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  • Fundamentals of Photography

    Joel Sartore,

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

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

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

    Professor Connel Fullenkamp, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Learn how to invest with skill and confidence to attain your financial goals with the 24 timely and informative lectures of Understanding Investments. Economist and Professor Connel Fullenkamp explains the fundamentals of investing to those new to the subject while broadening and deepening the knowledge of more experienced investors. He clearly explains the various kinds of financial markets, the different kinds of investments available to you, and the pros and cons of each-and shows you how to evaluate each of these in terms of your own financial situation and goals.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Understanding Investments
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      How to Stop Worrying and Start Investing
      In this introduction to investing, learn some of investing’s fundamental ideas and the basic impediments that can interfere with sound investment decisions. Also, learn that there are ways to protect yourself, and that the path to becoming a sound investor is available to anyone willing to learn. x
    • 2
      How Investors Make Money
      Can anyone actually beat the performance of the stock market? Grasp what the Efficient Market Hypothesis and the debate over its validity can reveal about the answer—and how your own opinion can shape your investment strategy. x
    • 3
      Starting with Stocks
      Learn why stocks, though often not the best place for a newcomer to begin investing, can be the best means of learning about investing. Explore key ideas like dealers vs. brokers, the different kinds of buy-or-sell orders, and what stocks really are. x
    • 4
      The Basics of Bonds
      In this first lecture about bonds—with the focus on a “buy-and-hold” strategy—grasp the variety of available bonds and the features most important to an investor: who issued them, whether they are secured, and the timing of payments. You also learn how to “ladder” your holdings for a consistent income stream. x
    • 5
      Introduction to Mutual Funds
      Mutual funds are one of several types of so-called “pooled investments,” which allow small investors to hold securities they perhaps couldn’t afford individually. Explore how these pooled investments work, with the focus on the most popular type, the open-end mutual fund, and learn what to look for in a summary prospectus. x
    • 6
      What Are Exchange-Traded Funds?
      Learn how this relatively new option for investors differs from mutual funds and about the advantages they may have over mutual funds for those making investments outside of tax-advantaged plans such as 401(k)s. You also learn what depository receipts are, and the key role they play in ETFs. x
    • 7
      Financial Statement Analysis
      In the first of three lectures introducing standard tools for analyzing and selecting stocks and other possible investments, learn how to read a typical financial statement. Grasp the meaning of concepts like income statements and balance sheets, and learn what they can tell you about a company’s strengths and weaknesses. x
    • 8
      P/E Ratios and the Method of Comparables
      Your skills broaden as you gain an additional tool for drilling down into a company to evaluate its investment potential. This lecture introduces the concept of valuation models, beginning with the popular Method of Comparables, which uses ratios like price-to-earnings, or P/E, to value stocks. x
    • 9
      Fundamentals-Based Analysis of Stocks
      Add another stock-pricing model to your toolbox—the Dividend Discount Model. You learn that such fundamentals-based models rest on two ideas: that an investment’s price should depend only on what it will pay you, and that future cash is worth less than present cash. x
    • 10
      Startup Companies and IPOs
      The glamour of initial public offerings can obscure their realities. This lecture explains how most IPOs are done, the “Dutch auction” method that is sometimes used instead, and what you need to know if you get the opportunity to participate in an IPO. x
    • 11
      Why Should You Care about Dividends?
      Interpreted correctly, dividends can be an extremely revealing indicator of a company’s value. Explore not only dividends, but several other ways by which companies can reward their shareholders, including preferred stock, dividend reinvestment programs, and stock splits. x
    • 12
      Using Leverage
      Although using leverage—borrowing a portion of the purchase price of an investment—can offer tempting rewards, the level of risk can be high. Explore how leverage works as you learn about margin requirements, short sales, and how leverage impacts both potential profits and potential losses. x
    • 13
      Choosing Bonds
      Gain the analytical tools to intelligently navigate the wide ocean of choices faced by anyone contemplating an investment in bonds. This lecture guides you through the three critical issues that can help shape your selection: default risk, inflation protection, and how your earnings may be taxed. x
    • 14
      Bond School
      Although bonds are often part of a buy-and-hold investment strategy, they can also be as actively traded as stocks, with just as great a risk. This lecture explains the descriptive terms, jargon, pricing, price-yield relationships, and standard practices you can encounter in the potentially confusing marketplace for bonds. x
    • 15
      Picking Mutual Funds
      Today’s marketplace contains an amazing variety of mutual funds from which to choose. You can navigate this often-bewildering array of choices with confidence as you learn the key categories of differentiating them, including assets, goals, balance of growth vs. value, and diversification. x
    • 16
      Investing in Foreign Assets
      With about $80 trillion of investment opportunities outside the United States, foreign investment can be a tempting option. Learn how the rules for diversifying into these investments are changing, and what you need to know to help ensure that your foreign investment decisions are as sound as possible. x
    • 17
      Options Are for Everyone
      Explore the world of stock and index options and how you can put them to work for you at very low or even zero risk. Learn about call options, put options, strike prices, and how to use the return-enhancing technique known as the covered call strategy. x
    • 18
      Real Estate and Commodities
      Do real estate and commodities belong in your portfolio? And if they do, what are the best instruments for putting them there? This lecture offers a realistic view of these questions, including a look at real estate investment trusts, or REITs, and commodity-focused ETFs. x
    • 19
      Cycles and Market Timing
      What role should three key cycles—price cycles in financial markets, the business cycle, and the interest rate or credit cycle—play in your investment decisions? Learn how these cycles work and the best way to protect yourself against their fluctuations. x
    • 20
      Deciding When to Sell
      Selling an investment—whether a winner or loser—can be emotionally difficult. In addition to learning why this is so, grasp the different reasons that selling is often the right decision, and learn some techniques that can help offset emotional influences. x
    • 21
      Risk, Return, and Diversification
      The cliché is that high risk brings the potential of high returns. But you learn in this insightful lecture that the cliché isn’t true as you explore the two ways risks are classified and the very different expectation of potential rewards that come with each. x
    • 22
      Time Value of Money
      In addition to understanding some basic ideas, you need some key skills for smart investing. This lecture teaches you how to perform the simple calculations that will enable you to compare returns across different investments, project their future value, and estimate a reasonable price to pay for them. x
    • 23
      Financial Planning
      Zero in on the whole point of investing: reaching a particular goal or goals you’ve decided on. This lecture uses the calculating tools you’ve already learned to show you how to plan for your retirement, but its techniques can be applied to any financial goal you set for yourself. x
    • 24
      Taking Charge of Your Investments
      Now that you understand the many investment products out there, it’s time for practical decision making about turning your financial planning into financial reality. Grasp how to shape your investment choices to match your retirement plans and how to turn those investments into income for living expenses when you do reach retirement. x
  • The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons

    Joel Sartore,

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Photographs not only let us share our experiences with others, but they preserve once-in-a-lifetime moments precisely the way we want to remember them. Yet all too often, we find that our photos fall short of our expectations. The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons is your ticket to capturing the beauty and awe of any scene, anywhere in the world. Your guide is Joel Sartore, a National Geographic contributing photographer who has traveled the world shooting photographs in the most challenging of conditions. Filled with practical tips, proven techniques, and field demonstrations, this course helps you learn to see the way professional photographers do so you can take compelling photographs worth framing and sharing.
    View Lecture List (6)
    6 Lectures  |  The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons
    Lecture Titles (6)
    • 1
      Getting Beyond the Postcard
      Light. Composition. Something interesting. Start the course in the field with Mr. Sartore to learn how important these three rules of photography are, particularly when you’re on the road. Visit Saint Lucia, Moscow’s Red Square, and other famous locales to learn how you can get beyond the typical postcard and create images that are truly your own. x
    • 2
      Light—Early, Late, and in Between
      Now watch as horseback riders are photographed in the surf at sunrise in this lesson that demonstrates how to handle changing light, build pictures from the background forward, react quickly in the moment, and use the reflectivity of water. Move to a beach house setting to learn how to shoot in harsh midday light, then return to the surf late in the day to experiment with slower shutter speeds and panned action. x
    • 3
      Faces and Places
      For memorable photos that provide a sense of time and place, you must add life, be it people or animals. Get tips on taking dynamic individual and group portraits, from directing your subject’s wardrobe to using near/far perspective. You’ll also learn when to reach for a telephoto lens and the advantages and drawbacks of using flash. x
    • 4
      Local Attractions and Unexpected Delights
      How can you capture local flavor in your photographs? What’s the secret to shooting in low light? Get tutorials on tailoring your approach to your surroundings and crafting close-ups in dark light by boosting ISO or using a tripod and cable release. Explore the benefits of changing your vantage point and shooting on overcast days. x
    • 5
      Interiors and Exteriors, High and Low
      How can you capture the beauty of historical buildings and other structures? How can you reveal the majesty of a landscape? Learn techniques for shooting exteriors and interiors such as focusing on architectural details and repeating patterns, changing your angle or perspective, and using framing devices and leading lines. x
    • 6
      Storytelling and Serendipity
      You can do your research, but for a photograph to tell a story, you still need serendipity to intervene. Consider how in-the-moment thought and creativity, combined with compositional techniques such as the rule of thirds, can lead to more intriguing images. Learn what to focus on at weddings and why they’re a great place to practice your skills. x
  • The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals

    Instructor Hannah B. Harvey, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

