Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe [TTC Video]

Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe [TTC Video]
Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe [TTC Video] by Professor Elizabeth K Andre, PhD
Course No 9702 | MP4, AVC, 1372 kbps, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x27 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 7.32GB

There’s nothing like a trip to the great outdoors. As any avid camper, hiker, backpacker, or paddler knows, stepping out of the civilized “front country” for a few hours, days, or even weeks offers physical, mental, and spiritual regeneration unlike any other experience. But if you’re not already an outdoors enthusiast, where would you even start as an outdoor adventure? Why should you even start? Isn’t the outdoors an experience of “roughing it” with bugs, bears, and bad weather?

Not at all! While it’s true that a trip onto open water or into the wilderness does come with a variety of challenges—and dangers—outdoor adventures truly are accessible to everyone. With the right gear and a little bit of know-how, a journey into the great outdoors can be a truly wonderful experience.

As the great outdoorsman Nessmuk (pen name of George Sears) once wrote, “We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities.” Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe is all about transforming the idea of roughing it in the wild to “smoothing it” and having the best experience possible. Taught by Professor Elizabeth K. Andre, a highly experienced and accredited wilderness guide and a professor at Northland College, these 24 insightful lectures will give you the practical skills, knowledge, and insight you need to set off for the water or the woods.

Whether you pride yourself on your outdoor prowess or consider yourself an avid indoorsperson, you will find a wealth of practical tips and tricks for enjoying the outdoors, including:

  • What gear you need to pack (and what you can leave at home);
  • Setting up camp and building a fire;
  • Staying hydrated on the trail;
  • Decision-making and risk assessment;
  • Navigation basics;
  • Hygiene and cleanliness; and
  • Wilderness first aid.

Most importantly, Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe is about enjoying your next (or your very first) trip to the backcountry! From hiking the woods of Maine, to sea-kayaking the waves of Lake Superior, to exploring the wild country of Big Bend National Forest, Professor Andre has an incredible amount of experience as an expedition guide, and she fills this course with stories of adventure, harrowing tales of survival, and real-world lectures to help familiarize you with what it’s like to spend a day on the river or a night in the woods.

Discover the Basics of Outdoor Adventures

If you’ve never been camping before, this course will clue you in on what you’ve been missing, and will get you ready to tackle everything from a weekend of car camping to multiple weeks in the bush. But even frequent backpackers or paddlers will learn something new among Professor Andre’s many practical lectures. Among other topics, you will study:

Gear and Clothing: How much do you need? Is the top-of-the-line stuff worth the price? What’s the best way to stay warm and dry? From camp stoves to whistles to layered clothing, find out how to pack for your wilderness adventure—and why you should bring one luxury item on every trip.

Food and Water: Every expedition is a balance of caloric needs, creature comforts, and weight. The good news is that with appropriate water treatment, a few cooking essentials, and the right know-how at the campsite, you can eat in style without breaking your back on the trail or sinking the raft on the river.

Campsite Fundamentals: A good campsite is much more than a tent and sleeping bag. Professor Andre shows you how to arrange an outdoor kitchen, build a fire, set up a tarp, and minimize your impact on the terrain at camp—a courtesy your fellow outdoors enthusiasts will appreciate.

Navigation: It may sound flippant to say that the best way to avoid getting lost is always to know where you are. But by showing you how to read topographic maps and how to navigate with a compass, Professor Andre gives you the tools you need to keep your bearings.

In addition to her many tips for trip preparation, Professor Andre also offers guidance for what to do after you get home, from brushing off your tent for proper storage to stowing your sleeping bag so it will keep you warm on the next trip.

Learn How to Stay Safe in (Almost) Any Environment

One of the great appeals of an outdoor adventure is getting away from civilization. But getting away from society means help is not at the ready. If something goes wrong, you can’t dial 911 and get an EMT professional at your doorstep in a few short minutes. Dehydration, hypothermia, broken bones, snake bites, lightning strikes, starvation—the risks are there, but they can be minimized with a little preparation, care, and know-how.

Beyond packing the right gear, bringing plenty of food and a way to filter water, and taking care with your campsite, Professor Andre offers several practical lectures dedicated specifically to outdoor safety—which can be applied to everyday life as well—including lectures in:

Risk Assessment: When you read about avoidable accidents in the wild, your first thought might be, “What was this person thinking?” As you’ll discover, emotions play as big a role as reason in human decision-making, which can lead to dire consequences in the backcountry. But if you recognize your emotions taking over, you can better assess the risks in front of you.

Weather Analysis: Predicting rain is a neat parlor trick in the front country, but in the backcountry, a storm can mean life or death. Learn to analyze cloud patterns and recognize the warning signs of rain, lightning, tornadoes, and more. As you’ll discover, staying safe in severe weather isn’t always intuitive.

