New Releases
New Releases
  • The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy

    Professor Patrick N. Allitt, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    Designed to shine a light on the American frontier, The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy reveals the grit and grandeur of an epic period in U.S. history. In 24 lectures, award-winning Professor Patrick N. Allitt uncovers new historical angles on everything from the last stand at the Alamo to the Oregon Trail to the creation of America’s first national parks.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Designed to shine a light on the American frontier, The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy reveals the grit and grandeur of an epic period in U.S. history. In 24 lectures, award-winning Professor Patrick N. Allitt uncovers new historical angles on everything from the last stand at the Alamo to the Oregon Trail to the creation of America’s first national parks.

    24 Lectures  |  The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Westward the Course of Empire
      What are some of the ways we think about the American West? How did this vast, fascinating region come into being, and how was it shaped by centuries of myth-making? What is it about westward expansion that has fascinated every generation of Americans? These and other questions are the topic of this introductory lecture. x
    • 2
      The West in the Colonial Era
      To understand the history of the American West, you have to understand the mark left by its earliest colonists. Among those you'll encounter here are the Spaniards (who introduced horses), the French (who developed a complex trade system), and the English (who, ironically, had little interest at first in colonizing west of the Appalachians). x
    • 3
      Venturing beyond the Appalachians
      After the Revolutionary War, the land between the Appalachians and the Mississippi became part of the new republic. How was this territory organized? As you'll learn, it started with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which created a set of new rules that came into conflict with complex old realities. x
    • 4
      Discoveries of Lewis and Clark
      Follow the fascinating journey of the two explorers who mapped the Louisiana Purchase between 1804 and 1806. Along the way, you'll learn how Lewis and Clark fit into the tradition of explorers looking for a water route to the Pacific, and you'll consider the political (and geographic) history of the Louisiana Purchase. x
    • 5
      The Fur Trade and the Mountain Men
      Fur traders and mountain men played an integral part in exploring and mapping the American West. Here, Professor Allitt reveals why fur was such a precious commodity; how John Jacob Astor dominated the American fur trade; and how famous mountaineers like Jedediah Smith, Jim Bridger, and Kit Carson became legends. x
    • 6
      Trail of Tears
      Turn now to one of the most dismal episodes in the story of the American West: the forced migration of the “Five Civilized Tribes” (Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole) under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. It was this ordeal that the Cherokee came to call the “Trail of Tears.” x
    • 7
      Struggles of the Plains Indians
      From 1830 to 1890, the lives of the Plains Indians changed irrevocably. Topics include our sources for the early history of the Plains Indians (including portraits and archaeology), the importance of buffalo and horses to life on the Great Plains, and two visitors' perspectives on America's treatment of the Plains Indians. x
    • 8
      Rebellious Texas and the Alamo
      Get the full story behind the last stand at the Alamo and the story of the Texas republic. What led to tensions between the Mexican government and the growing United States? Why is the idea of rebellion so crucial to the myth of Texas? How did the territory eventually join the United States? x
    • 9
      Traveling the Oregon Trail
      The Oregon Trail has become a symbol of westward migration. In this lecture, Professor Allitt invites you to consider the challenges of the journey, as they were experienced by thousands of travelers. Among the most exceptional were Brigham Young's Mormons, fleeing persecution back East as they headed to Utah. x
    • 10
      Manifest Destiny and the Mexican War
      In 1846, the United States went to war with Mexico and, as a result, gained the whole of what is now the nation’s southwest region. Welcome to the era of “Manifest Destiny,” which, as you’ll learn, set the stage for the future of California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico. x
    • 11
      The California Gold Rush
      The California Gold Rush transformed the politics, demographics, and economy of the United States. It also, for the first time, gave the American West an irresistible mass appeal. Discover how the gold rush accelerated westward expansion and, in the process, established some of the first truly multicultural American communities. x
    • 12
      Bleeding Kansas and Civil War in the West
      Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, giving new states the right to decide their relationship with slave labor. Explore how this event led to a period of chronic anarchy and low-level warfare on the frontier, and how the American Civil War played out in the western states and territories. x
    • 13
      Building the Transcontinental Railroads
      For Professor Allitt, the great dividing line in the story of the American West is the construction of the transcontinental railroads, which did more than anything else to link the West with the Eastern states from which they’d emerged. Go inside the myths—and startling realities—of this decisive moment. x
    • 14
      Cowboys and Cattle Drives
      There is no greater symbol of the American West than the cowboy. But who were the cowboys, exactly? What were their everyday lives like? What did it take to go on a cattle drive along the Chisolm Trail? And why did the arrival of the farming frontier bring an end to the open range? x
    • 15
      Homesteaders on the Plains
      With the Homestead Act of 1862, public lands became available for anyone willing to settle and farm them. Enter the homesteaders. Explore the frustrations they faced in trying to cultivate the Great Plains, what fiction reveals about their emotions, and how farming difficulties led to the rise of the People's Party, or Populists. x
    • 16
      Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee
      Examine the period from 1865 to 1890, which marked the end of the Native American resistance to white domination. Two events form the core of this lecture. The first: the massacre of General Custer's cavalry at the Battle of Little Big Horn. The second: the massacre of the Lakota at the Battle of Wounded Knee. x
    • 17
      Life in Western Towns and Cities
      Survey the five main types of towns that developed in the American West: Spanish towns, mining towns, farming towns, railroad towns, and the Pacific coast cities. Three cities you'll explore in depth are Salt Lake City, laid out in 1847; Chicago, the central metropolis of the West; and the great port city of San Francisco. x
    • 18
      John Wesley Powell and the Desert Southwest
      Twenty years after the end of the Mexican War, thousands of square miles of desert land the U.S. received had yet to be mapped and settled. That's where John Wesley Powell came in, whose report on these arid regions sparked the rise of irrigation farming techniques that would lead to unimaginable bounty. x
    • 19
      Women in the Wild West
      What was life like for everyday women in the American West? Some were prostitutes. Others were missionaries. Others still were working- and middle-class women trying to recreate their lives back East. Ultimately, as you'll discover, the experience, while enlarging women's sphere of influence, was nevertheless a conservative one: to create a stable home. x
    • 20
      From Territories to Western States
      Imperfect and violent—two words to describe how Western territories were created and then transformed into states. In this lecture, go inside this intriguing, often misunderstood process, from the role of influential businesspeople to the copying of other state constitutions to the efforts to give women the right to vote. x
    • 21
      Western Violence, Law, and Order
      There is no doubt that the American West was a violent place. Why was this so? What kept the region from chaos and civil war? Professor Allitt's brief survey of violence explores the rise of vigilante justice, race riots against Mexicans and Chinese, and class conflict at coalmines. x
    • 22
      Protecting Yellowstone and Yosemite
      The American West is home to a magnificent series of national parks, two of the earliest of which (and, arguably, the greatest) are Yellowstone and Yosemite. Discover through these case studies how the idea of a park system came into existence through government action and the dedication of conservationists. x
    • 23
      Mythology of the American West
      Go inside the mythology of the American West, which kept the frontier alive after the U.S. Census Bureau declared in 1890 that it had disappeared. Examine historian Frederick Jackson Turner’s influential “frontier thesis.” Learn about the contributions of novelist Owen Wister and painter Frederic Remington. Also, explore the main categories of Western movies. x
    • 24
      Winning the West?
      When thinking about the American West, Professor Allitt stresses a balanced view that encompasses both the achievements and the sufferings of this period in American history. It's an insightful conclusion to the grand, fascinating, sometimes troubling story of how exactly America became a vast nation stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific in just a century. x
  • Learning Statistics: Concepts and Applications in R

    Professor Talithia Williams, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Taught by Professor Talithia Williams of Harvey Mudd College, this course surveys college-level statistics through dozens of exercises conducted in R, a free statistical programming language with millions of users worldwide. From describing and visualizing the data you have, to methods such as ANOVA and multiple regression for reaching broader inferences, you learn the most widely used statistical measures, concepts, and techniques.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Taught by Professor Talithia Williams of Harvey Mudd College, this course surveys college-level statistics through dozens of exercises conducted in R, a free statistical programming language with millions of users worldwide. From describing and visualizing the data you have, to methods such as ANOVA and multiple regression for reaching broader inferences, you learn the most widely used statistical measures, concepts, and techniques.

