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  • Radio Astronomy: Observing the Invisible Universe

    Professor Felix J. Lockman, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Radio Astronomy: Observing the Invisible Universe takes you on a thrilling journey through astounding discoveries with Felix J. Lockman, Ph.D. You’ll learn that the dominant molecular structures in interstellar space are all based on carbon, just like Earth. It is likely that any extraterrestrial galactic life would be related to us at least on the molecular level. Will we find other organic lifeforms out there? Radio astronomers don’t know. But they’re certainly working on it.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Radio Astronomy: Observing the Invisible Universe
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Radio Astronomy and the Invisible Universe
      Even on the clearest, darkest night you cannot see more than five percent of the light from our home galaxy, the Milky Way, because of the blockage of light by dust. Fortunately, the 20th century brought us radio astronomy, the study of radio waves that travel through the dust, opening our eyes" to a universe we had never imagined." x
    • 2
      Thermal Radio Emission: The Planets
      Take a tour of our neighboring planets via their radio emissions and learn how scientists infer their temperatures and energy sources. You'll be shocked by the difference between their images in reflected sunlight-the images we're familiar with-and their appearance when we "see" the radio energy they emit on their own. x
    • 3
      The Birth of Radio Astronomy
      When young engineer Karl Jansky was tasked to find natural radio sources that could interfere with commercial transatlantic radio communications, radio astronomy was born. His work, and that of backyard astronomer Grote Reber, led to the discovery of synchrotron radiation. But it would be decades before scientists understood what these earliest radio astronomers had detected-cosmic rays and magnetic fields. x
    • 4
      The Discovery of Interstellar Hydrogen
      Not long after the birth of radio astronomy, a Dutch student used what was then known about the physics of atoms to determine that if hydrogen existed in interstellar space, it would produce a specific spectral line at radio wavelengths. In 1951, the line was detected at 21 cm, exactly as predicted. At that moment, our understanding of the universe forever changed. x
    • 5
      Radio Telescopes and How They Work
      Radio telescopes are so large because radio waves contain such a small amount of energy. For example, the signal from a standard cell phone measured one kilometer away is five million billion times stronger than the radio signals received from a bright quasar. Learn how each of these fascinating instruments is designed to meet a specific scientific goal-accounting for their wide variation in form and size. x
    • 6
      Mapping the Hydrogen Sky
      Before there were stars and planets, before there were galaxies, there was hydrogen-and we still have more hydrogen today than any other element. Understanding the quantum physics of this simplest atomic structure, and using the Doppler shift and models of differential rotation in the Milky Way, astronomers have made myriad astounding discoveries about the universe. It all starts with hydrogen. x
    • 7
      Tour of the Green Bank Observatory
      The Green Bank Observatory is located within the 13,000-acre National Radio Quiet Zone straddling the border of Virginia and West Virginia. Come tour this fascinating facility where astronomers discovered radiation belts around Jupiter, the black hole at the center of our galaxy, and the first known interstellar organic molecule, and began the search for extra-terrestrial life. x
    • 8
      Tour of the Green Bank Telescope
      At 17 million pounds, and with more than 2,000 surface panels that can be repositioned in real time, this telescope is one of the largest moveable, land-based objects ever built. The dish could contain two side-by-side football fields, but when its panels are brought into focus, the surface has errors no larger than the thickness of a business card. Welcome to this rare insider's view. x
    • 9
      Hydrogen and the Structure of Galaxies
      Using the laws of physics and electromagnetic radiation, astronomers can weigh" a galaxy by studying the distribution of its rotating hydrogen. But when they do this, it soon becomes clear something is very wrong: A huge proportion of the galaxy's mass has simply gone missing. Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of dark matter-which we now believe accounts for a whopping 90 percent of our own Milky Way." x
    • 10
      Pulsars: Clocks in Space
      In the mid-1960s, astronomers discovered signals with predictable periodicity but no known source. In case these signals indicated extraterrestrial life, they were initially labeled LGM, Little Green Men. But research revealed the source of the pulsing radiation to be neutron stars. Learn how a star with a diameter of only a few kilometers and a mass similar to that of our Sun can spin around hundreds of times per second. x
    • 11
      Pulsars and Gravity
      A pulsar's spin begins with its birth in a supernova and can be altered by transfer of mass from a companion star. Learn how pulsars, these precise interstellar clocks, are used to confirm Einstein's prediction of gravitational waves by observations of a double-neutron-star system, and how we pull the pulsar signal out of the noise. x
    • 12
      Pulsars and the 300-Foot Telescope
      Humans constantly use radio transmission these days, for everything from military communications to garage-door openers. How can scientists determine which signals come from Earth and which come from space? Learn how the 300-foot telescope, located in two radio quiet zones, was built quickly and cheaply. It ended up studying pulsars and hydrogen in distant galaxies, and made the case for dark matter. x
    • 13
      The Big Bang: The Oldest Radio Waves
      Learn about techniques to separate signals originating in receivers from signals originating from outer space. Using a unique antenna located in New Jersey, we'll see how two radio astronomers with curiosity, persistence, and some manual labor, detected the faint radio signals from the big bang, the oldest electromagnetic radiation that can be detected. It tells us of conditions when the universe was young. x
    • 14
      H II Regions and the Birth of Stars
      Have you ever looked up to Orion on a dark winter's night and noticed a fuzzy patch near the center of the constellation? You're looking at the Orion nebula, a nursery" where stars are born every year. Learn why ionization occurs in these H II regions and how this hot plasma produces some of the most beautiful objects in the sky." x
    • 15
      Supernovas and the Death of Stars
      Chances are you would agree with astronomers that gravity is the single most important force or event shaping the world as you know it. But the second most important? That would be supernovas, and nothing you know would be here without them. Learn how super-massive stars can explode at the end of their lives, releasing energy that outshines 10 billion Suns. x
    • 16
      Radio Stars and Early Interferometers
      When radio astronomers discovered a sky full of small radio sources of unknown origin, they built telescopes using multiple antennas to try to understand them. Learn how and why interferometers were developed and how they have helped astronomers study quasars-those massively bright, star-like objects that scientists now know only occur in galaxies whose gas is falling into a supermassive black hole. x
    • 17
      Radio Source Counts
      Radio source counts have led to great discoveries about the universe, even though each individual radio source isn't fully understood. Between massive black holes and starbursts, scientists relying in part on astronomical surveys now believe galaxies can have different evolutionary tracks and histories. And the universe itself? It seems to be not only evolving, but evolving through stages. x
    • 18
      Active Galactic Nuclei and the VLA
      The need for a new generation of radio interferometers to untangle extragalactic radio sources led to the development of the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico. With its twenty-seven radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration, it gives both high sensitivity and high angular resolution. The VLA provided a deeper and clearer look at galaxies than ever before, and the results were astonishing. x
    • 19
      A Telescope as Big as the Earth
      Learn how astronomers use very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) with telescopes thousands of miles apart to essentially create a radio telescope as big as the Earth. With VLBI, scientists not only look deep into galactic centers, study cosmic radio sources, and weigh black holes, but also more accurately tell time, study plate tectonics, and more-right here on planet Earth. x
    • 20
      Galaxies and Their Gas
      In visible light, scientists had described galaxies as island universes." But since the advent of radio astronomy, we've seen galaxies connected by streams of neutral hydrogen, interacting with and ripping the gasses from each other. Now astronomers have come to understand that these strong environmental interactions are not a secondary feature-they are key to a galaxy's basic structure and appearance." x
    • 21
      Interstellar Molecular Clouds
      In the late 1960s, interstellar ammonia and water vapor were detected. Soon came formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and the discovery of giant molecular clouds where we now know stars and planets are formed. With improvements in radio astronomy technology, today's scientists can watch the process of star formation in other systems. The initial results are stunning. x
    • 22
      Star Formation and ALMA
      With an array of 66 radio antennas located in the high Chilean desert above much of the earth's atmosphere, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a radio telescope tuned to the higher frequencies of radio waves. Designed to examine some of the most distant and ancient galaxies ever seen, ALMA has not only revealed new stars in the making, but planetary systems as well. x
    • 23
      Interstellar Chemistry and Life
      Interstellar clouds favor formation of carbon-based molecules over any other kind-not at all what statistical models predicted. In fact, interstellar clouds contain a profusion of chemicals similar to those that occur naturally on Earth. If planets are formed in this rich soup of organic molecules, is it possible life does not have to start from scratch on each planet? x
    • 24
      The Future of Radio Astronomy
      Learn about the newest radio telescopes and the exhilarating questions they plan to address: Did life begin in space? What is dark matter? And a new question that has just arisen in the past few years: What are fast radio bursts? No matter how powerful these new telescopes are, radio astronomers will continue pushing the limits to tell us more and more about the universe that is our home. x
  • The History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch

    Professor Molly Worthen, Ph.D.

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

    The History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch picks up where The Great Courses’ first history of Christianity left off: with the Protestant Reformation. Taught by Dr. Molly Worthen, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina, these 36 fascinating lectures trace the story of Christianity as it transformed from the end of the Middle Ages into the diverse global religion of today.

