Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood [TTC Video]

Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood [TTC Video]
Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood [TTC Video] by Allison Friederichs, PhD
Course No 2086 | MP4, AVC, 1900 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 6h 24m | 5.39GB

We’ve all encountered bad writing at some point in our lives. We’ve possibly even authored some ourselves. And it’s pretty clear when writing is bad. Whether you’re writing business letters, memos, emails, reports, announcements, or some other professional communication, the pragmatic communicator can be far more effective than the multiloquent one.

Because we are judged by our ability to communicate with direction, focus, and confidence—along with inspiration and empathy, no matter who you are and what your goal is—getting the right message across is absolutely essential to achieving your objectives.

In the 12 rewarding lectures of Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood, Professor Allison Friederichs, Associate Teaching Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Denver, University College, will share the secrets to sharpening your written, oral, and interpersonal communications skills. She will show you how impactful communication isn’t really about you: It’s about your reader. Once you understand your audience, she’ll show you how to target the message, make appropriate word choices, incorporate sound logic, and untangle complex syntax using a combination of examples and activities.

Words Matter

People use words all the time, every single day, mostly without giving them much thought at all. But when you are writing words, you lose the context of vocal intonation, facial expression, and delivery. Your reader has to infer your intent and meaning and can only do so by the words you use. This ability to choose the right language is important because words are the most basic building blocks of communication. With two lectures of this series devoted to language and words, Professor Friederichs will provide you with exercises and toolkits for picking the right words every time. Consider “The Four C’s,” a framework that suggests your chosen words should be:

  • Correct. It’s important to use the correct word. People don’t always do this. Malapropisms are an example. They occur when a person uses a word that sounds like the word they mean but isn’t quite correct. Yogi Berra was famous for this; for example, he once said, “Texas gets a lot of electrical votes.” (He meant electoral votes.)
  • Concrete. One of the best ways to choose the right word is to understand the difference between concrete and abstract word choices. Choosing a concrete word means picking one with less possible variance in the connotative meaning. For example, if a person says, “I just heard my dog bark,” it’s fairly obvious that he or she is referring to the sound a dog makes rather than the exterior of a tree.
  • Clear. This speaks to ensuring clarity. There are three things to keep in mind to help you write clearly: writing concisely, avoiding redundancy, and avoiding jargon.
  • Contextually appropriate. If you don’t consider choosing the right word for the particular context, the risks can be much greater than misunderstanding. The wrong choice can have a profound impact on your professional relationships. When you write, you should place yourself in the context in which your message will be read, not the context in which it is written.

Professor Friederichs will also provide a deep dive into the intrinsic relationship between language and culture, considering an age-old issue about the nature of language, including the descriptive/prescriptive debate, as well as the two levels of meaning every word has: denotation and connotation. You’ll discover how meaning is culturally constructed and how meanings of words can shift across times and cultures.

The Misunderstood World of Punctuation

Once you’ve equipped yourself with the tools and skills to pick the right words, you need to present them in a professional and competent manner. Grammar and punctuation are challenging but important facets of writing. Nothing undermines your message more than the incorrect usage of a word, but even if you use the word properly, incorrect grammar and punctuation can change the entire meaning.

Professor Friederichs dedicates three lectures to ensuring you get it right, starting with the most commonly misunderstood rules of punctuation, such as issues around commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and dashes, as applied to Edited Standard American English. You’ll master noun and proper noun grammar rules such as when to capitalize, how to recognize pronoun case—possessive, subjective, and objective—how to spot misplaced and dangling modifiers, and how to untangle the often-confusing use of apostrophes. From there, you’ll cover the more complex world of verb and adverb usage—looking at passive and active voices, tense, and mood.

You may have bad memories of diagramming sentences for hours on end in grade school or getting otherwise grade “A” papers back with lower marks due to punctuation and spelling mistakes. Professor Friederichs’s manner and delivery will help you overcome any bad feelings you’ve harbored about grammar. She makes each of these lessons a delight, bringing plenty of humor and enthusiasm to explain the context for some of the rules that feel particularly arbitrary. With plenty of examples that make it easy to remember these often-confusing grammar rules, you’ll gain helpful tips to ensure your writing is always effective.

