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  • The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being

    Professor Ronald D. Siegel Psy.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    In this astonishing look at the wide-scale adoption of mindfulness techniques into mainstream psychology and healthcare, study the brain science underlying these traditional wisdom practices and experience their extraordinary effects in your own life.

    View Lecture List (29)
    29 Lectures  |  The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being
    Lecture Titles (29)
    • 1
      Why Mindfulness Matters
      Begin by exploring the nature of mindfulness practice as a means of developing awareness with acceptance of our present experience. Review its remarkable range of psychological and physical benefits, dispel common misconceptions, and uncover the three core skills it employs as part of an empirically-supported path to well-being. x
    • 2
      Our Troublesome Brains
      Here, discover how our brains are actually predisposed, evolutionarily, to psychological distress. Learn about the human “negativity bias,” and how our tendency to both anticipate and try to avoid pain leads to problems. Consider what mindfulness teaches us about the mind, and what challenges might arise in practicing mindfulness - beginning with awareness of breath. x
    • 3
      Informal, Formal, and Intensive Practices
      Grasp how mindfulness, like physical fitness, must be developed through regular and sustained practice. Investigate ways of cultivating mindfulness during daily activities such as bathing or driving, and understand the significant benefits of formal meditative practice and intensive retreats. Learn also about walking and eating meditation. x
    • 4
      Who Am I - The Perils of Self
      Now grapple with one of the most fundamental and challenging insights that come from mindfulness practice. With reference to both cognitive science and traditional Buddhist thought, observe how the human mind creates the illusory sense of a “separate” self, and how this conception of separateness is itself the cause of suffering. x
    • 5
      Mindfulness or Psychotherapy
      Delve into the implications of mindfulness practice for psychological well-being. Learn how mindfulness practice works toward many of the same goals as psychotherapy. Explore how the ultimate aim of traditional mindfulness practice diverges from earlier Western psychology in proposing a more radical path to psychological, emotional, and spiritual freedom. x
    • 6
      Attention and Empathy in Relationships
      See how mindfulness practices train us to embrace our moment-to-moment experience. Learn how this capacity allows us to be with discomfort and to freely tolerate all emotional states, and how this can positively affect our relationships through cultivating empathy, open-mindedness, and mental flexibility. x
    • 7
      The Science of Compassion and Self-Compassion
      “Compassion” is empathy for suffering that includes a desire to alleviate it. Learn how compassion for oneself is associated with virtually every desirable psychological outcome. Learn steps and exercises to cultivate compassion both for yourself and others, and review studies on the benefits of developing compassion. x
    • 8
      Tailoring Practices to Fit Changing Needs
      In choosing mindfulness practices for your own life, consider seven different criteria or questions to ask, such as which mindfulness skills to emphasize; whether to favor secular or religious approaches; and when to do practices that cultivate a sense of safety as opposed to those that work with difficult psychological material. x
    • 9
      Modifying Our Brain Function and Structure
      This lecture takes a thorough look at mindfulness and brain function. Review studies that show how mindfulness practice activates areas of the brain that regulate emotions, integrate thoughts and feelings, increase empathy, and facilitate learning and memory, while also retaining more brain matter and staving off aspects of cognitive decline typically associated with aging. x
    • 10
      Solitude - An Antidote to Loneliness
      Explore how mindfulness and compassion practices deepen connection and communication with others, and also cultivate an awareness of “interbeing” - our connection to the larger world. Review data showing how mindfulness skills enhance relationships, and see how mindfulness fosters the ability to be alone, a capacity essential for intimacy. x
    • 11
      Connecting with Children and Adolescents
      Mindfulness practice offers distinct benefits for caregivers of young people. Observe how mindfulness training helps us enter a child’s world through developing spontaneity and sensitivity, as well as fostering effective responses to misbehavior. Also learn mindfulness techniques that children and young people can use themselves. x
    • 12
      Seeing Sadness and Depression in a New Light
      Grasp how depression involves shutting down and turning away from pain, and how mindfulness practice turns our attention to the experience at hand, thus challenging the depressive stance. Observe how mindfulness changes our relationship to thoughts, moods, and feelings, allowing us to see them as transient events. x
    • 13
      Befriending Fear, Worry, and Anxiety
      Investigate the nature of anxiety and fear, seeing their roots in fantasies about the future. Consider how we typically cope with worry and anxiety by distracting ourselves, and how mindfulness training can free us from anxiety through directly facing our fears while grounded in the present moment. x
    • 14
      Transforming Chronic Pain
      Review substantial evidence that the vast majority of chronic back pain is actually stress-related, and learn about the effects of negative emotions on the body. Discover how mindfulness practice offers an effective approach to dealing with physical pain, through changing our relationship to both the symptom and to pain-related thinking. x
    • 15
      Placebos, Illness, and the Power of Belief
      This lecture explores the extraordinary power of the mind to affect our subjective experience of the body. Review astonishing data on the effectiveness of placebos in medical treatment, and learn how mindfulness practice can aid in treating conditions such as insomnia, sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems, and illness anxiety. x
    • 16
      Interrupting Addiction and Troublesome Habits
      Investigate the nature of compulsive behaviors and the psychological patterns that keep them in place. Observe how mindful awareness can dismantle these patterns, allowing us to be with changing waves of feelings and urges without having to act on them. Learn about effective mindfulness-based programs for a range of problematic behaviors. x
    • 17
      Overcoming Traumas Large and Small
      Study how trauma affects the mind, and how the tendency to suppress traumatic experiences leads to painful symptoms and unhealthy behavior. Grasp the ways in which mindfulness techniques can be highly effective for processing and integrating avoided feelings, and learn four practical steps for working with traumatic material. x
    • 18
      Groundbreaking Mindfulness Programs
      We are now seeing the wide-scale adoption of mindfulness practices into many healthcare settings. Study the approaches and benefits of pioneering programs such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and learn additional techniques that can deepen any mindfulness practice. x
    • 19
      The Neurobiology of Self-Preoccupation
      Science is now able to measure brain activity related to self-referential thinking - self-focused thought patterns that tend to correlate with distress. Examine findings from recent studies showing that experienced meditators can quickly step out of the self-preoccupied thought stream, with significant benefits for their ability to deal with pain and to cultivate wellness. x
    • 20
      Growing Up Is Not Easy - Facing Impermanence
      Mindfulness traditions teach us that facing impermanence can be extraordinarily liberating. Assess your readiness, and consider how mindfulness practices offer a different way of relating to the realities of aging, sickness, and death itself, and how cultivating deep attention to the present moment allows us to freely enjoy all the stages of life. x
    • 21
      Toward a Science of Wisdom
      Today, scientific psychologists are beginning to grapple with the question of what wisdom is and how it may be developed. Examine current experimental models for studying wisdom, and discover the key elements of wisdom they identify. Review eight ways that mindfulness practices can help us to develop wisdom. x
    • 22
      The Promise of Enlightenment
      The ultimate goal of traditional mindfulness practice is a psychological transformation known as “enlightenment.” Grasp the nature of this awakening in practical terms and learn about various pitfalls and challenges people encounter along the path, including spiritual materialism, foundations for awareness, and interpersonal contexts. x
    • 23
      Mindful Ethics as a Path to Freedom
      Recent research suggests a bilateral relationship between ethics and well-being. Consider five ethical precepts, and use them as tools of inquiry to observe which actions lead to suffering for ourselves and others. Learn how to develop an empirically derived ethical code - one not received as doctrine, but based in personal experience. x
    • 24
      The New Science of Happiness
      Finally, learn about the new field of positive psychology, and how mindfulness practices foster empirically-supported paths to happiness. Consider the many things that we mistakenly assume will produce happiness, and the alternative of a reliable avenue to well-being, grounded in attention to the present moment, engagement in life, gratitude, and connectedness to others. x
    • 25
      Bonus Meditation - Breath Awareness Practice
      Bonus Meditation - Breath Awareness Practice x
    • 26
      Bonus Meditation - Loving-Kindness Practice
      Bonus Meditation - Loving-Kindness Practice x
    • 27
      Bonus Meditation - Mountain Meditation
      Bonus Meditation - Mountain Meditation x
    • 28
      Bonus Meditation - Breathing Together
      Bonus Meditation - Breathing Together x
    • 29
      Bonus Meditation - Stepping into Fear
      Bonus Meditation - Stepping into Fear x
  • Fundamentals of Photography

