How We Learn [TTC Video]

How We Learn [TTC Video]
How We Learn [TTC Video] by Monisha Pasupathi
Course No 1691 | AVI, DivX5, 640x480 | MP3, 160 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | 5.1GB

Learning is a lifelong adventure. It starts in your mother's womb, accelerates to high speed in infancy and childhood, and continues through every age, whether you're actively engaged in mastering a new skill, intuitively discovering an unfamiliar place, or just sleeping, which is fundamental to helping you consolidate and hold on to what you've learned. You are truly born to learn around the clock.

But few of us know how we learn, which is the key to learning and studying more effectively. For example, you may be surprised by the following:

  • People tend to misjudge what they have learned well, what they don't yet know, and what they do and do not need to practice.
  • Moments of confusion, frustration, uncertainty, and lack of confidence are part of the process of acquiring new skills and new knowledge.
  • Humans and animals explore their worlds for the sake of learning, regardless of rewards and punishment connected with success.
  • You can teach an old dog new tricks. In fact, older learners have the benefit of prior knowledge and critical skills—two advantages in learning.

Shedding light on what's going on when we learn and dispelling common myths about the subject, How We Learn introduces you to this practical and accessible science in 24 half-hour lectures presented by Professor Monisha Pasupathi of the University of Utah, an award-winning psychology teacher and expert on how people of all ages learn.

A Course about You

Customers of The Great Courses are already devoted to lifelong learning and may be surprised at how complicated the process of learning is. We have a single word for it—learn—but it occurs in a fascinating variety of ways, which Professor Pasupathi recounts in detail. She describes a wide range of experiments that may strike a familiar chord as you recognize something about yourself or others:

  • Scripts: We have trouble recalling specific events until we have first learned scripts for those events. Young children are prodigious learners of scripts, but so are first-time parents, college freshmen, foreign travelers, and new employees.
  • Variable ratio reinforcement: Children whining for candy are usually refused, but the few occasions when parents give in encourage maximal display of the behavior. The same principle is behind the success of slot machines and other unpredictable rewards.
  • Storytelling: Telling stories is fundamentally an act of learning about ourselves. The way we recount experiences, usually shortly after the event, has lasting effects on the way we remember those experiences and what we learn from them.
  • Sleeper effect: Have you ever heard something from an unreliable source and later found yourself believing it? Over time, we tend to remember information but forget the source. Paradoxically, this effect is stronger when the source is less credible.

Dr. Pasupathi's many examples cover the modern history of research on learning—from behaviorist theory in the early 20th century to the most recent debates about whether IQ can be separated from achievement, or whether a spectrum of different learning styles and multiple intelligences really exist.

What You Will Learn

You start by examining 10 myths about learning. These can get in the way of making the fullest use of the extraordinary capacity for learning and include widespread beliefs, such as that college-educated people already know how to maximize learning or that a person must be interested in a subject in order to learn it.

Professor Pasupathi then covers mistaken theories of learning, such as that lab animals and humans learn in the same way or that the brain is a tabula rasa, a blank slate that can absorb information without preparation. Babies might seem to be a counterexample, showing that you can learn from scratch. However, you examine what newborns must know at birth in order for them to learn so much, so quickly.

Next you explore in depth how humans master different tasks, from learning a native language or a second language, to becoming adept at a sport or a musical instrument, to learning a new city or a problem-solving strategy, to grasping the distinctive style of thinking required in mathematics and science. Then you look inside the learning process itself, where many factors come into play, including what is being learned and the context, along with the emotions, motivations, and goals of the learner. You close by considering individual differences. Some people seem to learn without effort. How do they do it?

