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Runningmom80

Favorite Great Courses?

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I just got a subscription, and we are planning "Music as a Mirror of History," as well as some Astronomy courses. 

 

 

I'd love to hear what you and your kids have enjoyed, what's been successful as far as learning, etc..

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top faves:

Greenberg How to listen and unerstand classical music

everything by Elizabeth Vandiver, esp Iliad and Odyssey

Daileader's 3 course series on the Middle ages

 

also good:

Bartlett Italian renaissance

Vikings (forget lecturer)

Rufus Fears famous romans

Turning points in American History

Greenberg Bach and the High baroque (but too specialized unless Baroque music lover)

 

We used everything on audio only. Watching a prof lecture at a lectern is sooo boring.

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Greenberg How to Listen to and Understand Great Music <-- a favorite for us too

 

ETA: Just an FYI, there are a few moments that are not exactly "family friendly" but the references all went over my kids' heads (they are 7 and 9) -- i.e. he talks about Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" in terms of its tensions and explicit climax.

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Some that we liked in middle school (I see the ages of your kids)...

 

Bob Brier anything

Secret Life of Words

John McWhorter anything

Literary Analysis and Critique

Heroes and Legends

Medieval World - Dorsey Armstrong (dd14 really likes her)

Building a Better Vocabulary

How to Read and Understand Shakespeare

The Other Side of History

Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature

Plant Science

Art of Reading

Understanding the Universe

Secrets of Mental Math

Power of Mathematical Visualization

 

Looking forward to Cultural and Human Geography and Writing Great Fiction

 

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My sons really liked the Think Like An Economist one and the Trails of Evidence Forensics one

 

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Another Greenberg fan here: http://www.thegreatcourses.com.au/courses/great-masters-mozart-his-life-and-music.html 

 

Same as Amoret says above, there is a bit of adult content in this course, but nothing I felt uncomfortable with for my 11yr old.

 

Greenberg is *passionate* and we'll be looking for more of his stuff, for sure.

 

 

And in a completely different field, we love this one: http://www.thegreatcourses.com.au/courses/nutrition-made-clear.html 

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top faves:

Greenberg How to listen and unerstand classical music

everything by Elizabeth Vandiver, esp Iliad and Odyssey

Daileader's 3 course series on the Middle ages

 

also good:

Bartlett Italian renaissance

Vikings (forget lecturer)

Rufus Fears famous romans

Turning points in American History

Greenberg Bach and the High baroque (but too specialized unless Baroque music lover)

 

We used everything on audio only. Watching a prof lecture at a lectern is sooo boring.

 

I've been meaning to ask about this.

We source our Great Courses through Audible, so we've never watched any videos.

 

I've wondered if we're missing anything not having videos. Maybe some lecturers use visuals, powerpoint etc?

I know in our science one (The Joy of Science), we can hear that the lecturer is doing things like throwing a ball, so we're clearly missing something visual. 

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I've been meaning to ask about this.

We source our Great Courses through Audible, so we've never watched any videos.

 

I've wondered if we're missing anything not having videos. Maybe some lecturers use visuals, powerpoint etc?

I know in our science one (The Joy of Science), we can hear that the lecturer is doing things like throwing a ball, so we're clearly missing something visual. 

 

We only use lectures for history and literature. What we tried on video had minimal visuals - the occasional map or picture of a person - and was not worth it for us.

I would never use an audio lecture for science; I cannot imagine this to work very well. I tried one (particle physics) that was offered on audio, and it was incredibly boring.

As a physics instructor, I have a hard time imagining how one can just talk about science without using visuals.

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We did Geology on video and he used some visual aids but not as many as you would think... I am pretty sure that anything with heavy visuals they just don't release on audio. It was clear in one of the history series we listened to that the lecturer was referring to a timeline and some portraits but it wasn't necessary to the content.

 

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Huge fans of John McWhorter's linguistics titles here!

 

PS: Because he is SO funny!

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I also personally enjoyed Bob Brier's Ancient Egypt course.  Very entertaining.  It is an older course, probably dating back to VHS days, but don't let the low production values deter you.  

 

I just finished the Mesopotamian history one, Between 2 Rivers, and in contrast, it is dry and boring at times.  If you can communicate something in 5 words, Prof. Castor will use 25.  Still, I persevered, and by the last DVD she seemed to be more comfortable in front of the camera and more conversational.  Kind of funny that way.