Get Writing Right

The last half of this illuminating course spotlights how to improve your overall message by changing your writing lens to focus on your audience. Most people typically don’t take the time to consider their message when they sit down at a keyboard, but Professor Friederichs demonstrates why you must conduct an analysis about what you are about to write before you even hit the first key—and she shows you how.

Professor Friederichs adds another useful tool to your collection with the business-writing process called ACE, which stands for Analyze, Craft, and Edit. For each of these steps, Professor Friederichs provides a helpful checklist that you can refer to each time you sit down to write.

  • Analyze: Professor Friederichs provides the Analyze Checklist to help you to consider your purpose, your audience, what your purpose statement will look like, and the relevant facts that will be involved. It also provides you with an opportunity to develop an outline of ideas. The analysis stage will save you time by helping you craft strong documents from the start.
  • Craft: You’ll quickly see how the Craft Checklist is immensely useful as you work through writing your purpose statement, introduction, body, and conclusion. Professor Friederichs also outlines eight additional best practices that will help you craft a well-written draft.
  • Edit: Here is your chance to analyze your document with a reader-centric lens to ensure it says what you want it to say, in an organized, clear, and concise manner. While you are not proofreading your document at this point, the Editing Checklist helps you review organization, proper word choice, clarity and concision, punctuation, and grammar.

Along with activities to help you put this process into practice, you’ll soon learn how the ACE process can be an instrumental habit to implement every time you write a professional communication.

The concluding lectures take you through the final steps of the process. They also provide you with valuable techniques for overall writing practices, such as developing your professional writing voice, building or using a style guide, and building strong relationships through your writing. From how to write a subject line for an email to the best choices for a greeting and an ending, Professor Friederichs covers every step of executing successfully written communications with helpful advice, tips, and tools, all geared to help you become a better writer, in any situation.

Written Communications: Being Heard and Understood [TTC Video]

Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA [TTC Video]

Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA [TTC Video]
Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA [TTC Video] by Sam Kean
Course No 10020 | MP4, AVC, 1900 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 6h 12m | 5.41GB

Locked inside the DNA of every species that ever lived are endless stories—about origins, ancestors, fate, and much more. Until recently, these secrets were completely inaccessible. But with the help of new technologies, scientists are now reading the hidden history of DNA, making remarkable discoveries about our past.

DNA not only holds secrets about our ancestors and our development over time, but it also sheds light on the present workings of the trillions of cells inside our bodies. Plus, it provides clues to the future, both the possible traits of our progeny and also our likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Your gateway to this treasure trove of information is Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA, 12 informative and accessible lessons delivered by New York Times best-selling author Sam Kean, whose cogent explanations of scientific phenomena have been praised by everyone from NPR and The Boston Globe to Discover and Enterntainment Weekly.

Over the course of these lessons, you will learn astonishing truths about human genetics and development, such as:

  • Our Neanderthal Kin: Long thought to be extinct, Neanderthals live on inside many of us. A few percent of the DNA in Europeans, Asians, and other non-African groups is Neanderthal in origin, showing that at some point Neanderthals must have mated with modern humans.
  • The Reproductive Revolution: The placenta common to most mammals, including humans, shares features with the genetic material in retroviruses. This suggests that millions of years ago infected embryonic cells changed the way that early mammals produced their offspring.
  • The Origin of Clothing: By comparing the DNA of different species of lice, scientists have determined that human body lice, which live exclusively in clothing, evolved about 170,000 years ago, likely because humans had started covering their bodies with animal skins.

The Drama behind Great Discoveries

Assuming no prior background in science, these detailed but delightful lectures cover the fundamental properties of DNA, the techniques that have unraveled its mysteries, and the very human stories of the scientists who have pioneered the field, often winning Nobel Prizes and frequently sparking controversy.

It all started in the mid-19th century with a pair of discoveries that would not be united for almost a century. Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, working with pea plants, discovered that inheritance is governed by basic rules controlled by discrete units that came to be called genes. Meanwhile, Swiss biochemist Friedrich Miescher, studying the nuclei of cells, discovered a sticky substance later called deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. Eventually, investigators suspected that genes were located on structures known as chromosomes that are visible in cell nuclei. Some speculated that genes might have something to do with Miescher's obscure molecule, after it was found in chromosomes and as the true size of DNA finally began to be understood.

