New Releases
New Releases
  • Dog Training 101
    Course  |  Dog Training 101

    Dog Trainer Jean Donaldson, Founder & Principal Instructor of the Academy for Dog Trainers

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    To cut through the clutter and bring you a training method validated by the latest scientific research on dog behavior, we worked with Jean Donaldson, the founder and principal instructor of The Academy for Dog Trainers, to create a course that teaches you the whys of dog training basics, not just the hows. Over 24 packed lectures, Dog Training 101 brings you exclusive access to a trainer of dog trainers who delves into dog cognition, behavioral science, husbandry, and more, demystifying the popular and unsuccessful theories out there.

    View Lecture List (24)

    To cut through the clutter and bring you a training method validated by the latest scientific research on dog behavior, we worked with Jean Donaldson, the founder and principal instructor of The Academy for Dog Trainers, to create a course that teaches you the whys of dog training basics, not just the hows. Over 24 packed lectures, Dog Training 101 brings you exclusive access to a trainer of dog trainers who delves into dog cognition, behavioral science, husbandry, and more, demystifying the popular and unsuccessful theories out there.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Dog Training 101
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The Principles of Dog Training
      Get an introduction to the importance of training dogs, both for owners and the dogs themselves. Through some powerful analogies, Professor Donaldson will put you in the mindset of your dog to show you why certain training methods don't work and others do. Learn the three key principles of dog training that will provide the foundation for every lesson moving forward. She'll also recommend some important tools to have on hand. x
    • 2
      Getting the Behavior: Training Mechanics
      Dig into the “software your dog comes bundled with” and discover how common psychological practices can help us train dogs to overcome their instinctual behaviors. Professor Donaldson defines terms you’ll be using throughout the training such as prompting, capturing, and shaping. Master the first basic obedience commands: sit and down. x
    • 3
      Getting the Behavior: Sit and Down
      Professor Donaldson provides alternatives for dogs who have trouble with sit and down. She then continues with fundamental obedience through recall, or coming when called, using classical—or Pavlovian—conditioning. She’ll also review the importance of choosing and using the appropriate verbal cues. x
    • 4
      Getting the Behavior: Prompting and Premack
      Get some valuable reassurance and reinforcements about continuing your training in a consistent manner as you take on the challenge of getting your dog to go down from a sit, down from a stand, sit from a down, and sit from a stand. You'll also tackle station and watch and evolve your recall from Pavlovian (rewards) to Premack (positive reinforcement). x
    • 5
      Getting the Behavior: Verbal Cues
      Reinforce the same obedience behaviors your dog has already learned but move from verbal cues to hand signals. Professor Donaldson will also introduce toggling to help your dog avoid getting stuck in a behavior pattern. x
    • 6
      Understanding Your Dog's Behavior
      Professor Donaldson reveals the fascinating evolution of dogs that provides insight into why dogs do many of the things they do. This foundation gives you the background to help train, or un-train, certain actions. You'll uncover fight/flight instincts, canine social structure, courtship and reproductive behaviors, and the characteristics and styles of dog play. x
    • 7
      Impulse Control: Leave It, Wait, Leash Walking
      One of the best ways to curb instincts in your dog is to instill impulse control. Professor Donaldson teaches you how to teach dogs to cool their jets with sit-stay, down-stay, leave it, wait, and loose leash walking. She'll also cover the three most important parameters in down-stay and sit-stay: distraction, distance, and duration. x
    • 8
      Impulse Control: Increasing Generalization
      Take your first set of impulse control trainings to the next level by adding in distractions and increasing the distance or duration. Professor Donaldson also provides some alternatives if you find the loose leash walk to be challenging. x
    • 9
      Impulse Control: Deepening Obedience
      Building on the previous two lessons, expand the impulse control techniques even further with more difficult distraction, distance, and duration challenges. x
    • 10
      Impulse Control: Cold Trials and Finishing
      By now your dog is figuring out that “good things come to those who wait” and is starting to work on impulse control without being told. At this point in training, your dog has also figured out that obedience is The Strategy to get what he wants. This empowering realization means your dog understands he can take charge and control the situation to get the outcome he wants, overcoming some of the basic instincts that used to guide his behaviors. x
    • 11
      Fear and Aggression Prevention