    View Lecture List (36)
    36 Lectures  |  The History of Christianity II: From the Reformation to the Modern Megachurch
    Lecture Titles (36)
    • 1
      Prophets of Reform before Protestantism
      Start your journey in Renaissance Italy where—right in the pope’s backyard—two men gave very different yet powerful critiques of the church, years before the Reformation. By examining these representative figures, Professor Worthen unpacks several key themes running through Christianity for the past 500 years. x
    • 2
      Luther and the Dawn of Protestantism
      Delve into the early Reformation, which begins with Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. An original thinker and an outlaw to Catholic authorities of the time, Luther was also surprisingly conservative in many ways. Review his critique of the church and his theology in the context of the 16th century. x
    • 3
      Zwingli, Calvin, and the Reformed Tradition
      Continue your study of the Reformation with a look at several thinkers who were more radical than Martin Luther. Here, you'll explore the ideas of Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, and others who advanced their own theological and political critiques of the church. You'll also consider Henry VIII's quarrel with Rome and the founding of the Church of England. x
    • 4
      The Anabaptist Radicals
      In this third lecture on the Protestant Reformation, you’ll meet the most radical of rebels, the Anabaptists. Based on the slogan sola scriptura—the Bible alone—the Anabaptists wanted to cut ties completely between church and state, making them politically as well as theologically dangerous. x
    • 5
      The Catholic Reformation
      Protestants weren't the only ones fighting to reform Christianity. While Luther, Calvin, and others were breaking from Rome and founding independent churches, leaders within the Catholic Church pushed to consolidate the power of their ideas and institutions. Survey the founding of the Jesuits and the role of education in the Catholic Reformation. x
    • 6
      The Church Militant in the Spanish Empire
      One key theme from this course is the way religious motives are often inseparable from political and economic ambitions. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than Spain in the 16th century. See how Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand joined forces to create a unified Catholic nation, and how they worked to spread Catholicism into the Americas. x
    • 7
      War and Witchcraft in the Holy Roman Empire
      The Thirty Years' War is one of the most confusing episodes in world history. Was it truly a religious war, in which Protestants battled for religious tolerance and freedom, or was it a political ploy to depose kings and change the balance of political power? As you delve into this messy conflict, you'll discover that the war unfolded in the midst of witch-hunting hysteria across Europe. x
    • 8
      Puritans, Kings, and Theology in Practice
      The Reformation opened the door for radicals to challenge traditional authority. Follow the Puritans from England, where they pushed King James to authorize a new translation of the Bible, to the New World, where they tried to build a Christian Zion and wrestled with theology on their own terms. x
    • 9
      Religious Dissent and the English Civil War
      Survey the fascinating history of the English Civil war, from the rise of Charles I, his battles with Parliament and eventual beheading, to the rule of Oliver Cromwell and the Restoration of Charles II. This political tumult allowed a profusion of radical sects to flourish, from the proto-communist Diggers to the apocalyptic Fifth Monarchy Men. x
    • 10
      Eastern Orthodoxy: From Byzantium to Russia
      Shift your attention from the Protestant Reformation to another schism. Centuries before Martin Luther, Orthodox Christians in the East broke with Rome and developed their own theology. Reflect on the principles of Orthodox Christianity and see what role it played in the rise of the Russian Empire. x
    • 11
      Christians under Muslim Rule
      Like the church in the West, Eastern Christianity has given rise to a range of diverse cultures and clashing theological opinions. Here, you'll discover the history of Christians in the Middle East, particularly Coptic Christians in Egypt and Syriac Christians in the Middle East. Find out what life was like under Muslim rule, and reflect on the legacy of the Ottoman Empire. x
    • 12
      The Church and the Scientific Revolution
      Are religion and science always at odds? Reflect on this lightning-rod issue as you trace the history of the Scientific Revolution from the medieval worldview through the remarkable discoveries of the 16th and 17th centuries. Find out what really troubled the church about Galileo's proposition that the Earth was not at the center of the universe. x
    • 13
      The Enlightenment Quest for Reasonable Faith
      On the heels of the Scientific Revolution, the “Enlightenment,” as Professor Worthen explains, was not one single movement but rather a constellation of ideas and philosophers who debated the relationship between faith and reason. Explore the theories and worldviews of Diderot, Voltaire, Locke, and other Enlightenment thinkers. x
    • 14
      Pietist Revival in Europe
      In the ongoing clash between faith and reason, some Protestants embraced carefully reasoned arguments, but in the 17th century, another group of thinkers chose to emphasize heart over head. Survey the rise of Pietist communities and see how they responded to the historical context of the 17th and 18th centuries. x
    • 15
      The First Great Awakening
      Meet George Whitefield, an Anglican evangelist who experienced a “new birth” and led a series of religious revivals up and down the East Coast. Here, you will consider the context of religious revivals, examine controversies over evangelism, and reflect on the impact revivals had on American political culture. x
    • 16
      Religion and Revolution in the 18th Century
      Is America a “Christian” country? Did the Founding Fathers use the Bible as a blueprint for government? What about France—how did revolutionaries there both oppress and adopt religion to advance their cause? In both cases, history is so much more complicated than culture-war slogans. x
    • 17
      The Second Great Awakening
      During the 19th century, a second wave of revivals swept North America and Britain, and this “Second Great Awakening” had tremendous consequences for Christianity in the West. After reviewing the origins of Methodism, Professor Worthen surveys the new approach to revivals and shows how America became a majority-Christian country. x
    • 18
      The Mormons: A True American Faith
      Despite TV shows like Big Love, the Broadway hit The Book of Mormon, and the political career of Mitt Romney, Mormonism remains somewhat mysterious to those outside the religion. Uncover the origins and practices of this American faith, and find out how it has grown so large so quickly. x
    • 19
      Slave Religion in the Americas
      Although historical records are relatively scarce, the clever detective work of some enterprising scholars has revealed the rich religious world of enslaved Africans, and highlights Christianity’s role in both oppression and liberation. Trace the evolution of religion among slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries, and consider how they made “white man’s religion” their own. x
    • 20
      Christian Missions and Moral Reform
      How do you make people and a society Christian? What does it mean to “convert” foreign lands for Christ? In this lecture, Professor Worthen tackles these difficult questions. After reviewing early missions in Africa, she examines the role of women (particularly abolitionists) in the process of Christian reform. x
    • 21
      The Church's Encounter with Modern Learning
      Dig into the rise of the modern university and its influence on the history of Christianity. By examining modern biblical scholarship in Germany and Britain as well as advancements in 19th century science and the theory of evolution, you will gain a greater understanding of the battle between faith and reason. x
    • 22
      The Social Gospel
      In the 19th century, Christians debated whether to focus on saving souls, or to try to save society first. Here, learn about Protestant activists in Britain and North America who preached the “Social Gospel,” a mission to help the poor, push for social services, and effect political reform—and learn why some failed while others succeeded. x
    • 23
      Fundamentalism and Pentecostalism
      Reflect on the rise of Pentecostalism, which exploded into an international revival, and Fundamentalism, a movement that became far more influential in America than anywhere else. Fundamentalists and Pentecostals clashed over doctrine and worship, but Professor Worthen shows how both groups responded to the same anxieties of modernity. x
    • 24
      Apocalyptic Faith in the 1800s and Beyond
      Christianity started as an apocalyptic religion, and prophecies of “end times” have endured. Take a look at different strands of apocalyptic thinking and their relationship to the Bible and to society. Then unpack how apocalyptic preaching became so popular and examine how several churches and evangelists preached about the last days. x
    • 25
      The Church and the Russian Revolution
      The Russian Revolution of 1917 is arguably the single most cataclysmic event in the history of religion in the 20th century. After surveying the landscape of religion in Russia in the early 20th century, including the various Christian minorities, take a look at the Bolshevik coup and Lenin and Stalin's subsequent efforts to stamp out religion. x
    • 26
      The Rival Gods of the Cold War
      Continue your exploration of Soviet religious persecution and consider life behind the Iron Curtain. In this lecture, you will see how Khrushchev and Brezhnev continued Stalin-era pro-atheist policies. Then turn to the persistence of the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe—particularly Poland, home of Pope John Paul II. x
    • 27
      Rebellion and Reform in Latin America
      Trace the history of religion in Latin America from the 18th century through today. After reviewing the history of colonialism and revolution, you will reflect on the relationship between the church and liberation theology in Mexico, Argentina, and elsewhere. See how Jorge Bergoglio—a.k.a. Pope Francis—struggled to balance pragmatism and idealism in politics. x
    • 28
      Vatican II and Global Renewal
      In 1962, thousands of bishops gathered in Rome to convene the Second Vatican Council. Here, they debated how the church should respond to the challenges of modernity. Explore the high drama of these debates and see how Catholic reforms in worship, church authority, and doctrines of sexuality made real-life impact everywhere from America to the Philippines. x
    • 29
      Secularism and the Death of God
      For Western Christians, the 20th century seemed to bring growing secularization. Professor Worthen unpacks this term and places it in the historical context of the 1950s and 1960s. See how religion has increasingly become a private business, one worldview among many, and theologians proclaimed the death of God—despite Billy Graham’s booming revivals. x
    • 30
      The Gospel and Global Civil Rights
      One theme we've seen again and again is the morally complex role of churches in social change. Here, you'll reflect on the stories of the American civil rights movement and the South African battle over apartheid to explore the ambivalent role of Christian institutions and ideas in the 20th century's global struggle for human rights. x
    • 31
      Culture Wars and the Christian Right
      Along with secularization and changes in Christian faith and practice, the second half of the 20th century also witnessed the eruption of today’s “culture wars”—the clash between traditional religious morality and secular pluralism. Explore this tension in American society and politics, and then see how the culture war is a global phenomenon, playing out in religious debates around the world. x
    • 32
      Liberation Theologies in Latin America
      Revisit Latin America to examine the role of Protestant missionaries and their rivalry with the established Catholic Church. After surveying politics and culture in Latin America over the past century, you'll see how Catholic leaders responded to evolving societies. The lecture concludes with a look at liberation theology and the impact of the Christian Right. x
    • 33
      Prophetic Religion in Modern Africa
      Christianity today is a truly global religion. Even as church attendance declines in America and Western Europe, Christianity is growing rapidly around the world. Here, Professor Worthen reviews the explosion of controversial revival movements in Africa, as well as the promise—and peril—they offer to struggling believers trying to survive times of political upheaval. x
    • 34
      Chinese Christianity: Missionaries to Mao
      Continue your study of contemporary global Christianity. In China, the rise of Christianity has met with an uneasy mix of enthusiasm and suspicion. After reviewing early Christian contact with China, Professor Worthen traces 19th and 20th century missions, delves into the brutal Cultural Revolution, and reflects on religious tensions under the Communist regime. x
    • 35
      Revival and Repression in Korea
      After the United States and Brazil, South Korea sends more missionaries into the world than any other country. Find out how Christianity became such a thriving faith in this relatively small nation—while fellow believers to the north suffer savage repression, and Pyongyang enforces a state religion devoted to the worship of former dictator Kim Il-sung. x
    • 36
      The Challenge of 21st-Century Christianity
      In this final lecture, consider three challenges for Christians in the 21st century: their encounters with the world of Islam, their attitude toward global capitalism, and their reaction to the forces of secularization. Discover how understanding the past 500 years of history can help us better understand these challenges today—and how to prepare for the future. x
  • The Fundamentals of Travel Photography

