Go Advanced Search
          

THIS MONTH
October 2017
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

SUBSCRIBE

BLOG CATEGORIES

SEARCH THE BLOG


BROWSE ARCHIVE

April 12, 2017

Over 70 Free Great Courses Lectures

Today we're featuring 70 free video lectures from The Great Courses! When we started LearnOutLoud.com back in 2005, one of our main inspirations for launching was promoting audio & video learning content from companies like The Teaching Company. Founded in 1990 by Tom Rollins, The Teaching Company records courses from top professors around the United States in a broad array of university-level disciplines. If you're a longtime fan of the Teaching Company you might recall Bach's Brandenburg Concerto that started each lecture and Tom Rollins giving this quote at the start of each course: "By listening for less than an hour a day you can finish even the longest course in just weeks!"

These courses were developed for adult lifelong learners, and back in the early 2000s when we started listening to them, they were available on audio cassettes, CDs, VHS tapes, and DVDs from their website or the local library. Cut to 2017 and now The Teaching Company has changed their name to The Great Courses and they've now created over 600 audio & video courses available on CD, DVD, and audio & video download through the TheGreatCourses.com and they've launched The Great Courses Plus, which is a subscription service giving you unlimited access to over 350 of their courses which can be streamed online, through their apps, and even downloaded now for offline viewing and listening. They've also made their courses available on audio download through Audible.com, and they've even launched a channel on Amazon.com called The Great Courses Signature Collection which features access to 100 of their video courses (for $7.99/month for Amazon Prime members).

Although they've re-branded and updated their service with the latest technology, The Great Courses still maintain the highest standards for their professors and production quality. They've also expanded their course offerings over the years from the history, literature, religion, philosophy, music, economics, and science courses they became known for to newer courses on better living and professional development, along with courses on travel, food & wine, and hobbies like photography and gardening. While free audio & video courses have exploded on the Internet, nothing really tops the audio & video learning content of The Great Courses. To introduce The Great Courses, they've uploaded over 70 free sample video lectures on their YouTube channel, and after watching many of them we've been reminded of just how great their offerings are. Today we're featuring reviews of over 50 of these free lectures that we've watched.

If you're a lifelong learner and you love learning on audio & video, we can't recommend The Great Courses Plus highly enough. You subscribe to The Great Courses Plus, and you can then watch over 350 great courses and over 8,000 video lectures as much as you want, whenever you want! It's amazing to be able to browse around and pick out lectures you're especially interested in to find out which course you want to watch. Also a recent addition they've made to the iOS app (for iPhone and iPad) was the introduction of downloading and streaming lectures for audio-only listening, which was a feature we were really hoping for. Check it out if you haven't yet:

Browse Over 350 Courses Currently Offered Through the The Great Courses Plus

And we've updated our blog post that lays out The Great Courses Plus in more detail and lists all the current courses they offer:

Our Updated Blog Post on The Great Courses Plus

We've also put together a YouTube playlist of all these free course lectures:

Over 70 Free Great Courses Lectures on Our YouTube Playlist

Now here are reviews of 50 Free Lectures from The Great Courses on YouTube. Almost of the lectures featured below are being offered through The Great Courses Plus.

1. How to Stop Worrying and Start Investing

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Understanding Investments taught by Professor Connel Fullenkamp, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this introductory lecture from The Great Courses course Understanding Investments, Professor Connel Fullenkamp addresses some of the common concerns people have when they consider investing their money. He acknowledges that many people do not invest because they don't want to take the time to learn how to and above all they don't want to lose their money. He suggests that the basics of investing can be learned relatively quickly and then dispels many of the fears of losing money if one invests according to certain principles and doesn't react to the often volatile shifts in the market. It's a pretty convincing opening argument for investing, in what sounds like a very informative course.

2. The Robotics of Self-Driving Vehicles

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Robotics taught by Professor John Long, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this lecture from The Great Courses course Robotics taught by Professor John Long, Ph.D., he delivers the history of robotic cars from cruise control up to the latest developments in self-driving vehicles and how they work. That last part of the lecture he devotes to the impact self-driving vehicles will eventually have on the world including saving thousands of lives in accidents, allowing handicapped people to drive, and even speeding up the road ways by optimizing the ways cars function in traffic jams. It's a fascinating lecture on this emerging technology.