      Professor Donaldson defines fear or aggression versus just being upset and teaches you how to recognize these traits in dogs. She outlines the five mechanisms that drive fear and discusses a classification system that covers aggression to strangers, resource guarding, and intolerance of body handling, as well as suggestions for handling each behavior. x
    • 12
      Proofing Behavior across Contexts
      Start the proofing process, which means your dog will be proving he knows behaviors even in different conditions or environments. Professor Donaldson demonstrates how taking the same training regimen on the road can have different results and what to do to get over obstacles such as competing motivation, distractions, or problems with generalization. x
    • 13
      On the Road: Training in Public Spaces
      Professor Donaldson shows various techniques out in the field as she puts the wait command to the test at a dog park. Watch and learn as she adds in distraction, distance, and duration for more of a challenge. She provides valuable tips to help transition practicing the same lessons in an unfamiliar environment. x
    • 14
      Verbal Cues: Developing Discrimination
      Despite our best endeavors, dogs don’t understand our words—they guess. Learn how to overcome your dog’s attempt to guess what you want in order to get treats by recognizing and leveraging aggregate or cumulative reinforcement, recency, the order of events, or his own preferred behaviors. x
    • 15
      Tricks: Wave, Take a Bow, Spin, Heel
      Examine the difference between tricks and obedience. Explore why teaching tricks can be beneficial to your dog as you work through three types of trick training: non-transitive or simple actions, transitive, and behavior chains. By using the foundation of obedience training you've already established, you can teach old (and young) dogs new tricks. x
    • 16
      Tricks: Distance Drop, Frisk, Sit Pretty
      Professor Donaldson spends an entire lecture demonstrating how to train tricks including distance drop, fugitive frisk, and sit pretty. She explains that, from here, you can string these tricks together to make a chain of tricks, or use the same principles to train your dog to do any trick he is physically capable of doing. x
    • 17
      Building a Conditioned Emotional Response
      After a brief review of how respondent conditioning, also known as classical conditioning or Pavlovian conditioning, works, Professor Donaldson reveals tips for using this method to train your dog. She shares the rules for using conditioning and demonstrates how it works by conditioning a dog for having his teeth brushed. x
    • 18
      Husbandry: Handling and Object Conditioning
      Husbandry refers to the physical care we give our dogs such as feeding, grooming, health monitoring, medical care, and more. Professor Donaldson shows you how to use training to prep your dog for some of the aspects of care that he may not enjoy. x
    • 19
      Husbandry: Limb Handling and Toothbrushing
      Professor Donaldson helps you prepare your dog for unpleasant care, such as ear drops and working with their feet. In addition to helping your dog remain calm and allowing someone to examine his sensitive areas, this sort of exercise helps your dog learn to trust you. x
    • 20
      Puppies and Senior Dogs
      Contrary to the old cliché, you can teach old dogs new tricks—and new dogs old tricks. Professor Donaldson reviews the ages and stages of dog maturity and has tips for which training to start your puppies with and how to choose the right puppy socialization class. She provides insightful instructions on training older dogs as well, including how to consider any physical ailments they may have. x
    • 21
      Housetraining, Chewing, and Digging
      Professor Donaldson debunks a common myth about dog behavior. She discusses in depth the reasons dogs may have accidents and provides several ways to train your dog out of this behavior. She covers a number of techniques to curb common bad habits such as chewing and digging with distraction or alternatives. x
    • 22
      Crating and Alone Training
      There are many benefits to using a crate. They can aid in separation anxiety and give your dogs a place of their own to feel safe. Professor Donaldson demonstrates the benefits and reviews the options for choosing a crate and for getting your dog accustomed to one. x
    • 23
      Managing Barking
      Did you know there are five kinds of barking? Professor Donaldson examines the various reasons dogs bark and provides suggestions to train your dog out of this behavior. She also explains why this is one of the more frustrating areas to train, but by understanding the motivation for barking and applying consistent methods, you can more effectively and efficiently learn to work with ways to stop it. x
    • 24
      Training Challenges and Solutions
      When it comes to training, you must define what is keeping your dog from picking up what you are teaching; defining if your dog has what problems or why problems can alleviate frustration. Professor Donaldson explains how to motivate a dog and adjust your rate of reinforcement for these and a number of other common obstacles that may stand in his way. She also provides tips for transitioning out of training mode and into integrating what your dog has learned into common behaviors. x
  • Great Music of the Twentieth Century

    Professor Robert Greenberg, Ph.D.