    Joel Sartore

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Taking great photographs requires you to "see" as a professional photographer does; to train your eyes using the same fundamental techniques and principles the experts use to create unforgettable images from the grandest (and simplest) of subjects. With Fundamentals of Photography, you'll learn everything you need to know about the art and craft of great photography straight from a professional photographer with more than 30 years of experience. Designed for people at all levels, these 24 lectures are an engaging guide to how photographs work and how to make them work better for you.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Fundamentals of Photography
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Making Great Pictures
      What makes a photograph iconic? What three things must every picture have to stand out from any old snapshot? These two questions form the core of Mr. Sartore’s introduction to the course. You’ll also discover that a great picture doesn’t rely on equipment—but on being able to see and think critically about your surroundings. x
    • 2
      Camera Equipment—What You Need
      To take a picture, you need to have good equipment. Here, get a no-nonsense guide to finding photography equipment—including cameras, tripods, and camera bags—that fits your needs. Also, take an in-depth look at a camera’s controls and settings for everything from aperture to shutter speed to ISO (your film’s sensitivity to light). x
    • 3
      Lenses and Focal Length
      According to Mr. Sartore, lenses are the most critical tools of photography. In this lecture, he takes you into the field and shows you different camera lenses in action. Among them: 70–200 mm (good for blurring out distracting backgrounds), rectilinear lenses (great for photographing things with minimal distortion), and wide-angle lenses (perfect for both landscapes and for shooting subjects in tight quarters). x
    • 4
      Shutter Speeds
      Your camera’s shutter speed controls how much light enters the lens in a shot. Learn how to become a master at working with this critical tool of photography. You’ll discover when to use fast or slow shutter speeds, study each speed’s unique effects, and uncover different techniques—such as panning and ghosting—that can add great artistic touches. x
    • 5
      Aperture and Depth of Field
      What do numbers such as f/1.4, f/2.8, or f/16 mean? Finally make sense of your camera’s aperture settings, which can help create eye-popping visual effects and solve specific compositional problems. Then examine some of Mr. Sartore’s acclaimed work to see the dramatic relationship between aperture and a photograph’s depth of field. x
    • 6
      Light I—Found or Ambient Light
      In this first lecture on one of the two building blocks of photography, learn how to tap into the power of ambient light, which isn’t created in a studio but is found around you. Look at how you should adjust your camera to make the most of found light, and learn the best kind of ambient light to shoot in and why. Explore front lighting, hatchet lighting, and even zebra lighting. x
    • 7
      Light II—Color and Intensity
      Continue exploring light and photography with a look at color—both the “color” of different types of light and colors as they appear in your photographs. Then, focus on the differences between hard light and soft light, and how to adjust your camera accordingly to maximize the potential of these key photographic elements. x
    • 8
      Light III—Introduced Light
      Mr. Sartore discusses a tricky type of light: man-made (or introduced) light. You’ll learn tips for manipulating different sources of light (including firelight, car taillights, reflectors, and spotlights). Also, you’ll start to see your camera’s flash setting as not a pesky button but a powerful tool for creating breathtaking effects in your photography. x
    • 9
      Composition I—Seeing Well
      How do you truly capture the beauty of the three-dimensional world around you? The answer lies within composition—photography’s second building block. In the first of three lectures on the subject, analyze a series of pictures to get a basic understanding of how framing works. x
    • 10
      Composition II—Background and Perspective
      Great composition also involves paying attention to background and perspective. Here, Mr. Sartore offers you numerous tips and strategies for finding the perfect background, examining the benefits and drawbacks of particular perspectives, and avoiding compositional mistakes that can ruin the power of even the most perfectly lit photograph. x
    • 11
      Composition III—Framing and Layering
      Frames. Leading lines. The eyes of your subject. Layers. Learn how paying attention to—and using—these and other compositional tools can isolate the true subject of your photo and add a strong sense of dimension. x
    • 12
      Let’s Go to Work—Landscapes
      Now start applying the information you’ve learned. Your first assignment: rural and urban landscapes. Some tips you’ll discover include surveying the ground ahead of the prime light you want to shoot in, using wide-angle lenses and a little height to suggest grandeur, and focusing on a subject you can get repeated chances at capturing. x
    • 13
      Let’s Go to Work—Wildlife
      Explore techniques for photographing wildlife, whether it’s birds in your backyard or lions on a safari. Learn how to set up a blind to conceal you from your subject, where to find the best places to photograph flora and fauna, common mistakes that wildlife photographers should avoid, and more. x
    • 14
      Let’s Go to Work—People and Relationships
      Using touching photographs of family and friends, Mr. Sartore demonstrates how to use your camera to best capture joy, sadness, anger, and other emotions—without interfering with your subject’s behavior. x
    • 15
      Let’s Go to Work—From Mundane to Extraordinary
      A key skill for any photographer is the ability to capture the special aspects of even the most mundane subjects. Focus on developing and strengthening this talent alongside Mr. Sartore, who teaches you how to make great frames in seemingly “boring” places from hotel rooms to hog farms. x
    • 16
      Let’s Go to Work—Special Occasions
      Special occasions come loaded with moments that beg to be captured with a camera. Taking the knowledge you’ve gained from previous lectures, investigate ways to anticipate and better prepare for candidly photographing the range of emotions, moods, and scenes that can be found at any wedding, party, or holiday event you attend. x
    • 17
      Let’s Go to Work—Family Vacations
      Transform the way you think about and take photographs during vacations. How can you avoid taking the same dull pictures like other tourists? What are some good ways to capture the story behind a famous landmark? Who can you ask for help about the best places for photo opportunities in your destination? x
    • 18
      Advanced Topics—Research and Preparation
      Despite what you may think, researching is an important part of any well-planned photo shoot. In the first of several lectures on advanced topics in photography, learn from Mr. Sartore’s own diverse shoots around the world about ways to research and prepare for photographing in more complicated situations. x
    • 19
      Advanced Topics—Macro Photography
      Examine how to capture the remarkable (and often overlooked) beauty in miniature subjects such as insects, flowers, eyes—even a pile of money. Learn the best equipment to use, lighting techniques to capture specific features of your miniature subjects, and common mistakes to avoid (such as not getting enough depth of field). x
    • 20
      Advanced Topics—Low Light
      Low light used to be the bane of Mr. Sartore’s profession. Now, it’s all he wants to photograph in. Learn how to take advantage of low-light situations by picking the right gear (including lenses that give you wide apertures) and techniques such as using objects to block bright spots in your frame. x
    • 21
      Advanced Topics—Problem Solving
      In order to be a better photographer, you need to be a visual problem solver. Mr. Sartore, using his own career experiences, takes you through varying levels of difficult situations—such as shooting in Antarctica, on a snowy road, or throughout a massive city—to illustrate the importance of mastering this skill. x
    • 22
      After the Snap—Workflow and Organization
      Regardless of whether you’re shooting with film or on a digital camera, you need an effective system to organize your pictures. Here, get practical tips on everything from storing film negatives and naming your digital pictures to touching up your shots and archiving all of your work. x
    • 23
      Editing—Choosing the Right Image
      Hone your editing skills by combing through groups of images to select the ones that stand out. It takes time and practice—but once you can narrow your photographs down to the best of the best, you can sharpen your critical eye and improve the way you shoot in the future. x
    • 24
      Telling a Story with Pictures—The Photo Essay
      Close out the course with a fascinating look at telling stories with your photographs. Using his photo essays on Alaska’s North Slope; people at Leech Lake, Minnesota; and dwindling biodiversity, Mr. Sartore leaves you with a greater appreciation of how photographers are not just observers but actual storytellers. x
  • The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons

    Joel Sartore

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Photographs not only let us share our experiences with others, but they preserve once-in-a-lifetime moments precisely the way we want to remember them. Yet all too often, we find that our photos fall short of our expectations. The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons is your ticket to capturing the beauty and awe of any scene, anywhere in the world. Your guide is Joel Sartore, a National Geographic contributing photographer who has traveled the world shooting photographs in the most challenging of conditions. Filled with practical tips, proven techniques, and field demonstrations, this course helps you learn to see the way professional photographers do so you can take compelling photographs worth framing and sharing.

    View Lecture List (6)
    6 Lectures  |  The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons
    Lecture Titles (6)
    • 1
      Getting Beyond the Postcard
      Light. Composition. Something interesting. Start the course in the field with Mr. Sartore to learn how important these three rules of photography are, particularly when you’re on the road. Visit Saint Lucia, Moscow’s Red Square, and other famous locales to learn how you can get beyond the typical postcard and create images that are truly your own. x
    • 2
      Light—Early, Late, and in Between
      Now watch as horseback riders are photographed in the surf at sunrise in this lesson that demonstrates how to handle changing light, build pictures from the background forward, react quickly in the moment, and use the reflectivity of water. Move to a beach house setting to learn how to shoot in harsh midday light, then return to the surf late in the day to experiment with slower shutter speeds and panned action. x
    • 3
      Faces and Places
      For memorable photos that provide a sense of time and place, you must add life, be it people or animals. Get tips on taking dynamic individual and group portraits, from directing your subject’s wardrobe to using near/far perspective. You’ll also learn when to reach for a telephoto lens and the advantages and drawbacks of using flash. x
    • 4
      Local Attractions and Unexpected Delights
      How can you capture local flavor in your photographs? What’s the secret to shooting in low light? Get tutorials on tailoring your approach to your surroundings and crafting close-ups in dark light by boosting ISO or using a tripod and cable release. Explore the benefits of changing your vantage point and shooting on overcast days. x
    • 5
      Interiors and Exteriors, High and Low
      How can you capture the beauty of historical buildings and other structures? How can you reveal the majesty of a landscape? Learn techniques for shooting exteriors and interiors such as focusing on architectural details and repeating patterns, changing your angle or perspective, and using framing devices and leading lines. x
    • 6
      Storytelling and Serendipity
      You can do your research, but for a photograph to tell a story, you still need serendipity to intervene. Consider how in-the-moment thought and creativity, combined with compositional techniques such as the rule of thirds, can lead to more intriguing images. Learn what to focus on at weddings and why they’re a great place to practice your skills. x
  • Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques

    James Hynes

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD
    Writing great fiction isn’t a gift reserved for a talented few—the craft of storytelling can be learned. Even if you don’t dream of penning the next Moby-Dick, you’ll enjoy exploring the elements of fiction. From evoking a scene to charting a plot, get a master class in storytelling. Author James Hynes is an able guide, showing you what works for him, pointing out pitfalls to avoid, and inspiring you on your journey.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Starting the Writing Process
      Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a writer like facing the blank page. Start your course in fiction writing with some strategies for beginnings. You'll examine several ways to ease into a story, including the "5W's" of journalism, outlines, and opening in medias res ("in the midst of things"). The good news, as you'll see, is that there are no hard and fast rules. x
    • 2
      Building Fictional Worlds through Evocation
      "Show, don't tell" is the mantra of many writing workshops. But what does this mean? Find out how to choose just the right detail to evoke a scene, develop a character, and advance your story. After arming yourself with several strategies for "showing," you'll consider when it's OK to "tell." x
    • 3
      How Characters Are Different from People
      Characters are illusions, and the illusion often hinges on how much access a writer gives us to a character's thoughts. Begin this unit on character with an examination of how writers choose which moments in a character's life to dramatize, and then consider how knowledge of a character's thoughts affects the story. x
    • 4
      Fictional Characters, Imagined and Observed
      Continue your study of character with a look at several approaches for building a character. Some writers draw from life, whereas others draw from the imagination. Some build characters "inside out," others from the "outside in." Some develop characters by psychology, others by circumstances. Professor Hynes shows you a range of options. x
    • 5
      Call Me Ishmael: Introducing a Character
      Now that you now have a wealth of strategies for developing character, how do you get your character into your story? In this lecture, you'll run through five different ways authors introduce characters. You'll also see two methods for building a story: the exploratory method and the "iceberg theory" of character creation. x
    • 6
      Characters: Round and Flat, Major and Minor
      Books come in all forms and sizes, and so do characters. Learn the hallmarks of different character types, like round vs. flat and major vs. minor. See what purpose each type of character serves, and discover the relationship between a character and his or her desires. x
    • 7
      The Mechanics of Writing Dialogue
      Shift your attention from building characters to figuring out what they should say. This lecture provides an overview of the nuts and bolts of dialogue, from the rules of punctuation to the way writers use dialogue tags to add clarity to a conversation. See how what a character says can create meaning and evoke mood. x
    • 8
      Integrating Dialogue into a Narrative
      Turn from the mechanics of dialogue to discover how it can be used to evoke character or advance the story. After surveying how dialect is a powerful tool, if used carefully, Professor Hynes shows you how writers smoothly weave exposition into dialogue, and he considers the significance of what is not said in an exchange. x
    • 9
      And Then: Turning a Story into a Plot
      Characters breathe life into your story, but without plot, even the most engaging character can fall flat. This lecture opens a six-lecture unit on plotting, a critical skill for any writer who wants to keep the reader turning pages. Professor Hynes begins the unit by breaking down story and plot into a few fundamental components. x
    • 10
      Plotting with the Freytag Pyramid
      Whether you're writing literary fiction or a potboiler, your story needs a structure. Freytag's Pyramid is the classic structure for moving a story from an initial situation through a series of conflicts to a resolution. Examine every stage of the pyramid with examples ranging from The Wizard of Oz to Middlemarch to Game of Thrones. x
    • 11
      Adding Complexity to Plots
      Now that you've learned the basic elements of storytelling, it's time to go beyond the fundamentals and explore several smaller-scale techniques that can make your plot more subtle and satisfying. Your study includes the elements of suspense, flash-forwards, flashbacks, and foreshadowing. x
    • 12
      Structuring a Narrative without a Plot
      Not all stories have a traditional plot that can be modeled along Freytag's Pyramid. Contemporary short fiction, for instance, is often relatively plotless. See what drives momentum in stories such as Chekhov's "The Kiss" and Joyce's "The Dead," and then turn to "plotless" novels such as Mrs. Dalloway. x
    • 13
      In the Beginning: How to Start a Plot
      Revisit beginnings. How do you get started with a story? In this lecture, Professor Hynes shifts from the techniques of plotting to offer several clear strategies for putting these techniques into action. He also provides invaluable advice about making choices on the page: and understanding the implications of those choices. x
    • 14
      Happily Ever After: How to End a Plot
      Starting a narrative may be daunting, but ending one can be just as tricky. After discussing some famous examples of bad endings, Professor Hynes gives you tips for creating believable, satisfying endings, whether this means finding an answer to the story's opening gambit, or tracing a narrative to its logical end. x
    • 15
      Seeing through Other Eyes: Point of View
      Starting a narrative may be daunting, but ending one can be just as tricky. After discussing some famous examples of bad endings, Professor Hynes gives you tips for creating believable, satisfying endings, whether this means finding an answer to the story's opening gambit, or tracing a narrative to its logical end. x
    • 16
      I, Me, Mine: First-Person Point of View
      First-person narration can be one of the most natural ways to tell a story: but there are several important guidelines to keep in mind. Professor Hynes helps you navigate the different types of first-person storytellers, including the double consciousness, the unreliable narrator, and the retrospective narrator. x
    • 17
      He, She, It: Third-Person Point of View
      While first-person narration is an effective way to tell a story, third-person narration offers a wonderful range and flexibility, and allows you to dive just as deeply into your characters' heads: if not more deeply: than the first-person perspective. Survey the spectrum of third-person voices, from the objective and external to the interior stream of consciousness. x
    • 18
      Evoking Setting and Place in Fiction
      Time and place are critical in most recent fiction, so today's writer must know how to evoke a setting. But, as with so many techniques in this course, setting exists along a continuum, from the richly detailed (as in Bleak House) to just a few sparse details (as in Pride and Prejudice). Find out when: and how much: to describe your story's setting. x
    • 19
      Pacing in Scenes and Narratives
      Every narrative has a tempo. Some stories are short, while others are long. Some move at breakneck speed, while others linger over every detail. Discover how to strike the right balance between length and time (the pacing), between length and detail (the density), and between scene and summary. x
    • 20
      Building Scenes
      A good scene serves two functions: it advances the larger narrative, and it's interesting in its own right. How do you build compelling scenes? How do you transition from one scene to the next? Learn the fine art of moving from point to point in your narrative so that your story remains smooth and compelling. x
    • 21
      Should I Write in Drafts?
      So far, this course has focused on the individual elements of good fiction. Now that you have a complete toolkit of writing techniques, how do you put it all together to create a whole story? Professor Hynes discusses the process of writing an entire draft, and offers some words of wisdom to help you maintain momentum. x
    • 22
      Revision without Tears
      Revision is a necessary step in most writing projects. Take a case-study approach to see what techniques authors use to revise their stories. To show you the ropes, Professor Hynes walks you through his own process. Although revision can be difficult, you'll come away from this lecture confident in your abilities to get your story where it needs to be. x
    • 23
      Approaches to Researching Fiction
      "Write what you know" is a common dictum, but what happens when you run up against the limits of your knowledge? What if you want to write a story about something other than your own life? What real-life details do you have an obligation to get right? Find out how fiction writers approach the unknown. x
    • 24
      Making a Life as a Fiction Writer
      You might have a mental image of the writer as a solitary genius toiling away in an ivory tower. But writers today must be adept at both the crafting of words and the business of publishing. To conclude this course, Professor Hynes surveys the publishing landscape today and gives advice for making the leap from hobbyist to professional. x
  • Thinking about Cybersecurity: From Cyber Crime to Cyber Warfare

    Professor Paul Rosenzweig

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    Virtually every aspect of global civilization now depends on interconnected cyber systems to operate; systems that have helped advance medicine, streamline everyday commerce, and so much more. Which makes keeping these systems safe from threat one of the most pressing problems we face. Now, in the 18 lectures of Thinking about Cybersecurity: From Cyber Crime to Cyber Warfare, delivered by cybersecurity expert Paul Rosenzweig of The George Washington University Law School, you can get an intriguing look at the structure of the Internet, the unique dangers it breeds, and the ways we’re learning how to understand, manage, and reduce these dangers. Combining an expert lecturer with a fascinating topic, this course is a riveting learning experience that immerses you in the invisible world of codes, computer viruses, and digital espionage, and offers an enthralling look at the high-stakes battles of tomorrow.