    National Geographic Photographer Bob Krist,

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Great travel photographs require the ability to tell a story. It’s the same skill National Geographic photographers use to get their breathtaking shots, and it’s one any photographer can master. In The Fundamentals of Travel Photography, National Geographic photographer Bob Krist shares his insights with you through 24 lectures packed with the best photos from his career as a travel photographer.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Fundamentals of Travel Photography
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Travel Photographer's Mission
      A sightseeing photographer stands apart from the culture. A travel photographer immerses herself or himself in it. In this introductory lecture, discover why an important part of good travel photography involves being there." Your case study: Mr. Krist's assignment for a story on the French Quarter of New Orleans." x
    • 2
      Photographing for Story
      Start thinking of yourself as a visual storyteller-not just a photographer. Here, learn what every travel photographer needs to cover to tell a complete story, including geography, people, culture, wildlife, food and lodging, and history. Then, see how it all applies to a National Geographic assignment in French Polynesia. x
    • 3
      Three Keys: Light, Composition, Moment
      Every good travel photograph is built around three ingredients: light, composition, and movement. Study a number of travel photographs in terms of these ingredients to see if they have what it takes to be considered good." Also, ponder what happens when you only have two (or even just one) of these keys." x
    • 4
      Natural Light on Landscapes
      What makes light beautiful"? What makes it "ugly"? In this lecture, Mr. Krist takes you on an in-depth exploration of the many facets of natural light and how to use them in your own landscape photographs-just like the pros. You'll cover side lighting, back lighting, twilight, and more." x
    • 5
      Natural Light on People
      Explore great lighting options for photographing the people you meet while traveling. There's backlight, which you find in fashion photographs. There's open shade (the quality of light on the shadow side of buildings on a sunny day). You can even take good shots lighting your subject from the front. x
    • 6
      Composition and the Power of Lenses
      Study composition through wide-angle and telephoto lenses. Learn why 28mm-300mm is such a popular focal length and an ideal travel lens. Explore some of the useful properties of a wide-angle lens. See why the telephoto lens' compression of perspective is a useful property once you learn how to use it. x
    • 7
      On Location in San Miguel de Allende
      Go out in the field and join Mr. Krist on assignment in Central Mexico to see how he puts some of the techniques you've learned into practice. By witnessing a travel photographer at work, you'll discover why a proactive approach to travel photography yields much better pictures than mere inspiration. x
    • 8
      Gear, Packing, and Security
      A hot topic in travel photography is what you bring with you and what you leave behind. From gear to clothes to preconceptions, learn how to find the coveted middle ground between preparedness and mobility so you can focus on what matters most: telling a visual story of your travels. x
    • 9
      Five Obstacles to a Great Photo
      Bad weather. Language and logistics. Money and time limitations. Access. Overfamiliarity. Get a stronger sense of the most common barriers to getting great travel photographs. Along the way, you'll look at some photo assignments-many of which feature more than one obstacle-to see how you might handle them. x
    • 10
      Capturing the Spirit of People
      Explore pointed techniques for capturing the spirit in the people you meet. First, learn how to make breaking the ice (the hardest part of the whole process) a little less painful. Then, take a look at several methods for photographing people, including the candid approach and the up-close-and-personal approach. x
    • 11
      People in Performance
      One of the richest opportunities for photographing the people you encounter in your travels: during a planned or impromptu performance. Mr. Krist offers important pointers for photographing people in situations like tango dances, blues clubs, ballet performances, and more. Plus: consider the somewhat sticky problem of tipping for pictures. x
    • 12
      Using Flash on the Road
      The electronic flash is perhaps the most misunderstood-and badly misused-piece of gear in a photographer's arsenal. Discover how a shoe-mounted flash can open up new worlds for you as a travel photographer and can be your best friend in situations that would be un-photographable otherwise. x
    • 13
      Capturing the Spirit of Landscapes
      A good landscape shot not only shows what a place looks like but what it feels like. Join Mr. Krist for a deeper dive into shooting landscapes to capture what one travel writer called the "spirit of place." Strategies include altering your horizon line and suggesting a sense of scale. x
    • 14
      Special Techniques for Creative Photos
      Get creative in this lecture on special techniques to employ when you're feeling a little out of the box." Some are subtle (shooting in black and white). Some are controversial (high dynamic range, or HDR, photography). All can, when applied judiciously, give your travel photography a boost." x
    • 15
      Capturing the Spirit of Wildlife
      Start creating more interesting wildlife photographs with these tips and techniques to use whether you're at the zoo or on safari. You'll gain insights into getting a great animal portrait without having to spend all day in a blind in the jungle-as well as the best gear to pack. x
    • 16
      Animals in Action
      Turn the hardest and most prized photos for even seasoned travel photographers: animals in action. First, learn the pros of using fast and slow shutter speeds. Then, get tips on telling a story involving people and wildlife. Finally, go underwater to practice animal photography in aquatic environments. x
    • 17
      Architecture and Skylines
      How can you make a city skyline, many of which have already been photographed to death, original? From varying your point of view to waiting for unusual lighting conditions, Mr. Krist offers a variety of ways to take photos of architecture and cityscapes that aren't stiff, formal, and cold. x
    • 18
      Festivals, Parades, and Special Events
      Every traveler loves festivals and parades, and the same is true of travel photographers. Here, be more proactive about how you approach celebrations of cultural heritage, whether it's arriving early for unique shots, searching for new angles, or exploring the perimeter of a special event. x
    • 19
      Street Scenes and Neighborhoods
      No travel story is complete without shots of what a neighborhood-and the life on it-looks like. How can you make day-to-day life look as interesting as a massive spectacle? How can you give viewers a real feel for what life is like on the streets you travel through? x
    • 20
      Workflow on the Road
      A critical component of travel photography involves mundane work: securing and organizing your photographs. Join Mr. Krist for an exploration of the nitty-gritty details of workflow on the road. Remember: the more organized you are in the field, the easier it will be to share your images at home. x
    • 21
      Photographing a City: Philadelphia
      Go on another case study to see how the techniques of travel photography look in real life. Your destination in this lecture: the City of Brotherly Love. From City Hall to cheesesteaks to Rittenhouse Square, discover ways to capture these and other Philadelphia icons in exciting new ways. x
    • 22
      Photographing a Region: Tuscany
      Go behind the scenes to learn how Mr. Krist set about capturing photos for the New York Times best seller, In Tuscany. It's a beautiful Tuscan adventure that demonstrates how a great travel photographer tells the story of a region-and the many lives within it. x
    • 23
      Working with Video
      Get a taste of what it takes to make the transition from stills to video. Topics include the five shots for creating a visual story with depth; how to shoot for a sequence; how to build a simple story structure; and what you need to start shooting short video stories. x
    • 24
      Sharing Your Stories
      You've taken the best photographs you can possibly take. Now it's time to share your visual stories with friends and family. In this final lecture, consider ways to share and publish your unique stories on both print and digital platforms, from coffee table books to online magazines. x
  • Screenwriting 101: Mastering the Art of Story

    Professor Angus Fletcher, Ph.D.

