Foundations of Eastern Civilization [TTC Video]
19 June 2015, 06:29
Course No 3630 | MP4, AVC, 1168 kbps, 640x360 | English, MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 48x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 13.23GB
So much of our historical knowledge is rooted in Western civilization, from the stories of ancient Greece and Rome to the intellectual developments of the Renaissance. But this history tells only part of the story of our global world. Eastern civilization has its own fascinating story, with consequences that matter deeply to our lives today.
How did Eastern civilization—particularly that of China, Korea, Japan, and the nations of Southeast Asia—develop? What do we know about the history, politics, governments, art, science, and technology of these countries? And how does the story of Eastern civilization play out in today’s world of business, politics, and international exchange?
Foundations of Eastern Civilization takes you on a grand journey to explore the big accomplishments of Eastern civilization, from the material economy of day-to-day life to the political and religious philosophies that would bind these cultures together for thousands of years. Over the course of 48 ambitious lectures, Professor Craig G. Benjamin of Grand Valley State University introduces you to the many people, achievements, and ideas that came out of Eastern civilization and played a role in creating the modern world.
In this course, you will travel across continents and over the ages to arrive at a full understanding of the Eastern world.
- See how climate and geography allowed powerful civilizations to emerge in certain regions.
- Discover the origins of the yin and yang cosmology, the Mandate of Heaven political philosophy, and Confucianism and Daoism.
- Trace the spread of ideas between East and West, especially along the Silk Roads.
- Explore the rise and fall of empires—some famous and others largely unknown.
- Survey the role of Eastern civilization in the 20th and 21st centuries, and see what the future may hold for the “Asian tiger” economies.
“To truly understand the modern world, it is essential to know something about the many extraordinary contributions Eastern civilization has made,” Professor Benjamin says. “Simply put, it is not enough to know just the ‘Western’ half of the story any more—both Eastern and Western are critical to understanding our present and our future.”
Foundations of Eastern Civilization offers you just that—the chance to fill in the other half of the story. You may be surprised to realize that all of us have been students of Eastern civilization, even if we have not been aware of it. Filled with captivating stories and surprising details, this course is an excellent overview of one of the most dynamic regions in the world.
Immerse Yourself in a Rich Cultural History
This course covers an impressive amount of ground, from the emergence of early cultures 10,000 years ago to the booming economies of the 21st century. China is at the hub of Eastern civilization, and when you complete this course, you’ll come away with a comprehensive understanding of its intriguing history:
- Uncover the Xia dynasty, which was long thought to be legendary but for which there is now some archaeological evidence.
- Study the mysterious “oracle bones” and the development of Chinese writing in the Shang dynasty.
- Examine the development of different administrative structures, educational programs, and civil service exams.
- Delve into the remarkable agricultural and industrial revolutions that occurred during the Song dynasty.
- Learn about China’s 19th-century difficulties, including opium wars, humiliating trade agreements with the British, peasant uprisings, and, eventually, the revolution that ended the dynastic system.
Along the way, you’ll meet some of the most extraordinary people in Chinese history: emperors and empresses, soldiers and envoys, administrative eunuchs, philosophers, and more. You’ll also consider the myriad inventions and innovations that drove the Chinese economy—including gunpowder, paper, the porcelain industry, and paper money.
While China is home to some of the great moments in world history, it is far from the only significant nation in the East. Professor Benjamin takes you on several extended forays to examine a wealth of other cultures:
- Discover the many dynasties of Korea, the “land of the morning calm.”
- Explore the extraordinary history of Japan, including a deep examination into the era of medieval shoguns and samurai warriors.
- Find out about the Mongols, who had the largest continuous empire in world history.
- Venture into India to witness the rise of Buddhism and other Indus civilization religions.
- Witness the amazing spread of Islam throughout Southeast Asia, as well as the impact of Christian missionaries.
- Unpack many of the 20th century’s most significant wars, including the Japanese aggression that culminated in World War II and the cold war conflicts in Korea and Vietnam.