    24 Lectures  |  Learning Statistics: Concepts and Applications in R
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      How to Summarize Data with Statistics
      Confront how ALL data has uncertainty, and why statistics is a powerful tool for reaching insights and solving problems. Begin by describing and summarizing data with the help of concepts such as the mean, median, variance, and standard deviation. Learn common statistical notation and graphing techniques, and get a preview of the programming language R, which will be used throughout the course. x
    • 2
      Exploratory Data Visualization in R
      Dip into R, which is a popular open-source programming language for use in statistics and data science. Consider the advantages of R over spreadsheets. Walk through the installation of R, installation of a companion IDE (integrated development environment) RStudio, and how to download specialized data packages from within RStudio. Then, try out simple operations, learning how to import data, save your work, and generate different plots. x
    • 3
      Sampling and Probability
      Study sampling and probability, which are key aspects of how statistics handles the uncertainty inherent in all data. See how sampling aims for genuine randomness in the gathering of data, and probability provides the tools for calculating the likelihood of a given event based on that data. Solve a range of problems in probability, including a case of medical diagnosis that involves the application of Bayes' theorem. x
    • 4
      Discrete Distributions
      There's more than one way to be truly random! Delve deeper into probability by surveying several discrete probability distributions—those defined by discrete variables. Examples include Bernoulli, binomial, geometric, negative binomial, and Poisson distributions—each tailored to answer a specific question. Get your feet wet by analyzing several sets of data using these tools. x
    • 5
      Continuous and Normal Distributions
      Focus on the normal distribution, which is the most celebrated type of continuous probability distribution. Characterized by a bell-shaped curve that is symmetrical around the mean, the normal distribution shows up in a wide range of phenomena. Use R to find percentiles, probabilities, and other properties connected with this ubiquitous data pattern. x
    • 6
      Covariance and Correlation
      When are two variables correlated? Learn how to measure covariance, which is the association between two random variables. Then use covariance to obtain a dimensionless number called the correlation coefficient. Using an R data set, plot correlation values for several variables, including the physical measurements of a sample population. x
    • 7
      Validating Statistical Assumptions
      Graphical data analysis was once cumbersome and time-consuming, but that has changed with programming tools such as R. Analyze the classic Iris Flower Data Set—the standard for testing statistical classification techniques. See if you can detect a pattern in sepal and petal dimensions for different species of irises by using scatterplots, histograms, box plots, and other graphical tools. x
    • 8
      Sample Size and Sampling Distributions
      It’s rarely possible to collect all the data from a population. Learn how to get a lot from a little by “bootstrapping,” a technique that lets you improve an estimate by resampling the same data set over and over. It sounds like magic, but it works! Test tools such as the Q-Q plot and the Shapiro-Wilk test, and learn how to apply the central limit theorem. x
    • 9
      Point Estimates and Standard Error
      Take your understanding of descriptive techniques to the next level, as you begin your study of statistical inference, learning how to extract information from sample data. In this lecture, focus on the point estimate—a single number that provides a sensible value for a given parameter. Consider how to obtain an unbiased estimator, and discover how to calculate the standard error for this estimate. x
    • 10
      Interval Estimates and Confidence Intervals
      Move beyond point estimates to consider the confidence interval, which provides a range of possible values. See how this tool gives an accurate estimate for a large population by sampling a relatively small subset of individuals. Then learn about the choice of confidence level, which is often specified as 95%. Investigate what happens when you adjust the confidence level up or down. x
    • 11
      Hypothesis Testing: 1 Sample
      Having learned to estimate a given population parameter from sample data, now go the other direction, starting with a hypothesized parameter for a population and determining whether we think a given sample could have come from that population. Practice this important technique, called hypothesis testing, with a single parameter, such as whether a lifestyle change reduces cholesterol. Discover the power of the p-value in gauging the significance of your result. x
    • 12
      Hypothesis Testing: 2 Samples, Paired Test
      Extend the method of hypothesis testing to see whether data from two different samples could have come from the same population—for example, chickens on different feed types or an ice skater’s speed in two contrasting maneuvers. Using R, learn how to choose the right tool to differentiate between independent and dependent samples. One such tool is the matched pairs t-test. x
    • 13
      Linear Regression Models and Assumptions
      Step into fully modeling the relationship between data with the most common technique for this purpose: linear regression. Using R and data on the growth of wheat under differing amounts of rainfall, test different models against criteria for determining their validity. Cover common pitfalls when fitting a linear model to data. x
    • 14
      Regression Predictions, Confidence Intervals
      What do you do if your data doesn't follow linear model assumptions? Learn how to transform the data to eliminate increasing or decreasing variance (called heteroscedasticity), thereby satisfying the assumptions of normality, independence, and linearity. One of your test cases uses the R data set for miles per gallon versus weight in 1973-74 model automobiles. x
    • 15
      Multiple Linear Regression
      Multiple linear regression lets you deal with data that has multiple predictors. Begin with an R data set on diabetes in Pima Indian women that has an array of potential predictors. Evaluate these predictors for significance. Then turn to data where you fit a multiple regression model by adding explanatory variables one by one. Learn to avoid overfitting, which happens when too many explanatory variables are included. x
    • 16
      Analysis of Variance: Comparing 3 Means
      Delve into ANOVA, short for analysis of variance, which is used for comparing three or more group means for statistical significance. ANOVA answers three questions: Do categories have an effect? How is the effect different across categories? Is this significant? Learn to apply the F-test and Tukey's honest significant difference (HSD) test. x
    • 17
      Analysis of Covariance and Multiple ANOVA
      You can combine features of regression and ANOVA to perform what is called analysis of covariance, or ANCOVA. And that's not all: Just as you can extend simple linear regression to multiple linear regression, you can also extend ANOVA to multiple ANOVA, known as MANOVA, or multivariate analysis of variance. Learn when to apply each of these techniques. x
    • 18
      Statistical Design of Experiments
      While a creative statistical analysis can sometime salvage a poorly designed experiment, gain an understanding of how experiments can be designed in from the outset to collect far more reliable statistical data. Consider the role of randomization, replication, blocking, and other criteria, along with the use of ANOVA to analyze the results. Work several examples in R. x
    • 19
      Regression Trees and Classification Trees
      Delve into decision trees, which are graphs that use a branching method to determine all possible outcomes of a decision. Trees for continuous outcomes are called regression trees, while those for categorical outcomes are called classification trees. Learn how and when to use each, producing inferences that are easily understood by non-statisticians. x
    • 20
      Polynomial and Logistic Regression
      What can be done with data when transformations and tree algorithms don't work? One approach is polynomial regression, a form of regression analysis in which the relationship between the independent and dependent variables is modelled as the power of a polynomial. Step functions fit smaller, local models instead of one global model. Or, if we have binary data, there is logistic regression, in which the response variable has categorical values such as true/false or 0/1. x
    • 21
      Spatial Statistics
      Spatial analysis is a set of statistical tools used to find additional order and patterns in spatial phenomena. Drawing on libraries for spatial analysis in R, use a type of graph called a semivariogram to plot the spatial autocorrelation of the measured sample points. Try your hand at data sets involving the geographic incidence of various medical conditions. x
    • 22
      Time Series Analysis
      Time series analysis provides a way to model response data that is correlated with itself, from one point in time to the next, such as daily stock prices or weather history. After disentangling seasonal changes from longer-term patterns, consider methods that can model a dependency on time, collectively known as ARIMA (autoregressive integrated moving average) models. x
    • 23
      Prior Information and Bayesian Inference
      Turn to an entirely different approach for doing statistical inference: Bayesian statistics, which assumes a known prior probability and updates the probability based on the accumulation of additional data. Unlike the frequentist approach, the Bayesian method does not depend on an infinite number of hypothetical repetitions. Explore the flexibility of Bayesian analysis. x
    • 24
      Statistics Your Way with Custom Functions
      Close the course by learning how to write custom functions for your R programs, streamlining operations, enhancing graphics, and putting R to work in a host of other ways. Professor Williams also supplies tips on downloading and exporting data, and making use of the rich resources for R—a truly powerful tool for understanding and interpreting data in whatever way you see fit. x
  • Boosting Your Emotional Intelligence