    View Lecture List (18)
    18 Lectures  |  Thinking about Cybersecurity: From Cyber Crime to Cyber Warfare
    Lecture Titles (18)
    • 1
      Stuxnet—The First Cyber Guided Missile
      Your introduction to the fascinating—and fascinatingly dangerous—world of cybersecurity begins with the story of “Stuxnet.” Learn how this unique piece of malware, which shut down a uranium enrichment facility in Iran, signaled the dawn of a new age in which viruses and other cyber threats can manipulate the physical world. x
    • 2
      The Incredible Scope of Cyberspace
      What makes the Internet so vulnerable is its ability to connect, and to be connected to, anyone and almost anything. Here, explore how cyberspace works. You’ll learn what goes on behind the scenes of a simple Internet search, how a simple TCP/IP system functions, the five layers of connections that make up a conceptual “map” of cyberspace, and more. x
    • 3
      The Five Gateways of Internet Vulnerability
      Take a closer look at the cyber domain’s inherent vulnerability to cyber threats. Professor Rosenzweig explains the five key gateways to this vulnerability, including the Internet’s ability to destroy time and space; allow users to act in ways they can’t in the physical world; and operate without international boundaries. x
    • 4
      Of Viruses, Botnets, and Logic Bombs
      Learn about some of the most dangerous ways people can exploit the Internet’s vulnerabilities, including DDoS attacks (which flood websites with connection requests), “Trojans” (malware hidden inside an innocent piece of information), and “botnets” (which control computers like puppets). Then, investigate some common defense mechanisms that help pinpoint and capture these threats. x
    • 5
      The Problem of Identity on the Network
      Identification is perhaps the single most profound challenge for cybersecurity today. In this lecture, delve into the question of network anonymity and identity. Who maintains domain names? How can people obscure their identities for malicious purposes? How are network designers fighting back against this threat? What are the ethical problems involved in this issue? x
    • 6
      Cyber Fraud, Theft, and Organized Crime
      Professor Rosenzweig leads you on an examination of all-too-common instances of cybercrime that involve fraud and identity theft. You’ll encounter crimes that mimic real-world ones (with a computer as the “weapon”) and “computer crimes” that are only possible in the cyber world. Then, find out how law enforcement authorities are fighting back against organized, international cyber criminals. x
    • 7
      Hacktivists and Insurgency
      Enter the netherworld of hacktivism, or the use of computer hacking methods to stage protests and make political statements. In this lecture, learn to identify and distinguish the “good guys” from the “bad guys” by exploring real-world examples that illustrate the three major types of hacktivists: political activists, cyber insurgents, and mischief makers. x
    • 8
      Nations at Cyber War
      Turn now to the highest level of cyber conflict: a cyber war between nation-states. What is meant by the term “cyber war”? How does one fight a battle in cyberspace? What do the enemies look like? Do traditional international rules of armed conflict apply? How do we counter such an attack—and should we? x
    • 9
      Government Regulation of Cyberspace
      Join the debate about government regulation of cyberspace with this lecture that considers both sides of the issue. By looking at the debate in America over government oversight of cybersecurity (and whether we even need it at all), you’ll be better informed about a topic that has serious ramifications for how you use the Internet. x
    • 10
      International Governance and the Internet
      Continue exploring rules and regulations about the Internet, this time on the international level. First, Professor Rosenzweig discusses existing Internet governance and the dynamics leading to change. Then, he assesses some of the barriers to effective international governance of the Internet. Is the current structure, with all of its flaws, better than the alternatives? x
    • 11
      The Constitution and Cyberspace
      Return to American policies on cybersecurity, this time focusing on the idea of government monitoring of the Internet. Start by learning all about how on-network monitoring systems work. After that, step back and examine how government monitoring is enforced and limited—but not prohibited—by the Constitution. x
    • 12
      Big Data—“They” Know Everything about You
      In the first of two lectures on personal data tracking and privacy, ponder the problem of “Big Data”—where your Internet searches can be tracked, your cellphone can broadcast your geographical location instantly, and your online purchases can be catalogued. It’s a frightening aspect of cybersecurity, and one that, unfortunately, is here to stay. x
    • 13
      Privacy for the Cyber Age
      It appears our current conceptions of privacy in cyberspace will disappear. So what can we do about it? By exploring how the government and private sector use “Big Data”—and how “Big Data” can keep the government honest—you’ll discover insights into how we can evolve our privacy laws while embracing new technologies. x
    • 14
      Listening In and Going Dark
      Learn how encryption and wiretapping work in cyberspace, and how both methods are becoming increasingly frustrating for law enforcement and national security officials. This “going dark” phenomenon, as you’ll find in this eye-opening discussion, brings benefits and causes problems—and the solutions seem to bring problems of their own. x
    • 15
      The Devil in the Chips—Hardware Failures
      Hardware-based threats are one of the most vexing problems in the entire cybersecurity domain. How do we know that our machines will actually do what we tell them to do? Why is compromised hardware such a critical threat to cybersecurity? What are some possible solutions for dangers hidden in computer chips? x
    • 16
      Protecting Yourself in Cyberspace
      Get practical tips on how to reduce your own risk of danger online in your professional and personal life. You’ll find out how to choose the most effective passwords, how to set up the most effective personal computer security systems, how to encrypt and erase personal data and documents, and much more. x
    • 17
      Critical Infrastructure and Resiliency
      Take an alternate approach to cybersecurity, this time focusing on resiliency and recovery. There may be good reason to think that creating a system that isn’t immune to failure but is less likely to be attacked—and better able to operate even while under attack—is the best course of action. x
    • 18
      Looking Forward—What Does the Future Hold?
      Finish the course with a helpful summary of the main issues and arguments involved in the current state of cybersecurity throughout the world. Then, take an intriguing peek into the future to explore possible—and even radical—new developments that may shape this powerful and important topic for years to come. x
  • Stress and Your Body
    Course  |  Stress and Your Body