From the mid-20th century, research moved at an accelerating pace, as you learn through a series of vignettes, including:

  • Biology with a Blender: With the goal of identifying the genetic material once and for all, Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase ran a startling experiment involving viruses, radioactive tracer elements, and a kitchen blender. Their 1952 results proved that DNA is beyond doubt the agent of heredity.
  • Deciphering DNA’s Structure: The most famous race in the history of science pitted prominent researchers such as Linus Pauling, Rosalind Franklin, and Maurice Wilkins against a novice team composed of James Watson and Francis Crick. The goal: identify the structure of DNA and the secret of its genetic function.
  • Mapping the Genome: After many breakthroughs, the big prize at the start of the 21st century was a complete record of the human genetic code, consisting of three billion base pairs. Two teams, led by Francis Collins and Craig Venter, competed aggressively and finished in a dead heat in the early 2000s.

Sam Kean tells these stories with lucid technical descriptions combined with a novelist’s flair for capturing human drama. For example, his account of CRISPR—the genetic engineering technique that is currently transforming biology and medicine—takes you from a salt marsh in Spain, to an innovative yogurt plant in Wisconsin, to cutting-edge research labs throughout the world, where disinterested scientific inquiry has turned into a high-stakes race for a commercial bonanza.

Lucky Mutations and Other Stories

DNA also shapes human culture, as you learn in Lecture 6, where Mr. Kean recounts the curious case featured in the title of his 2012 bestseller The Violinist’s Thumb. The thumb in question belonged to 19th-century violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, who could twist and contort his digits in extreme ways, allowing him to perform musical fingerings that were beyond the abilities of his peers. Paganini almost surely had a genetic abnormality that would have been a drawback for most human activities, but made him a wild success as a violinist.

In the same way, other genetic anomalies have proved advantageous when the time was ripe:

  • Digestion: The ability to break down lactose—milk sugar—mattered only to young children until humans became herders with ready access to animal milk products. At that point, a gene mutation that allowed adults to metabolize lactose spread widely through herding cultures because of the survival advantage it conferred.
  • Language: Scientists have discovered that a gene universal among mammals that produces a language deficit when mutated in humans. Humans normally have a slightly different version of the gene compared to chimpanzees, suggesting that it plays a key role in language.
  • Intelligence: Human intelligence is under control of a host of genes. For example, a slight shift in a DNA segment a few million years ago resulted in smaller jaw muscles in early humans. This led to thinner skulls, freeing up space for greater brain volume.

Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA also features insights into the secret past of historical figures, gleaned through DNA analysis. You solve longstanding mysteries about the Neolithic “Cheddar Man,” as well as King Tut, Genghis Khan, England’s King Richard III, and U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Warren Harding.

In these and so many other ways, the study of DNA has unlocked knowledge previously assumed to be unattainable and lost forever. And thanks insights into our own DNA, we also understand how it is that we are endowed with the brains and curiosity to keep the discoveries coming far into the future.

Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA [TTC Video]

World War II: The Pacific Theater [TTC Video]

World War II: The Pacific Theater [TTC Video]
World War II: The Pacific Theater [TTC Video] by Craig L Symonds, PhD
Course No 8756 | MP4, AVC, 1900 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 12h 24m | 10.66GB

The Japanese attack on the United States Battle Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, struck most Americans like a bolt from the blue. While the attack was a tactical success for Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, it was also one of the most reckless strategic decisions in the history of warfare, for it awakened a sleeping giant—the US military—and triggered some of the most harrowing and ferocious military actions the world had ever seen.

For the United States, the war started and ended in the Pacific Theater, with the war against Japan. From 1941 to 1945, Japan and the United States waged the largest naval war in history—and in the end, it changed the course of history and re-made the modern world.

World War II: The Pacific Theater takes you inside the sweeping story of the American fight against the Japanese. Taught by Professor Craig L. Symonds, a distinguished military historian at the US Naval War College, and former chairman of the History Department at the US Naval Academy, these 24 vivid lectures chronicle the global trajectory of the war in the Pacific: the epic battles, the military strategy and tactics, the leaders and commanders, the amphibious landings, the air attacks, and the submarine campaigns.