 

I'm in the middle of the Game Theory one, Games People Play, and it's very good so far.  

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My son just did his first Great Course: Experiencing the Hubble by David Meyer.

 

It was a big hit on our last road trip.

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I've wondered if we're missing anything not having videos. Maybe some lecturers use visuals, powerpoint etc?

 

 

They do. 

 

I got the Great Courses channel on Amazon about a week ago. Celery has watched the first 5 lectures of Thinking about Cybersecurity, and he loves it. He's watched the first 2 (iirc) lectures of How to Become a Superstar Student, and he thinks it's okay (i.e. much better than he'd thought it'd be). 

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Arthur Benjamin's math Great Courses are pretty visual.  He uses animations to illustrate concepts.  

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Turning Points in Modern History is really good - and you can use single episodes of you are just studying something in particular... though I enjoyed it most in order. 

We have enjoyed Foundations of Western Civ 2 (and I have heard 1 is good too- different professors but both enjoyable)

The one on the Pharaohs is good. 

Personally I enjoyed the Quest for Meaning: Values, Ethics, and the Modern Experience.  I didn’t listen to it with the kids though - just on my own.  

My oldest say the Black Death one by Dorsey Armstrong and the three Middle Ages ones by Daileader. 

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On 7/13/2017 at 12:07 PM, regentrude said:

everything by Elizabeth Vandiver, esp Iliad and Odyssey

 

Would you recommend listening to these lectures prior to reading the Iliad and the Odyssey or as you're reading them?  Would it be easy to figure out how to pace the lectures with the book chapters?  Thanks for your help.

 

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We really enjoyed...How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World, and all the courses by Elizabeth Vandiver. We read the books (Odyssey, Aenid, and Iliad) as we did the courses.

My ds liked two photography courses but thought one was better than the other (I cannot remember which was which now).

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On 8/23/2019 at 7:00 PM, aaplank said:

 

Would you recommend listening to these lectures prior to reading the Iliad and the Odyssey or as you're reading them?  Would it be easy to figure out how to pace the lectures with the book chapters?  Thanks for your help.

 

We checked out the audio only Vandiver Odyssey lectures from our library.  It came with a booklet.  In the booklet for each lecture there is a scope paragraph, an outline of the lecture, essential reading (which books of the Odyssey are covered in the lecture), suggested supplementary readings, Questions to consider (looks like 2 per lecture).  My 8 year old wanted us to read an adult level translation of the Odyssey this summer.  I thought the lectures would be helpful to ME (never read it in HS or college), the 11 year old saw the CDs and she listened to them on her own.  We've read kiddie versions of the Odyssey before but not an adult version, that's next up for us.  I listened to the first lecture and I think it will help us get more out of our reading, but they know the general story already.  I don't get the sense that my kids will get spoilers from listening to the lecture first, but will get more out of the reading listening before hand.  The first lecture talks about the concept of Xenia (guest-host relationship) and she talks about xenophobia.

In case you can't get the booklet lecture 1 covers book I, lecture 2 Books II-IV, lecture 3 books V & VI, lecture 4 books VII-IX, lecture 5 books X & XI lines 1-375, Lecture 6 Book XI lines 375-end; book XII, lecture 7 books XIII-XV, lecture 8 books XVI-XVII, lecture 9 books, XVIII & XIX, lecture 10 booksXX-XXII, lecture 11XXII & XXIV, lecture 12 no books noted "In this final lecture, we turn to the question of whether the Trojan War has any historical basis."

Hope that helps.

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On 7/13/2017 at 6:58 PM, regentrude said:

 

We only use lectures for history and literature. What we tried on video had minimal visuals - the occasional map or picture of a person - and was not worth it for us.

I would never use an audio lecture for science; I cannot imagine this to work very well. I tried one (particle physics) that was offered on audio, and it was incredibly boring.

As a physics instructor, I have a hard time imagining how one can just talk about science without using visuals.

DH did finish a physics one on audio, in his  (massive) commute and he loved it.

To the OP, I get the video version when I’m seriously using these for school AND there’s maps and such and we are traveling (I download some in case of long train rides, for example). If we are supplementing, audio is fine—The Vaniver one’s recommended upthread were fine on audio. 

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