    Professor Robert Sapolsky Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD
    From Dr. Robert Sapolsky, one of the world's foremost researchers on stress and neurobiology, comes this fascinating 24-lecture course that guides you through the science of the stress that is a central part of daily life. You'll explore the nuts and bolts of the stress-response system, its various effects on the body, its ramifications on psychological health, and more. Filled with intriguing case studies, helpful analogies, and heartfelt stories, Stress and Your Body will give you a thorough knowledge of how and why stress affects you the way it does.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Stress and Your Body
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Why Don't Zebras Get Ulcers? Why Do We?
      In Professor Sapolsky's introductory lecture, get a behind-the-scenes look at the science of stress and preview the groundwork for the course ahead. What exactly happens to our bodies when we come under stress? And how is our response to stress different from that of a zebra being hunted al ong a savannah? x
    • 2
      The Nuts and Bolts of the Stress-Response
      Every time you have a thought or emotion, things change in your body. Here, explore the two factors responsible for these changes: the nervous system and hormones. Learn how these systems work, how they're regulated, and—most important—what happens to them during moments of stress. x
    • 3
      Stress and Your Heart
      Armed with the necessary background information, explore how specific organ systems suffer when faced with chronic stress. In the first of a series of lectures on this subject, learn how long-term stress can damage heart muscles, inflame and clog blood vessels, and even lead to sudden cardiac arrest. x
    • 4
      Stress, Metabolism, and Liquidating Your Assets
      The next organ system you focus on: the metabolic system. Discover how cycles of chronic stress lead to a persistent activating and storing of energy, which in turn can lead to an inefficient use of energy and play a critical role in the prevalence of adult-onset diabetes. x
    • 5
      Stress, Overeating, and Your Digestive Tract
      Focus now on the role stress plays in our gastrointestinal tracts. Why do most of us eat more during stressful periods? How does stress affect bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and spastic colons? And how does stress combine with a bacterial infection to produce a common stress-related disease: ulcers? x
    • 6
      Stress and Growth—Echoes from the Womb
      The first of two lectures on stress and child development takes you inside prenatal and postnatal life. Using two extraordinary examples, Professor Sapolsky reveals the ways a fetus can respond to the environmental stressors of its mother, and how different parenting styles can affect the stress levels of young children. x
    • 7
      Stress, Growth, and Child Development
      Investigate how chronic stress can disrupt the growth of young children by focusing on stress dwarfism and the connection between stress and low growth hormone levels. Also, learn how mid-20th-century experiments with monkeys proved how important love—and not just nutrients—is in raising less-stressful children. x
    • 8
      Stress and Female Reproduction
      Get an insightful overview of the multifaceted effects of stress on the female reproductive system. Some of the topics you explore are the intricate relationships between stress and fertilization, ovulation, spontaneous miscarriages, high-tech in vitro fertilization, and the strength of the libido. x
    • 9
      Stress and Male Reproduction
      Despite being simpler than its female counterpart, the male reproductive system is just as vulnerable to chronic stress. Here, discover how stress leads not to a major decrease in testosterone so much as an increase in erectile dysfunction (with a focus on two of the most common symptoms: impotency and premature ejaculation). x
    • 10
      Stress and Your Immune System
      Turn now to the relationship between stress and your immune system. After mastering the basics of how this system works, delve into how frequent stressors can result in flare-ups of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, can increase your vulnerability to infections like the common cold and herpes viruses, and more. x
    • 11
      Stress and Cancer
      Can an increase in stress actually cause cancer? Can it cause a relapse among patients in remission, or speed up the rate of a cancer's progression? Professor Sapolsky offers his insights on these and other controversial questions and myths about the possible links between stress and cancer. x
    • 12
      Stress and Pain
      Stress and pain have an intriguing relationship: Stress can increase your sensitivity and resistance to pain, while pain constitutes its own particular stressor. Explore this fascinating bidirectional relationship, and expand your knowledge of how both balanced and stressed minds and bodies react to all varieties of pain. x
    • 13
      Stress, Learning, and Memory
      Memory—whether implicit or explicit—is an essential part of everyday life. So it's all the more important to understand how it's affected by stress. This lecture explains the science behind how short-term stress enhances memory and learning, while chronic stress may actually work to kill neurons in the hippocampus. x
    • 14
      Stress, Judgment, and Impulse Control
      In addition to affecting the hippocampus, stress can prove harmful to the frontal cortex as well—the seat of behavioral regulation. As in previous lectures, discover what happens to this essential part of the brain when it comes under attack from chronic stress. x
    • 15
      Stress, Sleep, and Lack of Sleep
      Most of us don't get as much sleep as we should. Yet the amount of sleep we get is highly intertwined with how our bodies deal with stress. Investigate why high levels of stress disrupt not only how long we sleep—but the quality of sleep's vital restorative powers as well. x
    • 16
      Stress and Aging
      As you age, your ability to deal with stress decreases. What's more: Lots of stress throughout your lifetime can accelerate aspects of aging. Here, examine a series of intriguing experiments and studies that explain the science behind these two views about the intersection between stress and aging. x
    • 17
      Understanding Psychological Stress
      Why are some stressors more unbearable than others? This lecture introduces you to three powerful psychological factors that work to modulate the stress response: having an outlet, taking advantage of social support, and having predictive information about when and how long a stressor will occur. x
    • 18
      Psychological Modulators of Stress
      Conclude your look at ways to modulate the stress response by looking at two subtler variables: your control over the stressor, and your interpretation of whether the stress is getting better or worse. You also see why, despite being enormously powerful, these variables can work only within certain parameters. x
    • 19
      Stress and the Biology of Depression
      Turn to the realm of mental health with this close look at the ties between stress and major depression—one of the leading causes of disability in the world. Start with an overview of the disorder's symptoms before delving into the particulars of its neurochemistry and neuroanatomy. x
    • 20
      Stress and the Psychology of Depression
      To truly understand clinical depression, you need to grasp its psychological aspects as well. In the second lecture on stress and this prevalent disease, explore the pivotal role stress hormones play in depression. Then, use your newfound knowledge of stress to knit together the psychological and biological models of depression. x
    • 21
      Anxiety, Hostility, Repression, and Reward
      Anxiety disorders, feelings of intense hostility, a decreased capacity for pleasure, and a repressed or addictive persona are just a few of the many distinct effects that chronic stress can have on an individual's personality and behavior. The ways these psychological disorders emerge are the subject of this fascinating lecture. x
    • 22
      Stress, Health, and Low Social Status
      How strong a role does socioeconomic status play in what stressors you're exposed to, as well as your potential for chronic stress? It's a provocative question whose answer Professor Sapolsky reveals in this penetrating look at the characteristics and effects of psychosocial stress on both primates and humans. x
    • 23
      Stress Management—Clues to Success?
      Before learning tips to manage chronic stress, it's essential to understand why certain individuals cope better with stress—both physically and mentally—than others. Discover that the key lies in grasping predictors of successful aging, including a position of respect, a resilient personality, a healthy lifestyle, and a realistic approach to life's challenges. x
    • 24
      Stress Management—Approaches and Cautions
      Exercise. Meditation. Social support. Religious beliefs. In this concluding lecture, learn how these and other outlets can potentially help you manage life's everyday stressors—both biologically and psychologically. Regardless of how many stressors you deal with daily, all of us, according to Professor Sapolsky, have the potential to keep them in perspective. x
  • The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals