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

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

    Professor Tilar J. Mazzeo, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    The 24 lectures of Writing Creative Nonfiction by award-winning writing instructor and Professor Tilar J. Mazzeo of Colby College, a New York Times best-selling author, are a chance for you to explore the entire process of writing creative nonfiction, from brainstorming for the perfect idea to getting your final product noticed by literary agents and publishers. Filled with helpful tips and techniques, memorable examples from well-known writers, and engaging exercises, it’s a learning experience that proves that—with the right instructor—writing creative nonfiction can be mastered, practiced, and enjoyed by anyone with a desire to share his or her personal story.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Writing Creative Nonfiction
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Welcome to Creative Nonfiction
      Welcome to the world of creative nonfiction. In this first lecture, investigate how something called nonfiction can be “creative,” how different perspectives can provide unique ways to tell a story, and more. In addition, preview a road map for the lectures ahead and some of the exciting techniques to be learned. x
    • 2
      Finding the Story
      Professor Mazzeo introduces you to the three things that every good story must have: a narrative arc, some kind of conflict, and character. She also guides you through two engaging exercises that help train you to recognize these elements in both short conversations and a single historical photograph. x
    • 3
      Honoring the Nonfiction Contract
      What’s the line between historical fact and interpretation? What are your responsibilities to your memories, even distant ones? How do you write about things beyond your experience and do it truthfully? Find the answers to these and other important questions on the ethical issues and dilemmas of writing creative nonfiction. x
    • 4
      Writing Great Beginnings
      In this lecture, explore how to successfully undertake the hardest part of telling a great story: beginning it. You’ll discover the characteristics of a powerful opening sentence, examine great opening lines by famous writers such as Sylvia Plath, uncover several strategies to generate ideas (including the “story starter”), and more. x
    • 5
      Show, Don’t Tell
      “Show, don’t tell”—it’s the mantra of creative writing teachers everywhere. But what exactly does it mean? Strengthen the descriptive powers of your writing by tapping into the importance of handling verbs and using more precise words, with insightful examples of both right and wrong techniques taken from published works of creative nonfiction. x
    • 6
      Launching a Narrative Arc
      Plotting a narrative arc is a part of the creative process that can seem overwhelming even to very experienced writers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here, learn basic structures—the linear, quest, and frame narratives—you can choose from to imbue your stories with drama and tension. x
    • 7
      Cliffhangers and Page Turners
      Every story needs good pacing, and that’s where chapters come in. What does an effective chapter do, and what does it look like? Professor Mazzeo uses a series of examples to show how chapters can effectively deepen your story’s narrative arc and—most important—keep your readers reading. x
    • 8
      Building Dramatic Sentences
      Unpack the technical aspects and secrets of sentences that create pacing and tension. First, investigate the importance of word order in your sentences. Next, explore the effectiveness of compound sentences. Finally, uncover how changing different sentence types in your writing can dramatically alter the impact of your work. x
    • 9
      Rhetorical Devices and Emotional Impact
      Take a closer look at more rhetorical devices that can dramatically alter the quality and impact of your creative nonfiction. Among the devices you explore: parallelism, anadiplosis (repeating the word at the end of a clause at the start of the next), isocolons (clauses of the same length), and alliteration. x
    • 10
      Putting It All Together
      Here, Professor Mazzeo walks you through the revision process, which is just as important as the actual writing itself. Using the skills and techniques you’ve learned in previous lectures, you’ll take a brief story and explore numerous ways to improve and enhance its sentences, its dialogue, its perspective, and more. x
    • 11
      Revealing Character in Words and Actions
      First, learn why details are so essential to creating three-dimensional characters in creative nonfiction. Then, investigate the stylistic pros and cons of writing from three different points of view: first person, second person, and third person. Your (surprising) case studies for studying the importance of these two topics: personal ads. x
    • 12
      Creating Compelling Characters
      Explore working with characters that don’t play starring roles in your narrative (minor characters) as well as unlikable characters no one likes to deal with in real life (antagonists). How do you write about minor and flawed characters that move your narrative along while still being portrayed three-dimensionally? x
    • 13
      Character Psychology
      Investigate the role metaphor plays in revealing the psychological motivations of complex characters. Among the skills you learn are using metonymy (where something associated with an object is used to represent it) and deciding when to use direct discourse (directly quoted speech) or indirect discourse (attributing speech without quotation marks). x
    • 14
      Getting Inside the Heads of Your Characters
      Focus here on the unique advantages of using free indirect discourse, which provides a productive ambiguity by balancing on the line between a character’s thoughts and words and those of an author-narrator. You’ll see this at work in an excerpt from one of the masters of the form: Virginia Woolf. x
    • 15
      Using Narrative Perspective
      Professor Mazzeo reveals even more different narrative perspectives you can use to frame your stories and provide your readers with an entry point into your work. After a quick review of “I” and “you” point of views, you’ll zero in on three modes of the third-person perspective: omniscient, objective, and subjective. x
    • 16
      Shaping Your Voice
      What is an implied author? How do you develop one in your own nonfiction narratives? What is “purple prose,” and why is it such a common error by beginning writers? How does it undermine great creative nonfiction? Get answers to these and other questions in this lecture on the power of narrative voice. x
    • 17
      Writing the Gutter—How to Not Tell a Story
      While it may sound counterintuitive, smart creative nonfiction writers know when not to tell something. Discover how learning when to keep quiet can actually be a storyteller’s most powerful tool—creating drama, strengthening a sense of suspense, and allowing readers themselves to become active participants in your work. x
    • 18
      Dialogue Strategies in Creative Nonfiction
      Professor Mazzeo reveals how to recognize—and overcome—the challenges of writing dialogue in creative nonfiction, where nothing can be made up. Focus on three keys to good dialogue: using it to intensify character and propel narrative; writing it to sound realistic (but not too realistic), and making sure it’s not overwritten. x
    • 19
      Researching Creative Nonfiction
      Delve into research, a skill that all successful creative nonfiction writers need to master with real aplomb. You’ll learn where (and where not to) look for materials for your creative nonfiction, what to do when you get stuck with your research, how to evaluate the reliability of sources, and more. x
    • 20
      How to Not Have People Hate You
      As a writer of creative nonfiction, you have an immense responsibility to your subject (and your readers). Investigate ways to tell your stories dramatically and truthfully—all while avoiding conflict with your subject. Two of the tips you learn here: Use comedy extremely carefully and watch out for turning living people into simple stock characters. x
    • 21
      Revising Your Work
      Think a bit more about the revision process. Who are the right people to read a work in progress? What are the differences between positive and negative feedback? How do you manage the complicated feelings behind and investments in your work—especially when facing constructive criticism from your peers? x
    • 22
      Building Your Audience
      You’ve finally written the piece you’ve always wanted. Now what? In the first of two lectures on breaking into the world of publishing, learn how to take a realistic approach to the process, how to determine who your audience is, and how to write a solid book proposal for a potential agent. x
    • 23
      Getting Published
      Finding out where to get your work published. Deciding which publication is right for your work. Crafting a successful pitch to an editor. These are some of the topics covered in this insightful lecture on the art and crafting of marketing and showing your creative nonfiction to a world of readers. x
    • 24
      Being a Writer
      Conclude the course with a look at the habits of effective writers. First, learn several steps you can take to silence your internal critic and survive writer’s block. Then, examine seven ways you can make space in your life for writing, including setting concrete goals, reading more, and befriending other writers. x
  • The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking

    Chef Bill Briwa,

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    It’s rare to find a truly gifted chef who can actually show you how to cook. Now, The Great Courses has joined forces with the prestigious Culinary Institute of America to give you just that. The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking is a course of 24 highly visual and instructional lessons in which you’ll build all the foundational culinary skills you need to turn out delicious and impressive meals. Filmed on location at the CIA’s Greystone campus in Napa Valley, California, and delivered by Chef Bill Briwa—one of the CIA’s experienced instructors and a chef with more than 35 years of professional experience—these lessons show you how to cook and evaluate dishes, from starters and main courses to desserts and vegetarian meals. They also offer a master chef’s insight into tips, tricks, and secrets that will elevate any dish you make from good to great.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Cooking—Ingredients, Technique, and Flavor
      Begin the course with a fascinating look at the science of taste and how it acts as the gateway to better understanding—and enjoying—the food you eat. Through engaging taste experiments involving melon, radicchio, and a few simple seasonings such as salt and lime juice, you’ll come to see just how intricate and subtle your taste buds are. x
    • 2
      Your Most Essential Tool—Knives
      What do you need to have the perfect kitchen—one that makes cooking more relaxing and enjoyable? Find out in this lesson as Chef Briwa reveals which knives you should always have on hand, how to find the right cutting board, how to chop and dice vegetables and herbs, and how to use your newfound skills to make delicious meals. x
    • 3
      More Essential Tools—From Pots to Shears
      Continue learning about how to create the perfect kitchen setup (mise en place). First, learn how to make sense of a range of different pots and pans. Then, find out the importance of hand tools such as whips, tongs, spatulas, box graters, and meat thermometers. Finally, see some of these tools at work as you go step-by-step through a recipe for vegetable ratatouille. x
    • 4
      Sauté—Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat
      Begin strengthening your cooking techniques with a close look at using the right pan, the right amount of fat, and the right temperature to make crispy and delicious sautéed foods. As you explore the ins and outs of sautéing, you learn how to make a delicious (and simple) dish: Chicken Marsala. x
    • 5
      Roasting—Dry-Heat Cooking without Fat
      Roasting can seem to be a frustrating task. But it doesn’t have to be when you know what you’re doing—and how to do it. Here, demystify this dry-heat cooking technique and learn how to make the perfect roast chicken and potatoes. You’ll also get tips on how to determine doneness, how to make gravy, and how to carve your bird. x
    • 6
      Frying—Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat
      In this lesson, find out everything you need to know to fry food like a pro. Which oils are best for pan frying and deep frying? What safety precautions should you take when frying in your kitchen? How can you tell when your food is done? Learn about this and more as Chef Briwa fries up a veal cutlet, fish and chips, and parsnips. x
    • 7
      From Poach to Steam—Moist-Heat Cooking
      Turn now to a popular method of moist heat cooking: poaching. You’ll see how deep poaching works to gently cook a piece of salmon (accompanied by a simple sauce). Then, you’ll compare that cooking method with shallow poaching a piece of monkfish and using the leftover liquid as the basis for an accompanying sauce. Finally, you’ll learn how to boil and steam vegetables such as green beans and broccoli. x
    • 8
      Braising and Stewing—Combination Cooking
      Try your hand at combination cooking, which combines two different techniques: braising (typically reserved for larger cuts of meat) and stewing (usually for smaller cuts of meat). Using the example of a delicious pot roast and a springtime lamb stew, you’ll uncover the secrets of these cooking techniques and vastly expand your kitchen skills. x
    • 9
      Grilling and Broiling—Dry-Heat Cooking without Fat
      Marinating and seasoning meats. Making sure your indoor or outdoor grill is at the right temperature. Getting perfect grill marks. Finding out when your meat or fish is done. Master these and other tricks of grilling and broiling with recipes for grilled steak, lamb chops, fish, vegetables, and even fruit. x
    • 10
      Stocks and Broths—The Foundation
      Stocks and broths are some of the most basic preparations you’ll find in kitchens. What’s more: They’re easy to make, easy to store, and extremely versatile. In this lesson, follow along as Chef Briwa makes several stocks and broths using different ingredients and methods of preparation to give them outstanding flavors. x
    • 11
      The Stir-Fry Dance—Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat
      Here, get an authoritative look at stir-frying. First, get a solid introduction to this cooking technique by making a Vietnamese dish of noodles and stir-fried vegetables. Then, test your skills with a more complex Chinese stir-fry that will also make you more comfortable with handling and cooking tofu. x
    • 12
      Herbs and Spices—Flavor on Demand
      Delve into the subtle complexities of herbs and spices. You’ll sample different salts and peppers (including Sel Gris, kosher salt, and white pepper); learn the difference between spices and herbs; find out how to blend them with oils, cheeses, and meats; and watch how to make an herb chutney, a roasted tomato and saffron vinaigrette, and a spice rub. x
    • 13
      Sauces—From Beurre Blanc to Béchamel
      Think fancy sauces are difficult? Think again. This lesson will make you more comfortable with a range of sauces from around the world. Learn how to make a milk-based white sauce, béchamel. Then, cook a more contemporary French butter sauce (beurre blanc) and a Spanish tomato-based sauce (romesco). Finally, take a closer look at a couple of sweet and spicy Asian sauces. x
    • 14
      Grains and Legumes—Cooking for Great Flavor
      What’s a quick-soak method for beans when you don’t have time to soak them overnight? What’s a simple trick for testing the tenderness of cooked beans? How long should you cook different types of rice? What should you pay attention to when making a risotto? Learn the answers to these and other questions about cooking the culinary staples of beans and grains. x
    • 15
      Salads from the Cold Kitchen
      Simplicity and freshness are two hallmarks of great cooking. Case in point, the subject of this lesson: salads. Chef Briwa shows you how to keep lettuce crisp; how to make a simple (and quick) salad dressing; how to build a salad with different ingredients such as nuts, cheese, herbs, and other vegetables; how to make a hand-held Asian salad roll; and much more. x
    • 16
      Eggs—From the Classic to the Contemporary
      Find out everything you ever wanted to know about cooking with eggs: hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs, eggs Benedict (complete with hollandaise sauce), scrambled eggs, omelets, and more. By the end of this lesson, eggs—whether you’re having them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—will finally be under your control. x
    • 17
      Soups from around the World
      A good bowl of soup can warm you in cold weather, cool you in hot weather, fill up an empty stomach, and offer ready nutrition for a weak appetite. Here, master several recipes for some fantastic soups from around the world, including a chicken soup from Thailand, gazpacho, French onion soup, and ribolitta, a “recooked” soup from Tuscany. x
    • 18
      From Fettuccine to Orecchiette—Fresh and Dry Pastas
      You could buy pasta. Or you could enjoy the rewards of making it yourself. Chef Briwa shows you just how easy this is. After learning a recipe for making your own fettuccine, see how to transform your pasta into a delectable dish: pasta carbonara, or pasta “in the style of the coal miner.” x
    • 19
      Meat—From Spatchcocked Chicken to Brined Pork Chops
      Improve your strategies for buying and cooking various kinds of meat. What are the merits of roasting a chicken flat? Why should you take time to brine your pork chops? Why is prime rib the most expensive cut of beef? How much fat and lean beef should go into a really good hamburger? x
    • 20
      Seafood—From Market to Plate
      In this lesson, learn some key tips and tricks for making sure you purchase only the freshest, highest-quality seafood. Then, improve your confidence with handling seafood by following recipes for ceviche, a roasted whole fish with fennel, and Prince Edward Island mussels in a creamy broth. x
    • 21
      Vegetables in Glorious Variety
      Vegetables, which change with any season and come in a fascinating rainbow of colors, are what really keep cuisine (and cooking) interesting. Here, learn strategies for cooking and creating meals out of all sorts of vegetables, including eggplant, cauliflower, green beans, beets, and carrots. x
    • 22
      A Few Great Desserts for Grown-Ups
      Take a more adult approach to dessert, one that doesn’t overdo the chocolate and frosting. You’ll learn how to make bachelor’s jam (a fruit jam blended with spirits) and use it for unforgettable variations on parfaits and summer puddings. Then, focus on the myriad ways to build a delicious cheese plate. x
    • 23
      Thirst—The New Frontier of Flavor
      Explore how wine shouldn’t just be something you drink with dinner but an integral part of a compelling dining experience. Chef Briwa demonstrates important points using a medley of wines and foods, reveals the six simple steps for wine and food pairing, and debunks several myths about this process. x
    • 24
      Crafting a Meal, Engaging the Senses
      Bring together everything you’ve learned about cooking from the previous lessons to create an entire meal—starter (Spanish tortilla), main course (gnocchi with tomato salad), dessert (pineapple turnovers)—from start to finish. You’re sure to discover that by engaging your senses and using fundamental techniques, cooking can be rewarding and fun. x
  • Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation

    Professor Mark W. Muesse, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Learn how to better live in harmony with the realities of the world and to feel more deeply connected to the whole of life with Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation. In these 24 lectures, award-winning Professor Mark W. Muesse gives you a clear and usable understanding of the essence of meditation and how to practice it. You'll learn the principles and techniques of sitting meditation; the related practice of walking meditation; the highly beneficial use of meditative awareness in activities such as eating and driving; and much more.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Mindlessness—The Default Setting
      Do you control your mind, or does your mind control you? Investigate how the mind operates and the condition of "mindlessness"—the pervasive swirl of thoughts and judgments that separate you from the world around you. Consider the possibility of cultivating the mind in ways conducive to deep well-being for yourself and others. x
    • 2
      Mindfulness—The Power of Awareness
      Explore the notion of "mindfulness"—nonjudgmental attention to experience—as it occurs in everyday life and as a deliberate practice. Note the many benefits of mindfulness practice, from the freedom to choose how you respond to life, to releasing detrimental emotions and patterns of thinking, to its effects on your physical health. x
    • 3
      Expectations—Relinquishing Preconceptions
      This lecture introduces the practice of meditation as a tool for developing mindfulness. Here, distinguish the true nature of mindfulness meditation from common preconceptions about it, revealing its capacity to instill a deeper connection to reality, as well as cultivating a wisdom based in empathy and compassion. x
    • 4
      Preparation—Taking Moral Inventory
      In approaching meditation, consider the interconnections of ethical behavior with the development of mindfulness and the shaping of personal character. Drawing from the Buddha's teachings, explore five precepts of behavior that are conducive to the greatest benefits of meditation practice, based in the fundamental principle of not harming others or yourself. x
    • 5
      Position—Where to Be for Meditation
      Now learn about the most beneficial physical conditions for your meditation. First, consider the time of day and the physical setting that will best serve your practice. Then, study the most effective sitting postures on the floor, cushions, or chair and the optimum alignment of the body for mindfulness meditation. x
    • 6
      Breathing—Finding a Focus for Attention
      Mindfulness meditation is based in the use of an anchor or focus of attention, allowing the mind to calm itself. Using your breathing as the focus, learn in detail about the fundamental elements of sitting meditation, focusing attention on the breath and returning to it when the mind strays, without judgment. x
    • 7
      Problems—Stepping-Stones to Mindfulness
      Here, explore difficulties often encountered in meditation and ways of working with them that are also useful in the larger context of living. Consider physical discomfort and the specific use of mindfulness itself in working through it. Look also at ways to strengthen concentration and to counter frustration and discouragement. x
    • 8
      Body—Attending to Our Physical Natures
      Building on your work with mindfulness practice, learn another technique that augments and supports meditation. The "body scan" directs focused attention to different areas of the body, promoting deeper sensory awareness, relaxation, and concentration. With Professor Muesse's guidance, experience a 20-minute body scan meditation, a fundamental practice of self-compassion. x
    • 9
      Mind—Working with Thoughts
      The mindfulness tradition has much to say on the nature of thoughts and their power to shape personality and character. Here, learn specific ways to identify detrimental thoughts and a variety of methods to work with them, demonstrating that you can influence the conditioned mind through conscious and deliberate response to your own thoughts. x
    • 10
      Walking—Mindfulness While Moving
      Walking meditation, another core element of the mindfulness tradition, allows you to practice mindfulness wherever and whenever you go. Learn walking meditation in detail, including beneficial conditions for practice, the method of mindful walking, where to focus your attention, and advanced variations on the practice. x
    • 11
      Consuming—Watching What You Eat
      When approached with mindfulness, eating offers heightened awareness and undiscovered depth of experience. This lecture takes you on a rich exploration of mindful eating, beginning with an eating "meditation," using all five senses. Then contemplate mindful eating in daily life and detailed suggestions for sharing a fully mindful meal with others. x
    • 12
      Driving—Staying Awake at the Wheel