First Aid: From the big three (circulation, respiration, and the nervous system) to breaks, scrapes, burns, and bugs, you will gain insight into how to treat injuries from small mishaps to accidents—and when to call for an evacuation.

Many of the safety tips in this course boil down to planning ahead, paying attention to your surroundings, making good decisions, and exercising caution. Even something as simple as telling someone at home where you are going and when you’ll be back can be the difference between life and death. For instance, one of the most harrowing outdoor survival stories in recent years was made into the film 127 Hours, which tells the true story of a man who gets caught in a canyon in Utah. A simple note on his car at the trailhead might have saved him the worst week imaginable.

Deepen Your Appreciation of the Wild

Connecting with the natural world is what outdoor adventures are all about. It’s impossible to convey the experience of paddling down a river, climbing up a mountain, sleeping under the stars, or telling stories around a campfire. The pace of time changes, and you connect with something ancient inside yourself.

It’s an experience you must pursue in order to understand, but which anyone can simply enjoy. Whether you are thinking about an overnight car-camp at your local state park, a week-long canoe trip to the Minnesota Boundary Waters, or a months-long hike along the Appalachian Trail, Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe will surely inspire you to get off the couch and into the wild.

Outdoor Fundamentals: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe [TTC Video]

Visual Literacy Skills: How to See [TTC Video]

Visual Literacy Skills: How to See [TTC Video]
Visual Literacy Skills: How to See [TTC Video] by Professor Carrie Patterson, MFA
Course No 7012 | MP4, AVC, 1136 kbps, 640x360 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x24 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 5.27GB

For many of us, seeing really is believing. Your sense of sight is by far the most central and influential sensory apparatus you have. Science tells us that the eyes contain 70 percent of all the sensory receptors in our bodies, and that a full 90 percent of the information our brains process on a daily basis is visual.

This means that, to an astonishing degree, we know and navigate the world with our eyes. Visual perception plays a dominant role in how we experience life—from how we receive knowledge and information and how we perceive nature, art, and the world to the daily visual choices we make about how we present ourselves and how we live.

Unlike reading and writing, our educational system gives us little or no training for our all-important visual capacities, and we don’t usually cultivate the skills of visual literacy. Yet, to do that—to consciously develop your understanding of visual perception, and your ability to deeply observe, interpret what you see, and communicate visually—opens an extraordinary world of experience, deepening your perceptions on all levels, and your capacity to appreciate the richness of the world around you.

But visual literacy has an even greater urgency: The world is becoming increasingly visual. More and more, we purchase things of all kinds based on what we see, and most of the information we receive and make decisions with is visual. Within the huge amounts of visual input we receive, the boundaries between what is representation and what is illusion are increasingly blurred, and the ability of visual input to manipulate us is a fact of contemporary life.

In Visual Literacy Skills: How to See, taught by award-winning Professor Carrie Patterson of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, you’ll take a deep and detailed look at the principles and skills of visual literacy, and how these visual skills directly inform our experience. These 24 compelling lessons teach you the vocabulary of art—line, shape, space, texture, color, and more—and how to see and evaluate them, as well as how to understand and employ the principles of visual design. Further, this course grounds you in how visual perception and visual language operate in art, design, and media, knowledge which increases your powers of communication, deepens your insight into visual persuasion and manipulation, and refines your skill and pleasure in the multi-dimensional world of visual experience.

Whether you’re engaged in art or design, interested in building a personal brand, creating or re-doing a living space, or simply interested in enriching your skill in making visual decisions, this course trains you to see as artists, designers, and architects do, and helps you develop a life skill that has far-reaching consequences in the digital age.

Seeing through the Eyes of Artists and Designers

These lessons train you in a sophisticated level of visual literacy, not just in principle but in practice. The course opens with a deep dive into the physiology of vision, where you’ll explore the mechanics of your eyes, the sensorial experience of sight, and how the brain organizes sensation into coherent visual experience.

Then you’ll move into a deeper level of visual literacy. Here, you’ll uncover how artists and designers perceive and understand the visual world with the intention of creating visual objects and environments. You’ll observe how artists, designers, and architects communicatevisually, creating the visual messages that surround us and influence how we think and live. In the process, you’ll study the tricks of the trade for designing objects that combine function and visual appeal, art that explores the reaches of space and time, and architectural spaces that reflect cultures and shared values.

The final section of the course explores what it means to make your visual skills an integral part of your life. Here, you’ll discover how to develop habits that you, as a visually informed person, can cultivate to create an environment and lifestyle that reflects your unique view of the world, as well as your own style and perspective. By examining the methods and habits of creative people across various disciplines, you’ll build a foundation for any creative work you may undertake.