    Professor Jason M. Satterfield, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    In Boosting Your Emotional Intelligence, Dr. Jason Satterfield teaches how to identify, monitor, and regulate your own emotions—instead of letting your emotions run the show—and how to manage emotions in others. With the skills you learn from this exciting interactive course, you will be able to improve your emotional intelligence (EQ) now and throughout your life. You’ll be able to use your emotions as you want, to help reach your own personal goals.

    View Lecture List (24)

    In Boosting Your Emotional Intelligence, Dr. Jason Satterfield teaches how to identify, monitor, and regulate your own emotions—instead of letting your emotions run the show—and how to manage emotions in others. With the skills you learn from this exciting interactive course, you will be able to improve your emotional intelligence (EQ) now and throughout your life. You’ll be able to use your emotions as you want, to help reach your own personal goals.

    24 Lectures  |  Boosting Your Emotional Intelligence
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      What Is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?
      Learn about the relatively recent emergence of emotional intelligence as a unique field of inquiry and the three leading theories used to describe and understand EQ. With your emotion journal, you'll start building your EQ Skills Tracker, a running library of what you learn in this course about your own emotions and a to-do list for future learning. x
    • 2
      Measuring EQ
      Measuring your IQ is straightforward, and the standardization of scores on the overall test and subtests are well established. But quantifying your EQ is a much newer and more complex endeavor. How can you measure your EQ and what will those results really tell you? Learn about the four most highly regarded EQ assessment tools and how they each rate with respect to validity and reliability. x
    • 3
      Exploring Emotions
      Although you’ve experienced emotions every day of your life, learning to manage them requires an understanding of how emotions are generated. Learn about the steps in this process and resulting feedback cycles as described in the Modal Model of Emotions. Does this model explain your “good” and “bad” emotions? You’ll be surprised. x
    • 4
      Embodied Emotions
      Do your emotions affect your physical body or do changes in your physical body cause your emotions? Learn which parts of your central and peripheral nervous systems contribute to the experiences we recognize as emotions. But if we really want to improve our EQ, we must also look at our cognition. x
    • 5
      Emotional Impacts
      You probably already realize that your EQ affects your most intimate relationships—your ability to choose appropriate partners and develop long-term satisfying and productive relationships. But the impact of your EQ doesn’t stop there. Learn how your emotions affect every aspect of your life, including your professional and social relationships, cognition, decision-making, and physical health. x
    • 6
      Perceiving and Expressing Emotions
      When speaking to someone in person, you pick up clues as to that individual's emotional state from the words used, the tone of voice, posture, and facial expressions. But what about self-perception? How good are you at perceiving and identifying your own emotions? Learn the EQ skills that can help you improve your understanding of yourself. x
    • 7
      Understanding Emotions
      What are the primary emotions and their associated thoughts and behaviors—emotions found across all cultures, languages, and income and educational levels? Learn how to perceive and correctly identify emotions and their triggers, and to explore the complex relationships between emotions we classify as positive and negative. x
    • 8
      Managing Your Emotions
      All of us have felt at times that our emotions were in charge and we were just helplessly along for the ride. Maybe we've hyper-reacted from a place of anger and fear. Or we've made poor and long-lasting decisions while riding a wave of euphoria. It doesn't have to be that way. Learn about antecedent-focused and response-focused emotion regulation strategies and how to employ them for your own benefit. x
    • 9
      Managing Others' Emotions
      As the famous joke goes, no one has ever become calm because another person ordered them to “Calm down!” But are there real ways we can influence another person’s emotions and consequent behaviors? Although we can never access anyone else’s cognition, the EQ skills we use in our communication and interaction with others can be powerfully influential. x
    • 10
      The Development of EQ
      Research has shown that while genetic makeup does play a role in our EQ, it also is significantly impacted by how we were parented and socialized as a young child. But even if childhood was not ideal and our parents modeled very poor EQ skills, see how it is always possible to improve EQ now through purposeful training. x
    • 11
      Emotional Intelligence Training
      Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is now taught in more than 30,000 schools across the U.S. because research has revealed a close relationship between emotions and learning. However, “a close relationship” is not the same as cause and effect. Explore several of the most popular SEL programs and their goals and strengths—and learn why outcomes are so difficult to measure. x
    • 12
      Social Intelligence
      We've all been in certain social situations we wish we could just forget: that awkward first date, the floundering job interview, the performance review that took us completely by surprise. Learn how to use your EQ to improve your social intelligence and strengthen social relationships in every aspect of your life. x
    • 13
      Intimacy and EQ
      The quality of your baby-caregiver relationship does affect your EQ skills and later relationships. But regardless of previous attachment styles, EQ training can teach you how to successfully express and perceive emotions—two necessary skills for successful adult intimate relationships. Learn how to understand your “habits of heart” and make appropriate adjustments to meet your goals. x
    • 14
      Interpersonal Conflict
      We are all aware that conflict exists between individuals or distinct social groups that see each other as “different.” Conflict is part of life, and groups of people are always going to disagree on some issues. But emotional and social intelligence skills can help us find common ground, address, and even solve many of our personal and community issues. x
    • 15
      EQ in the Workplace
      EQ skills can have a positive impact in any group of people working together toward a common goal. In addition to helping personal interaction among workplace teams, EQ skills have been shown to facilitate creativity, excitement, and enthusiasm in employees and leadership alike. x
    • 16
      Occupational Stress and Burnout
      Since 1995, work stress in the U.S. has increased 300 percent, with the most significant issues being depersonalization and disconnection. In many cases the use of EQ skills such as somatic quieting and improved concentration and focus can help. But could “love” be the newest way to lessen workplace stress? x
    • 17
      Leadership and EQ
      While companies spent $31 billion on leadership-training programs in just one recent year, more than 60 percent of respondents to the Global Human Capital Survey reported that such programs yielded only “some” value at best. Learn how EQ skills training is helping many business leaders better accomplish their long-term goals. x
    • 18
      Workplace Culture
      Being aware of EQ skills in all aspects of workplace culture can lead to greater workforce engagement with employees who feel seen, heard, and valued. But actively managing workforce culture isn’t just a “feel good” for employees. Explore why companies that proactively manage their culture experience average 10-year revenue growth 516 percent higher than those who do not. x
    • 19
      Stress Management
      Learn about the nervous and hormonal systems that cause our physiological responses to stress, and how they are related to chronic disease. Research shows that improving our EQ skills can help mediate these reactions in the body, possibly leading to both a safer stress response and better health overall. x
    • 20
      Emotion Regulation Disorders
      Heightened emotional experience—a common characteristic of anxiety and depression—could potentially be helped by EQ skills. Learn how Dialectical Behavior Therapy and the relatively new Emotion Regulation Therapy address certain common elements and skill deficiencies in a variety of “distress disorders,” regardless of specific diagnosis. x
    • 21
      Behavior Change and EQ
      If you’ve ever tried to change a significant behavior—quit smoking, lose weight, be more patient with your co-workers—you know how very difficult it can be. But you’ll be ahead of the game if you consider the role your emotions play in your behavioral choices and motivation. Learn how to improve your self-efficacy and develop a plan of “SMART” goals. x
    • 22
      Chronic Disease and EQ
      Medical professionals have long known that a patient's emotions play a key role in accepting and managing a diagnosis of chronic disease. But recent research reveals additional relationships between EQ and health-oriented behaviors. Explore the specific ways in which EQ can affect the management of two widespread chronic health problems: alcohol-use disorders and cardiovascular disease. x
    • 23
      Emotional Intelligence in Health Care
      Have you ever left a medical appointment feeling angry, frustrated, or even insulted? Whether it was the content of the meeting or the personalities involved that caused your frustration, you can learn how to improve your healthcare interactions by better understanding and monitoring your emotions—and those of your healthcare provider. x
    • 24
      The Future of Emotional Intelligence
      Does technology help or hurt our EQ? On the one hand, we all know the difficulty of accurately perceiving emotions when communicating by email, text, or other electronic platforms. But surprising advances in facial recognition, physiological response monitoring, and other software offer exciting and helpful futuristic options in the quest to improve our EQ. x
  • The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