Tips on Learning

Along the way, Professor Pasupathi offers frequent advice on how to excel in many different learning situations:

  • Mastering material: Testing yourself is a very effective strategy for mastering difficult material. Try taking a blank sheet of paper and writing down everything you can recall about the subject. Then go back and review the material. Next, try another blank sheet of paper.
  • Second-language learning: Becoming fluent in a second language in adulthood is difficult because your brain is tuned to your native language and misses important clues in the new language. To overcome this obstacle, immerse yourself among native speakers of the new language.
  • Motivating a child: When trying to motivate a schoolchild to learn, avoid controlling language, create opportunities to give the child a sense of choice, and be careful about excessive praise and other forms of rewards, which can actually undermine learning.
  • Maintaining a learning edge: Middle-aged and older adults can preserve their learning aptitude by exercising to maintain cardiovascular health, staying mentally active, and periodically trying a new challenge, such as learning to draw or studying new dance steps.

Adventures in Learning

Winner of prestigious teaching awards from her university's chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology, Dr. Pasupathi brings today's exciting field of learning research alive. Her descriptions of ongoing work in her field, in which she is a prominent participant, are vivid and insightful, allowing you to put yourself into a given experiment and ask, "How would I react under these circumstances? What does this tell me about my own approach to learning?"

By the time How We Learn ends, you will appreciate the incredible breadth of what we learn in our lifetimes, understand the commonality and diversity of human learning experiences, and come away with strategies for enhancing your own adventures in learning.

"Learning is a human birthright," says Professor Pasupathi. "Everything about us is built for lifelong learning—from our unusually long childhood and our large prefrontal cortex to our interest in novelty and challenge." And she finds reason for optimism about the future of humanity due to our almost miraculous capacity to learn.

How We Learn [TTC Video]

An Economic History of the World since 1400 [TTC Video]

An Economic History of the World since 1400 [TTC Video]
An Economic History of the World since 1400 [TTC Video] by Donald J Harreld
Course No 5670 | .MP4, 500 kbps, 856x480 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 48x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 6.24GB

Money truly does make the world go ‘round. And yet, when it comes to the study of world history, most of us focus on politics, society, and culture. We often overlook the vital importance of economics.

Economics has, in many regards, created the world. Not only is it the process through which societies provide for the well-being of their citizens, it has also driven everything from trade and politics to warfare and diplomacy. In fact, there’s not a single aspect of history that has not, in some way, been influenced by economic practices.

Most of us, even those savvy at following today’s market fluctuations, have a limited understanding of the powerful role economics has played in shaping human civilization. This makes economic history—the study of how civilizations have structured their environments in order to provide food, shelter, and material goods—a vital lens through which to think about how we arrived at our present, globalized moment. It’s also a way to educate yourself about the history behind today’s (and tomorrow’s) economic headlines, from trade negotiations to job outsourcing to financial miracles.

Designed to fill the long-empty gap in how we think about modern history, An Economic History of the World since 1400 is a comprehensive, 48-lecture journey through more than 600 years of economic history, from the feudal system of the medieval world to the high-speed information economy of the 21st century. Aimed at the layperson who has only a cursory understanding of economics, these lectures illustrate the fascinating links between economics and history, revealing how the production, consumption, and exchange of goods has influenced (and been influenced by) historical events and trends, including the Black Death, the Age of Exploration, the invention of the printing press, the Industrial Revolution, the European colonization of Africa, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of China and India, and the birth of personal computing.

How can concepts like prices, resource allocation, production methods, technological development, and labor steer the fates of entire nations and ways of life? In the hands of economic historian and award-winning professor Donald J. Harreld of Brigham Young University, this profound question forms the foundation of an exciting Great Course that transforms the basic economic worries of providing for one’s welfare into a riveting, centuries-long story of power, glory, and ideology.

Discover the Economics behind History’s Great Events

What’s so special about the year 1400? Professor Harreld starts the course here because this was the historical moment in which we first begin to see the baby steps that would send the world toward the modern economic systems we use today. And while the lectures extend outward to examine the economic histories of places like India, China, and Africa, the focus is primarily on the West, because the world economy has been framed by Western ideas and ideals for the past several centuries.

“Economic history is not the examination of the history of economics,” notes Professor Harreld. “We’ll only lightly touch on the history of economic thought. Instead, we’ll focus on what happened in the past—rather than what people thought about what happened in the past.”