Visual Language and Visual Communication

Professor Patterson illustrates the course material with hundreds of vivid images, photos, and diagrams, as well as video footage and studio demonstrations. In learning and practicing the skills of visual literacy, you’ll delve into core subject matter such as:

  • The Phenomenon of Visual Perception. Building on the anatomy and physiology of sight, follow the complex processes through which the brain creates meaning from visual experience. Note how the way we interpret visual perception through our bodies lays the groundwork for how we interpret our own lives.
  • Representation vs. Illusion. Observe how we value both representation and illusion in art; how artists, designers, and photographers create illusion in their work; and how photography and screens alter our experience of the world. Grasp how media and visual communication can blur the line between fact and fiction.
  • Visual Foundations. Study visual syntax—the underlying structure of visual communication—across five lessons; delve deeply into the formal elements of art, beginning with line, shape, and value; also learn the principles of three-dimensional art and design, and investigate visual storytelling.
  • Visual Time. In a fascinating ramification of visual experience, observe how the element of time manifests in the perception of art; witness how artists evoke both fixed moments in time and the passage of time, and learn to express time visually.
  • Principles of Design. Investigate the core principles of visual design that are at work in the creation of any object or artwork, such as emphasis, balance, proportion, and scale. See how these elements work together in visual composition and communication, and learn to compose visually like an artist.

Build Habits of Creativity

In the final section of the course, Professor Patterson offers you a rigorous and penetrating look at the parameters of creativity. An engaging and informal speaker, her teaching reveals an amazingly detailed knowledge of the principles of art, design, and visual communication, together with far-reaching insight into the creative process, innovative thinking, and what it is to embody creativity in daily living.

Here, she offers you a rich range of methods for developing your own creative habits and practices. Among these, you’ll explore:

The Art of Observation: Study techniques for suspending ordinary visual perception, cultivating powers of detailed observation and alternative ways of seeing, and making active observation a valuable life skill.

Pushing the Limits of Thinking: Take a provocative look at how innovative thinkers intentionally seek out new ways of thinking about and seeing the world. Learn practical methods for becoming a visual explorer in your daily travels, and for generating original thought.

The Creative Act: Learn detailed guidelines for becoming a creator of your own art, design, or visual communication. Apply the skills you’ve built in exploring the inspiration, the joy, and the satisfaction of creative work.

Visual Literacy Skills: How to See takes you on a remarkable perceptual journey, revealing and unpacking visual experience to a depth that most of us rarely engage with. In looking deeply at how we experience reality through visual perception, and the extraordinary ways we benefit from refined visual knowledge as consumers, communicators, and creators, you’ll learn to turn your visual skills into a visually literate and enriched life.

Visual Literacy Skills: How to See [TTC Video]

Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Readers and Writers [TTC Video]

Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Readers and Writers [TTC Video]
Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Readers and Writers [TTC Video] by Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black, PhD
Course No 2323 | MP4, AVC, 1372 kbps, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x32 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 8.11GB

Short stories offer readers the unique opportunity to experience a powerful piece of literature in a deceptively small package. The constraints of a few thousand words can give the best works an economy of storytelling that distills the power of the written word in astonishing ways. The brevity of short fiction belies its emotional and intellectual complexity.

While short stories exist in traditions all over the world, American short stories are a genre all their own. Emerging from the clash of cultures—and the collision of oral and print traditions—that began during the arrival of European settlers in the 16th and 17th centuries, the short works that emerged have served many functions. They have entertained, certainly, but they have also helped foster identity, shape morality, and build the foundations of the American mythos for nearly four centuries.

Whether you want to write short stories, simply want better insight as a reader, or even if you are looking for a new lens through which to view American history, the 24 rich and informative lectures of Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Writers and Readers will show you the ins and outs of this infinitely adaptable—and intrinsically American—literary form. Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black of St. Mary’s College of Maryland guides you through the technical aspects of the short story, while also digging deep into the history of the form in the United States. Along the way, you will discover why the short story became so deeply connected to American identity and how it continues to evolve alongside the nation itself.

American Mythos

Literary traditions have helped shape American identity from the very beginning. When the United States established its independence from Britain, one of the earliest concerns of the new nation was creating a literature of its own, one free from the powerful influence of Europe. Writers tried their hand at many forms, but only one emerged as a patently American genre: the short story. Much like the nation itself, the American short story has continually changed and evolved to reflect the ideas, conflicts, and demographics of each era.