3. Can Certain Foods Make You Smarter?

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience taught by Professor Indre Viskontas, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Can certain foods make you smarter? That's the question directly addressed in this lecture from the course Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience taught by Professor Indre Viskontas, Ph.D. She addresses the difficulty with conducting good neuroscience studies on the effects of food because there is not much profit to made from studying foods like blueberries that can't be patented. But Professor Viskontas points to some studies done around fish oil, anti-oxidant foods, and supplements and the often scant evidence or mixed results that these studies have produced in regards to cognitive improvement. She does point out that caffeine, exercise, and even fasting might aid in our cognitive abilities. She explodes the myth of sugar making kids crazy and also discusses the effects of popular drugs like Adderall and Ritalin for kids with ADHD. After decades of study, Professor Viskontas says we aren't that far from the common sense wisdom that was already known, that good nutrition, a healthy diet, and exercise are good for mental performance.

4. The Science of Mindfulness: Who Am I?

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being taught by Professor Ronald D. Siegel, Psy.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this free lecture provided by The Great Courses, psychiatrist Ronald Siegel outlines the havoc that comes about when we identify "I" or "me" as something separate from the rest of the world. As Siegel argues, mindfulness practice reveals "the self" as an impersonal series of sensations that form a consistent storyline of who we think we are. But what if what you call "you" is actually not what you experience, but something deeper, and more interconnected with the rest of creation? As Eastern spiritual practices tell us, the path to happiness lies in transcending the suffering that comes as a result of identifying ourself as a separate individual. This 30 minute lecture is a good introduction as to why mindfulness meditation practices are becoming a more accepted therapeutic tool in mainstream psychiatric circles. The lecture is available on The Great Courses YouTube channel.

5. Fundamentals of Photography: Composition

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Fundamentals of Photography taught by Professor Joel Sartore. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

With the advent of digital photography, most of us are now photographers to some extent. Learn how to improve your photography with tips on composition from National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore. In this lecture from his course Fundamentals of Photography, Professor Sartore gives advice on how to turn even the most mundane settings into interesting photographic subjects. He teaches about the rule of thirds and when to use vertical composition. While some of the concepts might only apply to those with professional cameras and lenses, many of the tips Professor Sartore gives can even be applied to the photos you take with your mobile phone. He provides numerous examples of his own photographic experiments to illustrate his points.

6. Train Yourself Like a Dog

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Outsmart Yourself: Brain-Based Strategies to a Better You taught by Peter M. Vishton, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

The human brain is very complex, but in this lecture Professor Peter M. Vishton, Ph.D. suggests some easy and proven ways that you can influence your brain particularly when it comes to bad habits. Dr. Vishton first suggests that the mere act of writing down when you perform a bad habit is a good start to getting control of it. He goes on to cite studies of positive and negative reinforcement for conquering bad habits and how effective they have been. He sums up the lecture by reminding us that most of the things we do during the day are habitual and as Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do". So we might as well try to get control of our habits instead letting them control us. This 30-minute lecture is available on The Great Courses YouTube channel.

7. Why America Wrote the Declaration of Independence

To commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776, we're featuring this free lecture from The Great Courses. In this lecture, Professor Joseph F. Kobylka charts how the philosophy behind the American revolution changed as the conflict between the colonies and Great Britain heated up. Using John Locke as a formative model, American thinkers such as John Dickinson, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Jefferson first argued for their rights based on a status as English citizens. When they slowly began to view the British government as abusive, their conciliatory stance began to shift into to a then innovative universal argument based on natural human rights. In this crucial moment, a new, truly revolutionary philosophy was born out of the conflict; a philosophy that led to the Declaration of Independence, and gave birth to a new nation founded on an equal relationship between the government and the people.

8. Why You Stress

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called How to Make Stress Work for You taught by Professor Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this free lecture from The Great Courses, Professor Kimberlee Bethany Bonura starts with the equation that arousal plus your value judgment equals stress. She emphasizes the importance of one's perception when it comes to stressing out under a given circumstance, and also points out many of the cultural and environmental factors that contribute to stress. She also points to studies where genetics and early life experience play a heavy role as to how you'll react to stress later in life. She places stress on a continuum, where very low stress can lead to boredom and poor performance, but too high of stress can lead to anxiety and poor performance as well. In between these two extremes you can find an optimal level of aroused stress that leads to your best performance.

9. Causes of The Great Recession

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called International Economic Institutions: Globalism vs. Nationalism taught by Professor Ramon P. DeGennaro, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Learn about the many causes of The Great Recession which led to economic decline in the United States and world markets in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Professor Ramon P. DeGennaro, Ph.D. explores the many risks that were taken which led to the crisis in this lecture from his course International Economic Institutions: Globalism vs. Nationalism. Financial institutions in the 2000s began taking enormous risks particularly in the housing market. Helped out by low interest rates and fewer regulations, banks and investors mismanaged their risks while mortgage defaults were rising. Using many analogies to help us understand the complex economic forces at play, Professor DeGennaro takes a long view of economic best practices to demonstrate how many financial institutions were brought down during The Great Recession.