An Economic History of the World since 1400 is your opportunity to view major historical moments through the perspective of economics, shedding new light on familiar people and events. It’s also your chance to see how, in step with history, economic ideas emerged, evolved, and thrived or died.

  • The Black Death and the end of serfdom: From 1346 to 1353, the plague devastated the population of Europe—an event that would have profound ramifications for the largely feudal economy of the time. Along with a drop in the amount of cultivated farmland and a rise in wages, the Black Death forced indebted manorial lords to turn the management of their estates over to peasants, which began the trend of eliminating serfdom that would be finished by the 19th century.
  • Colonialism and joint stock companies: By the end of the 16th century, the Dutch and English broke the Portuguese monopoly on voyages to Asia, opening a new chapter in the story of European domination over long-distance maritime trade. This, in turn, gave rise to joint stock companies—new forms of business organizations like the Dutch East India Company. So powerful were these merchant blocks that their charters acknowledged the use of violence to advance international trade.
  • Class consciousness and consumer culture: In the late 19th century, thanks to technological advancements and better living standards, Europeans and Americans had more money in their pockets than ever before. What resulted was a working-class interest in fashions and tastes that had formerly concerned only the upper class. To satisfy this, people turned to more modern forms of consuming goods like mail-order catalogs and department stores. However, an increased emphasis on class lines also led to major labor strikes and riots, as well as the birth of communism.
  • World War I and postwar debts: The First World War not only destroyed nations, it also ravaged the international economy. In the years after the war, huge debts that countries had accumulated to finance the war had to be paid off. Inflation hit much of Europe after the United States insisted on being repaid in full. There was also the matter of Germany’s war reparations bill, which was more than $30 billion. Unknown to most parties, these and other economic events created conditions that helped bring about World War II.
  • The Middle East and the oil economy: How did the Middle East become such a powerful player on the world stage? The answer lies in the last quarter of the 20th century, when Western attempts to exert economic power in the region, a softening of the post-World War II economy, and a global shift in fuel consumption provided these oil-rich nations with a major role in world affairs.

Examine the Intersection of History and Economics

As Professor Harreld takes you through the tumultuous centuries of modern history, you’ll strengthen your understanding of a range of economic concepts, philosophies, trends, treaties, and organizations.

  • Learn how early guilds and monopolies were established in an effort to protect merchants from competition in distant cities.
  • See how the mercantile system defined by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations helped further the process of state building that would remake Western Europe.
  • Discover how the United States, which often borrowed European technologies, pioneered the American system of manufacturing using interchangeable parts in the 19th century.
  • Consider how Marxist economic ideas played a major role in the African independence movement (and the Cold War) during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Witness how various nations came together to form international economic organizations, partnerships, and trade blocs including the European Union, the Arab League, and NAFTA.

By grounding these and other topics in the history of world events, An Economic History of the World since 1400 makes them much more understandable. It also cements the important role the economy played in why wars were won (and lost), why international agreements were made (and broken), and why national economies rose (and fell).

Professor Harreld also invites you to consider provocative questions about the intersection of history and economics—and their illuminating answers.

  • What technological invention, more than any other, revolutionized the modern economy?
  • How do economic historians define terms like “globalization” and “class consciousness”?
  • Why didn’t China’s advanced civilization industrialize hundreds of years before it actually did?
  • What did the economies of Roosevelt’s America and Hitler’s Germany have in common?
  • What does history tell us about how nations should—and shouldn’t—dictate economic policy?
  • Can we say that free trade is truly free?

Marvel at History’s Economic Forces

An award-winning teacher and chairman of Brigham Young University’s Department of History, Professor Harreld has spent his career carefully analyzing the interplay between economics and the social and political behavior of countries throughout the world. His chronological approach to the subject, combined with illuminating visual aids (including detailed maps, historical documentation, and illustrations of key trade routes) make this an excellent visual learning experience. And his resonant, authoritative voice makes these lectures equally compelling to hear.

While it may seem daunting to chart the economic evolution of the modern world, in the hands of this master educator, you’re never overwhelmed or vexed by complex economic details. Instead, you’re guided through a top-level explanation of economic concepts, with the focus always being on their historical ramifications.