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

    The 20th century was a breeding ground of musical innovation and transformation unlike any other era in history. Within this course, you’ll discover the genius of composers such as Debussy, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, Bartók, Ligeti, Adès, and many others. In Great Music of the 20th Century, you’ll experience the superlative musical art that so vividly and unforgettably speaks to the life of our times.

    View Lecture List (24)

    The 20th century was a breeding ground of musical innovation and transformation unlike any other era in history. Within this course, you’ll discover the genius of composers such as Debussy, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, Bartók, Ligeti, Adès, and many others. In Great Music of the 20th Century, you’ll experience the superlative musical art that so vividly and unforgettably speaks to the life of our times.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Great Music of the Twentieth Century
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      20th-Century Music: Be Afraid No Longer!
      Look first at the goals of this course, as it will explore the principal trends in 20th-century concert music, and the historical issues and events that shaped them. As background, delve into the history of musical notation as it gave rise to composed music, and take account of the upheavals, political and social catastrophes, and paradigm shifts that affected music in the 20th century. x
    • 2
      Setting the Table and Parsing Out Blame
      Examine historical and social factors that influenced 20th-century composers' abandonment of tradition and obsession with originality. Then learn about the influence of 19th-century German art on the French, and the new French nationalism in music that followed the Franco-Prussian War. Take a first look at Claude Debussy, whose revolutionary music created a new musical syntax. x
    • 3
      Debussy and le francais in Musical Action
      Investigate the qualities of Debussy's music that connect it to French art and poetry as well as to the sensuality of the French language. Learn how his landmark work, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, began musical modernism. Study the wealth of compositional innovations in his piano Prelude #10, and note how his impact on 20th-century music mirrors Beethoven's in the 19th century. x
    • 4
      Russia and Igor Stravinsky
      In the first of two lectures on this giant of 20th-century music, trace the early life of Stravinsky, the environment in which he grew to maturity, and his musical education and influences. Follow Stravinsky's relationship with the impresario Sergei Diaghilev, their legendary partnership in the ballets The Firebird and Petrushka, and grasp the striking musical originality of those works. x
    • 5
      Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring
      Relive The Rite of Spring's riotous premiere, and examine the qualities that made it the most influential musical work of the 20th century. Observe how Stravinsky evoked ancient pagan rituals through stunning rhythmic asymmetry, bi-tonal harmony, and other daring compositional techniques. Take account of how the Rite changed the way composers thought about rhythm, melody, and orchestration. x
    • 6
      The Paradox of Arnold Schoenberg
      Schoenberg was both substantially misunderstood as a composer, and one of the greatest influences on 20th-century music. Learn about the enormous enmity and dissent that greeted his compositions, as they challenged tradition and offended musical conservatism. Trace his early life and music, his vision as a composer, and the achievements of his most “popular” work, Transfigured Night. x
    • 7
      The Emancipation of Melody!
      Learn about Schoenberg's friendship with Gustav Mahler, who defended Schoenberg's groundbreaking compositions. Study Schoenberg's remarkable metamorphosis in which he sought to free melody from the limits of functional tonality, as exemplified in his Six Little Pieces for Piano. Examine events in Schoenberg's personal life that may help explain his final break with musical tradition. x
    • 8
      The Second Viennese School
      Here, take the measure of the Viennese triumvirate of Schoenberg and his students Alban Berg and Anton Webern, who advanced a historically new, non-tonal music. Delve into the most representative work of this era, Schoenberg's song cycle Pierrot Lunaire, and experience Schoenberg's stunning compositional language. Investigate the extraordinary works and contributions of Berg and Webern. x
    • 9
      The "New" Classicism
      The 1920s saw both an explosion of new compositional languages and a conservative backlash against modernism. Follow the fortunes of Stravinsky, as he created a new ballet score for Diaghilev, incorporating themes from the Baroque composer Pergolesi. In Pulcinella, see how Stravinsky's ingenious treatment of the score created a neo-Classic musical hybrid of astonishing modernist sensibility. x
    • 10
      Schoenberg and the 12-Tone Method
      In 1925, Schoenberg developed a compositional system that would dominate Western concert music for 50 years. Study the elements of his “12-Tone Method,” based in the use of a “tone row” where all 12 musical pitches are used in a pre-determined sequence. Observe how this system allowed composers to write large-form, non-tonal music. Grasp its enormous influence, and its challenges for listeners. x
    • 11
      Synthesis and Nationalism: Bela Bartok
      Learn about Bartok's early life and career as a pianist, and the imprint of Hungarian nationalism on his composing. Follow his remarkable travels, collecting and preserving indigenous folk music across Central and Eastern Europe. Witness these musical influences in some of his greatest compositions, and note how his works represent a musical synthesis of nearly global scope. x