10. Can Adult Brains Change for the Better?

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience taught by Professor Professor Indre Viskontas, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Hear about the exciting new science of adult neurogenesis, which is the process by which new neurons are generated in the adult brain. Professor Indre Viskontas, Ph.D. explains that for many years in neuroscience, scientists thought once the adult brain was fully developed that adults could not grow new neurons. But recent science has proven that new development is possible, especially in the hippocampus of the brain which is associated with memory. Dr. Viskontas also examines some of the ways in which brain power can be boosted and how exercise, food, and pills affect the brain. Learn how you can start growing new neurons today!

11. The Art of Debate: Using Evidence in Debate

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Art of Debate taught by Professor Jarrod Atchison, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this lecture from The Great Courses course The Art of Debate, Professor Jarrod Atchison, Ph.D. teaches about four different kinds of evidence that are frequently used in debate. He first discusses the power of using a story as evidence for an argument. He then describes the use of empirical evidence such as data and statistics. He provides examples of how authority can play an important role in evidence used in a debate. And lastly, he tells of the importance of the personal narrative in debate, which is usually more persuasive than describing the narrative of someone else. He applies all these types of evidence to a hypothetical debate about assisted suicide. Expand your power to debate with these strategies of using evidence.

12. Mind-Body Philosophy: History of the Soul

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Mind-Body Philosophy taught by Professor Patrick Grim, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this lecture Professor Patrick Grim, Ph.D. outlines the complex history of the soul in Western philosophy and religion. Starting with its roots in Homeric literature and Greek philosophy along with the Old Testament, Dr. Grim demonstrates how early conceptions of the soul differed from what would become more modern conceptions in thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine which emphasized a dualistic approach between a temporal body and an eternal soul. At the end of the lecture Professor Grim marks some thinkers who led to a decline in the discussion of the soul in philosophy and psychology, including Rene Descartes and William James.

13. History of Slang in the English Language

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Secret Life of Words: English Words and Their Origins taught by Professor PAnne Curzan, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

This entertaining lecture from The Great Courses provides some history to the often used, but seldom studied subject of slang in language. Professor Anne Curzan, Ph.D. gives many examples of the history of slang words, some which have lasted the test of time, some which are newer, and some which have faded from use. She provides examples of how slang is used among youth and subcultures to rebel against the mainstream and formal communication. The lecture is sure to produce a few chuckles as Professor Curzan explains in scholarly terms many words and terms which are generally not used in the college classroom.

14. Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe: Inexplicable Space

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries taught by Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Popular science communicator Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He's become a superstar of teaching astronomy and physics and even hosted the popular TV update of Cosmos which aired on the Fox Network and on streaming platforms back in 2014. He taught a 12-lecture course for The Great Courses called My Favorite Universe and a 6-lecture course called The Inexplicable Universe: Unsolved Mysteries. This free lecture is from The Inexplicable Universe course and is called "Inexplicable Space". Professor Tyson takes a look at the 95% of the universe that is currently unknown and referred to as dark matter and dark energy. He also examines what is going to happen in 4.5 billion years when The Milky Way Galaxy is expected to collide with the Andromeda Galaxy.

15. Religion: Its Meaning and Importance

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Cultural Literacy for Religion taught by Professor Mark Berkson, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this introductory lecture to The Great Courses course Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know, Professor Mark Berkson, Ph.D. begins the course with citing studies as to how little the average American knows about the major world's religions. He feels there are many reasons for this including the reluctance of schools to teach about world religions in K-12 education. Dr. Berkson gives his arguments for why he feels literacy of religion is so important. He then sets out on the complicated task of defining religion, in which he provides a multifaceted approach that seeks to encompass the aspects of all major religions and how they differ from other disciplines such as science and philosophy.

16. Learning French Verbs, Adjectives, and Adverbs

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures taught by Professor Ann Williams, PH.D., DEA. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Enjoy this free lecture on French language and culture from The Great Courses. Much more than a listen-and-repeat French learning program, this video course called Learning French: A Rendezvous with French-Speaking Cultures gives viewers an introduction to the French-Speaking World providing language learning, travel tips, French customs, and much more. Professor Ann Williams is an enthusiastic presenter and the course includes visuals cues and words that she is using along the way. In this lecture you'll learn about the rules of French verbs, adjectives, and adverbs and how they are commonly used in French culture. She moves along quickly and you'll probably want to have some basic understanding of the French language to supplement this course, but it seems to be an excellent introduction particularly for French learners who want to travel to France someday.

