Writing Creative Nonfiction [TTC Video]
27 July 2016, 17:05
Course No 2154 | MP4, MPEG4, 430x320 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | 4.68GB
We all have a story we want to share with others. Maybe it's a funny or dramatic moment in your everyday life. Perhaps it's an unforgettable trip overseas or a heartwarming family reunion. Or possibly even the life of a close relative or public figure that has inspired you in some unique way. Regardless of the story or experience, there's no better way to write, record, and share it than through the power of creative nonfiction.
Bringing together the imaginative strategies of fiction storytelling and new ways of narrating true, real-life events, creative nonfiction is the fastest-growing part of the creative writing world—and the fastest-growing part of the market for books as well. It's a cutting-edge genre that's reshaping how we write (and read) everything from biographies and memoirs to blogs and public speaking scripts to personal essays and magazine articles.
But learning the secrets and techniques of creative nonfiction offers you so much more than just insights into this exciting style of writing. Mastering the art and craft of creative nonfiction can
- help you write more effectively in a variety of professional and personal situations,
- provide dynamic new ways for you to preserve life experiences as they truly occurred or as you felt them,
- allow you to share your stories in ways that other people are sure to find compelling, and
- open up new windows on how you think about your own personal history—and the personal history of others.
Whether you're looking to launch into a new professional career as a creative nonfiction writer, dabble in the genre as a pastime, start a personal blog, or simply get inside the mind of a creative nonfiction writer at work, you'll find much to learn from and enjoy in Writing Creative Nonfiction. These 24 lectures 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.
Explore All Aspects of the Creative Nonfiction Craft
More dynamic than a simple how-to writing guide you could find in a bookstore, Professor Mazzeo's interactive lectures are a chance for you to learn right alongside a master professor and best-selling writer as she guides you through all aspects of the process.
- Fundamentals of creative nonfiction: Many of the lectures unpack fundamental concepts and principles involved in writing creative nonfiction. These include narrative arcs, captivating beginnings, sentence variation, perspective, characterization, dialogue, and metaphors. You'll uncover ways to decide how to best employ them to fit your particular work as well as to make your writing more engaging—without breaking the nonfiction contract with your reader.
- Writing process: Pulling from her own personal experience as a writer, Professor Mazzeo guides you through each stage of writing creative nonfiction, from researching your topic to revising your first draft. Along the way, she offers tips and advice for everything from working around the problem of missing sources to pushing your way through writer's block to finding a community of writers who can offer you constructive criticism.
- Publishing tips: How do you find the right agent? What goes into a successful book proposal? How can you find out which publications are the right venues for your pieces? In a series of lectures centered on the practical business of marketing and publishing your work, you'll discover the answers to these and other questions about getting your start as a published—and maybe even professional—writer.
Learn Tricks of the Creative Nonfiction Writer's Trade
"I'm an English professor and a writer myself,"notes Professor Mazzeo at the start of her course. "And what I can tell you is that there are tricks of the trade; things that published writers—the people whose books you've read and enjoyed and recommended to friends—learn from doing over and over.”
Every lecture of Writing Creative Nonfiction is filled with these tricks of the trade; nuggets of information, insight, and advice that you can learn from and use whenever you sit down to tell a personal story. Whether you're planning on tackling a memoir, a piece of travel writing, a personal essay, or nearly any project in which effective (and truthful) storytelling is required, these and other tips and tricks revealed in this course will go a long way toward building a powerful toolkit you can use any time you sit down to write.
- Include three things every good story needs: You know you've got a good story to work with when it has a narrative arc, dramatic tension (conflict that works as an obstacle), and interesting characters who experience and try to surmount obstacles.
- Introduce ambiguity: Free indirect discourse doesn't require attribution of speech or thought and invites readers to attribute your thoughts to the thoughts of the character. Whether your readers accept or reject the invitation, you've been truthful about not making claims of fact and have maintained the nonfiction contract.
- Write the "gutter”: Giving your readers two pieces of information and trusting them to use their imaginations to transform them into a single storyline (filling in the "gutter”) is a great way to avoid overnarrating. Engaging their imaginations also makes them a more active participant in the story you're telling.
- Draft a pitch instead of an outline: While pitches are normally written to secure contracts for nonfiction works, they can also be a helpful way for you to avoid getting stuck when you're having difficulty outlining your story.
Practice with Exercises Crafted by a New York Times Best-Selling Author
With Writing Creative Nonfiction, you're not just learning from a dynamic writing instructor. You're learning from a prolific nonfiction writer whose books—including the New York Times bestseller The Widow Cliquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It—are examples of the form at its best: factual and honest while being genuinely engaging reads.
