into the sweeping story of the American fight against the Japanese. Taught by Professor Craig L. Symonds, a distinguished military historian at the US Naval War College, these 24 vivid lectures chronicle the global trajectory of the war in the Pacific, from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the birth of the atomic age.
    View Lecture List (24)
    World War II: The Pacific Theater—produced by The Great Courses in partnership with HISTORY®—takes you into the sweeping story of the American fight against the Japanese. Taught by Professor Craig L. Symonds, a distinguished military historian at the US Naval War College, these 24 vivid lectures chronicle the global trajectory of the war in the Pacific, from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the birth of the atomic age.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  World War II: The Pacific Theater
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Road to War in the Pacific, 1931-1941
      The origins of the war predate December 7, 1941. In this opening lecture, trace the events that led up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Investigate Japan's interest in taking over China, and the strategic need for oil and other supplies threatened by the US-controlled Philippines. x
    • 2
      Infamy! The Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor
      The attack on Pearl Harbor was a tactical success for Japan, in that it destroyed much of the US naval fleet. But it also proved to be one of the most reckless and irresponsible strategic decisions in the history of warfare. Witness the events that occurred on the day of “infamy,” and reflect on how and why the US was caught off guard. x
    • 3
      Japan Moves South, December 1941-May 1942
      During the first six months of 1942, the Japanese military juggernaut moved from success to success in the Pacific, conquering new territory at a dizzying pace. Learn how the Japanese were able to wreck Allied naval forces in the Java Sea, and examine the invasion of the Philippines, the Bataan Death March, and General Douglas MacArthur's escape to Australia. x
    • 4
      The Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 1942
      In 1942, the United States needed a morale boost, and the Doolittle Raid against Tokyo and other cities was a public relations coup. Here, as elsewhere, many of the operational decisions in the Pacific Theater revolved around logistics and supplies—such as how to equip planes with enough fuel to fly 650 miles over open sea while carrying 500-pound bombs. x
    • 5
      Station HYPO: Breaking the Japanese Code
      Codebreaking is one of the most captivating stories in World War II, both in Europe and the Pacific. While the British were breaking German codes, Americans stationed in Hawaii wrestled with Japanese intercepts. See what they were able to decipher, and how even partial codebreaking contributed to success in battle. x
    • 6
      Battle of the Coral Sea, May 1942
      The Battle of the Coral Sea was the first naval battle in history fought entirely by carrier-based airplanes, in which opposing fleets never caught sight of each other. Although the Japanese inflicted more tactical damage—including the sinking of the US carrier Lexington—they failed to achieve their objective: Port Moresby in New Guinea. x
    • 7
      Midway: 10 Minutes That Changed the War
      Why were the Japanese determined to capture an American base on a tiny atoll in the middle of the Pacific? The surprising answer has to do with the changing nature of naval warfare, and recognition of the important role carriers played. Go inside this astonishing battle, minute by minute, and reflect on how critical decisions affected the outcome. x
    • 8
      Guadalcanal: Jungle Warfare
      Even before the improbable victory at Midway, Ernest J. King, the Commander in Chief, US Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, wanted to initiate an offensive. His first target was the island of Guadalcanal, where the Japanese were building an airfield. Meet the dueling personalities in the US command and go ashore with the Marines to seize and hold the airfield. x
    • 9
      Ironbottom Sound, 1942-1943
      The battle for the Solomon Islands—including Guadalcanal—was a grinding and wasting six-month campaign. After multiple bloody engagements on both land and sea, Admiral Yamamoto and the Japanese high command cut their losses. By then, so many ships had been sunk that the waters nearby became known as “Ironbottom Sound.” x
    • 10
      MacArthur, Halsey, and Operation Cartwheel
      General MacArthur was a controversial figure, a brilliant but complex commander with a large ego, who found himself sharing command of the Pacific with US Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz. Watch these two commanders conduct a dual campaign on both New Guinea and in the Solomon Islands. x
    • 11
      The Big Blue Fleet and American Industry
      For all the military planning and hard fighting, much of the American success in World War II was due to the country's astonishing industrial output. From the Grumman-built F6F Hellcat fighter planes to new Essex-class aircraft carriers, the American industrial juggernaut produced weapons at an unprecedented rate. x
    • 12
      Battle for Tarawa: A Square Mile of Hell
      By 1944, the American offensive strategy was to island-hop across Micronesia, and the first step was the island of Tarawa, a name that haunts the history of the US Marine Corps. Follow the invaders to see how a tidal anomaly and Japanese defenders led to a bloodbath as 3,000 Marines were killed or wounded in only three days. x