Discover the Ancient Roots of Eastern Society
What unifies the foundations of Eastern civilization? With all the many cultures and nations and peoples—some of whom are little known outside highly specialized circles—what can we say about these societies as a whole?
By going back to the beginnings of Eastern civilization, Professor Benjamin shows you the groundwork for today’s global village. You’ll be surprised to find out just how far back some of the modern-day divides go. For instance, the conflicts between northern and southern Korea originated hundreds of years ago and have their roots in the peninsula’s geography.
Eastern civilization today is grounded in ancient history in a number of ways, one of the most interesting of which is the way Eastern nations think about human nature, government, and economics. Whereas the Western nations tend to take an individualist approach to society—with ideas originating in ancient Greece and Rome and expanded on during the Enlightenment—Eastern nations still tend to take a collectivist tack.
This collectivist approach has its roots in the Warring States Era at the end of the Zhou dynasty, when philosophers reflected on human nature and the best way to organize society.
- Confucius and his followers created a model of ethical leadership based on education and moral behavior.
- Daoists withdrew from society and looked to harmony in the cosmos and the natural world.
- Legalists imposed gruesome punishments to enforce the rule of law.
Each of these philosophies had different notions of human nature and laid out a different path to forming an orderly state. These philosophies provide an important foundation for Eastern thought, and their approaches to government are completely different from our conceptions in the West. Yet in today’s interconnected world, it’s more important than ever to understand the cultural foundations of countries with which we interact, do business, and negotiate global politics.
Witness a Dynamic Cultural Exchange
During the Han dynasty, the Silk Roads connected East and West and enabled a surprising amount of cross-cultural interaction and exchange. The West received goods and information from the East—including silk and spices—but the East also learned about the West, that other civilizations existed beyond the mountains, deserts, and nomadic tribes of Central Asia. Professor Benjamin takes you on a voyage along the Silk Roads and introduces you to many of the unsung heroes of history:
- The Xiongnu
- The Yuezhi
- The Kushans
- The Parthians
- The Mongols
You’ll also meet the Chinese ambassador Zhang Qian, whose breathtaking escapades blazed a trail for the Silk Roads. You’ll travel the caravan routes, consider what it would have been like to stop at one of the many “caravanserai”—the inns where merchants would stop along the trade routes—and study the Kushan Empire, a little-known and little-studied “lost civilization” of important middlemen in what is now Afghanistan.
In addition to the Silk Roads, you’ll explore the vibrant cross-cultural exchange within the East itself. China heavily influenced Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia, yet these nations also evolved as independent, distinct cultures. How did these countries develop? What was their relationship to China? How did China influence them, and how did they influence China? Enjoy an Inside Look at a Fascinating Civilization
Foundations of Eastern Civilization is a sweeping course, taking you across time and space. But after providing the broad strokes, Professor Benjamin zooms in on specifics to give you a flavor for the texture of daily life. You’ll learn about massive building projects such as the Great Wall of China. You’ll encounter the great art and architecture, the poetry and literature, and the many other artifacts from the East:
- Ancient burial tombs in China
- Chulmun pottery from ancient Korea
- Calligraphy, poetry, and novels from the great Tang dynasty
- The oldest surviving printed document in world history
- Famous Japanese novels
Throughout all of these lectures, Professor Benjamin is a lively guide and a dazzling storyteller, taking you inside the great cities where riches abound—jewels, silks, and great works of art. He shares several stories from his visits to these locations, and many of his personal photographs add a charming touch to the course. Indeed, his enthusiasm for the subject and his remarkable style of lecturing will open up an entirely new world for you as he unfolds the story of Eastern civilization.