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

    Writing a script is simply another way of telling a story, albeit one with its own special set of possibilities and limitations. This course will provide you with the invaluable ability to appreciate more films and TV, tell better stories, and write your own scripts. How you decide to use these limitless creative possibilities is up to you.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Screenwriting 101: Mastering the Art of Story
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Thinking like a Screenwriter
      Before "Lights! Camera! Action!" there is one thing a film must have: a good story. This first lecture introduces you to the importance of story and Professor Fletcher's unique approach to it. Look to the literary past to see how the earliest stories shape the ones we create today and use that knowledge to look at scripts and storytelling. You may be surprised to discover how cognitive science can shed light on how humans experience stories. x
    • 2
      Reverse Engineering Successful Scripts
      The first question any writer must ask is: where do I want to take my audience? Professor Fletcher shows you how to reverse engineer stories to pinpoint their cognitive effects and put those tools to use in your own writing (and viewing) experiences. Travel back to the dawn of scriptwriting and reverse engineer three major storytelling innovations of ancient Greece, connecting each to a successful modern film script. x
    • 3
      Building Your Story World
      Every script has a setting, both a time and a place where the story occurs. Your “story world” is, however, more than the physical or temporal—what makes the world are the rules you create for it. Understand the value of the rules that underlie your story and see how genres allow you to use pre-existing structures while enabling you to embrace a multitude of possibilities. Then, look at the “big three” genres: Tragedy, Comedy, and Heroic. x
    • 4
      Developing Your Characters
      Character is the key ingredient in most successful stories; make great characters and audiences will want to follow them anywhere. Professor Fletcher presents a simple recipe for creating memorable characters with three simple ingredients. Discover why fear is the most powerful driver of human behavior and why this is a key to creating and sustaining great characters. x
    • 5
      Tone: The Screenwriter's Lens
      One thing budding screenwriters often forget is this: you are not the director. Your job as the writer is to create a great story; the rest of the work is up to others. So how do you make sure your story creates the cognitive effect you want? The answer is tone. Look at the two most important ways writers shape tone and then dive into four influential tones used in screenwriting, using both literature and award-winning scripts as your guide. x
    • 6
      Plotting Your Story Beats
      One of the most common pitfalls of scriptwriting is poor plotting. The human mind is actually designed to plot—the key is learning how to constrain this natural tendency so your story doesn’t simply wander. See how plotting backwards can help you stay on track and why you should forget about creating a three-act structure. x
    • 7
      Sentimental Return: Casablanca
      Begin your exploration of great film scripts with Casablanca. Learn how to identify its cognitive effect and reverse engineer the four main story components to unlock the tools you will use to understand every script. Casablanca will also introduce you to the first of the “big three” storytelling genres: the heroic. x
    • 8
      The Tragic Sublime: The Godfather
      How does a script go through 19 rewrites and multiple directors to emerge as one of the most influential films of the 20th century? Reverse engineer this story that traces its roots back to ancient Rome and see how a sublime tragedy can be even more powerful when brought down to a human scale. x
    • 9
      Romantic Satisfaction: When Harry Met Sally…
      The basic plot of all romantic comedies is essentially the same, so the surprise success of When Harry Met Sally can teach writers volumes about all the other ways you can make a story great. Professor Fletcher demonstrates the subtle ways screenwriters can add naturalistic details to make a predictable story still feel realistic and rewarding. x
    • 10
      Suspense and Relief: Jaws
      Take a look at the film whose immense success gave us the term “blockbuster,” examining why the feeling of relief is one of the most primordial of human emotions and how it can best be put to use in good storytelling. Also gain an appreciation for the value of improvisation and collaboration with actors in the filmmaking process. x
    • 11
      Romantic Longing: Annie Hall
      A comedy with an ending more like a tragedy and with a tone that effortlessly fuses irony and sentiment, Annie Hall was an instant success that almost didn't happen. Use what you have learned about reverse engineering stories to better understand how to reach your ultimate (psychological) destination in a script. x
    • 12
      Big Wonder: Star Wars
      The influence of Joseph Campbell and the idea of an archetypal journey have long been credited as part of the success of George Lucas’s epic space opera. However, neuroscience has since debunked the idea of this “monomyth” and Professor Fletcher shows you how the power of the script comes down to something much simpler: childlike wonder. x
    • 13
      Charm: The Princess Bride
      The Princess Bride is the first film thus far that was not a hit on its initial release. Instead, its popularity grew slowly over time, engaging small audiences who were connected by a sense of being “in on the secret”—the essence of charm. Solve the riddle of how two different worlds can actually be the same and discover why community can be an important element of storytelling. x
    • 14
      Alienation Effect: Do the Right Thing
      Most Hollywood films use simple but strong emotional effects to lull audiences into an easy enjoyment in a world with moral certainty. But some movies want to make you think critically and offer no easy answers. Ambivalence can be a crucial tool for writers who want to challenge audiences and this lecture will show you how it can be used to powerful effect. x
    • 15
      Redemption: Unforgiven
      The gritty soul of the Western genre was revived by the release of Unforgiven—a film that is not just a lesson in great genre writing, but in how to bring old stories back to life. Look at the ways the various story elements help create an anti-hero audiences will root for as you explore how a seemingly forgotten genre can be revived with the right script at the right time. x
    • 16
      Surreal Connection: Pulp Fiction
      Film scripts often use literary techniques to build the story world, form characters, and set the right tone. By adopting a collage method taken from the surrealist movement, Pulp Fiction shows that visual arts can influence story in much the same way. Explore the various ways connections can be made between seemingly unrelated characters and events. x
    • 17
      Big Sympathy: Toy Story
      How did a film that began as a computer demo become an unexpected smash hit? Solve this mystery as you discover why having an engineering mindset can be a great advantage in screenwriting, and reveal how Pixar changed the direction of Disney films for years to come—by looking at a surprisingly dark side of storytelling. x
    • 18
      Existential Meaning: Fargo
      Some films defy easy explanation. Fargo is an eccentric story that uses its oddities to its advantage—like delaying the appearance of the main character for almost a third of the film. Explore existentialism and see what can happen when writers stop thinking about fixed structure and focus on the desired result. x
    • 19
      Film versus Television: MASH and M*A*S*H
      Begin your transition from the big screen to the small by looking at the different ways television and film scripts approach storytelling. See why the conflicts and plotting of TV must operate differently from film to sustain story over time and how you can determine which format is best for the kind of story you want to tell. x
    • 20
      Writing a Television Pilot: Game of Thrones
      Follow Professor Fletcher as he shows you how a television pilot works. Or, in the case of the original Game of Thrones pilot, how it doesn't. Compare the initial failed script with the later successful one and see how a story can be reshaped to better achieve its desired effect and discover why writing a TV pilot is like building an engine. x
    • 21
      The Sitcom: The Simpsons
      In the first of three lectures focused on successful TV genres, look at the longest running sitcom in television history, The Simpsons. This lecture shows you why jokes are not the key to humor; it’s all in the characters and their ongoing conflict with the world around them. Look at the episode “Duffless” and see how it works as a great example of sitcom writing. x
    • 22
      The Procedural: CSI
      The success of the procedural story harkens back to the Victorian heyday of Sherlock Holmes, whose adventures always followed a similar pattern but with important variations. This same technique drives the success of shows like CSI, as this lecture demonstrates by looking at the pilot episode, which encapsulates the show's combination of problem solving and problem making. x
    • 23
      The Prime-Time Soap: Grey's Anatomy
      See why soap operas are an enduring and brilliant form of storytelling, despite their reputation. By focusing on the subjective and the most primal of human emotions, soap operas allow viewers to experience deep feelings that may be difficult or absent in real life. Grey's Anatomy shows how the conflict between wanting to belong and feeling like an outsider can fuel this kind of storytelling. x
    • 24
      Becoming a Screenwriter
      Professor Fletcher concludes the course with a look at the ultimate goals of Screenwriting 101: to help you appreciate more film and TV; tell better stories; and write your own scripts. As he takes you through each of these points and sums up the scope of the course, he also gives invaluable practical advice on how to become a screenwriter from a professional perspective. And that's a wrap. x
  • Improve Your Paintings: Luminous Watercolor Mixing

    Kateri Ewing, Watercolor Expert

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Mix the glowing, harmonious watercolors you want, every time. Learn how using fundamental techniques and a limited palette of just six pigments.

    View Lecture List (6)
    6 Lectures  |  Improve Your Paintings: Luminous Watercolor Mixing
    Lecture Titles (6)
    • 1
      Understanding Successful Watercolor
      Meet artist Kateri Ewing as she introduces you to the limitless possibilities of watercolor. Kateri explains the characteristics of successful watercolor paintings, including how to select the most effective paints and tools. Next, learn the difference between luminous and muddy works, which will transform the way you'll see and paint in the future. x
    • 2
      Split Primary System
      Learn the difference between primary and split primary colors, and discover how color theory will help improve your paintings. Kateri shows you how organizing your palette will reduce frustration and wasted paint, and she walks you through the creation of your own 15-color wheel. x
    • 3
      Charts & Color Matching
      Every artist has experienced the disappointment of not being able to match a hue exactly, but Kateri shows you how to solve this common challenge! Create your personalized color charts that train your hand and your eye to recognize color relationships, and allow you to match any color you can find. x
    • 4
      Tertiaries, Neutrals & Greens
      Now that you've mastered primary and secondary color relationships, Kateri walks you through ways to mix complementary tertiary hues to achieve even more nuanced mixes. Next, she shares professional tips for transforming unnatural green paint pigments into the greens found in nature. x
    • 5
      Project Foundations & Color Study
      Apply your new understanding of watercolor paints and color theory to a study of a pear (or anything else that you desire). Kateri shares her preferred method of transferring a line drawing before walking you through the first glaze of a color study. x
    • 6
      Building Color & Completing the Pear
      Continue building your colors as you improve your ability to accurately observe and mix various shades. Kateri helps you work darker colors into your yellow and green pear study, creating depth and form with washes, stunning details and nuanced shading. x
  • Realistic Watercolors Step by Step 

    Anna Mason, Expert Watercolorist

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Create lifelike watercolors without a lifetime of practice! Use easy-to-replicate techniques to achieve results you're proud to say you painted.

    View Lecture List (7)
    7 Lectures  |  Realistic Watercolors Step by Step 
    Lecture Titles (7)
    • 1
      Working With Watercolor
      Meet Anna Mason and get started discovering the simplicity behind painting with watercolors. Develop your painter's eye with watercolor basics as Anna helps you uncover the secret to layering watercolors. You'll also learn her brush techniques for painting fine details. Think small! x
    • 2
      Preparing to Paint
      Set up your workspace for success! Anna will provide techniques for taking the best reference photo to work from, no fancy camera required. Then get started working on a realistic pencil outline of a flower by either tracing or using Anna's measurements technique for an accurate rendering. x
    • 3
      Painting the Petals
      Start painting petals with Anna's layering technique. Begin by placing the lightest pink tones, then move to your darker pinks and finally your midtones to gradually build up color. You'll finish by filling gaps and refining your contrast. x
    • 4
      Painting the Stamen & Reassessing Petals
      Begin painting a realistic-looking stamen to add color variation to your painting! Learn the importance of order in watercolor painting and building up tone throughout the painting process. After finishing the stamen, you'll reassess the petal tones and balance the darkness of the petals. x
    • 5
      Painting the Bud
      Start painting a flower bud by layering tones light to dark. Anna will teach you how to avoid making mud out of your color choices. Use greens and reds to add tones to the sepals for clarity and deep contrast. Finally, gain confidence in your contrasts and explore how to use gouache for brilliant highlights. x
    • 6
      Painting the Leaves & Stem
      Create a variety of greens to cover the leaves, stems and thorns for a natural-looking finish. Layer the dark tones on top of the dried lighter tones using Anna's layering technique. You'll fill in the midtones to create the veins and juggle the rest of the hues to create a smooth, finished look. x
    • 7
      Finishing Details & Assessing Contrast
      Add final key details to make your painting look natural. Anna demonstrates how easy it is to make your details pop for a realistic finish. Learn to make darks richer and help details shine through with Anna's techniques for color correcting. Then assess the big-picture contrast of your painting. x
  • Simple & Stunning Watercolor Techniques

    Mary Murphy, Expert Watercolorist

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Expand your repertoire of advanced watercolor painting techniques to infuse your work with interest and excitement.