    • 13
      A Three-Front Pacific War, January–May 1944
      By 1944, the momentum in the Pacific Theater had shifted decisively in favor of the Americans. Learn the lessons of Tarawa and continue your study of the stepping-stone strategy as the US military advanced from the Gilberts to the Marshalls and beyond. Then consider the Japanese quagmire in China and its effect on the war. x
    • 14
      The US Leaps to the Marianas, June 1944
      One of the reasons Japan attacked the United States in the first place was because it needed a secure supply of oil to fight China, but by 1944, Japan's supply lines were failing. The US, too, was stretched in June 1944, with simultaneous campaigns planned for both Normandy and the Marianas. Examine the set up for a decisive confrontation in the Pacific. x
    • 15
      Battle of the Philippine Sea, June 1944
      Since the 1930s, both the American and Japanese war strategists assumed that any war between the two countries would be decided by a major sea battle in the western Pacific. See why the Battle of the Philippine Sea was nothing like what the planners had imagined, how the battle actually played out, and what impact it had on the war. x
    • 16
      Bombing Japan: Fire from the Sky
      Shift your attention from the sea to the sky, where the US Army Air Forces conducted both tactical and strategic air campaigns. Review the technology and personalities of the air war against Japan and witness the devastation American bombs wrought on the Japanese homeland. x
    • 17
      American Submarines in the Pacific, 1944-1945
      American submarines played important roles in some of the biggest battles of the Pacific War, including the Battle of Midway and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Yet the biggest contribution of the submarine force was not in sinking warships, it was in the destruction of Japanese maritime trade. Dive under the sea to explore US submarine warfare. x
    • 18
      MacArthur Returns to the Philippines
      When General MacArthur left the Philippines at the start of the war, he famously announced, “I shall return.” Go inside MacArthur’s meeting with President Roosevelt and follow the general’s long preparation for his return. Then, travel to the sandy beaches of the island of Leyte, the site of his return to the Philippines. x
    • 19
      Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944
      Here, find out why Professor Symonds calls the Battle of Leyte Gulf the greatest naval battle in history. The Japanese had a complex plan, and for several hours, the Americans in Leyte Gulf teetered on the brink of disaster. Find out how and why, despite confusion and misunderstandings, the US Navy was able to inflict a decisive defeat on the Imperial Japanese Navy. x
    • 20
      Admiral Halsey's Typhoons, 1944-1945
      Meet Admiral William F. Halsey, a fighting admiral and a man of action who led the American carrier forces during the Philippine campaign. In December 1944, he made several command decisions amid a typhoon that led to a naval investigation and inspired the movie The Caine Mutiny. Enter the high seas in a storm and see first-hand what the admiral faced. x
    • 21
      Battle for Iwo Jima, February-March 1945
      Iwo Jima is the iconic battle of the US Marine Corps, and a living symbol of the determination and sacrifice of the Marines. Review why Iwo Jima became a strategic target, watch the battle unfurl, and then consider its tragic consequences. x
    • 22
      Battle for Okinawa, April-June 1945
      By spring 1945, the United States sought to cut off Japan’s supply line to the resource-rich islands of the South Pacific. An invasion of the island of Okinawa would achieve this objective. Codenamed “Operation Iceberg,” this bloody battle shattered any remaining prospect of Japanese victory in the war. x
    • 23
      Kamikazes: Japan's Special Attack Units
      During the bitter fighting for the Japanese island of Okinawa, American sailors confronted a horrifying new peril—Japanese suicide bombers from the sky. Explore both the Japanese justification for this new protocol and the history of this vicious battle tactic and experience the horror of being attacked by human bombs. x
    • 24
      Dropping the Atomic Bomb
      In this final lecture, reflect on a new era in human civilization. Although Japan was essentially defeated, the government refused to surrender. Travel with President Truman to Potsdam, Germany, where he and Churchill issued a declaration calling for “prompt and utter destruction” if Japan refused to surrender. Then deconstruct the justification for the use of the atomic bombs. x
  • Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

    Instructor Victor Ha,

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Get creative with your DSLR camera and explore the core techniques of DSLR filmmaking with Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking. From framing shots and choosing lenses to setting up lights and recording sound, these 39 engaging in-studio lessons will leave you prepared and inspired to get out there and shoot your own exciting, high-quality film projects.
    View Lecture List (39)
    Get creative with your DSLR camera and explore the core techniques of DSLR filmmaking with Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking. From framing shots and choosing lenses to setting up lights and recording sound, these 39 engaging in-studio lessons will leave you prepared and inspired to get out there and shoot your own exciting, high-quality film projects.