17. H.G. Wells and Utopian Science Fiction

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature taught by Professor Pamela Bedore, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

The final decades of the 19th century saw the birth and development of science fiction as a new literary genre, with the concept of utopia in particular being a favorite subject of early writers. In this free Great Course lecture, Literature Professor Pamela Bedore focuses on two books by science fiction forefather H.G. Wells that ask the question: is imagining a utopia inherently a part of science fiction? Using both Wells' classic The Time Machine and a lesser known work called A Modern Utopia as her texts, Professor Bedore demonstrates how science fiction can be utilized to explore how current societies might evolve if certain trends predominate, leading to interesting utopian futures that sometimes look positive on the surface, but often come with hidden costs.

18. The Economics of Racial Discrimination

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Unexpected Economics taught by Professor Timothy Taylor. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Can economic data be used to track discrimination practices in the United States? As Professor Timothy Taylor demonstrates in this lecture for The Great Courses, the numbers sometimes do tell the tale. Using various data collected across standard U.S. government statistical sources, Taylor focuses on the plight of African Americans, demonstrating how small, racially biased decisions in the job market, hiring practices, and housing demographics reveals itself through statistical discrimination across the country. Even with measures taken on a policy level to even the playing field for minorities, Professor Taylor effectively notes how small discriminatory choices made on an institutional level can add up to a widespread phenomenon of racial bias.

19. A Tour of Central Turkey

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul taught by Professor John R. Hale, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Homeland of the great Persian poet Rumi, central Turkey features a wide range of locations, from cosmopolitan cities to astonishing natural and man-made archeological sites. In this free Great Courses lecture, Professor John R. Hale serves as your field guide through his favorite destinations, including the capital Ankara, Rumi's Konya, and the exotic Cappadocia. The highlights of this video tour include a look at Rumi's birthplace, the otherworldly volcanic formations in Cappadocia, and a nearby underground cave network miraculously built by Christian refugees. This is an unparalleled introduction to a part of the world that goes beyond the well-traveled paths of Istanbul into a remote region that few have seen in such detail.

20. The Role Women Played in the American Revolution

In many ways the late 18th century American revolutionary period remains a somewhat ambiguous moment for the role of women. Looking back, Professor Peter C. Mancall sees a time when women were culturally omitted from official documents (e.g. "all men are created equal"), trapped in unfair marriage laws, and all but imprisoned in the role of homebound nurturer for future male leaders. Despite these factors, key voices do emerge that would later cause historic waves, most notably Abigail Adams, whose writings are a remarkable testament to her important role in early government leadership. The Declaration's language can also be traced to the later women's suffrage movement, which realized astutely that women needed formal inclusion in the political system in order to legally erase their status as second-class citizens.

21. Alexander the Great's Impact on the Jews

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Jesus and His Jewish Influences taught by Professor Jodi Magness, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

During the 4th century BC, Alexander of Macedonia made an incredible push into the Far East, leaving ripples in his wake that had an impact across many different cultures. In this free lecture provided by the Great Courses, Professor Jodi Magness discusses Alexander's influence on ancient Palestine, and the various legends that came up about his supposed time in the region. Professor Magness also uses scriptural citations to demonstrate how the ancient Jews drew parallels between Alexander the Great and Jesus Christ, using the former as a semi-divine precursor to the new Christian era.

22. Papal Elections, Then & Now

Learn the twisty history of how the Pope is elected in this free 30-minute lecture provided by the Great Courses. Professor Thomas F.X. Noble guides listeners, starting with Saint Peter's origins in Rome as the first pope, and how the church Cardinals became key officers in electing every Pope thereafter. The papacy went through a period of political interference throughout the Middle Ages that led to a succession of differing election methods that were often factional, or overtly biased, leading to the more streamlined Papal succession ritual we know today.

23. Does Technology Make You Stupid?

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience taught by Professor Indre Viskontas, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

It is frequently suggested that technology is making people more stupid, but in this lecture from The Great Courses, Professor Indre Viskontas, Ph.D. takes a more nuanced view of what technology might be doing to our intelligence and our ability to pay attention. This 30-minute lecture is from her course Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience and she takes on many of the common myths involving smartphones, social media, and computers. She covers a lot of ground in this lecture and cites many recent studies that have dealt with how these new technologies are transforming our world and our minds.

24. English Grammar Boot Camp: Why Do We Care about Grammar?

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called English Grammar Boot Camp: Why Do We Care about Grammar? taught by Professor Anne Curzan, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

This is an enjoyable lecture for grammar nerds of all ages. Professor Anne Curzan, Ph.D.
opens her course from The Great Courses called English Grammar Boot Camp with a lecture entitled "Why Do We Care about Grammar?" She provides some personal history as to how she became obsessed with grammar and goes on to demonstrate that grammar is more fluid and debatable than we might assume. Professor Curzan is on the usage panel for The American Heritage Dictionary and she provides examples of how she and her fellow language experts weigh in on word usage that is controversial or problematic. This lecture will give you a better idea about how best grammar practices are determined and how they change over time.