    Professor Joyce E. Salisbury, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    Spain has played a unique and pivotal role in Western civilization. In this course, you’ll learn its epic history, from its rule under Rome and the breathtaking drama of Islamic Spain to its emergence into the modern world, as well as its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, and learning. Travel with us to this remarkable culture, and savor the great human drama of the story of Spain.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Spain has played a unique and pivotal role in Western civilization. In this course, you’ll learn its epic history, from its rule under Rome and the breathtaking drama of Islamic Spain to its emergence into the modern world, as well as its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, and learning. Travel with us to this remarkable culture, and savor the great human drama of the story of Spain.

    24 Lectures  |  The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      From Stones to Bronze: Prehistoric Spain
      Begin by exploring the origins of human settlement on the Iberian Peninsula. Learn how the rich spiritual life of early hunter/gatherers in Spain is reflected in magnificent cave paintings. Study the geography of the peninsula, and how it drew peoples from Africa and the Middle East. Finally, discover the extraordinary megalithic tombs of early Copper and Bronze Age builders. x
    • 2
      Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek Colonists
      Follow three remarkable immigrant groups who left their mark on Spanish culture. First, trace the impact of the Celts and the technology they brought to the region. Learn about the Phoenicians, famous as mariners, and their legacy of trade and engineering. Continue with the singular influence of the Greeks, who shaped the history and culture of the peninsula for future immigrants. x
    • 3
      Rome Conquers the Iberian Peninsula
      Roman conquest changed the peninsula in ways that endure today. Track the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage, through which Iberia became part of the Roman Empire. Observe how Rome joined the Iberian provinces together, created thriving cities, and developed commerce. Learn about the marvels of Roman engineering, infrastructure, and mining, through which Spain grew rich. x
    • 4
      Christianity Comes to Hispania
      Witness the events through which Christianity took root on Spanish soil. Learn about early Christian communities in Spain, and the factors that led to persecution and martyrdom of Christians. Chart the role of Spanish churchmen in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church, how pagan practices were transformed into Christian ones, and how Spain became a bulwark of church orthodoxy. x
    • 5
      Barbarian Tribes Divide the Peninsula
      As Rome's empire waned, Germanic and Iranian tribal groups besieged Spanish territories. Take the measure of these peoples, and the new agricultural technology, clothing, and other innovations they brought with them. Observe how they partitioned and ruled different areas of the peninsula, and how their culture and religion kept them separate from Spain's Roman population. x
    • 6
      The Visigoths Unite Spain
      As a prelude to the three-century rule of the Visigoths, learn how the Goths penetrated Roman territories, and how they came to dominate Spain. Study the structure of Visigoth society, which gave rise to influential legal codes, monasticism, and great scholars such as Isidore of Seville. Take account of Toledo as a center of learning, and the diffusion of Visigothic scholarship and culture. x
    • 7
      Islam: The New Religion
      Islam was to play a critical role in Spanish history. As background, delve into the founding of Islam by Muhammad, its five tenets or “pillars”, and how the new religion spread with astonishing speed. Witness the Muslim invasion that conquered most of Spain, and observe how the invaders ruled, coexisting effectively with Jews and Christians. x
    • 8
      Conflict within Islam
      Internal divisions in the Muslim world shaped Islamic rule of Spain. Investigate issues concerning the larger governance of Islam that led to enmity between Muslim Spain and the Caliphate in Bagdad. Study the role of the Frankish king Charlemagne in these conflicts, and trace conspiracies and rebellions within Muslim Spain that culminated in the establishment of the Caliphate of Cordoba. x
    • 9
      The Moors and the Glory of al-Andalus
      Relive the golden age of Islamic Spain, as the capital city of Cordoba emerged as a center of learning, art, and beauty. First, take account of the agricultural advancements and artisanal industries that underlay Cordoba's prosperity. Then, follow developments in music, poetry, intellectual life, science, engineering, and architecture that made al-Andalus famous throughout the world. x
    • 10
      The Christian Reconquista
      This lecture charts the centuries-long process by which Christians gradually reclaimed the lands of Islamic Spain. Learn how pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela became a catalyst for the Christian cause. Explore four critical events in the Reconquista: the conquest of Toledo, the taking of Valencia by “El Cid”, the creation of Portugal, and the final conquest of Granada. x
    • 11
      Medieval Spanish Culture
      Discover how the melding of Spanish Islamic culture and medieval Christian ideas produced dazzling masterpieces of architecture. Travel to the times of king Alfonso the Wise, whose rich court life fostered scholarship and medicine, as well as courtly entertainments such as music, sports, and bullfighting. Learn about the flourishing of trade, highlighting the complex wool and textile industry. x
    • 12
      The Sephardim: Iberian Judaism
      Follow the changing fortunes of the Jewish people on Spanish soil, beginning with how they arrived in Spain, and how they prospered under Roman rule. Trace repression of Jews under the Visigoths, and how Jewish scholarship and poetic art thrived in Muslim Spain. Then witness the trials of Jews under subsequent Christian rule, leading to the 15th century exodus of many Jews from Spain. x
    • 13
      Gypsy Influences on Spain
      Gypsy immigrants to Spain left a far-reaching imprint on Spanish culture. Here, uncover the origins of gypsy peoples, their itinerant nature, and note how they were originally welcomed by Spanish kings and nobles. Study subsequent oppression of gypsies, the nature of gypsy culture, and the iconic flamenco music and dance that is deeply linked with Spanish gypsies. x
    • 14
      The Growth of Catholic Religious Passion
      Grasp how Spain was brought into the conflict of the Protestant Reformation. Assess the Catholic Counter-Reformation, as it sought to connect the faithful more directly to God through reinvigorated spirituality and mysticism. Learn how the Council of Trent, codifying Catholic doctrine, led to the horrors of the Inquisition, and how Catholic theology was expressed in glorious Baroque art. x
    • 15
      Columbus and the New World
      European contact with the isolated Americas dramatically changed the world. Begin by delving into the self-education of Columbus, and the lead-up to his legendary voyages. Follow Columbus’s travels, and the impact of his “opening” of the New World. Finally, track further European ventures into the Americas, the Columbian Exchange of foodstuffs, and the devastation wrought by European diseases. x
    • 16
      Conquistadors and Missionaries
      Spain now extended both its empire and its Catholicism into the New World. Witness the exploits of Hernán Cortés, who battled the Aztec Empire in the quest for gold, and of Francisco Pizarro and his brutal subjugation of the Incas. Then, take account of the Catholic missionaries who followed, intent on converting native souls, and how Spanish empire building was undergirded by slavery. x
    • 17
      The Spanish Main: Trade Convoys and Piracy
      Spain's empire in the New World spawned a vast commercial revolution. Learn about Spanish silver mining in South America, and agricultural riches from giant haciendas producing sugar and tobacco. Follow the transport of Spanish goods in armed convoys, and the resulting golden age of piracy, as both pirates and government-sanctioned privateers preyed on treasure-laden ships. x
    • 18
      The Golden Age of the Spanish Habsburgs
      Here, encounter Spain's king Philip II, architect of a magnificent era. Observe his strategic moving of the royal capital to Madrid, and his creation of architectural works such as the fabulous El Escorial. Learn how Philip and his sons fostered an artistic heritage emblemized by visionaries such as the painter Velasquez, composers de Victoria and Guererro, and writers Lope de Vega and Cervantes. x
    • 19
      Religious Wars on Muslims and Protestants
      Now witness the Ottoman incursions against Christian lands and shipping that resulted in the massive naval battle of Lepanto. Then, see how the clash with Protestants involved Spain in religious bloodshed in the Netherlands, the assault on Britain of the Spanish Armada, and the Thirty Years War. Note how the ruinous costs of these wars prefigured the downfall of the Habsburg Dynasty. x
    • 20
      The 18th-Century Bourbon Kings of Spain
      Learn how the French House of Bourbon assumed the Spanish throne, and how they transformed Habsburg Spain. In particular, review the reforms instituted by Carlos III, highlighting his architectural and urban planning achievements, and his reforms of education, industry, banking, and religion. Then trace the effects on Spain of the French Revolution and the ascension of Napoleon. x
    • 21
      Spain Loses Its Empire
      Follow Napoleon’s crusade to impose a new French dynasty on Spain, and the cultural backlash of Romanticism that rejected the “universal” principles of the Enlightenment. Witness the emergence of Spanish nationalism, the ensuing deep political strife regarding how to govern the country, and see how the spread of nationalist ideologies culminated in the independence of Spain’s colonies. x
    • 22
      20th-Century Spanish Modernism
      Following World War I, Spain emerged at the forefront of a revolution in the European arts. Grasp the extraordinary innovations of the painters Picasso, Miró and Dalí, the architect Antoni Gaudí, and the contributions of musical masters Segovia and Casals. Also, delve into the political factors that led to the disintegration of Spain’s constitutional monarchy. x
    • 23
      The Spanish Civil War and Franco's Reign
      Study the political antagonisms within Spain which led to the outbreak of civil war in 1936. Track the unfolding of the war, leading to the ascension to power of the dictator Francisco Franco. Then take account of Franco's lengthy, authoritarian regime, and how he strove to create a national identity for Spain through the mediums of the church, language, and Spanish culture. x
    • 24
      Modern Spain: Still on a Crossroad
      Conclude with reflections on Spain's recent history. Look into such subjects as the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, Spain's contemporary links with Latin America, separatist movements within the country, its new secularism and religious freedoms, its popularity as a travel destination, and its diverse economy. Contemplate why this great land stands on a crossroads of the future. x
  • The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America