      As a familiar and potentially hazardous activity, driving provides a perfect "laboratory" for practicing mindfulness. Assess your own approach to driving and bring the principles of meditation to bear on the road; in particular, giving focused attention to the present moment, to your sensory experience and emotions. x
    • 13
      Insight—Clearing the Mind
      Practicing mindfulness over time prepares the mind for "insight," which in this tradition means seeing clearly into the fundamental nature of reality. Begin an inquiry into what Buddhism calls the three "marks" of existence with the notion of impermanence—the eternal arising and passing away of all phenomena. x
    • 14
      Wisdom—Seeing the World as It Is
      Now investigate dukkha, the insatiable quality of human experience—seen in our endless pursuit of the symbols of well-being and achievement and avoidance of unwanted experience. Finally, contemplate not-self—penetrating the illusion of the "I"; as an entity separate from the rest of reality, which must be bolstered, protected, and satisfied. x
    • 15
      Compassion—Expressing Fundamental Kindness
      With relation to mindfulness practice, explore compassion—the desire to alleviate suffering—as an essential component of our nature as human beings. See how compassion allows us to look at suffering without aversion or attachment, and learn specific practices for developing empathy and deeply recognizing the inner experience of others. x
    • 16
      Imperfection—Embracing Our Flaws
      Finding compassion for ourselves is greatly challenging for many of us. Consider the complex of beliefs, attitudes, and conditioning that underlie this; in particular, the thorny phenomenon of perfectionism. Learn how to embrace and accept both imperfection and perfectionism itself as an opening to freedom and deeper humanity. x
    • 17
      Wishing—May All Beings Be Well and Happy
      The mindfulness tradition offers an additional practice that is highly effective in revealing and cultivating compassion. With Professor Muesse's guidance, experience metta meditation, a focused contemplation wishing well-being and peace for others. See how this practice works to relinquish alienation and hostility and to deepen solidarity with all humanity. x
    • 18
      Generosity—The Joy of Giving
      Here, study the mindfulness tradition's insights concerning attachment to "things," our culture's dominant emphasis on possessions, and the psychological roots of greed. Learn about the Buddhist tradition of dana (sharing with others) and specific practices that reveal the life-giving effects of generosity on the giver and receiver. x
    • 19
      Speech—Training the Tongue
      Mindfulness practice brings focus to the critical link between speech and behavior. Consider the ways in which both inner experience and outward action are influenced by our use of language. Reflecting on four Buddhist principles of skillful communication, explore mindful attention to speaking and the use of language in genuinely beneficial ways. x
    • 20
      Anger—Cooling the Fires of Irritation
      This lecture discusses the challenges of dealing with anger and ways to disarm it using the skills you've studied. Reflect on our cultural predisposition to either suppress anger or to express it thoughtlessly, and a third way offered by mindfulness, of nonjudgmental observation, acceptance, and the mental spaciousness to choose your response. x
    • 21
      Pain—Embracing Physical Discomfort
      The skills of mindfulness offer powerful means to work with physical discomfort of all kinds. Consider the crucial distinction between pain and suffering as it directly affects our perceptions. Then experience two meditations for alleviating physical suffering—first, focusing on observing the exact sensation itself, then, on your response to the sensation. x
    • 22
      Grief—Learning to Accept Loss
      In reflecting on the universality of loss, take a deeper look at the notion of impermanence and how refusal to embrace life's transience affects our experience of living. Learn how mindfulness approaches grief through centering focus in the present moment and fully experiencing what grief brings to us without fear or aversion. x
    • 23
      Finitude—Living in the Face of Death
      The mindfulness tradition considers reflecting on death to be both liberating and essential to living a full and satisfying life. Contemplate the ways in which our culture conditions us to avoid and deny death, and learn four meditations that deepen both the awareness of life's transience and our ability to live freely. x
    • 24
      Life—Putting It All in Perspective
      Finally, consider various possibilities for continuing your practice through the methods you've learned, further study, and retreats. Professor Muesse concludes with reflections on his own path and on the very real capacity of mindfulness practice to profoundly alter our perceptions of self, the world, and our place in it. x
  • Secrets of Mental Math
    Course  |  Secrets of Mental Math