    • 12
      America's Musical Gift
      This lecture explores the rich diversity of American vernacular music, as it influenced and inspired American composers. Take account of the integral impact on America of West African musical forms, and their role in the development of blues, ragtime, and jazz. See how George Gershwin and Aaron Copland synthesized these forms in jazz-tinged masterworks that became icons of American music. x
    • 13
      American Iconoclasts
      The composers under discussion here were nonconformists whose works stand virtually as separate genres of music. Begin with celebrated individualist Charles Ives, and his programmatic masterwork, Three Places in New England. Then contemplate the alternate tonal system of Harry Partch, the mega-polyphony of Elliott Carter, and the unique music scored for player pianos by Conlon Nancarrow. x
    • 14
      The World Turned Upside Down
      Following the horrors of World War II, note how many composers sought to create music that was purged of the past, based in intellectual and scientific rigor. Investigate Ultraserialism, a compositional system in which nearly every musical element is organized "serially," as musical pitch is in the 12-Tone Method. Experience American Ultraserialism in the brilliant works of Milton Babbitt. x
    • 15
      Electronic Music and European Ultraserialism
      Learn how the advent of musical synthesizers and the tape recorder gave rise to both electronic music (using sounds created electronically) and musique concrète (manipulating real sounds with a tape recorder). Witness how Ultraserialism developed within Europe, leading paradoxically to hyper-complex music which in performance sounded random—a fatal problem for listener comprehension. x
    • 16
      Schoenberg in Exile
      Trace Schoenberg’s period of great creative output and professional flowering in the late 1920s—years which coincided with the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany. Following Schoenberg’s self-exile to the United States, take note of his efforts on behalf of European Jews, and study two war-inspired masterworks; his Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte and A Survivor from Warsaw. x
    • 17
      Stravinsky in America
      Delve into the singular aesthetic philosophy behind Stravinsky's neoclassic music, in which he describes his compositional process as purely formal and objective. Learn about Stravinsky's relocation to the United States, and how in his seventies he turned to writing 12-tone music. Grasp how his last major work, Requiem Canticles, functions as a musical retrospective of his career. x
    • 18
      For Every Action an Equal Reaction
      Discover the music of visionary composers who turned away from Serialism and Ultraserialism, beginning with Hans Werner Henze and Luigi Nono. Assess the place of postwar Ultraserialism, and the factors that led many to reject it. Explore the extraordinary Stochastic or “sound mass” music of Iannis Xenakis, and how his innovations prefigured and influenced the phenomenal works of György Ligeti. x
    • 19
      The California Avant-Garde
      The cultural environment of California produced some of the most original musical thinkers of the 20th century. First encounter Henry Cowell and Lou Harrison, composers of astonishing eclecticism whose works incorporated non-Western musical forms. Also meet John Cage and Morton Feldman, whose “indeterminate” music introduced new conceptions of unpredictability and a non-directional sense of time. x
    • 20
      Rock around the Clock
      In approaching minimalism, trace the development of rock ‘n’ roll, and its integral impact on both American musical culture and 20th-century concert music. Grasp the musical ethos of minimalism—its rhythmic pulse, cyclical patterning and melodies, and hypnotic drive—through the groundbreaking works of the “triumvirate” of the style: Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass. x
    • 21
      East Meets West; South Meets North
      Cover global ground in this lecture, which looks at important 20th-century composers outside of the European/American orbit. Hear the fusion of Asian and Western traditions in the music of Tru Takemitsu (Japan), Isang Yun (Korea), Chinery Ung (Cambodia), and Tan Dun (China). Discover the musical riches of Latin American composers Heitor Villa-Lobos, Carlos Chavez, and Alberto Ginastera. x
    • 22
      Postmodernism: New Tonality and Eclecticism
      Postmodernism in music represented both a return to the musical values of Romanticism and an amalgam of diverse musical influences. Investigate the music of George Rochberg and David del Tredici, both of whom embraced musical styles from the past. Then explore “pastiche”—direct quotation from earlier works—in the phenomenal music of Luciano Berio, Peter Maxwell Davies, and George Crumb. x
    • 23
      The New Pluralism
      The 20th century ended with a trend toward “pluralism”—the practice of employing a range of different musical languages within a single work or movement. Witness the incredible range of this musical inclusivity and synthesis in composers ranging from the Americans Joseph Schwantner, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Jennifer Higdon to the British composer Thomas Adès. x
    • 24
      Among Friends
      Finally, as a firsthand, contemporary account of one composer's life in music, Professor Greenberg discusses his own professional journey. Trace his performing arts family background, his musical education, career path, and the finding of his voice as a composer. Hear a range of his acclaimed works, highlighting his string quartets, song cycles, and concerti. x
  • Life in the World's Oceans