    James Currie, Birding Enthusiast

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Birding offers direct contact with one of our primary treasures of wildlife. In this course, you’ll learn core elements of birding and methods for observing birds in the field. You’ll also take a panoramic look at the bird species of North America, and visit 23 of the top North American birding sites. These lectures are your doorway to an endlessly rewarding pursuit, and a lifetime of enjoyment and discovery.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Birding offers direct contact with one of our primary treasures of wildlife. In this course, you’ll learn core elements of birding and methods for observing birds in the field. You’ll also take a panoramic look at the bird species of North America, and visit 23 of the top North American birding sites. These lectures are your doorway to an endlessly rewarding pursuit, and a lifetime of enjoyment and discovery.

    24 Lectures  |  The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Birding Basics: Bird Origins and Taxonomy
      Begin by delving into the history of birdwatching in the U.S., from the early naturalists of the 18th century to today's highly organized activity. Then look into the origins of birds, and how they are linked evolutionarily to dinosaurs and early reptiles. Finally, explore bird taxonomy, and how their scientific classification aids us in identifying them in the field. x
    • 2
      Basic Bird Anatomy
      Investigate the anatomy of birds, and how understanding anatomical features aids us in identification. Then learn about the fascinating range of bird feathers, and their different functions. Observe how understanding the flight patterns of birds helps identify them in the field. Last, compare two common birds, as an exercise in using the knowledge you've learned so far. x
    • 3
      Size, Shape, and Color as Birding Tools
      Look first at three physical tools that you can use right away to become a more effective birder. Consider how familiarity with the shape or silhouette of bird families, as well as bird size, aid you in focusing in on exact species. Study the color factors of pigment and keratin, as they produce the dazzling range of bird coloration, and investigate color as an identification tool. x
    • 4
      Bird Distribution, Status, and Endemism
      Take account of three further aids for bird identification. See how charting birds' distribution or geographical range provides much useful information about specific species. Grasp the benefits of knowing a bird's status, or abundance vs. rarity, and how status can change. Also study the factor of endemism, where birds are limited to one specific region, and the uses of this information. x
    • 5
      Habitat and Season as Birding Tools
      Explore the North American habitats of forest, grasslands, desert, sagebrush, chaparral, and tundra, distinguishing their specific features and the amazing birds that are native to each of these environments. Add to this knowledge by investigating the roles of habitat specialization, the seasons, and migration patterns as they help us in identifying bird species. x
    • 6
      Introduction to Birding Optics
      This lecture discusses the core optical tools that aid us in observing birds in the field. Study the parts of a pair of binoculars, and the pros and cons of different types of binoculars. Learn how to use binoculars for birding, highlighting matters such as magnification, field of view, and depth of field. Also take account of spotting scopes, and how they provide detail that binoculars can't. x
    • 7
      Tactics for Better Birding
      Today, review a range of methods for attracting birds, in the field and at home. In both places, consider the use of stealth and concealment techniques, for observing while remaining unobserved. Study the remarkable ability of sounds to attract birds, and the use of water, plants, and feeders in your yard. Also learn about important ways to record your observations. x
    • 8
      Using Bird Behavior to Identify Birds
      Look into six categories of bird behavior, as they provide vital information for identification. See how individual species are distinguished by typical or unique behavioral traits. Study the distinctive feeding habits of many species, and how we can recognize species from flight and flocking behavior. End by exploring the extraordinary mating and nesting customs of North American birds. x
    • 9
      Understanding Variations in Plumage
      Plumage variation in a single bird reveals much useful information. First, take account of plumage differences based on sex, and seasonal plumage changes. Then investigate the remarkable range of age-related plumage variation in birds. Learn how birds molt (shed and replace plumage), and how hybrid species, as well as genetic and environmental factors, pose challenges for identification. x
    • 10
      Birding by Ear
      Study the physics and biology of avian sounds, which underlie the rich range of birdsong heard in the field. Discover how birds learn to vocalize, and how bird songs and calls are used for a remarkable spectrum of communication. Look at mimicry in birds, ways to use recordings to attract birds, and how digital technology can teach us more about bird vocalization. x
    • 11
      Essentials of Bird Migration
      Migration seasons provide excellent opportunities to sight unfamiliar bird species. Here, uncover the evolutionary origins of migration, and why birds migrate. Study the triggers and geographical patterns of migration, and the four principal “flyways” (migration zones) of North America. Learn how to maximize your sightings of migrating birds, and how technology can aid this. x
    • 12
      Birding at Night
      Some additional birding skills are needed for night viewing of birds. Learn about equipment for night birding, ways of locating nocturnal birds, and approaches to viewing migrating birds at night. Then investigate the fascinating range of night birds, encompassing the great diversity of owls, as well as species such as night-herons, nighthawks, and nightjars. x