“History doesn’t repeat itself exactly,” says Professor Harreld. “The world changes. But the past helps us see the world today more clearly.” With An Economic History of the World since 1400, marvel at just how much we still have to learn about the economic forces that have dictated our past—and that will undoubtedly dictate our future.

An Economic History of the World since 1400 [TTC Video]

Music as a Mirror of History [TTC Video]

Music as a Mirror of History [TTC Video]
Music as a Mirror of History [TTC Video] by Robert Greenberg
Course No 7340 | MP4, AVC, 856x480 | AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x45 mins | 10.98GB

“What I write is my commentary on what is happening around me… my music is my commentary.” Henryk Gуrecki

In the worlds of painting and literature, it’s easy to see where history and art intersect. In Picasso’s Guernica or Tolstoy’s War and Peace, it’s evident how works of art mirror and participate in the life of their times, sometimes even playing a role in historical events.

But what about music? What is the intersection—if any—between the influential works of Western concert music and the historical times that surrounded them?

In Music as a Mirror of History, Great Courses favorite Professor Robert Greenberg of San Francisco Performances returns with a fascinating and provocative premise: Despite the abstractness and the universality of music—and our habit of listening to it divorced from any historical context—music is a “mirror” of the historical setting in which it was created. Indeed, certain works of music do not just mirror the general spirit of their time and place, but can even explicitly evoke specific historical events. As Professor Greenberg demonstrates in this course, music carries a rich spectrum of social, cultural, historical, and philosophical information, all grounded in the life and experience of the composer—if you’re aware of what you’re listening to. In these lectures, you’ll explore how composers convey such explicit information, evoking specific states of mind and giving voice to communal emotions, all colored by their own personal experience. Music lovers and history enthusiasts alike will be enthralled by this exploration of how momentous compositions have responded to—and inspired—pivotal events.

Consider the following:

  • The writing of Handel’s celebrated Water Music (1714) was intimately connected with the incredible story of how a German prince of Brunswick-Lьneberg became King George I of England—whose patronage of Handel produced a series of masterpieces created to glorify the English royal court.
  • Frйdйric Chopin’s iconic Revolutionary Etude for piano (1831) was written in the composer’s dark despair over a failed uprising in Warsaw against Poland’s Russian overlords, an event which left a permanent mark on the character of Chopin’s music.
  • Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 (1946) expresses the euphoric postwar spirit of the American people, victorious after both the Great Depression and a globe-spanning battle against fascism.
  • In this unique and eye-opening course, Professor Greenberg presents an in-depth survey of musical works that were written in direct response to contemporary historical events—events that both shaped the composers’ lives and inspired the creation of the works in question. In a novel departure from his previous courses, which explore how classical masterpieces work as music per se, here Professor Greenberg reveals, in stunning and poignant detail, the ways in which history influenced some of the great (and not so great!) works of music, and how they in turn influenced history.

Ranging widely across the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, the lectures immerse you in historical moments such as the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, the Austrian-Ottoman conflict, the Hungarian nationalist movement, the movement for Italian unification, the economic ascent of the U.S., the Stalinist regime in the USSR, and World Wars I and II. Across the arc of the course, you’ll see how these events were felt and expressed in the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Verdi, Wagner, and many others, including modern masters such as Janбиek, Gуrecki, and Crumb.

Incorporating superlative musical excerpts in each lesson, these 24 sumptuously detailed lectures offer you a revelatory look at history through the lens of music. The result is deep and enlightening insight into both, and a view of the remarkable interface between the events of history and a musical repertoire which stands among the most sublime creations of our civilization.

A Vividly Different Window on Music—and on History

This is as much a course about history as it is about music, and anyone with an interest in history will find it both enthralling and richly informative. The course reminds us that history is not only available to us through the study of events, but also through many diverse forms of human expression, including great music. For example, Mozart’s Abduction from the Harem vividly reflects Europe’s centuries-long conflict and simultaneous fascination with the Ottoman Empire, and you’ll find this in both the opera’s text and in Mozart’s use of specific, stereotypically “Turkish” musical devices and figurations.