    Professor Hannah B. Harvey Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    The gift of storytelling may be one of life's most powerful—and envied—skills. A well-crafted narrative can keep the people, values, and life lessons you hold dear alive and give you the power to influence others. Now, The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals reveals the tried-and-true methods experienced storytellers use to develop and tell entertaining and memorable stories. In 24 enthralling lectures, Professor Hannah B. Harvey demonstrates how to master the art form’s basic principles with the same dynamic energy that has made her an internationally recognized professional storyteller and award-winning educator. Even if you never plan to set foot on a stage, knowing what a professional storyteller does in the process of crafting and delivering a tale allows you to enhance the stories you tell everyday—to your children at bedtime, in your conversational anecdotes, and in your presentations at work.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Telling a Good Story
      What qualifies as a story? Learn the significance of storytelling in various cultures; the ways this art is distinct from other forms of performance or literary thought; and how the craft of professional storytelling can help you improve your own storytelling abilities. Listen to tales from the professor’s life and get an introduction to the “storytelling triangle.” x
    • 2
      The Storytelling Triangle
      Telling a story is a three-way dynamic relationship between you, and the story, and the audience. In the first of three lectures that analyze this storytelling triangle, look at The Old Maid and other stories in depth to understand how the process of storytelling works. Then, consider why you’re drawn to certain stories. x
    • 3
      Connecting with Your Story
      What kinds of stories appeal to you most? Look at the variety of stories that are available for you to tell and some practical resources for finding them. Assess the intellectual, social, and cultural connections we develop with stories and identify how you can add depth and context to the stories you tell. x
    • 4
      Connecting with Your Audience
      Focus on this second aspect of the storytelling triangle—your relationship with your audience—by looking at the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual contexts of this relationship and how stories work to bring audiences together. End with an exercise that helps you identify stories that connect with a variety of audiences. x
    • 5
      Telling Family Stories
      Examine the hidden meanings of the family-story genre, including why we tell family stories, how stories organically emerge from families, and what remembering these stories entails. With these hidden meanings in mind, consider how you can tell your own family stories in a way that captures your audience’s attention. x
    • 6
      The Powerful Telling of Fairy Tales
      With classic stories, fairy tales, and myths, there’s a lot more than “they all lived happily ever after” going on beneath the surface. Use Little Red Riding Hood and other fairy tales to understand the psychology of storytelling and what fairy tales do for children in particular. Then, see why the themes of these tales can be just as appealing to adults. x
    • 7
      Myth and the Hero’s Journey
      Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are modern examples of a “hero’s journey.” Use ancient myths from East Africa and ancient Sumeria to break down this structure and investigate why the archetypal figures and pattern of separation, initiation, and return found in the hero’s journey resonate so deeply. Pause to consider how you can apply these ideas to craft stories that reach your audience on a meaningful level. x
    • 8
      Tensive Conflict and Meaning
      Dissect the layered process professional storytellers use when preparing to tell a tale, which involves an interconnected cycle of talking, writing, imaging, playing, and rehearsing. Explore the concept of “tensiveness,” the dynamic quality that reveals a story’s opposing forces; then step back from one of your stories to see the potential relationships between the larger parts of the narrative. x
    • 9
      Giving Yourself Permission to Tell
      Engage in “stretching” exercises to learn to let go of things that may hold you back from telling your story, and give yourself permission to play with the story, make mistakes, and really immerse yourself in the narrative. Listen to the story Mama’s Wings to identify its tensive pulls and unifying themes and images. x
    • 10
      Visualization and Memory
      Learn to visualize a story’s people, places, and events through interactive exercises that get you “seeing” the story in front of you. Explore techniques that help you remember a story without memorization, and methods for immersing yourself in the scene while shifting into “epic mode” to focus on your audience. x
    • 11
      Discovering Point of View
      There is no such thing as a purely objective narrator. Consider how the narrator’s perspective and point of view guide the audience through the story, and how even the most familiar stories can be reinvented by narrating from another character’s perspective. See why age, gender, heritage, economics, and temperament shape your vantage point. x
    • 12
      The Artful Manipulation of Time and Focus
      Explore how you as a narrator can artfully guide the audience’s experience of the story by looking at techniques for controlling events, manipulating time, and making the past tense feel present. Consider when to take your narrator out of the characters’ conversations to increase the pacing and energy. x
    • 13
      Narrator—Bridging Characters and Audience
      Begin thinking about the narrator’s relationship with characters and how control may be ceded to certain characters at points throughout a story. Learn how using focal points can distinguish between personalities, and establish the physical and emotional relationship you have with those characters through storyteller Motoko Dworkin’s performance of a Japanese folktale. x
    • 14
      Developing Complex Characters
      How old are your characters? Are they “head-centered,” “stomach-centered,” or something else? Experiment with gestures and body postures that add depth and dimension to your characters. Then, gain insight into how you can develop characters into memorable people your audience really enjoys seeing in action. x
    • 15
      Plot and Story Structures
      Does your story need to be told in chronological order? Use your storytelling journal to organize the pieces of your story into a structure that conveys the underlying meaning. Learn to separate plot from emotional arc and gain tools that are useful when you’re developing the frame, structure, and resolution of your story. x
    • 16
      Emotional Arc and Empathy
      From ghost stories to family stories, empathy is crucial in giving your audience an emotional entry point and permission to feel. As you turn from plot sequencing to the development of your story’s emotional arc, learn how to build a compelling beginning and emotional climax through an exercise that explores the motivating desire of your primary character from first- and third-person perspectives. x
    • 17
      Varying the Narrator’s Perspective
      Learn to build dynamic tension through your characters and achieve satisfying resolutions. Stories and exercises teach you how to treat third-person statements as if they’re first-person accounts and how to let secondary characters narrate for themselves or serve as “little narrators.” Understand ways to personify the negative force your protagonist is struggling with so it becomes a “little character.” x
    • 18
      Vocal Intonation
      Focus on using vocal intonation to evoke the “sensorium” of a story for your audience with a lesson on how the voice operates, featuring warm-up techniques. Perform mouth and tongue stretches and articulation exercises, then learn how pace, pauses, and sound effects can create character distinctions, contribute to the emotional arc, and draw in your audience. x
    • 19
      Preparing to Perform
      Synthesize everything you’ve learned so far by integrating the elements of storytelling in writing and performance exercises that help you look at your story from various angles. Create a story outline, tell a “side-coached” version of your tale, do an exaggerated run-through, and write a script. Finally, consider the meanings your story holds. x
    • 20
      Putting Performance Anxiety to Good Use
      Whether you consciously deal with performance anxiety as a barrier to communicating with others, or you want to become a more energized and engaging storyteller, this lecture is designed to teach you the physiology behind performance anxiety; the correlation between anxiety that debilitates and energy that enlivens; and practical tools for channeling nervous energy. x
    • 21
      Adapting to Different Audiences
      Consider the physical parameters of informal and formal storytelling scenarios; how stories emerge in these different settings; and what specific audiences—from children to employees—typically need from a story. Learn how to handle yourself as a storyteller in relaxed situations, boardroom settings, and the classroom environment. x
    • 22
      Invitation to the Audience—Mindset
      How do you get and keep your audience’s attention? In this lecture, you’ll learn about on-ramps and off-ramps—how to lead into your story and make it relevant, and how to conclude gracefully. Acquire specific tools for putting your audience in the proper mindset to listen, whether you’re engaged in conversation, giving a presentation, or telling a story to children. x
    • 23
      Keeping Your Audience’s Attention
      Once you’ve hooked your audience, how do you keep them from straying? Learn general rules to live by as a storyteller and ways to keep your audience engaged, including the use of audience participation, props, and repetition. Learn to adjust to what the audience needs in the moment and to cope with interruptions. x
    • 24
      Remember Your Stories—The Power of Orality
      Wrap up the course with some final considerations for keeping your audience interested, from the technical aspects of microphones and PowerPoint, to the more nuanced ways that you can read audiences and understand their needs on the spot. Finally, return to the nature of orality itself as a cultural force that shapes us all. x
  • 12 Essential Scientific Concepts