- Journey to the East
- Yin and Yang—The Geography of China
- Early China and the Mysterious Xia
- The Coming of the Shang
- The Shang and Writing for the Gods
- The Zhou and the Mandate of Heaven
- Great Ideas of the Zhou—Confucianism
- Great Ideas of the Zhou—Later Confucianism
- Great Ideas of the Zhou—Daoism
- Great Ideas of the Zhou—Legalism
- The Qin and the First Emperor of China
- Contact with the West—The Early Han
- Triumph and Tragedy—The Later Han
- Silk Roads—In the Footsteps of Nomads
- Silk Roads—The Envoy Zhang Qian
- Silk Roads—Perils of Camels and Caravans
- Silk Roads—Rome and Roads from the West
- Silk Roads—The Lost Kushan Empire
- Origins of Buddhism
- The Age of Disunity
- The Great Taizong and the Rise of the Tang
- Changan and the Glittering Tang
- Korea—Mysterious Beginnings
- Korea—The Land of Morning Calm
- Korea—The Unified Silla
- Korea—The Koryo
- Japan—Geography and Early Cultures
- Japan—Treasures of the Tomb Period
- Japan—Nara and the Great Eastern Temple
- Japan—The World of the Heian
- Southeast Asia—Vietnam
- Southeast Asia—Indian and Islamic Influences
- The Industrial Revolution of the Song
- Intellectual and Cultural Life of the Song
- The Mongols Conquer the World
- Shaking the Foundation—Mongols in the East
- The Rise of the Ming
- Great Treasure Fleets of the Ming
- The Qing—Nomads Return from the North
- The Qing—The Last Emperor of China
- Korea Choson—Rise of the Yangban
- Korea Choson—The Last Dynasty
- Medieval Japan—Samurai and Shoguns
- Tokugawa and Meiji Japan
- The People’s Republic of China
- Isolation and Cold War Conflicts
- The Rise of the East Asian Tigers
- The Enduring Ideas of Eastern Civilization
Mathematical Decision Making: Predictive Models and Optimization [TTC Video]
11 March 2015, 03:47
2015 | Course No 1342 | M4V, AVC, 2000 kbps, 640x360 | English, AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.48GB
Not so long ago, executives faced with complex problems made decisions based on experience, intuition, and no small measure of luck. But now there’s a better way. In recent decades, mathematics and computer science have perfected formerly top-secret techniques for predicting the best possible outcomes when faced with conflicting options. This field goes by different names—analytics, operations research, linear and nonlinear programming, management science—but its purpose is simple: to apply quantitative methods to help business managers, public servants, investors, scientific researchers, and problem solvers of all kinds make better decisions.
Consider the following applications of this powerful set of tools:
- Pricing: Costco rose to become one of the top-ranked retailers in the world by combining membership fees with the economy of selling in bulk. A mathematical technique—called genetic algorithms—shows the advantages of this strategy as well as the optimum prices to charge.
- Scheduling: Using nonlinear programming, many airlines employ scheduling software that can find the most favorable solution to unexpected disruptions—from weather to mechanical problems to crew availability—saving millions of dollars in operating costs.
- Bidding: Simulation models can take a lot of guesswork out of competitive bidding for a project. By running repeated simulations against competitors, a bidder can come up with a proposal that has a good chance of winning the job, while still making a profit.
- Queuing: Any process that reflects the behavior of waiting lines is known as queuing. Markov analysis shows how a small increase in input to a system can have a major impact on waiting times. The method also reveals surprising solutions for making long waits vanish.
These same techniques can be applied to retirement planning, stock portfolio analysis, budget forecasting, health care allocation, public relations, marketing and advertising, and many other tasks for enterprises large and small. The applications are truly endless!
Mathematical decision making got its first rigorous tests during World War II, when the Allies used top-secret operations research to protect convoys, improve the aim of anti-aircraft fire, and locate the weak points on Allied bombers. After the war, private industry adopted operations research with enthusiasm, but these new methods were expensive, computing speed was slow, and only specialized experts could take advantage of the algorithms. That situation has changed dramatically, and today anyone with a home computer and a spreadsheet program can harness the power of these methods to solve practical problems. The trick is knowing what you can do and how to do it.
