study break

5 Awesome Lectures from The Great Courses

Here are mini-reviews of five of my favorite courses from TGC.

I know, I know, I’m going on about TGC – and again. But it’s basically Netflix for learning cool new things!

1. Turning Points in Medieval History with Dorsey Armstrong

Armstrong is one of my favorite professors. She also did the stellar King Arthur: History and Legend, a gem of a course that launched my Arthuriana reading binge. But this was the first series I heard from her, and I love the personal touch she gives by providing details on the lives of the people involved in these historical turning points.

2. Understanding Multivariable Calculus with Bruce Edwards

I took Calc III through LSU’s distance learning program, and considering that they only ever gave me a textbook and a flip-book of problems to solve (not even some professor interaction as seen in an online class), Edwards really saved me. He explains concepts clearly and with an obvious love of the subject, and works problems in each lecture. Math is a joy and I was so happy to continue my education this way throughout my nontraditional degree.

3. Foundations of Western Civilization II with Robert Bucholz

Taught by a very entertaining professor, this series will give a tour of Western history from the Renaissance to the Soviet Union, with primary literature and character quips – real and apocryphal – provided along the way (usually with the professor reading them out loud like he’s on an audiobook or something. It’s great.) History lectures, done well, sound more like a novel than just strings of facts, and these lectures are the epitome of that.

4. Oceanography: Exploring Earth’s Final Wilderness with Harold Tobin

This course is the reason I pursued an MS in Ocean Science. No lie. Oceanography is a highly interdisciplinary field where physics, geology, chemistry, biology, and ecology are used to explore a region less mapped than the dark side of the moon.

5. Music as a Mirror of History with Robert Greenburg

I never was so inspired to listen to and appreciate great music as I was with Greenburg’s lectures on musicians and their times. After he presents the historical, political, and personal context of an orchestral, operatic, or solo piece, we listen to the music itself and a beautiful new world is finally accessible.

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