    View Lecture List (7)
    7 Lectures  |  Simple & Stunning Watercolor Techniques
    Lecture Titles (7)
    • 1
      Underpainting
      Meet Mary Murphy, your guide to simple and stunning watercolor techniques. In this first lesson, Mary introduces the underpainting, the base of any good watercolor. She demonstrates a few masking techniques and shows how complementary colors help balance a painting and create surprising effects. x
    • 2
      Size & Composition
      Why you're painting is often just as important as what you're painting. Mary looks at the intention behind each work as a way of highlighting how to plan size and composition using thumbnails and sketches. She also offers a tip for scaling and paints a miniature square floral. x
    • 3
      Creating Texture
      Mary will show you how to use a variety of household materials, from credit cards to table salt, to add texture and visual interest to your watercolors. Then she paints a scene near her home to put those principles into practice. x
    • 4
      Exploring Water Media
      Learn how to complement your watercolors with other mediums. Mary introduces gouache and acrylic, which offers the exciting option of subtractive painting. Then she shows how watercolor grounds can help provide even more texture before combining all elements into one of her works. x
    • 5
      Brushes & Paper
      The tools you use determine so much about what your painting will look like. Mary introduces a variety of brush types and techniques, from scumbling with a mop quill to writing with a rigger. Then she shows how paper weight and texture can give your final product unique effects. x
    • 6
      Pigments
      No two watercolors are created equally. Mary walks through what makes some pigments transparent while others are opaque. She also introduces the concept of granularity, which helps produce more life-like skin along with skies and clouds, before finishing with a primer on staining pigments. x
    • 7
      Rescuing Techniques
      Painting in watercolor means always having a chance to correct mistakes. Mary takes a painting she'd abandoned long ago and attempts to recover it in real time. In the process, she shows how to critique, introduces rescuing techniques and teaches how to check for value. x
  • Zoology: Understanding the Animal World

    Senior Science Advisor Donald E. Moore III, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    In Zoology: Understanding the Animal World, The Great Courses teams up with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute for 24 lectures that take you behind the scenes of the animal world. Dr. Donald E. Moore III brings you up close and personal with a breathtaking variety of animal species, from butterflies to crocodiles to pandas.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Zoology: Understanding the Animal World
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      What Do Zoologists Do?
      Get a solid foundation for all the terms and concepts you'll encounter throughout this course. Discover what zoologists do (it's much more than running zoos), take a close look at the phylogenic tree (the tree of life), and examine the definition of terms like species, natural selection, and conservation. x
    • 2
      Animal Reproduction: Genes and Environment
      In this lecture, explore the diversity of reproductive biology and sex in the animal kingdom. Along the way, you'll cover topics including asexual and sexual reproduction, sexual behaviors in different animal groups, and some of the strangest sexual behavior in the animal kingdom: reproduction outside an animal's body. x
    • 3
      Mammal Reproduction: Pandas and Cheetahs
      One goal of zoology is to help save the world's endangered species by ensuring their ability to reproduce. Here, Dr. Moore, along with insights from two research biologists, reveals how reproductive scientists are working to help save giant pandas and cheetahs from extinction. x
    • 4
      How Animals Raise Their Young
      Why is parenting so essential to a species' survival? Why do some animals have different parenting styles? Here, explore different parenting styles in everything from corals to salmon to humans. Then, encounter one of the most unique examples of parental care in mammals: the golden lion tamarin. x
    • 5
      Helpful Corals, Clams, and Crustaceans
      Marine invertebrates are some of the most economically important animals on the planet. Learn more about them in this lecture on invertebrate “good guys” including mollusks (the largest phylum of marine animals), blue crabs, the American lobster, and corals (which surpass tropical rainforests in their levels of biodiversity). x
    • 6
      Bees, Butterflies, and Saving Biodiversity
      There are more than 1 million species of insects on our planet—over half of all known extant species. In this lecture, explore adaptations of some of the most important insects on our planet, including ants, bees, and butterflies. Also, focus on key conservation issues like colony collapse and pollinator conservation. x
    • 7
      Deadly Invertebrates: Vectors and Parasites
      Mosquitos, biting flies, internal parasites—what are the real effects of these invertebrates on humans? Why are they so important to our planet? What makes mosquitos the deadliest animals on Earth? How do zoologists classify the parasites that infect humans? What happens in a zoo’s veterinary pathology department? x
    • 8
      Bony Fish, Skates, Sharks, and Rays
      Here, Dr. Moore offers an up-close encounter with some of the most interesting animals on our planet: fishes. You'll examine the specific conservation needs of rays, sharks, and bony fishes; learn how fishes achieve buoyancy and how their gills work; explore how fishes adapt to cold, salty waters; and more. x
    • 9
      Amphibians, Metamorphosis, and Ecology
      About 350 million years ago, large amphibians were Earth's most abundant species. Now, their future may be in jeopardy. Join Dr. Moore and a biologist from the Smithsonian's National Zoo for an eye-opening lecture on amphibian biology and diversity and the ways we can help salamanders, frogs, and other species thrive. x
    • 10
      Reptiles: Adaptations for Living on Land
      Reptiles combine primitive, advanced, generalized, and specialized adaptations for life on earth. First, examine the characteristics reptiles share with birds. Then, examine fascinating reptilian adaptations like parthenogenesis and temperature-dependent sex determination. Finally, learn ways you can help reptiles like snakes, turtles, lizards, and crocodilians survive. x
    • 11
      Beaks, Claws, and Eating like a Bird
      From kingfishers to penguins to vultures, dive into the science of ornithology, the study of our planet's birds. Along the way, you'll encounter topics like the amazing adaptations of bills; the evolution of birds of prey; and the relationship between shorebird migration and the egg-laying season for horseshoe crabs. x
    • 12
      Form and Function: Bird Nests and Eggs
      Variations in bird reproduction allow birds to survive everywhere from rainforest canopies to Antarctica. Explore the intricacies of bird breeding, nesting, and chick-raising adaptations. Topics include mating behavior, nest formation, the ways chicks are built to survive, and ways we can help birds thrive on our planet. x
    • 13
      Taking to the Sky: Bird Migration
      One of the most interesting events in the animal kingdom is bird migration by flight. What are the physics of bird flight? Why have some of the world’s most interesting birds—like penguins and ostriches—lost the ability to fly? Do wings serve a purpose other than flight? Find out here. x
    • 14
      What Makes a Mammal: Hair, Milk, and Teeth
      Today, there are more than 5,000 species of mammals assembled in 26 orders and dozens of families. In the first of several lectures on mammalian life, investigate the two traits that make mammals unique from other animals: hair and milk. (And yes, even dolphins possess some form of hair!) x
    • 15
      Herbivore Mammals: Ruminants and Runners
      Focus now on two types of herbivorous mammals. The first are ruminants: animals like cows and camels who rely on foregut fermentation and four-chambered stomachs to digest plants. The second are runners like horses and oryx, who've developed musculoskeletal adaptations to help them jump and escape predators. x
    • 16
      Carnivore Mammals: Feline, Canine, and Ursine
      Turn now from herbivores to carnivores like lions, tigers, bears, wolves, cats, and dogs. Among the many insights you'll learn are the different ways carnivores evolved to walk and capture prey, as well as their evolutionary history, which stretches back to tree-dwelling animals that lived 50 and 60 million years ago. x
    • 17
      Primate Mammals: Diverse Forest Dwellers
      Gain a greater appreciation for the characteristics of primates: their longer lifespans, omnivorous diets, larger brains, and (the only trait they all have in common), inner ears. To get a better sense of primate diversity, you'll focus on a New World monkey (the golden lion tamarin) and a great ape (the gorilla). x
    • 18
      Size, Structure, and Metabolism
      Explore how an animal’s size helps it thrive. Look at allometric scaling (which helps explain diverse characteristics, like why smaller animals like mice have faster breathing and heart rates than the enormous elephant), why invertebrates are much smaller on average than vertebrates, and how bioenergetics—how animals obtain and use fuel—helps us understand animal survival. x
    • 19
      Protection, Support, and Homeostasis
      From jellyfish to sea lions, every animal on Earth has solved the challenges of movement, protection, and homeostasis in its own way. Dr. Moore covers the diversity of adaptations that animals have developed, including scales, feathers, hair, beaks, horns, and different skeletal structures (axial and appendicular). x
    • 20
      Animal Energetics and the Giant Panda Problem
      Every living thing gets its energy in one of three ways: as a producer, a consumer, or a decomposer. Central to this lecture on animal energetics (including metabolism and digestion) is the giant panda, whose carnivorous physiology and plant-based diet make it one of the most inefficient feeders on our planet. x
    • 21
      Ethology: Studying Animal Behavior
      How do zoologists study animal behavior? How does it help them become better caretakers and conservationists? First, examine how the modern approach to studying animal behavior emerged. Then, learn how objective behavioral studies in natural conditions work. Finally, explore Dr. Moore's own observations of the Pampas deer of South America. x
    • 22
      Think! How Intelligent Are Animals?
      Zoologists study animal intelligence using a combination of ethology, psychology, and neuroscience. In this lecture, look at the behavior of different animals—the use of tools by animals as diverse as otters and elephants, social learning in primates and dolphins, the famous story of a “counting” horse—to determine whether or not animals think. x
    • 23
      Combating Disease in the Animal Kingdom
      Around 75% of new or emerging infectious human diseases are spread from animals. Examine zoonotic diseases, which are spread between humans and animals and caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. Also, consider how diseases (like canine distemper virus) threaten animals in zoos and in nature. x
    • 24
      Animal Futures: Frontiers in Zoology
      Every day, zoologists around the world are asked questions about the future of animal species. What’s the biggest threat to wildlife? Why are scientists freezing animal tissues? Why do we still know so little about animal life? Have there been successes in conservation? In this “FAQ”-style lecture, get some answers. x
  • Do-It-Yourself Engineering