Mathematical Decision Making: Predictive Models and Optimization is your guide, teaching you the major mathematical techniques, applications, and spreadsheet procedures for basic analytics in 24 information-packed half-hour lectures. Your professor is award-winning educator Scott Stevens, Professor of Computer Information Systems and Business Analytics at James Madison University.
Those who will benefit from Professor Stevens’s engaging presentation include:
- managers eager to make better decisions—whether in business, technical, or non-profit endeavors;
- professionals aspiring to advance in their careers by mastering a proven approach to problem solving;
- those who work with or review spreadsheet and graphical presentations, and need to be able to separate good data from bad;
- students in business, mathematics, finance, marketing, health care, engineering, urban planning, and a host of other fields;
- math lovers curious to see a field that is often the opposite of calculus: simple functions and complex boundary conditions, instead of complex functions with simple boundary conditions; and
- lifelong learners who want to hone their critical thinking skills with important analytical techniques, made accessible and intellectually exciting as never before.
Discover the Art of Deciding
You’ll find that the challenge of analytics is not the math, which is often surprisingly easy, but the wide choice of procedures you have at your fingertips. The art is picking the most effective one to apply to your problem, and this is what Professor Stevens walks you through in fascinating detail. All that’s needed is a willingness to use simple equations. Moreover, you’ll see how modern spreadsheets take the drudgery out of finding solutions, and they make setting up and visualizing problems simple and straightforward.
Mathematical Decision Making is vividly illustrated with graphs, charts, diagrams, and computer animations, which greatly aid understanding the material. In addition, Professor Stevens demonstrates the importance of cultivating your visual intuition. This is particularly helpful when you move from linear programming to nonlinear programming, where effects of synergy and interaction can have strong impact on the bottom line. He shows how you can visualize this new world as a landscape, and then use your natural intuition to decide how best to approach the problem. As an illustration, you see how the fight between Blu-Ray and HD DVD for dominance in the high-definition video market can be pictured as a hyperbolic paraboloid—a saddle-shaped figure—with all of the possible outcomes of the competition mapped onto its surface.
Conveniently, the course guidebook includes additional thought-provoking questions, problems, and answers for each lecture, along with recommended resources to help you dig deeper into any topic where you want to know more.
Analyze a Wealth of Cases
The beauty of this course is that it features case after case of real-life examples. Among the many you’ll explore are these:
- Public relations: The makers of Gerber baby food had experienced a public relations problem earlier in their history. See how they used decision tree analysis during a second budding crisis a dozen years later to map their options and reach a successful decision.
- Keeping clients happy: NBC schedulers once had to match advertisers to television time slots by hand, juggling a bewildering number of competing demands. You’ll learn how computer algorithms and the concept of “hard” and “soft” constraints revolutionized their job.
- Finding a missing plane: No one knew why Air France flight 447 crashed into the ocean in 2009—until Bayesian analysis led searchers to the wreck site and the black box. Bayes’s theorem tells how to compute new probabilities as new information becomes available.
- Evaluating efficiency: Non-profit organizations and government programs are notoriously hard to evaluate for efficiency. Using hospitals as a test case, you’ll discover how data envelopment analysis shows which facilities are performing effectively, as well as how to improve the ones that aren’t.
An acclaimed instructor who practices what he teaches, Professor Stevens has pushed the boundaries of mathematical decision making on many fronts. His research has addressed such problems as neural network prediction of survival in trauma patients and how to optimize the market for natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico.
Above all, he loves mathematics and the wonders it can perform. “Math is an absolutely beautiful thing,” he marvels. “I’m at my happiest when I can get someone else to see just a piece of that. It’s lovely, structured, consistent, reliable, surprising, enticing, exotic. It’s a great world!” With Mathematical Decision Making, see for yourself how mathematics can make the everyday world we all inhabit a more comprehensible and much better place.