    View Lecture List (39)
    39 Lectures  |  Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking
    Lecture Titles (39)
    • 1
      Introduction to Filmmaking
      In this introductory lesson, learn why filmmaking is all about storytelling. Using two silent videos as examples, determine the story from the way the video is shot, framed, and edited. x
    • 2
      Shooting for the Edit, Part 1
      When shooting the story you want to tell, don't throw caution to the wind and hope it all works out. Instead, learn how to think about different shots and perspectives-even when filming something as mundane as making a peanut butter sandwich. x
    • 3
      Shooting for the Edit, Part 2
      Should the number of your shots depend on the mood of your video? What about B-roll footage that doesn't necessarily relate to the story? How much room do you leave before and after a scene for editing? Gets answers to these and other questions. x
    • 4
      Camera Basics, Part 1
      In this first lesson on DSLR camera basics, Mr. Ha picks four different DSLR camera types and breaks them out into their individual strengths and weakness. They include: a full-frame camera, an APS-C camera, an APS-H camera, and a Micro 4/3 camera. x
    • 5
      Camera Basics, Part 2
      Continue exploring DSLR camera basics with a focus on, well, focusing. Mr. Ha reveals some best practices he likes to use and offers insights into how different lenses work to help filmmakers zero in on what's most important in a shot. x
    • 6
      Preferred Camera Settings with Q&A
      In this lesson, Mr. Ha runs through the ways he sets his DSLR camera up for success. Along the way, you'll cover such menu options as Custom White Balance and Image Stabilization, as well as Custom Picture Styles like Technicolor and CineStyle. x
    • 7
      A Video a Day
      Practice, as they say, makes perfect. And that's equally true when we're talking about DSLR filmmaking. Here, discover how shooting one simple video every day using your smartphone can help hone your inner filmmaker's eye. x
    • 8
      180-Degree Rule
      In this lesson on the importance of establishing shots (your film's introductory paragraph"), make sense of the "180-degree rule" when filming two subjects on screen. This simple rule helps you place your subjects in frame-without confusing your viewers." x
    • 9
      Thinking in Sequences
      So, you've got your perfect establishing shot. What comes next? A hard cut? A jump cut? Here, learn how to use insert and cutaway footage to build out sequences that enhance your narrative, and to soften transitions and make your film more cinematic. x
    • 10
      Movement with Monopods
      Transitioning to motion and film can be difficult for photographers because it requires them to step away from their camera. Enter the monopod: a mobile, versatile tool that allows you to tap into movements like rocking-and-panning and push-in focus. x
    • 11
      Movement with Video Tripods
      Consider the benefits of working with video tripods. You'll explore the ball-bowl combination, which lets you stay level on an uneven surface, and the counterbalance feature, which acts as something of a camera spotter. Then, zoom in on the look and feel of different camera movements. x
    • 12
      Movement with Sliders
      In this lesson, Mr. Ha uses video examples to teach you how to get the most out of your camera sliders. Topics include shooting in layers (foreground, middle ground, background) and choosing the right slider length based on what you're filming. x
    • 13
      Breaking into Video with Hybrid Portraits
      Hybrid portraits are a short, 30-second combination of stills and motion. Think of them as vanity pieces designed to grab someone's attention. Learn why, for photographers who've never shot motion before, hybrid portraits make for a great place to start. x
    • 14
      The Portrait Film
      Unlike hybrid portraits, portrait films are comprised entirely of motion. So, what makes for a good portrait film? One sign is that you can pause the portrait film in any frame and have a well-composed photograph. Learn some other tips and tricks in this lesson. x
    • 15
      The Hybrid Wedding and Wedding Film
      In this lesson, tackle a wedding shoot from two different perspectives. The first is a hybrid wedding film that can usually be done by a single person. The second is a traditional wedding film that's a multiperson, multicamera job. x
    • 16
      The Corporate Profile
      Being able to shoot a solid corporate profile can open up a lot of doors for you as a DSLR filmmaker. Taking you from pre-interview to post-production, Mr. Ha shows you how to capture someone talking about their business in the space of just two minutes. x
    • 17
      Basics of Sound
      Along with thinking about visuals as a DSLR filmmaker, you need to think about sound, whether it's background noise at a party or the answer to an interview question. Examine the differences between sound (which is captured) and audio (which is played back). x
    • 18
      Microphones and Their Differences
      There are many types of microphones out there for recording sound. So, what's the one that's right for your project? Focus on two types: directional (which capture sound from a single direction) and omni-directional (which capture sound from multiple directions). x
    • 19
      Picking the Right Microphone
      Every microphone, says Mr. Ha, has a personality-a different way it picks up sound. As you'll learn in this lesson on microphones and sound recorders, it's not about how much money you spend, but about finding one that has a solid sound-capturing technique. x
    • 20
      Double System Sound
      Double system sound means you're capturing sound to another device that's not your DSLR camera. That also means you've automatically dedicated yourself in post-production to doing what's called syncing. Mr. Ha demonstrates how it all works here. x
    • 21
      Hi-Hats and Low-Hats
      Hi-hats, low-hats, gorilla pods, GoPros. In this lesson, take a look at footage that's shot with some of these tools noted for their stability and versatility. In addition to learning how to work with these helpful filmmaking tools, get insights on what situations are right for which ones. x