    Professor Indre Viskontas Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    With 12 Essential Scientific Concepts, finally satisfy your desire for scientific inquiry in a way that makes this enormous field accessible, understandable, and undeniably captivating. Indre Viskontas, an award-winning cognitive neuroscientist affiliated with the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco, has a knack for making hard science clear to laypeople. She boils down the scientific world into 12 key concepts every educated person should know. Devoting two lectures to each concept to give you more time to engage with it, her 24-lecture course is your introduction to everything from the behavior of subatomic particles to the latest theories about the Big Bang.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  12 Essential Scientific Concepts
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Miracle of Life
      To truly understand what makes life special, you have to understand the fundamental makeup of life. In this first lecture, investigate the basic chemistry of living organisms, from the fundamental importance of water and carbon to the critical functions of proteins—the molecules that allow cells to survive, reproduce, and adapt. x
    • 2
      The Organization of Life
      Turn now to cells and the intricate organization of life. As you take an in-depth tour of eukaryotic cells (the kind your body is made of), you’ll learn how to make sense of mitochondria, lysosomes, and other cell parts. You’ll also see cellular organization at work in everything from making proteins to generating energy. x
    • 3
      Evolution—The Tireless Tinkerer
      Today, Charles Darwin’s landmark theory of evolution is biology’s fundamental organizing principle. So how did this revolutionary idea come about, and what were its roots? What scientific evidence proves the fundamental importance of evolution? What do antibiotics reveal about how the tireless tinkering of natural selection works in everyday life? x
    • 4
      Other Mechanisms of Evolution
      Explore some alternative mechanisms through which species can change, including genetic drift and gene flow, and the key role allele frequency plays in our understanding of evolution. You’ll also examine the Hardy-Weinberg principle, used by evolutionary scientists to determine whether a population is actually evolving, and which mechanisms are driving the evolution. x
    • 5
      DNA and Heritability
      Professor Viskontas takes you back to the birth of genetics through the pioneering work of Gregor Mendel. Then, she shows you how to understand DNA as a simple code read by cells to produce new cellular components. And finally, she breaks down the complexities of how genes express themselves: through the generation of proteins. x
    • 6
      Epigenetics, Mutations, and Gene Insertion
      It turns out that our genes aren’t fixed but change across our lifespans. In this fascinating lecture, investigate three major ways in which that happens: epigenetics, the modification of gene expression through environmental changes; mutations, which involve alterations in the genetic code; and gene insertion, in which viruses play a surprising role. x
    • 7
      The Illusion of Coherence—How We See
      The way you see is modular—but your consciousness is coherent. How is this possible? To answer this perplexing question, you’ll explore the biology of the eye and investigate the curious “binding problem” at the heart of the intersection between neural physiology, cognition, and the philosophy of consciousness. x
    • 8
      Acoustic Perception Deconstructed
      First, get a better understanding of how our ears are built, and how that construction affects the hearing process. Then, learn why hearing loss offers the perfect demonstration of just how complex this process is. Finally, consider the essential subjectivity of pitch and how hearing and sight interact with one another. x
    • 9
      Our Changing Brain
      Science has revealed that our brains actually change shape over time. But how? Where in the brain does this occur? How are memories created? What is the relationship between brain plasticity and learning (or unlearning) skills and habits? These are just four of the many questions you’ll encounter in this first lecture on neuroplasticity. x
    • 10
      Plasticity, Brain Training, and Beyond
      Delve deeper into the implications of neuroplasticity, and how we can harness its power to stave off the cognitive effects of aging, recover from disease, and master complex skills. The secrets lie in specific parts of the brain, like the hippocampus and specific proteins, like the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. x
    • 11
      Magnetism and Its Magic
      Magnetism is undoubtedly a strange aspect of the scientific world. Here, Professor Viskontas reveals what we know (and have yet to uncover) about magnets and how they work. You’ll learn what makes a magnet magnetic, how spinning electrons create magnetic fields, the secrets of ferromagnetism, and much more. x
    • 12
      Electrical Forces, Fields, and Circuits
      To truly understand magnetism, you have to understand its cousin: electricity. First, get a primer on the basics of electricity. Then, explore the concept of electric potential (a combination of an object’s electric charge and its position to other charged objects) and find out how electric circuits actually work in the human body and beyond. x
    • 13
      Thermodynamics—Heat, Energy, and Work
      Explore the concept of power in the inanimate world—as predicted through the three fascinating laws of thermodynamics (which describe the relationship between heat and work). Along the way, you’ll understand how an ideal engine works and witness thermodynamics in action through the famous examples of steam and internal combustion engines. x
    • 14
      Metabolism—Energy in the Cell
      See how the laws of thermodynamics apply to metabolism, the energy exchanges between cells that keep us alive. Explore the inner workings of metabolism with detailed investigations of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Learn how metabolism plays a role in today’s metabolic engineering, a process by which we harness single-celled organisms to create useful products. x
    • 15
      Fluid Mechanics—Pressure, Buoyancy, Flow
      Professor Viskontas offers you a clear explanation of how aerodynamics (or fluid mechanics) works. Central to this illuminating lecture: the opportunity to finally make sense of the fundamentals of this scientific concept, including buoyant force, the relationship between pressure and depth, Bernoulli’s equation, and the equation of continuity. x
    • 16
      Navigation and Propulsion in Fluids
      How has our greater scientific understanding of fluid mechanics given us the tools to move (and dominate) the land, sea, and air? How do we power the machines that allow us to do so? What’s the difference between form drag and skin friction? What’s actually happening when your plane hits turbulence? x
    • 17
      The Big Bang That Didn’t
      Travel back to the very start of time and navigate the murky—but undeniably eye-opening—science behind the Big Bang. As you evaluate this scientific theory by considering the evidence available, you’ll also ponder three ways the universe could end: the Big Crunch, the Big Freeze, and the Big Rip. x
    • 18
      The Four Forces of Nature
      Explore the four fundamental forces of nature, which scientists believe have guided the formation, expansion, and essence of our universe since it began. Not only will you learn the nuances of the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force, and gravity—you’ll learn the practical implications this knowledge has given us. x
    • 19
      The Elements of Everything
      Break down the elements of the periodic table and discover how it explains why elements behave the way they do—and points the way to elements that we have yet to discover. Afterward, peek inside the atom and explore subatomic particles, including fermions and the long-elusive Higgs boson. x
    • 20
      Looks like a Particle, Acts like a Wave
      Is light a wave or a particle? To find the answer, comb through revolutionary ideas by Max Planck and Albert Einstein to encounter the wave-particle duality (a paradox best captured by the famous Heisenberg principle). Then, investigate some of the applications of this duality, specifically through the development and use of lasers. x
    • 21
      Quanta, Uncertainty, and a Cat
      Quantum mechanics is full of strange contradictions, including a cat that is simultaneously alive and dead. Professor Viskontas introduces you to the Copenhagen Interpretation—the most popular (though still not universally accepted) way to think about this field. You’ll also consider some of quantum mechanics’ remarkable applications, from nanoscience to quantum computing. x
    • 22
      String Theory, Membranes, and the Multiverse
      What exactly is string theory? What can M-theory and the behavior of black holes reveal about it? How does the theory of Loop Quantum Gravity explain how gravity works at the quantum level? Answers to all this and more are here in this lecture on a mind-bending scientific concept. x
    • 23
      Emergence—Simple Rules, Complex Systems
      The science of emergence explains how simple agents together perform complex feats that are impossible for individual agents to accomplish on their own. Consider what emergence can tell us about seemingly chaotic scenarios through several case studies from wildlife, including ant colonies and flocks of birds. x
    • 24
      Order out of Chaos
      Continue your look at the most interesting ideas in emergence. First, learn about artificial intelligence and social robotics. Then, ponder the rise of the theory of mind and human self-awareness. Finally, discover how modern cities are emergent structures—and how we play the role of the simple agents that make them function. x