- The Operations Research Superhighway
- Forecasting with Simple Linear Regression
- Nonlinear Trends and Multiple Regression
- Time Series Forecasting
- Data Mining: Exploration and Prediction
- Data Mining for Affinity and Clustering
- Optimization: Goals, Decisions, and Constraints
- Linear Programming and Optimal Network Flow
- Scheduling and Multiperiod Planning
- Visualizing Solutions to Linear Programs
- Solving Linear Programs in a Spreadsheet
- Sensitivity Analysis: Trust the Answer?
- Integer Programming: All or Nothing
- Where Is the Efficiency Frontier?
- Programs with Multiple Goals
- Optimization in a Nonlinear Landscape
- Nonlinear Models: Best Location, Best Pricing
- Randomness, Probability, and Expectation
- Decision Trees: Which Scenario Is Best?
- Bayesian Analysis of New Information
- Markov Models: How a Random Walk Evolves
- Queuing: Why Waiting Lines Work or Fail
- Monte Carlo Simulation for a Better Job Bid
- Stochastic Optimization and Risk
Mastering Stage Presence: How to Present to Any Audience [TTC Video]
10 March 2015, 14:56
Course No 5986 | M4V, AVC, 2000 kbps, 640x360 | English, AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.23GB
Stage presence—the ability to connect powerfully and authentically with an audience—is something we often associate with performers. Great actors, musicians, and public speakers all seem to have it. But this same capacity is something we all need and use in many areas of life, both professional and personal.
Any time you present yourself to others, whether in a speech, a public presentation, a meeting, an interview, a class, or a negotiation, your success depends on far more than the words you say. Your ability to communicate, to inspire, or to convince is heavily influenced by the way you carry yourself, the way you speak, the way you express what you’ve decided to say, and the way you connect with your listeners and the space you’re in. In any situation where you present yourself, your way of being and interacting with your listeners—your presence—is equally as important as what you say.
But is presence something you’re born with—an innate talent—or are there ways to develop it? Can presence, in fact, be learned?
As you’ll discover in this illuminating and highly practical course, the answer is an unqualified “yes.” The skills of poise, physical ease in public, clarity of speaking, and engaging, effective communication are well understood, and can be practiced and developed in ways that will greatly improve your success in presenting yourself in any setting.
Presence: A Learnable Skill
Drawing on the skills and techniques used by professional actors and public speakers, you can learn to offer your best self to the world, by cultivating self-awareness, mental focus, and the freedom of your body and voice. Whether your goal is to act on the stage or screen, speak at a public gathering, present at a business meeting, or even to be in top form over the dinner table, expressing yourself at your very best is a practical and reachable goal.
In Mastering Stage Presence: How to Present to Any Audience, Melanie Martin Long, a celebrated teacher of acting and directing, leads you in an in-depth exploration of the skills—and the joy—of performance and self-presentation, which apply to any situation where you present yourself to others.
Like golf, tennis, or painting, learning performance technique involves building one skill on another. In the course of 24 interactive lecture/practice sessions, you’ll learn core principles of modern acting technique that allow you to define and express your purpose for presenting. You’ll work systematically to become conscious of your own physical and vocal habits. And you’ll practice the techniques of freeing your body and voice for fuller self-expression.
Building on these practices, you’ll integrate your new skills by walking through the experience of an audition or interview, and then by exploring the process of preparing a performance or public appearance. Finally, you’ll learn how to channel nervous energy into effective performance, how to draw your audience in, and how to keep their attention through the end of your time onstage. With remarkable clarity and thoroughness, this course teaches you the what and how of presence and self-presentation, on stage and in life.
Hands-On Training in the Skills of Performance
In these dynamic learning sessions, you’ll study and practice the three building blocks of performance technique:
- mental focus and preparation;
- your physical life; and
- voice and speech.