    • 13
      Pelagic Birding
      Open sea birding adds another exciting dimension to birdwatching. Begin with an introduction to sea trips for birding, covering types of excursions and vessels, equipment, and important logistical and safety information. Preview the remarkable birds you'll see, from the mysterious albatross to petrels, tropicbirds, pelicans, gulls, puffins, and the best places to embark from to see them. x
    • 14
      Waterbirds, Shorebirds, and Game Birds
      In the first of six lectures on the bird families of North America, study four groups of birds that most people will find close to home. Begin with waterfowl, birds that swim in fresh water or near the ocean shore. Continue with wading birds, with their distinct physical profile; shorebirds, a vast group which includes sandpipers; and upland game birds. x
    • 15
      Diurnal Raptors
      Now travel into the world of these iconic and alluring birds of prey, and their distinguishing features, ranges, and behaviors. Learn about New World vultures, including the magnificent California condor. Also encounter the osprey, kites, eagles, hawks, falcons, kestrels, and the crested caracara. Consider the challenges of raptor-watching, and their unusual history with humans. x
    • 16
      From Doves to Kingfishers
      Here, study several diverse groups of birds, ranging from the familiar to the exotic. Explore the surprising variety of pigeons and doves, and trace the sad demise of the passenger pigeon. Note the presence of “introduced” parrots in the U.S., and discover the range of cuckoos, anis, woodpeckers, trogons, swifts, hummingbirds, and kingfishers that flourish across North America. x
    • 17
      Passerines: From Flycatchers to Thrushes
      Begin to uncover the huge spectrum of Passerines (perching or songbirds). Start with the flycatchers, aerialists adept at catching insects in midair, and the shrikes, rare songbirds with a raptor lifestyle. Within this far-ranging lecture, encounter bird families such as the crows and jays, magpies, larks, swallows, chickadees, wrens, dippers (the only aquatic songbirds), and thrushes. x
    • 18
      Passerines: From Thrashers to Warblers
      Continue with the astonishing variety of North American songbirds. Learn about birds that mimic, the mockingbirds and catbird, and the thrashers, with their namesake feeding behavior. Track the striking bulbuls, the starlings, pipits, wagtails, waxwings, longspurs, and snow buntings, and finish with the vast array of warbler species, and the challenges they pose to identification. x
    • 19
      Passerines: From Tanagers to Finches
      Today, complete your review of the Passerines (songbirds). Beginning with the seed-eating towhees, explore the many varieties of New World sparrows, the juncos, and Old World buntings. Then study the tanagers, cardinals, dickcissels, grosbeaks, and vivid New World buntings, before concluding with families such as the meadowlarks, blackbirds, grackles, orioles, finches, and crossbills. x
    • 20
      Photography for Birders
      Lay a foundation for fine bird photography, starting with the basics of aperture, shutter speed, ISO (light sensitivity), and focus. Investigate the use of natural light at different times of the day, and the best equipment for photographing birds. Learn how to approach birds and capture them on camera, and consider the advantages of digiscoping (photography through a spotting scope). x
    • 21
      Birding Sites in Eastern North America
      Learn about eleven of the best birding destinations in the Eastern U.S. and Canada. Among them, pay visits to Maine's Monnegan Island, a stopping place for a huge variety of migrants; Cape May, New Jersey, a locus of great birding sites and a haunt of famed birders; and Ohio's Magee Marsh, a legendary birding spot which hosts 338 bird species. x
    • 22
      Birding Sites in Western North America
      Among twelve top Western birding sites, visit the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, nesting site of forty million seabirds; California's Point Reyes National Seashore, which hosts a massive 490 species; the Grand Canyon, a Globally Important Bird Area; and a Texas park that sees a million migrating raptors each fall. x
    • 23
      Birds and People
      Contemplate the deep and long-term interactions between birds and humans. Beginning in ancient times, explore the roles birds have played in diverse civilizations, and how birds have benefited people in ways ranging from hunting to pest control. In today's world, take account of citizen science efforts, bird banding, and other ways birders can contribute to scientific knowledge. x
    • 24
      Birding Ethics and Conservation
      Consider guidelines for ethical birding, based in respect for fellow birders and non-birders alike. Conclude with a far-reaching look at matters affecting bird welfare, at both the individual and species level. Review current environmental factors that endanger birds, and actions you can take, both individually and through organizations, to safeguard our precious bird species. x
  • The Art of Debate
    Course  |  The Art of Debate

    Professor Jarrod Atchison, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    The Art of Debate offers you the ultimate how-to guide for hashing out differences of opinion and making stronger arguments based on reason and compromise. In 24 stimulating lectures, Professor Jarrod Atchison of Wake Forest University helps you develop your command of logic, construct clear arguments, recognize the fallacies in others’ reasoning, and sharpen your own strategic thinking skills.

    View Lecture List (24)

    The Art of Debate offers you the ultimate how-to guide for hashing out differences of opinion and making stronger arguments based on reason and compromise. In 24 stimulating lectures, Professor Jarrod Atchison of Wake Forest University helps you develop your command of logic, construct clear arguments, recognize the fallacies in others’ reasoning, and sharpen your own strategic thinking skills.