Professor Mazzeo brings the same skill and experience to her course that she's brought to her creative nonfiction work. And to help you practice and hone your newfound skills, she has crafted specific exercises to help you tap into your inner writer. For example, you'll
- take an event in front of you and write a page of detailed description (without actually saying what's happening) to witness the effects of showing, not telling, about specific moments;
- write a couple of paragraphs using both direct and indirect discourse to learn the strengths and weaknesses of either approach to storytelling; and
- write a pitch for an imaginative travel piece (its story, its characters, its arc) in 100 words or less to see how well you can propose a piece of writing to a prospective editor.
Who knows? Perhaps one of these or the other exercises will spark that great idea that sets you on your way to writing creative nonfiction that engages your reader—and even sells.
Throughout the entire course, Professor Mazzeo's passion for her craft and her devotion to sharing her knowledge and instilling confidence in fellow writers are constant. "You need to write what's in you; in your mind and in your imagination,"she says. "And you need to tell a great story.”
And that's exactly what you'll learn how to do in Writing Creative Nonfiction. By the conclusion of these rewarding lectures, you'll have the knowledge, tools, and, most important, inspiration you need to discover your stories and finally start telling them the right way.
The Surveillance State: Big Data, Freedom, and You [TTC Video]
27 July 2016, 16:44
Course No 9363 | M4V, AVC, 856x480 | AAC, 153 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 2.44GB
A police officer places a GPS device on a suspected drug dealer’s car to trace his whereabouts and build a case against him. A popular retail store uses predictive analytics to send pregnancy-related advertising to a teenager who has yet to tell her parents about her condition. A Kentucky man shoots down a neighbor’s drone that is flying over his private property.
The news is full of stories like these, in which new technologies lead to dilemmas that could not have been imagined just a few decades ago. The 21st century has seen remarkable technological advances, with many wonderful benefits. But with these advances come new questions about privacy, security, civil liberties, and more. Big Data is here, which means that government and private industries are collecting massive amounts of information about each of us—information that may be used in marketing, to help solve criminal investigations, and to promote the interests of national security. Pandora’s Box has been opened, but in many ways the government is behind the times, relying on legislation from the 1970s to inform its stance on regulating the collection and use of this information. Our society now faces a host of critical questions, including:
- Where is the line between promoting national security and defending personal liberty?
- What information may the government collect about you from your Internet service provider?
- When it comes to search and seizure, is a cell phone any different from a diary?
- How will we respond to future technologies such as quantum computers and artificial intelligence?
Explore these questions and more in The Surveillance State: Big Data, Freedom, and You. Taught by Paul Rosenzweig, J.D., esteemed legal expert and professorial lecturer at The George Washington University School of Law, these 24 revealing lectures tackle the tough questions about surveillance and data in the 21st century. Get an insider’s look at how technology from search engines to your car’s toll road transponder gathers information about American citizens. With Professor Rosenzweig’s guidance, you’ll scrutinize our system of oversight for intelligence agencies, and you’ll consider the ways in which the information that is collected impacts (or potentially impacts) our civil liberties. He presents the facts objectively, giving you the information you need to draw your own conclusions.
Covering everything from the legal framework for surveillance to the structure of the U.S. intelligence community to the myriad technologies that capture and analyze data, The Surveillance State offers a window into crucial events that are happening around us right now—and shows the challenging balance we all confront between personal privacy and national security.
Examine the Legal Framework for Surveillance
Technology has made our lives easier in recent years so that now, via a computer in our pockets, we can search nearly the entire corpus of human knowledge, connect with friends around the world, monitor our health, and much more. One theme running through this course is the way technology often outpaces the law. As predicted by Moore’s Law, our processing power is doubling every couple of years while the cost of data storage is dropping rapidly. This has ushered in the era of “Big Data,” enabling tech companies and intelligence agencies to collect and analyze countless points of information about everyone—our habits, our preferences, our interests.
Big Data represents a significant challenge to our concepts of privacy, and it threatens the possibility of preserving any kind of anonymity. But the laws that might protect us were written in the 1970s, before the invention of cell phones, the Internet, and even the personal computer. Mr. Rosenzweig gives you the history of laws from FISA legislation in the 1970s to the Patriot Act after 9/11, and he brings in relevant Supreme Court cases and executive actions to paint a picture of the laws and policies around surveillance today—and the questions for law- and policy-makers tomorrow.