After a brief introduction to the short story as a literary form, Professor Cognard-Black leads you through the evolution of the short story, beginning with the influence of the oral tradition in the earliest days of the American colonies, proceeding to the initial story experiments after the Revolutionary War, and then traversing the many changes in style and taste that have defined and redefined the genre with every new generation of Americans. Some of the prominent literary periods and styles you will tour include:

  • Sentimental fiction. The early- to mid-19th century saw the rise of fiction that intentionally stirred emotion to sway readers’ hearts and minds, utilizing sentiment as an effective tool in shaping the way Americans thought about slavery, temperance, class relations, social justice, and more. This period was also defined by the rising power of female writers.
  • Realism. The school that would eventually be called realism held sway from the end of the Civil War and into World War I. Closely tied to the growth of print journalism across the nation, realism was a “boys’ club” that resisted the activism of sentimental storytelling in favor of immediacy—even banality—to pursue truth that some writers saw as more democratic than earlier styles.
  • Modernism. In the wake of World War I, many Americans were disillusioned about the state of the modern world. In response, this new school of writers turned away from realism, leaning in to an intentionally fragmented and artificial style that some considered more “literary” than realism, but that also managed to capture the rapidly changing, disorienting atmosphere of the early 20th century.

These and other phases of literary production in America are reflective of the social and political climate of their time and place. As you progress from traditional stories into more experimental styles and genres, you will see how each generation tests the limits of the short story form. And, with guidance from Professor Cognard-Black, you will see how each of these loosely defined periods can give readers a unique view into the American character through fiction.

Form and Function

Storytelling has a direct influence on the brain, triggering the release of the feel-good chemical oxytocin. This chemical reaction means good stories affect us profoundly, giving stories immense power to influence how we see the world and the people in it. But this impact can only be maintained if readers truly believe in what they’re experiencing, which is why the best short story writers manage to disappear from their work. Essentially, every aspect of a story must be tightly controlled and deeply considered, yet the author’s fingerprints should be completely absent from the page. This invisibility on the part of the writer is accomplished through the many choices made when crafting a story.

Even the most fantastic elements of a story need to feel true to life in order for readers to find a connection. So how do you use fiction to create a world that is believable—one that feels true but is also more interesting than the mundane realities of everyday life? And how do you make a short story feel like it contains an entire world over the course of just a few pages? The answer lies in how writers use the tools of the trade to create work that feels effortless, but actually requires a great deal of thought and planning. Some of the technical aspects to consider include:

  • Setting/donnée. The world in which the story takes place has to be immersive and believable. The donnée (“that which is given”) is not just the scenery, but the very fabric of the story; it is intrinsic to the characters themselves and their point of view.
  • Character. Fictional characters must be both vital and true. In other words, you must not just show how your characters function in a given story but also find a way to reveal who they are when no one else is looking.
  • Dialogue. Believable dialogue in fiction works differently than speech in the real world. Writers must tread a fine line between what is concise and engaging and what reads as true to life.
  • Point of view. Who is telling the story? Is it told from the interior perspective of a single narrator? Does it step back and look at the larger picture? Point of view directly affects how readers engage with a story and where their sympathies lie.
  • Style. Though difficult to define, style is at the core of what it means to be a storyteller. Essentially, it is the culmination of all the many aspects that define the craft and how each writer puts them to use in unique ways.

As you will see throughout the lectures, these and other tools can be taught, but to truly understand them, you have to put them into practice. As Professor Cognard-Black says, “The only way to know the nuts and bolts, as well as the power, of American short stories is to read them; the only way to craft a story worth telling is to write them.”

Style and Substance

Over the course of these lectures, you will be introduced to a range of writers who have shaped the American short story around the country and across generations. Beginning with the early sketches of Washington Irving, you will progress through the centuries to engage with work from writers of different styles, eras, origins, and levels of fame, including:

  • Writers who use genre fiction to tell stories about the real world, like Edgar Allan Poe, Louisa May Alcott, and Ursula K. Le Guin;
  • Authors who specialize in realist and naturalist stories, such as Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, and Edith Wharton, as well as more experimental authors like Jean Toomer and Donald Barthelme;
  • Writers who have shaped the very fabric of literature in America, such as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner; and
  • Contemporary short story writers that engage with the many complicated facets of the American experience, including Toni Morrison, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Annie Proulx.

These authors and many, many more offer you an introduction to a wide range of small stories with big impact. And you will explore not just their stories, but also the larger movements and cultural influences that shaped their work and that have helped to make American short stories an ongoing, interconnected—and increasingly democratic—narrative of the American experience.

The “great American novel” is often the lofty goal of writers who want to achieve literary immortality. But from the opening sentence to the lingering denouement, American short stories can both capture the world as it is and help envision what could be. Each is unique, and yet each is a part of a larger chronicle: the story of America.

Great American Short Stories: A Guide for Readers and Writers [TTC Video]

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