    24 Lectures  |  The Art of Debate
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Hidden Value of Debate
      Find out what we mean when we talk about "debates," and how immersing yourself in the techniques of formal debate can have a dramatic impact on how you make decisions in every aspect of your life. From the business world to the bar room, the process of exchanging ideas will make you a better thinker and citizen. x
    • 2
      When and How to Use Debate
      Debate gives you an honest assessment of an idea, and is therefore a powerful decision-making tool. Here, Professor Atchison walks you through the structure of a formal debate and explores when debate can help you the most. As you will learn, big and future-oriented decisions are ripe for formal discussion. x
    • 3
      The Proposition: Choosing What to Debate
      Now that you know when to debate, shift your attention to what to debate. The "proposition"–the idea up for debate–is one of the most important concepts to understand, and in this lecture, you will survey how to structure the proposition most effectively-and consider who is making the ultimate decision. x
    • 4
      The Structure of Argument
      The claim, the evidence, and the warrant: these three elements provide the structure of a strong argument. Unpack each of these elements by studying what they are, how they work, and how they come together to produce an argument. Then home in on the warrant, which is often the most vulnerable part of an argument-and therefore the element easiest to challenge. x
    • 5
      Using Evidence in Debate
      Examine the strengths and weaknesses of three primary types of evidence: narrative evidence, empirical evidence, and evidence based on authority. As you review each type of evidence, you will see them in action as Professor Atchison applies them to debates about gun control, climate change, and physician-assisted suicide. x
    • 6
      Fallacies in Your Opponent's Research
      To be a great debater, you must not only learn to recognize argument fallacies, but you must also learn to combat them during the debate. This first in a two-part lecture series offers insight to help you identify fallacies that stem from flaws in your opponent's research, including the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, hasty generalizations, and more. x
    • 7
      Fallacies in Your Opponent's Arguments
      Continue your study of fallacies with a survey of fallacies that stem from the actual debate itself. To make their case, debaters often resort to false analogies, straw men, and ad hominem attacks. Fortunately, once you learn to recognize them, you will be well prepared to combat them and score points to win the debate. x
    • 8
      Elements of a Good Case
      No debate is won without consideration of the audience-of the ultimate decider or the judge. If you can't connect with this audience, you won't be able to win them over. After considering how to make such a connection, you'll then sharpen your skills in creating a well-researched case with enough nuance to argue your point. x
    • 9
      Arguing for the Affirmative
      The affirmative side of a debate must do three things: stay relevant to the resolution, indict the status quo, and offer a proposal designed to solve the problems you have identified with the status quo. Discover how to meet these obligations and build a winning affirmative argument. x
    • 10
      Building Affirmative Cases
      Now that you know how to develop a strong affirmative argument, apply your skills to a specific debate. Taking a resolution about campus carry laws as an example, Professor Atchison walks you through each of the steps to indict the status quo and offer a tenable solution to the problem. x
    • 11
      Arguing for the Negative
      A good critique is a necessary way of testing out an idea, but developing a good negative case requires immense creativity to disprove the affirmative argument. Delve into the key arguments available to the negative: the disadvantages of the affirmative case, counterproposals, and critiques of the affirmative's assumptions. x
    • 12
      Building Negative Cases
      The three-part attack from the previous lecture is an extremely effective way to challenge the affirmative proposal, but the arguments don't attack the affirmative case directly. Here, learn several approaches to confronting the affirmative case head-on, including "inherency," attacking the harms of the affirmative, and attacking the proposal's solvency. x
    • 13
      The Crucible of Cross-Examination
      Once each case is built, it's time for a cross-examination-a chance to interrogate your opponents to better understand their arguments, identify holes in their reasoning, and keep the audience engaged. This first of three lectures explores the history of debate and reflects on the goals of cross-examination. x
    • 14
      Asking and Answering Leading Questions
      Continue your study of cross-examinations with a detailed look at "leading questions." Useful for identifying holes in an argument, leading questions also represent persuasive arguments in and of themselves. Learn the rules of creating a good leading question and how they can help you win the debate. x
    • 15
      Open-Ended Questions: Setting Traps
      Round out your study of cross-examinations by turning to "open-ended questions." Designed to help you understand your opponents' arguments, open-ended questions give you the opportunity to shift your position, thus maximizing strategic flexibility. They also allow you to set traps for your opponent. Find out how to craft-and answer-open-ended questions. x
    • 16
      Essentials of a Persuasive Rebuttal
      No plan survives contact with the enemy, which means no matter how well you've constructed your case, you will need to defend it. Fortunately, there are several straightforward elements of a good rebuttal-assessment, organization, and emotional appeal-and Professor Atchison guides you through each element in this lecture. x
    • 17
      Dealing with the Unexpected in Debate
      We all need to deal with the unexpected in our daily lives, so learning the secrets to navigating the unexpected in a debate has far-reaching applications. Here, see what it takes to slow down, diagnose, analyze, and respond to unexpected arguments. By following a few simple steps, you can easily find your way back to terra firma. x
    • 18
      Even If Arguments: The Essential Weapon
      Now that you have explored the ways to build and defend a strong case, it's time to move on to varsity-level debate skills, starting with "even if" arguments. By starting with the premise that your opponent is right about everything, you can then explain why you should still win the debate-an extremely effective argument if performed well. x
    • 19
      Debate Jujitsu: Flipping the Warrant
      In many great debates, there is a devastating moment where one side clearly out-maneuvers the other. "Flipping the warrant," which requires the highest level of analytic argument, allows you to destroy your opponent's argument by showing that their proposal, rather than solving a problem, will actually make things worse. x
    • 20
      The Power of Concessions
      The best debaters understand the need for strategic flexibility, and concessions are one of the most powerful strategic moves in the playbook. As you will find out in this lecture, conceding points allows you to focus on your best arguments, or get out of a difficult spot, or even set a trap for your opponent. x
    • 21
      Conditional Argumentation
      Although they are two separate fields, the art of debate sometimes employs formal logic with great success. In this lecture, see how "conditional argumentation," a way of employing if-then statements to argue a point, lets you acknowledge a point without agreeing to it-a line of argument that pairs well with "even-if" arguments. x
    • 22
      Line-by-Line Refutation
      Conclude your study of advanced debate techniques with a survey of line-by-line refutation. First, learn how to map out the "flow" of a debate using shorthand. By distilling key ideas, you will be well prepared to respond to all points. Try to map out the "flow" of a test case here. x
    • 23
      Judging Debates: The Art of the Decision
      Debates aid decision-making, and you may one day find yourself in the role of a judge needing to make the big decision. Survey the best way to communicate your reasons for a decision, starting with a short thesis statement followed by an explanation of your reasoning. As an example, consider a nonprofit faced with a difficult business decision. x
    • 24
      Winning the Cocktail Party
      Formal debates have clear structures, but we often debate ideas in informal settings-unpredictable, complicated, ambiguous conversations with blurred lines between judges and participants. Conclude your course with a few handy tips for how to win a debate at a cocktail party-and when to bow out of the discussion. x
  • The Apocryphal Jesus
    Course  |  The Apocryphal Jesus

    Professor David Brakke, Ph.D., M.Div.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    Much of what we know about Jesus today comes from apocryphal sources rather than the Bible. The Apocryphal Jesus is your chance to learn about the early Christian world from a variety of sources—many of which have been considered heretical. Over 24 revealing lectures, Professor Brakke explores the stories and ideas that shaped the foundations of early Christian thought—and continue to influence Christianity today.

    View Lecture List (24)

    Much of what we know about Jesus today comes from apocryphal sources rather than the Bible. The Apocryphal Jesus is your chance to learn about the early Christian world from a variety of sources—many of which have been considered heretical. Over 24 revealing lectures, Professor Brakke explores the stories and ideas that shaped the foundations of early Christian thought—and continue to influence Christianity today.