To know the historical context of these great works opens up an entirely new level of understanding and appreciation of music—music that was meant to be not only aesthetically and spiritually satisfying, but also socially, historically, and politically meaningful.

At the heart of the inquiry, you’ll discover how history and music intertwine in works such as:

  • Beethoven’s Farewell Sonata (1810): Witness the dramatic unfolding of the French Revolutionary Wars, and the escalating military conflicts that pitted Napoleon against the Austrian Habsburg Empire. Observe how this great sonata for piano expresses Beethoven’s range of emotions over the absence of his esteemed patron as Napoleon’s army vanquished Vienna.
  • Berlioz and de L’isle’s La Marseillaise (1830): Trace the complex and colorful history that made Paris the hotbed of European revolutionary activity. Learn how Rouget de L’isle’s beloved marching song La Marseillaise echoed across France from 1792 to the anti-Bourbon revolution of 1830, when Hector Berlioz set it epically for double chorus, children’s choir, and extended orchestra.
  • Verdi’s Nabucco (1842): Discover the historic events that linked Verdi’s 1842 opera inextricably with the Italian movement for unification, and consider how the Italian people’s passionate embrace of Verdi’s music swept the composer into a reluctant but ultimately committed role as a politician in the birth of the Italian nation.
  • Gottschalk’s The Union (1862): Enter the life of one of the most dazzling and outlandish of American composers—that of Louis Moreau Gottschalk, a world-conquering piano virtuoso, composer of genius, and fierce anti-slavery advocate during the Civil War, whose unflagging efforts on behalf of the Northern cause included this galvanizing, patriotic concert piece.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel (1907): Uncover how Rimsky-Korsakov’s classic opera functioned as thinly-veiled political polemic, and grasp how both its allegorical narrative and musical setting mocked and satirized the Russian military’s disastrous defeat by the Japanese in 1905, the iron hand of the Imperial government, and the beleaguered figure of Tsar Nicholas II.
  • George Crumb’s Black Angels (1970): Trace the genesis of this contemporary masterpiece in the Cold War political maneuvering that led the U.S. into Vietnam and an era of bitter protest. In Crumb’s visionary string quartet, experience the composer’s searing musical language that evokes the battlefield horrors and the American public’s sense of waste and grief.

A One-Of-A-Kind Learning Experience

The unique manner of inquiry of this course offers you an analysis of history that is not available anywhere else—an analysis that synthesizes two fields of knowledge with astonishing detail and depth, requiring an expert historian, on the one hand, and an expert musicologist, on the other. As the lectures consistently reveal, Professor Greenberg is both.

In the lecture on Mily Balakirev’s Symphony No. 1, you’ll observe how the 19th–century Russian movement toward “expository” music writing, as well as rejection of pre-existing musical forms, was profoundly linked to notions of the Russian “national character”—an example, as Professor Greenberg says, of how “a musical syntax can become part of a national myth.” Later, you’ll take the measure of the nightmare of Stalinism, and of how Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 expresses the experience of the millions who were destroyed by the regime. And, in Henryk Gуrecki’s heartbreakingly beautiful “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” you’ll see how the composer used ancient musical material with deep cultural resonance—history in sound—to reflect unforgettably on the modern tragedy that befell Poland in World War II.

Standing on the shoulders of Professor Greenberg’s catalogue of celebrated courses, Music as a Mirror of History offers further compelling insights into our musical tradition. By demonstrating the deep interconnections between lived human experience—that is, history—and musical expression, Professor Greenberg speaks incisively to both the nature of great art, and to what is perhaps the greatest gift of the art form in question: the ability of music to speak to dimensions of our awareness that are unreachable by words or visual symbols.

In Music as a Mirror of History, you’ll explore how music, in its singular capacity to evoke and reflect experience, can bring us not only transcendent beauty and joy, but also understanding, compassion, and meaning amid even the most terrible of human events. Join us for an unparalleled look into the power and scope of musical art.

Music as a Mirror of History [TTC Video]

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