    Professor Stephen Ressler, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Taught by Professor Stephen Ressler of West Point, this course conducts you through 17 thrilling engineering projects that you can build at home—from a suspension bridge across a small stream to a low-altitude sounding rocket. Dr. Ressler walks you through the entire process, from design to build to test, showing you how to think like an engineer in approaching any problem.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Do-It-Yourself Engineering
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Why DIY Engineering?
      Follow the seven steps in the engineering design process to create a golf ball launcher that can hit a target ten feet away. Apply the principle of conservation of energy to select the right steel spring for the job. After building and testing the launcher, consider the joys of do-it-yourself projects and the insights they provide about fundamental engineering concepts. x
    • 2
      Exploring the Science of Structure
      Get started on DIY project number two: use cardboard to build a tower capable of supporting a 100-pound gravity load and a 10-pound lateral load simultaneously. This exercise closely replicates problems faced by real-world skyscraper designers. In this lesson, use vector math to analyze the forces exerted on each structural element of the building. x
    • 3
      Design and Build a Cardboard Tower
      Now that you understand the forces your cardboard tower must withstand, conduct a series of compressive and tensile strength experiments to determine the size and shape of your structure's beams, columns, and braces. After completing your design, build the tower using ordinary wood glue and simple tools. Then pile on concrete blocks and marvel at the strength of your creation. x
    • 4
      Bridging with Beams
      Design and build an 8-foot beam bridge capable of carrying a swarm of pedestrians across a small stream. First, consider three alternative concepts, with beams made of identical wood, but of different configurations. Then develop these designs, analyzing their stresses and failure modes before selecting the optimum, building it, and inviting your friends onto the span. x
    • 5
      Make a Suspension Bridge
      Elegant and efficient, the suspension bridge is your next DIY effort. Span the same small stream as in the previous project, but support the deck with suspension cables draped between two 5-foot-tall towers. Analyze the flow of forces through the structural system before designing each element. A 3D computer model helps you plan this impressive project. x
    • 6
      Design a Concrete Sailboat
      It may sound suspiciously like a lead balloon, but a concrete boat can be made to float. Your engineering challenge is to create a concrete sailboat that can operate safely in 10-mph winds. Hydrostatics comes into play in designing a hull with sufficient buoyancy, and aerodynamics enters the picture in designing a sail that doesn't cause too much heeling in the wind. x
    • 7
      Set Sail!
      Build your concrete sailboat. Consider the enhanced strength of a concrete shell that has been formed into a curved shape—a feature exploited in many buildings. Then apply basic aerodynamics and vector mechanics to determine how the wind propels a sailboat—sailing with the wind, into the wind, and at right angles to the wind. Try out these points of sail with your model. x
    • 8
      Make a Radio-Controlled Blimp
      Who has not tied a paper cup to a helium party balloon to make a primitive airship? In this lesson, design and build a far more advanced version: a radio-controlled blimp that you can remotely pilot around your house. Calculate the volume of helium required to lift your blimp and its control unit, borrowed from a toy tank. Use two motor-driven propellers for thrust and control. x
    • 9
      Exploring Aerodynamics
      Start your project on fixed-wing flight the way the Wright brothers did: by building a wind tunnel. Use it to test different wing shapes at varying angles of attack, exploring the phenomena of lift, drag, and stalling. Your goal is to design a wing appropriate for a low-speed model plane, powered only by a few strands of rubber and flying without remote control. x
    • 10
      Build a Model Airplane
      Dig deeper into aerodynamic science so you can choose an airfoil shape and appropriate wingspan, aspect ratio, fuselage length, and stabilizer dimensions for your model plane. Pay special attention to aerodynamic stability and such factors as the dihedral angle of the wings, noting these features on full-size aircraft. Then build the airframe, using wood, tissue paper, and metal wire. x
    • 11
      Take Flight!
      Complete your model plane by assembling a rubber motor that will serve as a source of power. Design, carve, and install an efficient propeller. Learn how to balance your aircraft and adjust its flight characteristics. Then find a large, open field, and try a few test glides to fine-tune the plane's performance. Finally, watch it take wing on a full-power flight. x
    • 12
      Build a Model Helicopter
      Now tinker with helicopter aerodynamics by adapting the classic Penni model helicopter design used by many hobbyists. Discover the importance of countering the main rotor’s torque, and investigate the mechanical genius of the rotor hub—fortunately simpler on our model than on full-size aircraft! With its 16-inch main rotor, your super-light helicopter can safely fly indoors. x
    • 13
      This Is Rocket Science
      Tackle the problem of designing a model rocket that carries a miniature video camera to 500 feet and then returns safely to earth by parachute. In this lesson, focus on selecting an off-the-shelf model rocket engine that can do the job. Use the impulse-momentum principle and thrust curves for various engines to predict your rocket's maximum altitude. x
    • 14
      Build a Rocket
      Put together your model rocket, paying special attention to the engine mount and fins, then giving the completed vehicle a drag-reducing finish. Apply the science of aerodynamics to calculate the required diameter of the parachute. Then check the rocket's stability by determining its center of gravity and center of pressure locations. Your creation is now ready to fly. x
    • 15
      Make an Electric Launch Controller
      Get a taste of electrical engineering by designing and building an electric launch controller that will ignite your rocket engine safely. Design a circuit that meets all code requirements. Use Ohm's law to determine the number of batteries and type of resistor required. Also, get a lesson in proper soldering technique for assembling the circuit. x
    • 16
      Let's Do Launch!
      Finish your launch preparations by building a theodolite to measure the altitude of the rocket's trajectory, building a launch pad, packing the parachute, choosing a safe launch site, setting up the site, and coordinating the activities of the mission control team. Once all systems are go, conduct the countdown and press the firing button... x
    • 17
      A Tale of Three Catapults
      Delve into the history of the most potent artillery weapons in the era before gunpowder: catapults. Examine the workings of the ballista, onager, and trebuchet. Then get started on a model ballista capable of hurling a golf ball 200 feet. Analyze the machine's nylon torsion springs to ensure that they can store enough elastic energy to achieve the required 200-foot range. x
    • 18
      Build a Ballista, Onager, and Trebuchet
      Build your model ballista. Then construct two other types of catapult—the onager and trebuchet—designed such that they store the same amount of energy as your ballista. Field test all three to determine which throws a golf ball farthest. Will the winner be the weapon from the Hellenistic (ballista), late Roman (onager), or medieval era (trebuchet)? You may be surprised! x
    • 19
      Design a Hydraulic Arm
      Plunge into hydraulics, learning how force is transmitted from actuators to hydraulic cylinders through fluid-filled lines. Then use this knowledge to design and build a hydraulically powered mechanical arm that can grasp and manipulate a concrete block—controlled by four hand-operated syringes. Along the way, use 3D printing to fabricate several crucial parts. x
    • 20
      Make a Water Turbine
      Harness the power of moving water by building an impulse turbine capable of lifting a 2.2-pound weight through a distance of 2 feet. First, use Bernoulli's equation to determine the required height of the water reservoir. Next, focus on the turbine, plotting power versus load to determine the turbine diameter that will produce the required power output optimally. Then build! x
    • 21
      Design a Gear Train
      Test your water turbine, comparing its performance to the theoretical ideal. Next, modify it by adding a set of spur gears that will allow the machine to lift a 6-pound weight, which is well beyond its ungeared capacity. Calculate the optimum gear ratio, use laser-cutting to fabricate the gears, install them, and watch a modest stream of water lift a disproportionately heavy mass. x
    • 22
      Make a Mechanical Clock
      The pendulum clock was the standard for precise timekeeping for centuries. Plan and build one using your newly acquired knowledge of gears. Start by exploring why a pendulum keeps accurate time. Then calculate an appropriate pendulum length for the clock. Design the escapement mechanism and gear train, then add a suitable power source to keep the pendulum swinging. x
    • 23
      Design a Motor-Powered Crane
      Test the limits of small, inexpensive, off-the-shelf hobby motors by building a motor-driven crane capable of lifting 100 pounds—a tall order for a motor that weighs only a few ounces! First, construct the world’s simplest electric motor to gain insights about how they work. Then calculate the torque requirements for your crane, and add gears and pulleys to achieve mechanical advantage. x
    • 24
      Creative Design: A Tribute to Rube Goldberg
      Your final DIY project is a tribute to cartoonist Rube Goldberg, famous for sketching machines that perform the simplest tasks by the most complicated means. Accordingly, combine twenty design elements from this course—from airfoil to electric circuit—to create a machine that will click a computer mouse. Professor Ressler offers a solution that produces a surprising outcome. x
  • Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body

    David-Dorian Ross, International Master Tai Chi Instructor

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body offers an excellent introduction to nine types of martial arts. Hosted by Great Courses favorite David-Dorian Ross, these 25 powerful lessons give you a solid grounding in the different mental and physical techniques of the major martial arts families. Master Ross has hand-selected seven expert instructors to join him as your guides. Whether sensei, sifu, or champion competitor, your teachers are drawn from the best of the best.