    Professor Sean K. Todd, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    The Great Courses teams with the Smithsonian to produce a vivid exploration of life in the world’s oceans with Professor Sean K. Todd of the College of the Atlantic. From the beginning of life on Earth to the state of our oceans today, you’ll learn about the latest research on marine-mammal intelligence and communication, bioluminescence, exploration of the ocean floor, the Smithsonian’s own cutting-edge research work around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, and so much more.

    View Lecture List (30)

    The Great Courses teams with the Smithsonian to produce a vivid exploration of life in the world’s oceans with Professor Sean K. Todd of the College of the Atlantic. From the beginning of life on Earth to the state of our oceans today, you’ll learn about the latest research on marine-mammal intelligence and communication, bioluminescence, exploration of the ocean floor, the Smithsonian’s own cutting-edge research work around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, and so much more.

    View Lecture List (30)
    30 Lectures  |  Life in the World's Oceans
    Lecture Titles (30)
    • 1
      Water: The Source of Life
      So much of what we take for granted about our world—from our body’s access to and use of nutrients, to our planet’s liquid oceans, to the ice floating in your glass of soda—is a direct cause of the structure and polarity of H2O. Learn how those specific properties make water the essential ingredient for life as we know it. x
    • 2
      Ocean Currents and Why They Matter
      No matter where you live, your climate, weather, and even available foods are determined to a great extent by ocean circulation. The uneven heating of the Earth by the Sun and the Coriolis effect result in vast circulation cells of air above the Earth, the movement of huge water masses in the oceans, and resultant “hot spots” of marine life. x
    • 3
      The Origin and Diversity of Ocean Life
      How and where did life begin on Earth? The existence of both photosynthetic and chemosynthetic food chains—along with experiments confirming the mechanisms of abiogenesis—points to the possibility that life could have originated through two different paths. While many questions remain unanswered, two things seem certain: Life began in the oceans, and bacteria are the most successful organisms on the planet. x
    • 4
      Beaches, Estuaries, and Coral Reefs
      Beach organisms exist with the constantly changing winds, waves, and tides—sometimes underwater, sometimes fully exposed to the air. Life in estuaries, where rivers meet the oceans, face constant fluctuations in environmental salinity. And hard corals are continually pummeled by wave action. Yet each of these physically challenging environments can be diverse and fecund ecosystems. x
    • 5
      Life in Polar and Deepwater Environments
      Tropical oceans are relative deserts when compared to the potential productivity of higher latitudes—and it’s all due to spring and fall blooms of phytoplankton. These microscopic photosynthetic organisms form the base of almost all marine food chains, including that of the blue whale, the largest animal known to have ever existed. But far below the penetration of sunlight a very different and only recently discovered food web relies solely on the chemosynthetic ability of bacteria. x
    • 6
      Phytoplankton and Other Autotrophs
      When we think of healthy marine ecosystems, we should be thinking about phytoplankton. In many ways, we owe our existence to these diatoms, dinoflagellates, green algae, cyanobacteria, and others. Not only do scientists believe they are the ancestors of terrestrial plants, but phytoplankton continues to produce about half of all the oxygen available in our atmosphere today. x
    • 7
      Invertebrate Life in the Ocean
      The vast majority of animals on our planet are the gloriously diverse invertebrates. From microscopic organisms to the crab with a three-meter leg span, marine invertebrates exhibit enormous variety in form and function. They include sessile and mobile organisms, free-living and parasitic. They live at the surface and within the ocean floor sediments, protected by hydrostatic endo- and exoskeletons. x
    • 8
      An Overview of Marine Vertebrates
      Only certain classes of vertebrates have a marine presence, while others are strictly terrestrial. Mammals are certainly represented in ocean life, but which species should be identified as “marine” when considering ocean productivity? The extremely complex marine food webs maintain long-term stability, even as they undergo natural perturbations over time. But when Homo sapiens enters as an apex predator, productivity can deteriorate, and systems can even collapse. x
    • 9
      Fish: The First Vertebrates