    24 Lectures  |  The Apocryphal Jesus
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Influence of Apocrypha
      The term “apocrypha” comes from the Greek and means “hidden” or “secret.” The apocryphal writings of early Christians have a reputation for being heretical because they are not part of the New Testament’s 27 canonical books. But as you will learn in this first lecture, these early Christian writings have contributed greatly to Christian culture and doctrine. x
    • 2
      Jesus and Mary in the Proto-Gospel of James
      Begin your foray into the early Christian apocrypha with an extended reflection on the Virgin Mary. You may think you know her from the New Testament gospels, but you might be surprised to find out that much of her life's story actually comes from the Proto-Gospel of James, which fills in many of the gaps from the canonical gospels. x
    • 3
      Young Jesus in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas
      The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is considered a bizarre book, offering what some see as troubling insight into the childhood of Jesus, portraying him as both amazingly divine but also troublingly human. Delve into some of the scholarly debates around this book and find out why it was so popular in the Middle Ages. x
    • 4
      Joseph and the Magi in the Apocrypha
      The New Testament gospels leave many questions on the table: Why was Mary a virgin if she was married to Joseph? How did Joseph feel about his wife bearing the child of the Lord? In this lecture, see how many early Christian apocryphal works humanize Joseph and resolve some of the questions—and contradictions—of the New Testament. x
    • 5
      The Apocrypha and the Cult of Mary
      While Mary is present in the canonical gospels, it's really in the early Christian apocrypha that she becomes the leader among the saints. Explore several key texts to uncover what we know about Jesus' mother, her relationship with the disciples, and what makes her unique among New Testament figures. Better understand her special place in Christianity today. x
    • 6
      Lost Gospels and Fragments
      Not all apocryphal works have survived, and many of the ones we have today exist only as fragments. Survey several important fragments and lost gospels—how we discovered them and what they say—to gain a fascinating glimpse of early Christian beliefs and controversies that we would not know about otherwise. x
    • 7
      Sayings of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas
      The Gospel of Thomas is the most famous—even infamous—apocryphal gospel, suppressed by the Church for its supposed heresy. As you’ll find out in this lecture, the gospel compiles the sayings of Jesus and is modeled on the wisdom books from the Old Testament. This “living Jesus” provides a radically different angle on the meaning of Jesus’ life and teachings. x
    • 8
      Jesus's Statements beyond the Gospels
      Not all of Jesus’ words come directly from the canonical gospels. These words—known as “agrapha”—come from numerous sources: books of the New Testament other than the gospels, the works of early Christian authors such as Origen, and alternative manuscripts of the New Testament gospels. Examine several of these sources to gain new insights into Jesus. x
    • 9
      Conversations with the Living Jesus
      The gospel writers recorded much of Jesus’ life, but they also acknowledged that they didn’t record everything. Much of what he said is recorded in so-called “dialogic gospels,” accounts of Jesus in lengthy conversations with one or more of his disciples. Study three of these unique works and gain new theological insight into Christianity. x
    • 10
      The Gospel of Judas's Gnostic Vision
      Judas Iscariot is one of the most infamous figures in the Christian Bible, but the Gospel of Judas gives us a new perspective on this traitorous disciple. In this lecture, Professor Brakke introduces you to Gnosticism and shows how, in this gospel, Judas' betrayal of Jesus points to a greater truth about divinity and the material reality of the world. x
    • 11
      The Gospel of Peter and the Talking Cross
      Jesus designated Peter as the founder of the Church, which arguably makes him one of Christianity’s most important disciples. The Gospel of Peter, however, adds some complexity to Peter’s story—and it reframes the story of the Crucifixion to help make Christianity more compatible with the politics of the Roman Empire. x
    • 12
      The Apocrypha and Pilate's Sanctification
      In the early centuries, Christianity became a Roman religion, which created awkwardness given that the Roman Pontius Pilate crucified Jesus. Find out how certain apocryphal texts—including the Gospel of Nicodemus, also known as the Acts of Pilate—dealt with this problem by recasting Pilate as a sympathetic figure and, ultimately, a Christian saint. x
    • 13
      Dialogues with the Risen Jesus
      The New Testament tells us Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the apostles before ascending into heaven. While the canonical gospels left Jesus' words a mystery, many apocryphal writers filled in the gaps. Examine several of these dialogic gospels to learn what Jesus told his followers after the resurrection. x
    • 14
      Hope and Adventure in the Acts of John
      Many of the apocryphal gospels were essentially novels written during the early Christian era, and they were filled with adventurous tales of shipwrecks, necrophilia, self-mutilation, and other wild stories. Dive into the Acts of John to consider this fascinating genre of literature and what it offered audiences of the time—as well as historians today. x
    • 15
      Social Disruption in the Acts of Paul
      Historians agree that this fragmentary work presents us a largely invented character, yet the Acts of Paul also gives us a remarkable challenge to the basic structure of Roman society—the household, the city, the empire, and even the Church. Examine this subversive book and discover a version Christianity that completely upends the reigning social order. x
    • 16
      Thecla: Independent Woman of the Apocrypha
      Continue your study of the Acts of Paul and turn to his disciple, Thecla, who is one of the most interesting women in early Christian writing. Although she likely did not exist in real life, she represents many women who did, and her story gives us a powerful look at the role of women in early Christian society. x
    • 17
      Miracles and Magic in the Acts of Peter
      As you have seen, Peter may have been the first leader of the Church, but he was a flawed leader. The fragmentary Acts of Peter builds on his story from the canonical gospels and shows us a fascinating, if somewhat troubling, figure. Learn more about Peter and his miracles, and find out why he was crucified upside down. x
    • 18
      Peter versus Paul in the Pseudo-Clementines
      Each of the surviving apocryphal acts of the apostles make one apostle its hero, but they don't disparage the other apostles. However, the Pseudo-Clementine texts present a dramatic fight surrounding the early Church. This theological mess may pose a problem for historians, but it is nonetheless an important piece of early Christian literature. x
    • 19
      The Acts of Thomas and the Mission to India
      How did Christianity get to India? Did Thomas really travel across the Middle East and preach the gospel in South Asia? Historians debate these questions and more, but regardless of the literal truth, the Acts of Thomas provides spiritual guidance about humanity's place in the world and challenges us to liberate ourselves. x
    • 20
      Spiritual Love in the Acts of Andrew
      While it was not the most profound of early Christian writings, the Acts of Andrew contains some of the strangest stories in all of early Christian literature, including tales of cannibals, myriad seductions, jilted husbands, and a human-killing giant serpent. Learn about some of these exciting stories, consider the book's genre, and reflect on the role of women. x
    • 21
      Forged Letters of Jesus and the Apostles
      The letter is one of the most important forms of Christian communication, from the New Testament letters of Paul through today's Papal addresses. In the early Christian world, apocryphal letters abounded, many of them forged. Examine the content of some of these letters, including ones purportedly written by Jesus. x
    • 22
      Revelations That Didn't Make the Bible
      The New Testament Book of Revelation is not the only apocalypse narrative from the first centuries of the Common Era. In this lecture, you'll explore the content and theology of several other Christian apocalypses and consider why the Revelation to John made it into the canon while the many other apocalypses did not. x
    • 23
      Tours of Hell before Dante
      You might be surprised to learn the canonical New Testament does not present a single consistent picture of the afterlife in general or hell in particular, yet visions of damnation exist in much of the early Christian apocrypha, including the Apocalypses of Peter and Paul. Take a tour of hell through several of these works and review their continued influence. x
    • 24
      Apocrypha after the New Testament
      Although the New Testament was codified in the fourth century, apocryphal books continued to be written into the Middle Ages. Round out the course by surveying the later Christian apocrypha and witness the way the creative flourishing of Biblical writing continued through the Middle Ages and even into the present. x