The company produces only what its market research shows that customers want. True, the Great Courses emphasizes breadth over depth and offers largely introductory material.
Customers accost Great Courses professors in airports as though they were celebrities. Michael Sugrue, one of the two other lecturers in the course and a historian of colonial America, volunteered.
In fact, the company has been recycling its most popular professors on topics increasingly remote from their official competencies. Maxed out on his credit cards and having sold 12 of his 13 Washington power suits, he had bet everything he had left on a history of Western philosophy course, for which his customer polling indicated a huge demand.
But the educational market works very differently inside the academy and outside it, and the consumers of university education are largely to blame. In the 24 visually intensive lectures of Writing and Civilization: Alan Kors has received fan letters from forest rangers and from prison convicts.
There are lessons here for the academy, if it will only pay them heed. Does the curriculum on campuses look so different because undergraduates, unlike adults, actually demand postcolonial studies rather than the Lincoln-Douglas debates? In science and mathematics, they could study cosmology, algebra, calculus, differential equations, quantum mechanics, chemistry, chaos theory, basic biology, probability, the history of mathematics, the great ideas of classical physics, and the science of consciousness.
Public libraries have formed discussion groups around the most popular courses.
Unfortunately, even some Great Courses faculty demonstrate the narrowing of the academic mind. Parents and children select the school that will deliver the most prestigious credentials and social connections. The company releases no information about its buyers, but professors say that they have been told to think of their audience as just as educated as they are, but in a different field.
The insatiability of the demand for such courses surprises even the producers themselves.Meet Georg Grotefend, a German high school teacher who made an incomparable contribution to the study of ancient writing and civilization.
As you investigate the methods he used to decipher Old Persian cuneiform in the Achaemenid texts of Persepolis, delve into a bit of history on this culture's language and the foundation that was already established for the decipherment.
A Great Courses customer, by contrast, can choose from a cornucopia of American history not yet divvied up into the fiefdoms of race, gender, and sexual orientation, with multiple offerings in the American Revolution, the constitutional period, the Civil War, the Bill of Rights, and the intellectual influences on the country’s founding.
Throughout War and World History, the lectures highlight the vital methodology and organization of war and the military cultures that grew from them. You trace the fortunes of the chariot in the Bronze Age as it spread across the Asian core, revolutionizing battle and spurring the "chariot nobility," as nobles were granted lands and incentives to produce chariots for royal armies.
Among its attractions was a great museum-temple dedicated to the Muses and the first true research library in the world. Alexandria This mathematician's work is still the basis of courses in geometry.
Writing and Civilization: From Ancient Worlds to Modernity is rated out of 5 by Great Courses Presents: The Greatest Ideas of All Time (Vol.
1) by Tom Rollins The Great Courses: A Historical Tour of London by Robert Bucholz The Great Courses: America and the Tyranny of George III by University of Oklahoma) Rufus (Professor Fears.Download