      Through 550 million years of evolution, fish have developed a wide variety of adaptations to the unique demands of living in a watery and mostly dark world. Learn how gills, swim bladders, bioluminescence, chemosensory glands, echolocation, and electrolocation have allowed fish to succeed in almost every type of ocean environment. Which fish are our ancestors? You might be surprised. x
    • 10
      Marine Megavertebrates and Their Fisheries
      While humans have been fishing for hundreds of centuries, we have only recently had a significant impact on marine food webs. Industrialization has led to problems with by-catch and overexploitation of resources. Today—since the megavertebrates we love to eat are often the apex predators of their natural food webs—we are creating trophic cascades with long-term impacts we do not yet understand. x
    • 11
      Sharks and Rays
      Are you afraid of sharks? Fish certainly have good reason to fear these top-of-their-game predators with their multiple rows of teeth, extraordinary sensitivity to smell, taste, and vibration, and ability to detect electrical current better than any other animal. But while four species have been known to assault humans with no provocation, almost 99 percent of the many hundred shark species would rather swim away from us than attack. x
    • 12
      Marine Reptiles and Birds
      While the reptilian evolution of the amniotic egg allowed animals to move completely from the sea onto land, some reptiles retained strong marine ties. These include sea turtles and sea birds whose wide variety of adaptations allow for drinking saltwater, remaining underwater for long periods, and flying great distances using very little energy. But wait . . . did we just classify sea birds as reptiles? x
    • 13
      The Evolutionary History of Whales
      Marine mammals did not evolve from marine species. Rather, they evolved from land mammals who found a plethora of “suddenly” open ecological niches when the dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago. Today’s marine mammals might resemble each other because convergent evolution has led to similar adaptation. But best as scientists can tell, they have five separate lineages and no single common ancestor. x
    • 14
      The Taxonomy of Marine Mammals
      Through tens of millions of years, evolution has resulted in a fascinating array of marine mammal adaptations. With the ability to process thousands of gallons of water each day or dive to a depth of almost three kilometers, and with numerous methods of locomotion or extraordinary social behaviors, these whales, porpoises, phocids, and more can thrive in varied environments around the globe. x
    • 15
      How Animals Adapt to Ocean Temperatures
      If you’ve ever jumped into frigid water, you quickly realize humans are definitely not adapted to life in the sea. What are we missing? In a word, it’s blubber—the thick layer of fat just beneath the skin of almost every marine mammal. In fact, blubber is such a successful insulator that marine mammals have evolved internal and external means for getting rid of all that heat, possibly even including planetary migrations. x
    • 16
      Mammalian Swimming and Buoyancy
      For all practical purposes, terrestrial mammals live on a plane. Marine mammals, on the other hand, navigate a more viscous, three-dimensional environment with all its opportunities and challenges. We understand their propulsion mechanisms fairly well. But how do they control their buoyancy to position themselves in the water column? We don't yet have the answers. x
    • 17
      Adaptations for Diving Deep in the Ocean
      Not surprisingly, deep-diving marine mammals have evolved a physiology very different than our own. Adaptations including those related to blood chemistry, the location of stored oxygen, a variable heart rate, and articulated rib cages support the ability to go deep and stay long. But what about rising back up to the surface? How do they avoid getting “the bends”—or do they? x
    • 18
      The Importance of Sound to Ocean Life
      Sound travels much better in water than in air. In fact, low-frequency waves, such as those produced by certain whales, can travel through water uninterrupted for hundreds or even thousands of kilometers, allowing the animals to be “in touch” with their group over vast distances. Other marine mammals produce and hear sounds at high frequencies perfect for echolocation. But what happens when human-generated sound gets in the way? x
    • 19
      Food and Foraging among Marine Mammals
      Trophic patterns are complex cycling webs, often difficult to completely decipher. But two things are clear: Almost all marine food webs are based on microscopic photosynthesizers, and only a small fraction of the energy available at any trophic level becomes available to the next level. Adaptations such as baleen, ventral pleats, and unique tooth morphology allows these large animals to meet their energy needs. x