Related to law, the structure of the intelligence community itself—and its oversight—plays a major role in how surveillance works. You’ll take a detailed look at what the intelligence community does and how it operates in practice, looking at such things as:
- physical surveillance (eavesdroppers, satellite imagery, wiretapping)
- electronic or signals intelligence (code-breaking, intercepting emails, metadata)
- “dataveillance” (the collection and analysis of data)
- security classifications
- special operations
- oversight committees
Who Watches the Watchers?
The questions of oversight and restraint are key challenges for the surveillance state. For instance, there was, beginning in the 1970s, a legislative wall between surveillance for national security and for criminal investigation. While this wall was designed to protect our constitutional rights, it makes it difficult for agencies to “connect the dots” when terrorists orchestrate plots such as 9/11.
So who watches the watchers? And what is the psychological effect of surveillance, both on the watcher and the watched? To help frame the discussion, Mr. Rosenzweig examines Jeremy Benthem’s Panopticon, a theoretical prison with an all-seeing eye, which has become a metaphor for a state of total (and anonymous) surveillance. A riveting lecture on the East German Stasi state shows just how terrifying such a state could be.
The opposite situation, however, can be just as dangerous. If our government offers too little transparency, it risks abuses of power. But too much transparency presents a general security risk. Imagine if the details of the Osama Bin Laden raid had been leaked ahead of time—it would have compromised the entire operation.
To help frame this debate, you’ll examine challenges to the law and the efforts journalists and other whistleblowers have made to ensure greater transparency, including issues around:
- the Pentagon Papers
- Bradley (Chelsea) Manning
- Edward Snowden
What right do we have to access the information these leakers released? Are there times when journalists should show restraint? And in an age of citizen-journalism, what responsibilities does each of us have in this ethical dilemma?
Make Your Own Decisions about Policy and Ethics
The debate over surveillance and privacy is hardly limited to the government. In fact, private industries likely have even more information about us on file—and with less oversight and regulation. The “Internet of Things” holds great promise for the future, where “smart” thermostats can maintain an optimal temperature in our home and self-regulating insulin machines can free diabetics from routine shots. But these technologies leave intimately revealing data trails, so private companies know what we are searching for and how we spend our days—as well as some of our deepest, darkest secrets.
Who owns this data? Should private industries be allowed to sell this information to third parties? Does the government need a warrant to access it in the name of national security? How transparent do private companies need to be when gathering data about us? And is it possible to go completely off the grid via methods such as the TOR network or Bitcoin?
These are difficult questions, and our society will continue to face even more challenges as technology continues to advance. While this course offers you a framework for answering these questions, as well as the tools and examples to fully understand the issues, Mr. Rosenzweig leaves it to you to reach your own conclusions. When you complete The Surveillance State: Big Data, Freedom, and You, you will have all the facts you need to make your own reasonable choices—and take a first step toward an empowered future.
The Science of Energy: Resources and Power Explained [TTC Video]
27 July 2016, 16:22
Course No 1363 | MP4, AVC, 856x480 | AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 8.14GB
Energy is, without a doubt, the very foundation of the universe. It’s the engine that powers life and fuels the evolution of human civilization.
Yet for all its importance, what energy really is and how it works remains a mystery to most non-scientists. For example:
- Where does most of our energy come from, and how is it sourced?
- How do energy technologies, both primitive and cutting-edge, generate power?
- How do we store energy—and will there be enough to meet our future needs?
- What are the pros and cons behind the forms of energy currently available to us?
- How might we harness potential future energy sources such as earthquakes and supervolcanoes?
All too often, the answers to questions like these are bogged down in polemics and controversy. Imagine, then, how these and other questions could be discussed from a purely factual, scientific perspective. The truth is, to better put into perspective the various issues surrounding energy in the 21st century, you need to understand the essential science behind how energy works. And you need a reliable source whose focus is on giving you the facts you need to form your own educated opinions.
In the 24 lectures of The Science of Energy: Resources and Power Explained, award-winning professor and expert geophysicist Michael E. Wysession of Washington University in St. Louis presents an unbiased investigation into the energy sources that power our world. Vividly illustrated with animations, 3-D graphics, graphs, in-studio demonstrations, and other visuals that make scientific and mathematical concepts approachable and understandable, The Science of Energy is a marvelous window into the inner workings of energy that will keep you constantly engaged.