    View Lecture List (25)
    25 Lectures  |  Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body
    Lecture Titles (25)
    • 1
      Strengthen Your Mind, Balance Your Body
      Open with five-time world champion Kathy Long in a brief warm-up demonstration, after which David-Dorian Ross leads your first lesson, with an overview of martial arts and some fundamental moves. Although there are many styles, martial arts all rely on our hands and feet as weapons. Explore a few basic techniques and stances broadly common to all forms. x
    • 2
      Karate: Fighting Stance and Mobility
      Step into what may seem like the quintessential Japanese martial art, with its emphasis on powerful physical techniques, from punches and chops to how to train your legs. Join U.S. Olymic team coach, Sensei Akira Fukuda in this introduction to karate and its history. Learn the fighting stance, the front kick, and a series of punches. x
    • 3
      Karate: Anticipate but Never Strike First
      Reflect on karate’s philosophy of “never strike first” and the implication that you must be able to anticipate and counter your opponent's move. After a survey of defense and counter-attack concepts, Sensei Fukuda teaches a class around the anticipatory skill levels of “Sen no Sen,” “Go no Sen,” and “Sen Sen no Sen.” x
    • 4
      Karate: End the Fight with a Single Blow
      Round out your study of karate's "empty hand” with an overview of a karate “kata.” Find out how practicing the kata can help you perfect your techniques and strengthen your body and mind. Sensei Fukuda demonstrates the Shiho Zuki (punching in four directions), and Master Ross breaks down the techniques so you can participate. x
    • 5
      Tai Chi Solo: Find Your Flow
      While many of the martial arts in this course are about speed, strength, and intensity, tai chi is known for the fundamental idea that “softness overcomes hardness.” Here, Master Ross introduces you to the history and philosophy that underlies tai chi, as well as the importance and practice of “flow.” x
    • 6
      Tae Kwon Do: Power Is Speed plus Intensity
      Although it didn't officially emerge until the early 1950s, tae kwon do has already become one of the world's most popular and commercially successful combat sports. Known for lighting fast, head-high kicking style, there is much more to this fascinating martial art. Here, Grandmaster Dave Wheaton teaches the horse stance and introductory kicks. x
    • 7
      Tae Kwon Do: Seeking Perfection of Form
      Like the karate kata, the tae kwon do forms—or “poomse”—are the key to practicing technique. After Master Ross introduces these patterns of attack and defense, Grandmaster Wheaton leads you through the first poomse, Chun-ji, which you can then try yourself. x
    • 8
      Tae Kwon Do: One-Step Sparring, Breaking Boards
      Focus, speed, power: perhaps nothing demonstrates the tae kwon do way as vividly as gearing up and sparring with a partner. In this interactive lesson, Grandmaster Wheaton leads you through a number of kicking drills as well as an introduction to one-step sparring techniques. Bring a partner if you have one, who can also help if you want to break a board. x
    • 9
      Qigong: Martial Meditation for Energy
      Qi is the Chinese word for “energy of life,” and qigong is the science of understanding the flow of Qi. Because the ability to manipulate Qi is at the heart of many Asian martial arts, this lesson takes a break from the physical systems of martial arts and explores the history and mental practice of qigong. Learn a variety of meditation techniques that complement your physical study. x
    • 10
      Kung Fu: Stances and Moving Drills
      kung fu influenced almost all martial arts in China, including dozens of varieties of kung fu, and Chinese martial arts in turn formed the foundation for martial arts throughout Asia. Join Coach Johnny Chang as he provides an overview of the white crane style of kung fu and demonstrates the major stances and punches. x
    • 11
      Kung Fu: Building a White Crane Routine
      Intricate “forms” are a hallmark of kung fu practice, which allow you to refine your physical skills and control. As you continue your study of white crane kung fu, Coach Chang breaks down the essential moves of a routine. He then turns to some exercises to help you increase your mental focus and discipline. x
    • 12
      Kung Fu: Reaction Training and Combos
      Begin to bridge the gap between individual practice and sparring with a partner by learning how to combine forms and anticipate your opponent’s responses. Coach Chang explains the “trigram” of defense and demonstrates basic blocks and kicks, showing you how to “follow the limbs in” to find openings in an opponent’s defenses. x
    • 13
      Kung Fu: Longer Range with Praying Mantis
      Round out your practice of kung fu with an introduction to praying mantis, a complementary style of kung fu that emphasizes bigger moves over longer distances. Sifu Joshua Grant takes you through this exceptionally graceful way to combine a variety of skills, as you literally cover a lot of ground. x
    • 14
      Tai Chi Partnered: From Connect to Merge
      Partner up and get ready to participate in a lesson from tai chi to practice moment-to-moment adjusments during sustained contact. Master Ross and Sifu Joshua Grant team up to demonstrate the traditional Push Hands training routine (Tui Sho) as well as a new game called TaijiFit Connect. You'll also learn levels of sense communication: connect, follow, flow, and merge. x
    • 15
      Judo: How to Take a Fall
      Known for its grappling, flipping, and throwing techniques, judo is best summed up by a Japanese phrase translating to “maximum efficiency, minimum effort.” After a review of the history and introductory concepts of judo, Sensei Fukuda takes you through a series of exercises and drills. Master Ross returns to offer additional insight. x
    • 16
      Judo: Disrupt Balance to Gain Advantage
      In this second lesson on judo, Master Ross and Sensei Fukuda practice “uchikomi,” or repetition training. You’re invited to join in with a partner to participate in a series of judo drills that include gripping, throwing, and “kuzushi,” the Japanese term for unbalancing your opponent. x
    • 17
      Jujitsu: Pliable Grappling Methods
      Jujitsu—“the pliable fighting art,” originated in Japan as “jujutsu,” and later modifed in Brazil as "jiujutsu"—relies less on speed, flexibility, and strength. Instead, practitioners need patience and understanding. By participating in a series of drills that make use of ground work and wrestling-style holds, you will learn to use your body like a pliable reed for fighting. Then consider how to apply pliability to your daily life. x
    • 18
      Muay Thai: Kickboxing with Eight Limbs
      One of the most devastating Asian fighting styles originated in Thailand. In addition to using fists and feet, Muay Thai uses elbows, forearms, knees, and shins as weapons, making it a favorite among MMA practitioners. Join world kickboxing champion Kathy Long to discover the basic stances, footwork, and punching techniques. x
    • 19
      Muay Thai: Kicks and Combos
      Continue your study of Muay Thai, which (unlike many other martial arts) includes knees and elbows as distinct weapons in the arsenal. Survey combinations and variations of jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, and other hand and foot techniques, and then examine the “why” of different combos. x
    • 20
      Muay Thai: Working in the Clinch
      Taking as her premise that fights are seldom won by a single technique, virtually undefeated champion Kathy Long focuses her final lesson on combinations that utilze the Muay Thai “clinch”—a move that allows you to take control of the action, and your opponent. After learning how to perform the clinch, you’ll put it together in a series of combinations. x
    • 21
      Jeet Kune Do: Why Bruce Lee Rejected Style
      Turn now to jeet kune do, the “way of the intercepted fist,” a martial art intriguing for the way it adapts to every individual practitioner. Developed and made famous by Bruce Lee, this style bridges both traditional arts with modern-day fighting techniques. Join Sifu Helana Cauliff for the Jun Fan method to practice this unique approach to training. x
    • 22
      Jeet Kune Do: A Way to Find Your Own Way
      See how Bruce Lee came to found jeet kune do—and how it came to change martial arts in the West forever. Here, Sifu Cauliff and Master Ross offer more insight into the fighting and defensive techniques of jeet kune do, and give you the chance to participate in a series of drills. You’ll also gain new understanding of some elements of Eastern philosophy. x
    • 23
      Krav Maga: Responding to a Street Attack
      Imagine a martial art designed for responding to situations where there are no rules. While not always pretty or elegant, there is nevertheless a strength and grit to the Krav Maga system of fighting, making it popular among law enforcement and security professionals world-wide. Dr. Tammy Yard-McCracken examines how to respond to common street attacks that don't adhere to the structured discipline of many martial arts. x
    • 24
      Krav Maga: The Problem Dictates the Solution
      Here, Dr. Yard-McCracken shows you how Krav Maga is set up so that techniques (or “solutions”) are separated into islands—and that different combat situations serve as bridges to those islands. After reflecting on the individual’s mindset, you’ll delve into the fundamental striking and attack techniques. x
    • 25
      Krav Maga: Taking Control of Attack Rhythms
      Conclude your exploration of Krav Maga, and the martial arts in this course, as Dr. Yard-McCracken leads you through a series of strike rhythms that will get your energy level up and give you a new sense of the power and discipline you have developed throughout the course. Master Ross sums up with a few concluding thoughts about how and why the martial arts matter. x
  • Sewing 101: Skills, Fabrics, and Techniques

    Taught By Multiple Professors

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Unleash your creativity with the help of two highly skilled sewing instructors that take you from novice to advanced projects over the course of 40 lessons. With Sewing 101: Skills, Fabrics, and Techniques, you can gain the skills necessary to feel confident sewing any pattern—or creating your own.