    Professor Arthur T. Benjamin, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD, CD Soundtrack
    Improve and expand your math potential—whether you're a corporate executive or a high-school student—in the company of Professor Arthur T. Benjamin, one of the most entertaining members of The Great Courses faculty. The Secrets of Mental Math, his exciting 12-lecture course, guides you through all the essential skills, tips, and tricks for enhancing your ability to solve a range of mathematical problems right in your head. Along the way, you'll discover how mental mathematics is the gateway to success in understanding and mastering higher fields, including algebra and statistics.
    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  Secrets of Mental Math
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Math in Your Head!
      Dive right into the joys of mental math. First, learn the fundamental strategies of mental arithmetic (including the value of adding from left to right, unlike what you do on paper). Then, discover how a variety of shortcuts hold the keys to rapidly solving basic multiplication problems and finding squares. x
    • 2
      Mental Addition and Subtraction
      Professor Benjamin demonstrates how easily you can mentally add and subtract one-, two-, and three-digit numbers. He also shows you shortcuts using the complement of a number (its distance from 100 or 1000) and demonstrates the uses of mental addition and subtraction for quickly counting calories and making change. x
    • 3
      Go Forth and Multiply
      Delve into the secrets of easy mental multiplication—Professor Benjamin's favorite mathematical operation. Once you've mastered how to quickly multiply any two-digit or three-digit number by a one-digit number, you've mastered the most fundamental operations of mental multiplication and added a vital tool to your mental math tool kit. x
    • 4
      Divide and Conquer
      Turn now to the last fundamental operation of arithmetic: division. Explore a variety of shortcuts for dividing by one- and two-digit numbers; learn how to convert fractions such as 1/7 and 3/16 into decimals; and discover methods for determining when a large number is divisible by numbers such as 3, 7, and 11. x
    • 5
      The Art of Guesstimation
      In most real-world situations—such as figuring out sales tax or how much to tip—you don't need an exact answer but just a reasonable approximation. Here, develop skills for effectively estimating addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square roots. x
    • 6
      Mental Math and Paper
      Sometimes we encounter math problems on paper in our daily lives. Even so, there are some rarely taught techniques to help speed up your calculations and check your answers when you are adding tall columns of numbers, multiplying numbers of any length, and more. x
    • 7
      Intermediate Multiplication
      Take mental multiplication to an even higher level. Professor Benjamin shows you five methods for accurately multiplying any two-digit numbers. Among these: the squaring method (when both numbers are equal), the "close together" method (when both numbers are near each other), and the subtraction method (when one number ends in 6, 7, 8, or 9). x
    • 8
      The Speed of Vedic Division
      Vedic mathematics, which has been around for centuries, is extremely helpful for solving division problems—much more efficiently than the methods you learned in school. Learn how Vedic division works for dividing numbers of any length by any two-digit numbers. x
    • 9
      Memorizing Numbers
      Think that memorizing long numbers sounds impossible? Think again. Investigate a fun—and effective—way to memorize numbers using a phonetic code in which every digit is given a consonant sound. Then practice your knowledge by trying to memorize the first 24 digits of pi, all of your credit card numbers, and more. x
    • 10
      Calendar Calculating
      The fun continues in this lecture with determining the day of the week of any date in the past or in the future. What day of the week was July 4, 2000? How about February 12, 1809? You'd be surprised at how easy it is for you to grasp the simple mathematics behind this handy skill. x
    • 11
      Advanced Multiplication
      Professor Benjamin shows you how to do enormous multiplication problems in your head, such as squaring three-digit and four-digit numbers; cubing two-digit numbers, and multiplying two-digit and three-digit numbers. While you may not frequently encounter these large problems, knowing how to mentally solve them cements your knowledge of basic mental math skills. x
    • 12
      Masters of Mental Math
      Professor Benjamin concludes his exciting course by showing how you can use different methods to solve the same problem; how you can find the cube root of large perfect cubes; how you can use the techniques you've learned and mastered in the last 11 lectures; and more. x