This is hands-on, high-level work in which you’ll explore all of the mental and physical resources that go into an effective stage performance or presentation. Far more useful than any book could be, the video sessions allow you to experience the work directly, practicing physical and vocal workouts in studio sessions with Professor Long.
First, you’ll learn that what drives a successful performance is the clear pursuit of your objective (or, in acting, the character’s objective), which unfolds moment by moment through specific actions.
- Using characters from Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, study acting pedagogue Uta Hagen’s “Nine Questions,” which crystallize a dramatic character’s circumstances, motivations, and objectives, and see how these factors propel their behavior onstage.
- Learn how to specifically apply the principles of purpose and objectives to both dramatic scripts and public speaking, giving your performance or presentation crucial clarity and focus.
Next, you’ll work to develop physical freedom and ease onstage—a vital asset for presenting yourself in public.
- Drawing on the discoveries of movement pioneers F. Mathias Alexander, Moshe Feldenkrais, and Rudolph Laban, practice movement exercises used by professional actors. These will help you bring your body into natural alignment, release unnecessary physical tension, and move with balance, spontaneity, and freedom.
- Stage Savvy: A core element of skillful performance and stage deportment, learn how to take focus onstage, as well as how to give focus and create visual variety through physical positioning, movement, rhythm, and balance.
Finally, you’ll work extensively on vocal technique, expanding and freeing your vocal resources over eight lecture/practice sessions on voice and speech.
Explore each facet of vocal technique for performance, from expansive, natural breathing to sound production, resonation, and inflection, as well as how to project your voice to fill the performance space. Exercise and strengthen the muscles of speech, work out your vocal articulators through speaking written texts, and study pace and phrasing.
Discover the Joy and Satisfaction of Performing
Professor Long, a highly respected theatre artist and performance coach, brings deep technical knowledge as well as extraordinary insight and skill as a teacher to this unique, interactive program. By both demonstrating and leading you in exercises to enlarge your expressive and creative horizons, she teaches performance technique as a path of self-awareness and physical freedom. As just one remarkable example, she illustrates, citing Harvard studies, how practicing physical “power” stances changes your mental outlook and body chemistry, boosting testosterone and lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Emphasizing experiential learning, the course is designed for you to view over and over for extra practice.
In completing the learning process, the final sessions take you through the application of the skills you’ve learned:
- Auditions and Interviews: Learn a complete approach to presenting yourself in high-stakes situations, from your entrance and introduction to your self-presentation, its aftermath, and your exit.
- Preparing a performance or presentation: Explore how to systematically prepare and rehearse a stage performance or public appearance, from initial exploration and practice of your material to run-throughs and final dress/technical rehearsals.
- Dealing effectively with nerves or “stage fright”: Grasp how key principles of mental focus such as releasing self-judgment and focusing on your fellow performers or audience can make your nerves work for you; and
- Holding your audience’s attention: Discover how claiming your power onstage, keeping your performance simple, and using variety allows you to sustain your performance from start to finish.
Mastering Stage Presence: How to Present to Any Audience takes you deeply into the practical skills of performing and self-presentation, teaching you each element in a highly engaging, step-by-step learning system. With the skills you’ll develop, you can confidently step forward as a performer or presenter, offering your best self to the world in any setting.
- The Performance Triangle
- Modern Acting Technique
- Building a Character
- Analyzing Backstory and Motivation
- Identifying Your Unconscious Habits
- Recovering Your Natural Alignment
- The Body Balanced at Rest
- The Body Balanced in Motion
- Intent, Purpose, and Character
- Playing Status Relationships
- Stage Movement Savvy
- The Glorious Human Voice
- Accessing the Breath
- Your Vocal Energy
- Vocal Dynamics: Your Best Voice
- Clear, Energized Speech
- The Muscles of Speech
- Vocal Color: Pacing and Phrasing
- Accents and Dialects
- Acing the Audition
- Preparing for the Performance
- Using Stage Fright Energy
- Working the Crowd with Confidence
- Stage Presence: A Way of Life