25. How England Colonized India

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called A History of British India taught by Professor Hayden J. Bellenoit, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Within three generations the British East India Company would supplant the reigning Mughal dynastic empire to become the masters of the Indian subcontinent. In this free lecture provided by The Great Courses, Professor Hayden J. Bellenoit explains some of the factors that brought about such a remarkable shift in India, starting in the 1700s until the rise of Mahatma Gandhi. Professor Bellenoit skillfully lays out three main points that led to British dominance, including decentralization of the empire's power base, the strong worldwide demand for Indian goods, and the willingness of prominent banking families to play ball; all of which set the stage for one of the most ruthless examples of colonialism that the world has ever seen.

26. An Analysis of Odysseus

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Great Mythologies of the World. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

For this free 30-minute lecture provided by The Great Courses, Professor Kathryn McClymond gives a close-up analysis of Odysseus, the Greek hero of Homeric myth, master schemer, and perhaps one of the earliest "everyman" superheroes. Odysseus's clever nature serves him well during the Trojan War, but becomes a liability as he and his men encounter countless obstacles in a 20-year effort to return home. Themes of identity are also at play throughout the epic of The Odyssey, as Odysseus can't help but hide his true nature under different guises before coming to peace with himself in the arms of a loving wife and son. What we see in Professor McCymond's lecture is a complex hero who is capable of withstanding incredible physical hardships, yet finds the ultimate challenge to be his own flawed character.

27. The Unfolding Ukraine-Russia Crisis

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called
A History of Eastern Europe
taught by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Learn about the history of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis in this lecture from The Great Courses from their course A History of Eastern Europe taught by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius. In the first half of the lecture, Professor Liulevicius gives a quick summary of Ukraine-Russia relations over the centuries and explains how groups of people in the Ukraine are split between their affinities to Russia and to the West. The last half of the lecture focuses on the current Ukraine-Russia crisis in which Russian military intervention led to the annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea by Russia in 2014. Learn about this political hot spot that is continuing to play a major role in geopolitics today.

28. Napoleon: The Revolutionary Emperor

In this excellent lecture provided by the Great Courses, Professor Jonathan Steinberg touches on the rise, genius, and legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte. Within the span of 30 minutes, Steinberg provides unique insight as to how Bonaparte modernized and stabilized France during a chaotic revolutionary era in the 1790s, rising from humble origins through sheer charismatic genius, innovative military precision, and unmatched leadership ability. As Professor Steinberg argues, the history of modern France is marked by a period before and after Napoleon permanently altered the landscape, and there may be no comparable figure with such a lasting legacy.

29. Introduction to The Analects of Confucius

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Books That Matter: The Analects of Confucius taught by Professor Robert Andre LaFleur, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

According to Professor Robert Andre LaFleur, The Analects of Confucius can be summed up in one word: imagination. As opposed to seeing Confucius as a "parochial moralizer", Professor LaFleur sees the Chinese teacher as a visionary philosopher who taught that we must re-imagine "work" as something that goes beyond being a mere job so that it becomes more of an overall outlook on life. In this Great Courses introduction to an in-depth exploration of the Confucian Analects, Lafleur invites us to enter a discussion about how committed, life-long study can lead to a good life that is both self-fulfilling and inherently communal. Technical proficiency is not enough; as Confucius says, we have to live our work, and share it with others.

30. Stonehenge and Ancient Astronomy

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Remarkable Science of Ancient Astronomy taught by Professor Bradley E. Schaefer, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this free lecture provided by The Great Courses, Professor Bradley Schaefer takes viewers on an introductory tour of the methods used by ancient astronomers to map and utilize the stars in the night sky. The first segment focuses on England's Stonehenge monument, perhaps the most famous artifact of archeoastronomy in the world. Professor Schaefer explains how Stonehenge was created between 3100 and 1600 BC, and offers up a few of the popular theories about the people that made it, including the site's longtime association with the druids and paganism. The course that follows will trace thousands of years of the history of ancient astronomy, from 4,000 BC to the Renaissance, covering the world's monuments to the cardinal and solstitial directions, and much more.