    • 20
      Marine Mammal Interactions with Fisheries
      With plastic and nylon lines and nets becoming common in the last century, by-catch became an even greater problem for the marine mammals. When the media picked up the story in the mid-1960s, the public became engaged, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed in 1972. But whale entanglement remains a problem, and some argue that even whaling was far less cruel. x
    • 21
      Breeding and Reproduction in a Large Ocean
      Semi-aquatic marine mammals exhibit behaviors quite different than those who live fully in the water. In the former, an entire female community in one geographic area can come into estrus simultaneously and needs relatively few males—the strongest and “sneakiest”—to reproduce. In the latter, reproduction appears to be one of the driving forces of whale songs that can be heard over thousands of kilometers. x
    • 22
      Behavior and Sociality in Marine Mammals
      From individual whales that corral their confused prey to highly coordinated bubble-net feeding and aunts who “babysit,” marine mammals have developed an extraordinary variety of social and hunting behaviors—each with its own “cost/benefit analysis” developed over millions of years. If the energy expenditure does not support the goal of passing on genetic material, natural selection will eventually drop the adaptation. x
    • 23
      Marine Mammal Distribution around the Globe
      With sixty million years of evolution on their side, marine mammals have adapted to the widest possible variety of marine ecological niches. Some live only in rivers or lakes, others only in waters over the continental shelves, and some in the open ocean. A few—like the Weddell seal with exceptional blubber, diving skills, oxygen capacity, and ice-sawing teeth—are even adapted to live at the poles. x
    • 24
      Intelligence in Marine Mammals
      Within their own species, marine mammals have developed sophisticated communication. In captivity, we know they can be trained to learn rules, which indicates higher cognitive function. And even in the wild, we have documented some extraordinary instances of learning and cultural transmission of information. But is their intelligence comparable to our own? Maybe the question itself is meaningless. x
    • 25
      The Charismatic Megavertebrates
      Are marine mammals to be exploited as a resource? Or are they intelligent creatures to be revered with an almost religious admiration? Your answer might depend to some extent on your country and culture of origin—and the truth is probably somewhere in between. Our relationship with these impressive animals continues to evolve as we increase our understanding of their biology, cognition, and sociality. x
    • 26
      The Great Whale Hunt
      Over and over, humans have behaved as if a given resource were inexhaustible. That was certainly the case with worldwide industrial whaling of the early 20th century when six species of whales were hunted to dangerously low numbers. In the near future, as their populations continue to recover, some countries are expected to promote a resumption of the commercial whale hunt. x
    • 27
      The Evolution of Whale Research
      Although the irony is unmistakable, our understanding of marine mammals increased tremendously by having access to carcasses during the years of industrial whaling. Today, we focus on species protection while learning as much as we can via SCUBA, SONAR, tagging, biopsy darts, photo-identification, studying animals in captivity, and examining stranded individuals when available. x
    • 28
      Marine Mammal Strandings
      Most of us seem to have a natural instinct to want to help a stranded marine mammal, but it requires very specific skills to render aid without causing further stress and harm. Even with the best intentions and professional assistance, not all animals can be saved. What can we learn from these strandings—no matter how they end—and where are they most likely to occur? x
    • 29
      The Urban Ocean: Human Impact on Marine Life
      Our high-tech use of the ocean for food, transportation, and energy has far-reaching effects, particularly on certain species. Focusing on issues from noise pollution to microplastics, we can mitigate our impact to provide better futures for ourselves as well as for marine life. The work begins with understanding the extent of our true impacts. x
    • 30
      Our Role in the Ocean's Future
      Although there was a time when we treated the oceans as if they were too vast to feel our impact, we now know the truth: we have contributed to global climate change, ocean acidification, and overfishing. The results are potentially catastrophic—both to marine life and to our own health. But there is a bit of light at the end of this tunnel, and it depends in part on our own daily actions. x
  • The Rise of Rome
    Course  |  The Rise of Rome