    View Lecture List (40)
    40 Lectures  |  Sewing 101: Skills, Fabrics, and Techniques
    Lecture Titles (40)
    • 1
      Getting Started & Understanding Your Machine
      Gather your shopping list to be prepared: a sewing machine, needles, spools of thread, straight pins, measuring tools, fabric, removable fabric markers, and scissors. Walk through the parts of the sewing machine, including the "bag of parts" that you get with a new machine, and review some common troubleshooting scenarios if you're working with an older or unfamiliar machine. x
    • 2
      Needle & Thread, Fabric & Interfacing
      Explore the myriad types of thread available, as well as clever storage tips for your thread collection. Then, review the variety of needles you can use with your machine, from universal needles to specialty needles for stretchy fabrics, delicate fabrics, or thick fabrics. Finally, select and attach the type of interfacing that will provide optimal stability to your fabric. x
    • 3
      Cut like a Pro
      Identify the edges of your fabric—raw, folded, and selvage—and accurately place and pin your pattern pieces using the grain line. Compare the process of cutting out your pattern pieces with fabric scissors to using a rotary cutter, and why flat-head pins are the best choice for the latter. Finally, learn a trick to reviving a wrinkled old pattern instead of buying a new copy. x
    • 4
      How to Sew & Beginner Sewing Terminology
      This lesson walks you through selecting the correct presser foot, pinning your fabric pieces together, determining the correct seam allowance, and finally, letting your machine do the hard work for you. Sample swatches with clear contrast between fabric and thread allow you to see important concepts like backstitching, stitch lengths, and types of stitches. As you work, learn the vocabulary of sewing, from basting to bias cuts and more. x
    • 5
      Bring It All Together
      For your first project, create a beautiful notions storage pouch with three coordinating cotton fabrics and heavyweight interfacing. You will apply everything you have learned in the first five lessons and be amazed by the quality of your finished product. This pouch would make a great handmade gift for other crafters or for children to carry art supplies or small toys. x
    • 6
      Spotlight Project: Infinity Scarf
      If you want to learn how to work with stretchy knit fabrics (and if you enjoy accessorizing with pops of color) this lesson shows you how to create an infinity scarf. Learn about the needles, feet, stitches, and pinning techniques that are best for this stretchy fabric. Once you've seen how easy it is to create this versatile accessory, you'll want to make a dozen more! x
    • 7
      Skill Building: Making Your Own Bias Tape
      While you can buy pre-made bias tape at the fabric store, if you want to save money and achieve a more customized look, you can create your own using scraps of fabric you already have in your stash. Even a fat quarter is plenty of fabric to edge a baby bib, which is exactly what you'll be creating in this project guide. x
    • 8
      Designer Hints: Invisible Zippers
      Invisible zippers are perfect for skirts, dresses, and any garment where you need a zipper for functionality, but don't want it to be a design feature. Master the use of the concealed zipper foot and the delicate art of creating a zippered seam that is invisible and smooth. x
    • 9
      Spotlight Project: Boxy Pouch
      Continue working with zippers in the Boxy Pouch project. You'll learn how to create a 3D boxy bag with contrasting lining, a strap, and fabric zipper tabs. Conquer your fear of gussets with a foolproof method. These bags are indispensable for sewing notions, small knitting or crochet projects, art supplies, toiletries, LEGO blocks, or other small toys. x
    • 10
      Spotlight Project: Pajama Pants
      Nothing makes a lazy day feel even more luxurious than when you are wearing custom-designed pajama pants that you sewed yourself. It's the perfect project for fun, colorful fabrics. With this project, you'll learn how to create a channel to add an elastic waistband for the ultimate in lounging comfort. If you're looking for practice hemming before you hem your expensive pants, this project offers tips for you to get your feet wet with cuffs and hems. x
    • 11
      Spotlight Project: Reusable Tote
      Create a unique lunch tote lined with vinyl for easy cleaning. Get insider tips for sewing with vinyl, which is difficult to work with, resists pinning, and can stick to your sewing machine. Fold and sew a 6-inch gusset so your tote bag stands up on its own. You can then create the same pattern in larger sizes to use as a grocery bag or even a beach bag. x
    • 12
      Two-Handed Hot Pads
      In this lecture, create the first of an assortment of useful home goods: two-handed hot pads lined with heat-resistant batting that are perfect for moving trays and large pots. Understand why finishing your edges with bias tape is important when creating curved pieces and how to create and attach pockets that are the perfect size for your hands. x
    • 13
      Towel Toppers
      Sew a towel topper that not only keeps your dish towel close at hand, but makes your towel look like a delightful little dress. Discover the technique for creating a folded hem and neater seams on a steeply curved edge. Compare methods for attaching your towel topper to your oven handle. x
    • 14
      Reusable Bowl Cover
      Customize bowl covers for your favorite bowls using cotton fabric, elastic, and rickrack. These covers are handy for carrying a dish to a potluck, protecting picnic food from the elements, or just keeping that plate of cookies out of sight and out of mind. This project is a valuable first step in customizing a project to the size of an object, as opposed to from a pattern. x
    • 15
      Couch Caddy
      Keep your favorite book, reading glasses, and remote close by when you're relaxing in your living room with a couch caddy made from cotton fabric that coordinates with your existing decor. Learn how to create pleated pockets that make it easy to drop items in and take them out. You can make a weighted pocket for the other side or cut the project longer so the extra length can tuck under the seat cushion. x
    • 16
      Hanger Buddy & Plate Holder
      Make travel and camping easier when you make two simple projects: a zippered pouch that ties to a standard clothes hanger and can store accessories, jewelry, makeup, or other small objects, and a pouch that holds a plate, napkin, and silverware. Learn the "window technique" for hiding zipper tape under a decorative edge and how to best secure hook-and-loop tape. x
    • 17
      Outdoor Fabric & Cutting Perfect Squares
      Save money and create new cushions for your furniture. Explore the various fabrics that are good for indoor cushions, dog beds, throw pillows, or outdoor cushions. Calculate the amount of fabric you will need to buy to cover each cushion perfectly. Learn how to cut perfect right angles so your cushions look professional and neat. x
    • 18
      Setting a Zipper & Finishing
      Use your old cushion's measurements to determine where to put the zipper on your new cushion cover. Proper zipper placement ensures that your cover is easy to put on, is on a side that faces away from view, and any prints on your fabric are displayed right side up. You will also learn how to shorten a zipper that is too long for your cushion. x
    • 19
      Shaping the Cover
      Give your cushion cover dimension by adding gussets. Of course, since you have done your custom measurements, these gussets will give your cover a perfect fit to your existing cushion. Take your mastery of gussets one step further by learning how to create a gusset on an edge that has a zipper. Finally, cover your old cushions and enjoy! x
    • 20
      Getting Started & Expanding Your Stitches
      It may be tempting to stick to the default construction stitch for everything, but your machine can do so much more. Get a demonstration of stay stitching on a shirt pattern and see why you should never skip it. Then, learn how ease stitching makes it much easier to fit a sleeve into an arm hole. Finally, learn why topstitching is important and explore what color thread to use. x
    • 21
      Sewing Darts & Pleats
      Add dimension and texture to your projects with darts and pleats. Learn how to read a pattern to determine where darts and pleats should be placed. Review the process for creating knife pleats, box pleats, inverted box pleats, single pointed darts, double pointed darts, and curved darts and learn when to use them. x
    • 22
      Tips for Sewing Curves & Corners
      Smooth curves and sharp corners are the hallmark of an experienced sewer. While many issues can be avoided by adequate pinning and sewing slowly, there are others that require some specialized tricks that may not be listed in your patterns. Learn how to place a single stitch that will give you sharp corners with thicker fabric. x
    • 23
      Professional Seam Finishes & Ways to Hem
      Replicating the tailored seams and hems of a quality store-bought garment is easy to do with your home machine if you know these techniques. Using fabric swatches and contrasting colored thread, your instructor will walk you through creating a French seam, flat fell seam, double fold hem, and blind hems, as well as using hem tape. x
    • 24
      Selecting Shirt Size & Stitching Shirt Front
      In this first of six lessons, learn how to take measurements to create a garment that will fit the garment wearer's body perfectly. Begin your shirt sewing with the pocket and shirt front. Alter a rectangular pocket pattern to create a pointed bottom. Learn how to read your pattern so you attach your pocket at the perfect height on the shirt and pin straight. x
    • 25
      Adding a Yoke & Stitching Shirt Back
      The yoke is a way to add designer details to the top of your shirt. If your pattern does not include a yoke, learn how to create your own yoke pattern piece. Learn how notches help you align your pattern pieces and when you can safely clip them off. Finally, identify the pitfalls that are common when novice sewers try to customize a pattern. x
    • 26
      Adding Plackets & Stitching Sleeves
      Prepare your sleeves for plackets by adding pleats using a clever pinning trick. Learn how to read the placket pattern piece so you can accurately cut your fabric, mark it, pin it, and stitch it to the sleeve. It can seem like a lot of work for a small design feature, but it is one that takes your shirt from average to exceptional. x
    • 27
      Cuffs & Sleeves
      First, pin your front and back pieces together and use a construction stitch to attach them. Next, learn how to work with the difficult opposing curves of an armhole piece and sleeve piece so you can stitch shoulders that are smooth and don't have puckers. Then, sew the longest seam on your shirt, from the cuff to the armpit and then down the side. Finally, explore the variations you can do on a standard cuff. x
    • 28
      Adding a Collar & Stitching Shirt Front
      Add your front band to finish the front of your shirt and be ready for buttons—and do it all with only one seam! Add pins for perfectly positioned buttonholes. Stitch your upper and lower collar pieces, using interfacing to add stiffness to the fabric and trimming your seams to create crisp corners and smooth curves. Finally, get tips and tricks to perfect buttonholes. x
    • 29
      Selecting Jacket Size & Altering Pattern Pieces
      When it comes to sizes, outerwear measuring is different than measuring for shirts, pants, or skirts. Knowing how to measure correctly ensures the perfect fit for your new jacket. You'll see how to adjust collars and cuffs for height and shape to suit your sense of style, as well as how to design pockets that suit your hand size. Finally, learn how to add on to a jacket pattern to make the finished jacket longer. x
    • 30
      How to Sew the Modified Pattern Pieces
      If you've done modifications to your collar, pockets, length, or zipper, learn how to attach them to your original pattern pieces so they look like they were meant to be there all along. Your collar will lay flat, your pockets will be placed perfectly, and your zipper will zip easily every time. x
    • 31
      Adding a Lining & Stitching Sleeves
      Attach your sleeve linings in a way that you can avoid doing extra top stitching. If you did the pajama pants project, this is a logical extension of the technique used there. Attaching the sleeve will be easier with the knowledge you gained in the custom shirt lessons. While jackets are much bulkier pieces, your instructor will give you tips for working with the fabric. x
    • 32
      Spotlight Project: Knit Pencil Skirt
      Take your measurements to create a custom pattern for a pencil skirt in your exact size and preferred length. Learn how to set up your serger to create a solid side seam and how to test the fit so you can adjust your pattern on the fly. Follow along as you see how to sew a stretchy elastic waistband to stretchy knit fabric. x
    • 33
      Faux Fur & Leather
      Faux fur and faux leather (vegan leather, or pleather) use the same needles, foot, and techniques. Cut faux fur without tiny pieces of hair flying all over your sewing room and learn how to sew pieces of faux fur together in a way that looks seamless from the right side. Leather and faux leather cannot be pinned without permanent holes, so get tips for "pinning" these pieces without pins. x
    • 34
      Sequined & Sheer Fabrics & Lace
      Sequined fabrics, sheer fabrics, and lace can be frustrating to work with for beginners, but with the tips and tricks in this lesson, you'll be able to add these dramatic fabrics to your projects. Learn how to cut, prepare, pin, press, sew, and hem these fabrics with tricks your instructor has mastered over her years of experience. x
    • 35
      Quick Tips & Bonus Project
      Explore the ways you can maximize the potential in all fabrics from velvet and velour, to silks and satins, to embellished and textured fabrics. Practice your skills with pleather and velour to create a unique and stylish case to protect your eyeglasses. x
    • 36
      Sewing Laminates & Laminate Cutting Tips
      Learning to sew with laminates can greatly expand the number of projects you can tackle; because they are virtually waterproof and easy to wipe clean, you can make things you can't make with cotton. Explore the features and benefits of oilcloth, vinyl, and laminated cotton. Observe the most effective methods for cutting and caring for these tricky but infinitely useful materials. x
    • 37
      Vinyl/Oilcloth Receipt Wallet
      In this project, you will create a receipt wallet from oilcloth using a walking foot on your home sewing machine. Next, sew with clear vinyl to create zippered pockets for your wallet. Finally, join the vinyl to the oilcloth to complete the project. x
    • 38
      Laminated Cotton Receipt Wallet
      To appreciate the differences between oilcloth and laminated cotton, this lesson walks you through the same receipt wallet project using laminated cotton for the outer layer. Because of the natural fiber weave in laminated cotton, it is important to finish the raw edges so they do not fray. x
    • 39
      Spotlight Project: Oilcloth Money Wallet
      Oilcloth is durable, easy to keep clean, and comes in myriad colors and designs. Your instructor has created her own oilcloth wallet pattern, which holds credit cards and cash, has a pocket for coins and receipts, and closes securely with a metal snap. Best of all: you don't have to turn it right-side out when you're done sewing! x
    • 40
      Spotlight Project: Oilcloth Pleated Clutch
      Oilcloth is so affordable that you can create a bag for every occasion and in every color of the rainbow. In this project, you'll be creating visual interest by sewing pleats across the front of a clutch-style handbag. Your recently acquired skills in zipper installation and gusset creation will be put to the test with this thicker fabric. x
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