31. Using Bird Behavior to Identify Birds

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America taught by Professor James Currie. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

With over 700 avian species in North America alone, identifying specific birds can be quite daunting for the beginner! In this Great Courses lecture provided in partnership with National Geographic, birding enthusiast James Currie explains how you can get better at quickly identifying the different birds you see in the wild. Currie says that seasoned birdwatchers break the basic cues down based on behavior, outlining 6 categories that include typical features, feeding traits, flight configuration, flocking patterns, mating habits, and nesting complexity. As he breaks these categories down with video references, the viewer is given excellent tips they can go out and watch for right away, wherever they are and whatever level of birdwatching experience they have.

32. Two Prototypes for The Theory of Everything

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Theory of Everything: The Quest to Explain All Reality taught by Professor Don Lincoln, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

The biggest possible goal of modern science is nothing less than a complete understanding of the fundamental rules of the universe. As Professor Don Lincoln explains, he and his colleagues in the scientific community have long understood that all of the phenomena we can observe seems interconnected by a deeper principle that gives rise to everything we see. In this free lecture provided by the Great Courses, we learn about the standard model, which covers the micro, sub-atomic nature of reality, and Einstein's general theory of relativity, which still stands as our best explanation for how gravity and the nature of space/time works. A key figure in the cutting-edge physics covered in this course, Professor Lincoln serves as the perfect guide to explain these mind-boggling concepts, breaking down what we know, where there are theoretical gaps, and how we might clarify the mysteries that still elude us.

33. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: Huns and Vandals

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Books That Matter: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire taught by Professor Leo Damrosch, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

This free Great Courses lecture is part of the Books that Matter series, focusing this time on Edward Gibbon's landmark The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In this lecture Harvard Professor Leo Damrosch discusses the Eastern invaders that finally broke Roman dominance, and in the process became major contributors to what would become Modern Europe. The chapters covered here include a brief biographical sketch of Attila the Hun and his leadership qualities, the sack of Rome by the Vandals, an interesting note on the last Roman Emperor, a look at Gibbon's distaste for Monastic isolation, and much more. This is a great taste of the sheer breadth of Professor Damrosch's genius as a literary scholar, and his ability to weave commentary on Gibbon's life in with an expert analysis of the historical period covered.

34. The Origins of Agriculture in Human History

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Big History of Civilizations taught by Professor Craig G. Benjamin, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

How did human beings make the leap from nomadic communities dedicated to foraging over to village-based civilizations built around agriculture? In this free 30-minute lecture provided by The Great Courses, Professor Craig G. Benjamin outlines the current academic thinking on the factors that led to this major transition in human history, which took place over 11,000 years ago. These circumstances include post ice age climate change, which created stable environmental factors in areas like the fertile crescent, animal and plant domestication breakthroughs, and demographic pressures that made it more sensible to stay and develop a single piece of land. With the advent of agriculture, Professor Benjamin notes that human beings were suddenly set on a new historical trajectory; a pathway that made civilization as we know it possible.

35. The Apocrypha and the Cult of Mary

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Apocryphal Jesus taught by Professor David Brakke. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Mary has been a controversial figure throughout Christian history, with some viewing her as a semi-divine figure of veneration, and others decrying the idea of placing her on such a high pedestal, despite being the mother of Jesus. In this free Great Courses lecture, Professor David Brakke dives into the Gospel's account of Mary before exploring how different apocryphal stories expand upon her biography, including emphasis on her virginal purity, her special access to Jesus, and differing accounts of her death. As Brakke moves through these stories, he teases out how the figure of Mary may reveal tensions in the early Church that were gradually smoothed over as mainstream Christian doctrine took shape.

36. The Detective in Mystery and Suspense Fiction

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Secrets of Great Mystery and Suspense Fiction taught by Professor David Schmid, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

The detective is the central figure of the mystery and suspense genre. As Professor David Schmid says in this free Great Courses Plus lecture, where crime disrupts, the detective restores order; if crime is an illness, the detective is the doctor. In this lecture on the creation of the Detective, Schmid uses Edgar Allan Poe's C. August Dupin, Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot as examples of how the core traits of the detective were established, and how their comparative differences helped the character type evolve. As Professor Schmid puts it, readers still love detectives because of how they make sense of an often irrational world, and this lecture is a great entry-point for anyone curious about the origins of these beloved creations.

37. Greek 101: The Greek Alphabet & Pronunciation

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Greek 101: Learning an Ancient Language taught by Professor Hans-Friedrich Mueller, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Professor Hans-Friederich Mueller hosts a full lecture devoted to the entire Greek alphabet in this free lecture provided by The Great Courses. Here Mueller will guide you through each letter, before progressing to basic words, the tricky pronunciations that crop up, and the complex sentences that come out as a final result. As you follow along, you are encouraged to verbally repeat these Greek grammar basics, helping you retain and eventually enjoy an important language used by Homer, Shakespeare, and The Bible.