    • 22
      Handheld Stabilization with Q&A
      Dive into the world of handheld stabilization, from Steadicams to glide cams to extremely expensive tools. Among the tips you'll get are the three points of contact you need to make with your camera (and gear) when moving with it in your hands. x
    • 23
      Timelapse
      Here, Mr. Ha shows you the right way to do two-hour time lapses based on his experiences out in the field. They key is manual exposure, manual focus, and manual white balance. Also, take a peek at an app that takes the math aspect out of time lapse shooting. x
    • 24
      Lensbaby, Copters, and 4K
      First, explore how Lensbaby footage can add layers of instability to your narrative. Second, discover the perspectival impact of aerial footage from drones like quadcopters and hexicopters. Lastly, investigate some of the amazing things you can accomplish with 4K capture. x
    • 25
      Using Your Current Photographic Tools for Video
      If you're a photographer, chances are you already have plenty of tools you've invested time and money into buying and learning. But you can use many of these tools for video, as well. Learn how to work with these common photography tools in both worlds. x
    • 26
      DSLR Filmmaking Tools, Part 1
      In the first of two lessons on DSLR filmmaking tools, join Mr. Ha for a spirited look at the essentials you'll need to succeed on your next shoot. These tools include light meters for two types of metering, lenses for different budgets and tastes, and lens adaptors. x
    • 27
      DSLR Filmmaking Tools, Part 2
      Continue exploring essential DSLR filmmaking tools. Now, learn the importance of external monitors that show what your camera's seeing, lens gears that allow for a tactile experience with your lenses, and focusing tools to achieve choreographed movements. x
    • 28
      Lighting 101
      If you understand the fundamentals of lighting and start by learning them from the ground up, you're going to become a much better lighting technician in the future. Here, Mr. Ha focuses on ambient light to illustrate how patterns of daylight can have a powerful impact on your image. x
    • 29
      Ambient Light, Part 1
      What's the difference between short lighting and broad lighting? What about the difference between key light and fill light? How do you deal with light in situations like weddings, where your subjects are constantly moving around? Find out here. x
    • 30
      Ambient Light, Part 2
      Continue exploring the beauty of ambient light-and the skills needed to make it work for your next project. Central to this lesson are Mr. Ha's insights on working with shadows and manipulating them to highlight your subject and even create different moods. x
    • 31
      Soundtracks for Dummies, Part 1
      What does your story sound like? That's where soundtracks come in. In the first of two lessons on the topic, skip the legalese and focus on how to choose the right soundtrack for your content. And it all starts by picking three words to guide your search. x
    • 32
      Soundtracks for Dummies, Part 2
      Delve into more topics related to film soundtracks. Learn the pros and cons of going with your gut when choosing music, when to pick a song with vocals versus instrumentals, and where to find affordable music with the correct rights. x
    • 33
      Lighting 102
      Come back to lighting and learn how to make it less intimidating by breaking it down into more manageable pieces. In this lesson, consider the benefits and drawbacks to all types of lighting, from HMI and tungsten lights to florescent and LED lights. x
    • 34
      One-Light Setup
      How do you work with an economic setup involving just one light? What are some of the options you have? Mr. Ha discusses several of them here, including a butterfly light (which you see a lot of in older movies) and a clam shell light (which helps fill shadows). x
    • 35
      Two- and Three-Light Setup
      You know how to work with one-light setups. Now move up to two- and three-light setups and all the different ways they allow you to play with shadows and light. Mr. Ha's studio demonstrations prove especially helpful for understanding the intricacies of these setups. x
    • 36
      Lighting Q&A
      In this helpful Q&A session, Mr. Ha fields audience questions about lighting. You'll learn how much lighting is truly necessary for the average person, what kind of light stands to take with you on location, the right ISO to aim for when shooting indoors, and more. x
    • 37
      Corporate Profile Pre-Production
      Mr. Ha walks you step by step through the pre-production process for a hypothetical corporate profile of a gym, harnessing everything you've learned in the preceding lessons. It's the perfect chance to break apart the nuances involved in getting a project off the ground. x
    • 38
      Storyboarding, Shot List, and Gear List
      To visually imagine your corporate profile, you need storyboards and shot lists. Learn strategies for creating both-and sharing them with a client. Also, learn how to build a comprehensive gear list so you have what you need to bring those storyboards to life. x
    • 39
      Callsheet, Crew, and Sound
      On many shoots, you'll likely work with multiple people on both the talent and client sides. Not to mention a range of locations and times. In this concluding lesson, learn how to better manage talent and crew so your production can run as efficiently as possible. x
  • Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood

    Professor Allison Friederichs, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Discover the secrets to sharpening your written, oral, and interpersonal communications skills In 12 rewarding lectures. With humor and enthusiasm, along with dozens of tools, examples, and exercises, Professor Friederichs will teach you how to select the right words; ensure proper grammar and punctuation; and analyze, craft, and edit your message—all while using a reader-centric lens.