Professor Symonds transports you to the rolling seas of the Pacific, into the jungles of Guadalcanal and the Philippines, and across the black sands of Iwo Jima. You’ll meet fascinating figures such as General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral William Halsey, Admiral Chester Nimitz, the codebreakers at Station Hypo, and countless others, including Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen.

Produced by The Great Courses in partnership with HISTORY, World War II: The Pacific Theater gives you an inside look at the strategy of the war on both sides and explores the tactical advantages each nation held, from industrial dynamism to advanced technology to sheer willpower.

Witness the Strategy of War in Action

Besides giving a comprehensive survey of the Pacific War, this course offers a deep dive into military strategy. For instance, though Japan’s primary goal in the 1930s was the conquest of China, Admiral Yamamoto insisted on attacking the American fleet in Pearl Harbor. Why?

Professor Symonds reveals Japan’s complex calculus: how the country needed a supply line of oil from the South Pacific to fuel a war in China, how the United States controlled the Philippines, and why it therefore seemed to make sense to attack the US base in Hawaii.

Yamamoto believed that preemptively taking out a significant portion of the American fleet would cripple the United States and allow Japan free reign of the ocean. Although the “day of infamy” was tactically successful, America maintained its handful of aircraft carriers, which six months later allowed the US Navy to alter the direction of the Pacific War with a furious 10-minute onslaught during the Battle of Midway.

World War II in the Pacific was the largest naval war in history, and throughout this course, Professor Symonds leads you through the evolving nature of naval warfare. Among other topics, Professor Symonds unpacks:

  • The crucial importance of aircraft carriers;
  • The division of command in the Pacific between General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz;
  • The relationship among the Navy, the Marines, the Army, and the Air Force;
  • The grinding campaign in Guadalcanal and the island-hopping campaign in the Central Pacific;
  • The role of codebreakers stationed in Hawaii—and the limits of their intel; and
  • The particular roles of strategic air power and submarine warfare.

Delve into Battles from Pearl Harbor to Okinawa

The Pacific Theater includes some of the most famous (and occasionally infamous) names in modern warfare, inspiring legions of Hollywood films and haunting the halls of military colleges for generations. Strap on your packs and lace up your boots, and travel with Professor Symonds back to some of the most epic battles in history:

  • The Philippines. Reflect on General MacArthur’s missteps early in the war that culminated in the Bataan Death March and MacArthur’s escape to Australia. Then witness his triumphant return three years later.
  • Midway. Find out why the Japanese were so interested in a tiny American base in the middle of the ocean. This story of codebreaking, a surprise attack, and 10 minutes that changed the course of the war is truly breathtaking.
  • Guadalcanal. Delve into the thick jungle and bitter fighting for this critical island outpost in the Solomon Islands.
  • Tarawa. Find out why a little bad luck with the tides turned this battle into one of the most harrowing and costly assaults in the history of the US Marine Corps.
  • Iwo Jima. Look beyond the iconic photograph of Marines hoisting the American flag on Mount Suribachi and examine the tragic consequences of this important battle.
  • Okinawa. See how this bloody battle—known as Operation Iceberg—crushed any prospect for a Japanese victory and watch as kamikaze fighters nonetheless continued to hurl themselves at American ships.

A Dynamic Story

One of the most fascinating aspects of this course is how it reveals the way supply chains and industrial output affected the trajectory of the war. For example, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor had more to do with supplies of oil and rubber from South Asia than with any interest in conquering American territory. As these lectures show, only a few years later, the lack of supplies wrecked Japan’s ability to wage war effectively.

Meanwhile, American manufacturing output was truly staggering: millions of tons of new shipping, from destroyers and tank landing ships to cargo ships and aircraft carriers. Thanks to American industry, the military was able to resupply the Navy and the Marines as they hopped from island to island, and battle to battle.

The story of the Pacific Theater is a dizzying sequence of raids and battles, invasions and onslaughts, all aided by the deadly tools of war. Professor Symonds clarifies the war and offers a remarkable military history of the conflict. World War II: The Pacific Theater is an absolute must for military buffs, history enthusiasts, and anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge of world history. Settle in for a thrilling ride.

World War II: The Pacific Theater [TTC Video]