38. Visualizing Extraordinary Ways to Multiply

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature taught by Professor Marc C. Conner, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this fun and often illuminating lecture provided by The Great Courses, math evangelist James S. Tanton talks all about how to visualize multiplication in new, often counter-intuitive ways. From quirky examples like the line method (which doesn't look like it should work at all), to how we might rethink the usual algorithms we learn in grade school, Professor Tanton does a great job of breaking up the anxiety we sometimes attach to mathematical problems. Enthusiastic and excited to share these methods, Tanton closes the lectures with a closed fist method that will get you playing along with him as he makes math easier to understand.

39. Science of Flight: Breaking the Sound Barrier

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Science of Flight taught by Professor James W. Gregory, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

What made the sound barrier such a difficult challenge for early flight pioneers, and why did it represent such a fundamental breakthrough for the future of aviation? In this lecture delivered by Professor James W. Gregory, we take an inside look at the basic scientific problems surrounding supersonic flight that had to be solved, including wing design, high-speed air pressure dynamics, and the mechanical dangers that made many in the scientific community conclude it simply wasn't possible to fly faster than sound. Gregory provides helpful animations and archive footage to illustrate how test pilot Chuck Yeager finally broke the barrier in 1947, ushering in the jet age that we still benefit from, and even take for granted today.

40. How to Grow Anything: Plan the Garden of Your Dreams

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called How to Grow Anything: Your Best Garden and Landscape in 6 Lessons taught by Professor Melinda Myers. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

For this free Great Courses lecture, horticulturist Melinda Myers walks you through the broad steps needed to transform your backyard into a beautiful garden you can enjoy and use for years to come. Using a large property as her test garden, Myers talks about "The 4 Rs" everyone should remember before redesigning their space: the Right Plant, the Right Purpose, the Right Place, and the Right Look. From there, Myers talks about how to evaluate what you have, what you might need to do to prepare your land, and what flora and fauna might be best for you given the realities of climate, plant hardiness, and what's important to you aesthetically. Wonderful for those that are itching to work with their green thumb but don't know where to start!

41. Effective Communication Skills: The Social Context

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Effective Communication Skills taught by Professor Dalton Kehoe. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this free lecture from The Great Courses course Effective Communication Skills, Professor Dalton Kehoe, Ph.D. takes us into the essential element of social context that is present whenever and wherever we are communicating. Why do we whisper when we enter a cathedral? Dr. Kehoe examines this and many other social situations and how our learned cultural experiences pass on the values and norms of our communication. He also provides some insights into how cultures are different when it comes to their methods of communication citing a study of students from Southern U.S. states versus Northern U.S. states. This is a compelling lecture that will get you thinking about how your own culture has shaped your communication.

42. Introduction to World Economic History

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called An Economic History of the World since 1400 taught by Professor Donald J. Harreld, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this opening lecture of the course An Economic History of the World Since 1400, Professor Donald J. Harreld starts out by describing his own interest in economic history. He then lays out many of the terms that will be examined in various stages of the history he will be teaching in the course including production, demand, distribution, business contracts, markets, trade, and even a complex definition of capitalism itself. He also briefly describes some of the schools of economics that will be studied during the course such as neoclassical economics and Marxian economics.

43. Learning How to Practice the Guitar

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called
Learning to Play Guitar: Chords, Scales, and Solos
taught by Professor Colin McAllister, D.M.A.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Professor Colin McAllister teaches his methods for practicing the guitar in this lectures from The Great Courses course Learning to Play Guitar: Chords, Scales, and Solos. He tells a story about the importance of practice and then goes on to teach how to hold the guitar and how to play some simple notes, chords, and scales. Along the way you'll see helpful diagrams to show you how to play each of these elements.

44. Roots of Irish Identity: Celts to Monks

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called The Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature taught by Professor Marc C. Conner, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

The Great Courses have added over 50 free lectures from their latest courses to their YouTube channel. One of the lectures they added comes just in time for St. Patrick's Day. The lecture is called "Roots of Irish Identity: Celts to Monks" from their course Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature taught by Professor Marc C. Conner, Ph.D.. In the lecture Professor Conner introduces the course by tracing Irish identity back to the Celts as he details their mythology. He also provides the background of Saint Patrick and of the monks who "saved civilization" by writing out much of the knowledge of Greek and Roman literature after the collapse of the Roman Empire. You'll probably want to watch this lecture as it contains some beautiful imagery of Ireland and aspects of Irish civilization. Get in the Irish spirit with this free lecture from The Great Courses.