Professor Wysession walks you through a wide portfolio of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, including coal, oil, natural gas, solar, wind, geothermal, and nuclear fission. You’ll examine how these sources work, the engineering marvels that adapt them to human needs, the economic and environmental consequences of using them, and more. Whatever exciting, rapid changes await us in the coming decades (from food production to public transportation to industrial manufacturing), they’ll most certainly require lots of power. For this reason and many more, this course imparts essential information for any well-informed citizen of the world—whether you’re powering a major city or simply turning on the bathroom light.
Evoking Energy from Every Element
The Science of Energy provides you with a thorough, understandable introduction to the fundamentals of different energy sources that we often take for granted. With the same attention to detail and accessibility that makes Professor Wysession one of The Great Courses’ most popular science instructors, his lectures offer a fascinating way to grasp the essentials of the world’s varied energy sources.
- Fossil fuels: Coal and petroleum are responsible for the remarkable industrial transformation of human culture over the past few centuries. A sedimentary rock, coal develops in stages with progressively more carbon—which determines how “dirty” or “clean” the coal burns. Petroleum, on the other hand, derives from the fossils of once-living ocean organisms (mostly one-celled plankton) tens of millions of years old.
- Hydroelectricity: Hydropower provides an estimated 1/6 of the world’s total electricity. The basic principle behind how it works is that, as water falls down through the power plant, its gravitational potential energy converts into the kinetic energy of the motion of the water, which turns the turbines of a generator.
- Nuclear energy: When most people talk about nuclear power, they’re referring to nuclear fission, or the splitting of large atoms to release energy. Relative to human time scales, nuclear energy can provide nearly unlimited power by processing ocean water for available uranium (only a small amount of which is needed to generate electricity).
- Solar energy: Solar energy’s main engineering marvels are photovoltaic solar panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit a photoelectric effect. While solar energy is constantly renewable, it’s also very geographically dependent; for example, solar power is less effective in a place like Seattle, where it rains a lot.
- Wind energy: People have been harnessing the power of wind for thousands of years with technologies like sailing ships and windmills. But as civilizations have advanced, so too have the technologies to transform wind into a reliable (and renewable) power source. Wind turbines, for example, work like plane propellers in reverse: the natural wind blows through the rotors and then generates a force that powers the engine.
Learn How Energy Shapes Our Lives
“Humans consume an enormous amount of energy,” says Professor Wysession, “and countless decisions are made every day—locally, nationally, internationally—to make sure our supply of energy remains available, affordable, and uninterrupted.” As you explore the science of energy sources, you’ll also delve into their impact on everything from economic trade agreements to geographical dependency to environmental pollution. The goal of these lectures is not to choose a particular side in the energy debate; rather, it’s to illustrate just how far-reaching this science is in our lives. Much of the second half of this course is devoted to probing fascinating questions about energy’s role and influence in a range of subjects, from natural science and sociology to nuclear physics and meteorology.
- Energy and technology: How can scientists and engineers tap into the energy potential of natural disasters? What technological methods help us remove many of the pollutants that occur during combustion? What intricate technologies are required to keep a nuclear plant functioning safely?
- Energy and economics: What hidden factors are responsible for the rise and fall of oil prices around the world? Which are more cost-effective: electric or gas-powered cars? How do government incentives and disincentives impact various energy industries?
- Energy and geography: Why are particular regions of the planet more enriched with petroleum sources? What factors make the world’s coastlines optimal for building wind turbines to harvest wind energy? How does heavy cloud coverage influence the effectiveness of solar panels?
- Energy and the environment: How does the process of fracking for oil lead to potentially dangerous earthquakes? What are the best ways to store nuclear waste, and what exactly happens during a nuclear plant meltdown? Just how serious is our current era of global warming?
Get a Practical Education in Energy Science
An acclaimed teacher with a devotion to geoscience education, Professor Wysession is passionate about sharing this vital information with a broad audience. He brings to these lectures a fascination with just how intricate the universe is, and his dedication to sharing that fascination makes this course accessible and engaging for lifelong learners of all backgrounds. Whether he’s explaining the basics of the water cycle or the potential for harvesting energy from supervolcanoes, his work here is designed to help you better think about (and talk about) how we power our lives.
Over millennia, our ability to harness varied forms of energy has driven the ascending progress of our cultures, economies, and governments. The extraordinary world-spanning civilizations that we have built rely utterly on a vast, dependable, and lasting supply of energy. The choices we make—as consumers, as contributors, as citizens—have profound consequences for how the world will continue to develop. The Science of Energy gives you the clear and objective facts you need to choose well.