    View Lecture List (12)
    Discover the secrets to sharpening your written, oral, and interpersonal communications skills In 12 rewarding lectures. With humor and enthusiasm, along with dozens of tools, examples, and exercises, Professor Friederichs will teach you how to select the right words; ensure proper grammar and punctuation; and analyze, craft, and edit your message—all while using a reader-centric lens.
    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Impactful Writing
      Get an introduction to what makes your writing matter and learn how to employ empathy in order to shift your perspective, so you are focusing on your reader not your message. Professor Friederichs provides engaging activities to help you improve your writing skills. x
    • 2
      How Language Mirrors Culture
      Starting with an overview of the descriptive/prescriptive debate, Professor Friederichs examines how language has changed and evolved—and why knowing about these changes matters when you write—highlighting the importance of syntax. x
    • 3
      The Importance of Word Choice
      Continuing the discussion of language and words, Professor Friederichs reviews the two levels of meaning that every word has: denotation and connotation. She provides a framework called “The Four C’s” to help you select the right word, so your message is correct, concrete, clear, and contextually appropriate. x
    • 4
      Mastering Punctuation
      Proper punctuation may seem challenging, but as Professor Friederichs notes, it can make or break your professional message. She provides clarity for the most misunderstood rules of punctuation, including issues around commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and dashes, as applied to Edited Standard American English (ESAE). x
    • 5
      Mastering Noun and Pronoun Grammar
      Professor Friederichs moves from commonly misunderstood components of grammar to more formal rules, including capitalization issues with proper nouns, subject-verb agreement, pronouns, possessives, and dangling and misplaced modifiers. x
    • 6
      Mastering Verb and Adverb Grammar
      Grammar can also help determine the mood of your communication. Professor Friederichs demonstrates how as she covers verb usage, including passive and active voice, tense, and adverbs. You'll see how mastering these seemingly small components can have a big impact on the success of your message. x
    • 7
      Analyze: What Your Reader Needs to Know
      Professor Friederichs introduces you to the business-writing process called ACE, which stands for Analyze, Craft, and Edit. She details the analysis phase of ACE—including a checklist—to help you organize your thoughts and write with purpose. x
    • 8
      Craft: Building the Bones of Your Document
      Examine the best practices for drafting a document as Professor Friederichs introduces additional checklists to help you transcribe your purpose statement, craft the body of your message, and draft your conclusion. She provides a helpful toolkit of eight best practices that will help you craft a well-written draft. x
    • 9
      Edit: Perfecting Your Prose
      Learn how the editing step of the ACE process does not mean proofreading, but instead ensuring you are analyzing your document to confirm it says what you want it to say, in a structured, clear, and concise manner. A checklist for editing helps you review your document for organization, clarity, proper word choice, grammar, and punctuation. x
    • 10
      Applying the Analyze-Craft-Edit Process
      Using two common, real-life examples, Professor Friederichs demonstrates ways to practice applying the ACE process. As she takes you through the construction of business memos and newsletter articles, you'll put all your previous lessons into practice. x
    • 11
      Developing Your Professional Voice
      As you move closer to mastering the fundamentals of professional communications, Professor Friederichs provides ways to help you develop your professional writing voice. She provides a list of ideas that can help you achieve consistency in your writing, as well as activities to help you utilize the tools and practice the skills you've gained. x
    • 12
      Building Relationships through Writing
      Professor Friederichs demonstrates how you can build strong relationships through your communication—including the importance of your responses to another person’s writing. You’ll learn how to build strong professional relationships by being a good listener and utilizing a collaborative approach in writing. x