45. Learn How the Assassination of JFK Changed Our World

For people of a certain generation, the John F. Kennedy assassination changed America forever, prefiguring a loss of innocence that has lasted into the modern era. In this lecture from The Great Courses, Professor J. Rufus Fears accesses JFK's short presidency, from how it offered a new era of hopeful ambition after World War II, to how he handled the Cuban Missile Crisis, to how he may have averted U.S. deepened involvement in Vietnam if he had lived. In the end, Fears believes that JFK's death changed history for the worse, and in this lecture he makes a compelling case for what might have been.

46. Facets of Major World Religions

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Cultural Literacy for Religion taught by Professor Mark Berkson, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

In this second lecture from The Great Courses course Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know, Professor Mark Berkson, Ph.D. discusses some of the common features of most world religions including God (or gods), scriptures, rituals, confronting good and evil, and the path to salvation. He provides examples as to how many world religions have these features which provide the groundwork for how he will examine the major world religions in the rest of the course. Dr. Berkson effectively communicates these facets of religion to begin a very informative course that will cover the basics of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and a few other religious traditions.

47. Mind Bending Math: Voting Paradoxes

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Mind-Bending Math: Riddles and Paradoxes taught by Professor David Kung, Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Learn about the complex mathematical scenarios behind many of the most popular voting methods in the United States and around the World. Professor David Kung, Ph.D. lays out how different voting methods lead to different results especially when three or more candidates are introduced. He examines the plurality systems and the popular vote, the Electoral College, runoff voting, majoritarian voting, and other systems. Look at examples of candidates winning such as Jesse Ventura's historic gubernatorial victory in Minnesota where he only would've likely won with a popular voting system (and he did). The lecture will surely get you thinking about what voting system is best.

48. Brief Introduction to Tai Chi
This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Mastering Tai Chi taught by International Master Tai Chi Instructor David-Dorian Ross. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

International Master Tai Chi instructor David-Dorian Ross begins this course from The Great Courses by diving right into demonstrating Tai Chi in action. He then gives viewers a brief introduction as to what Tai Chi is and how it started, coming out of the Taoist tradition. He then demonstrates the Yang-style 40-movement form that he will be teaching throughout the course. You'll definitely want to watch this lecture, rather than just listen to it, as it's mostly an intro to Tai Chi through its physical display.

49. Basic Structure of the Atom

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works taught by Professor Ron B. Davis Jr., Ph.D.. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Learn about the history of the discovery of the atom and what it is made up of in this lecture from The Great Courses course Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works taught by Professor Ron B. Davis Jr., Ph.D.. In this lecture Professor Davis gives a history of discoveries about the atom from protons to electrons to neutrons. He concludes the lecture with how atomic mass is calculated and examines the atoms of some of the most well known elements including hydrogen, carbon, and uranium. You'll also learn a little about isotopes, anions, and cations.

50. The Story of Ancient Olympia

This lecture is part of a course from The Great Courses called Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul taught by Professor John R. Hale. This course and over 300 other courses can be accessed with a subscription to The Great Courses Plus.

Go back to the days of the ancient Greek Olympics in this free lecture from the Great Courses series. The Great Courses features over 350 lecture courses taught by professors at the nation's leading universities, which they sell on CD, DVD, and Audio & Video Download. This free 30-minute lecture from their course Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul features a visual tour of ancient Olympia as Professor John R. Hale guides you through the happenings of Ancient Olympics Games which date back to 776 BC. This free lecture is available from The Great Courses through their new YouTube channel which also features course trailers, lecture samples, and more.

And here are over 20 more lectures they offer on their YouTube channel:

Science of Modern Electronics: AC Versus DC

The Ottoman Empire: The Empire at Total War, 1914-1916

How To Draw: Linear Perspective

Chemistry and Our Universe: Wave Nature of Light

The Art of Investing: Fisher and Price, The Growth-Stock Investors

The Sack of Rome and Augustine's The City of God

The Power of a Mathematical Picture

The Ancient Egyptian Alphabet

Must-Know Tactical Patterns in Chess

How to Draw: Proportion

Three-Dimensional Geometry: Solids

The Politics and People of The American Revolution

The Boston Tea Party as a Turning Point in American History

The American Revolution: The Most Significant Result of The Enlightenment Period

Scientific Secrets for a Powerful Memory: Encoding Information with Images

America's Founding Fathers: The Early American Economy

Medieval Muslim Medicine and Hospitals

Anthropology and the Question of Race

Plant Science: An Introduction to Flowers

Experiencing Hubble: The Star Factory inside the Eagle Nebula

How to Program: Variables: Operations and Input/Output

The Joy of Pi

What Is The Higgs Boson Particle?

Money and Banking: What Is Monetary Policy Coordination

And be sure to check out The Great Courses Plus:

Browse Over 350 Courses Currently Offered Through the The Great Courses Plus