    Professor Gregory S. Aldrete, Ph.D.

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

    The Rise of Rome offers you the chance to find out what made this state so powerful—and offers insight into why the republic cast such a long shadow over Western civilization. Over 24 captivating lectures, Professor Gregory S. Aldrete of the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay tells the story of Rome’s astonishing rise, from its modest beginnings to its stunning triumph over the Mediterranean to the republic’s dramatic collapse.

    View Lecture List (24)

    The Rise of Rome offers you the chance to find out what made this state so powerful—and offers insight into why the republic cast such a long shadow over Western civilization. Over 24 captivating lectures, Professor Gregory S. Aldrete of the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay tells the story of Rome’s astonishing rise, from its modest beginnings to its stunning triumph over the Mediterranean to the republic’s dramatic collapse.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Rise of Rome
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The City on the Tiber
      Begin with a simple question: “How did Rome become so powerful?” This core theme will run through much of this course. Here, Professor Aldrete considers the role of the city’s geography and the republic’s unique political structure, both of which allowed Rome to flourish. x
    • 2
      The Monarchy and the Etruscans
      The rise of Rome begins with a monarchy, though much of the city's early years are shrouded in mystery. Unpack some of the key myths, including the epic of Aeneas and the story of Romulus and Remus, to gain insight into the city's founding. Then reflect on neighboring civilizations such as the Etruscans. x
    • 3
      Roman Values and Heroes
      Tales and literature from early Rome give us only partial insight into factual history, but they give us great insight into Roman values—what the Romans themselves identified as qualities of ideal citizens. Examine how a few Roman heroes, like Mucius, Horatius, Lucretia, and others embody values of courage, resourcefulness, determination, and more. x
    • 4
      The Early Republic and Rural Life
      Witness the transition from the monarchy to the republic—a new era of government that would carry the city through half a millennium. Wade through the mythology and propaganda, as well as Roman historical sources such as the author Livy, to reconstruct how the transition happened, and what the new republic looked like. x
    • 5
      The Constitution of the Roman Republic
      One of the most lasting facets of the Roman Republic is its constitution, which inspired America’s founding fathers, among others. Continue your exploration of the early republic with a look at its system of government and its different classes of people—citizens and noncitizens, patricians and plebeians, senators, soldiers, and more. x
    • 6
      The Unification of the Italian Peninsula
      What distinguished Rome from neighboring city-states was the republic’s dogged persistence in matters of war. Watch as the Romans conquered neighboring territories to gain control of the entire Italian peninsula—and witness defeats against the Gauls to the north and the Greeks to the east. See how the Romans treated those it conquered. x
    • 7
      Roman Religion: Sacrifice, Augury, and Magic
      Most of us are familiar with some of the gods in the Roman pantheon, which included the likes of Jupiter and Mars, but one of the most fascinating aspects of Roman religion was the way it integrated elements from other cultures. Survey Roman religion as well as its institutions and personages such as the Pontifex Maximus and the vestal virgins. x
    • 8
      The First Punic War: A War at Sea
      The First Punic War is the longest continuous war in Greek and Roman history. Here, delve into the third century B.C.E., when Carthage commanded sea travel throughout the Mediterranean and the Roman Republic was looking to advance beyond the Italian Peninsula. Trace the first war against Carthage. x
    • 9
      The Second Punic War: Rome versus Hannibal
      Although the First Punic War was a major victory, the Second Punic War was, in Professor Aldrete’s words, “the crucible in which the Roman Empire was forged.” Encounter the brilliance of Hannibal, learn the strategy and impact of the infamous Battle of Cannae, and see how Roman leaders combatted and eventually defeated him. x
    • 10
      Rome Conquers Greece
      Although the Romans had seen great military and political victory, they were still provincial in many ways until they conquered the Greeks. At that point, Greek civilization entered and began to influence the Romans in unexpected ways. But, as you'll learn in this lecture, the Roman expansion beyond Italy may have been something of an accident. x
    • 11
      The Consequences of Roman Imperialism
      Roman imperialism gave the republic great and far-flung territory, but it left many of its people wanting. Soldiers entered the military expecting riches and glory, only to come home penniless. Meanwhile, conquered people were far from happy. Review how the Romans administered their growing territory—and its effect on those in the home city. x
    • 12
      Roman Slavery: Cruelty and Opportunity
      Rome is one of only a few civilizations throughout history to be a true slave state. Here, learn where Roman slaves came from and find out about the nature of their servitude—including what daily life was like for many slaves. Then look at ways slaves could buy or earn freedom, and what life was like for freed slaves. x
    • 13
      Roman Women and Marriage
      Because Rome was such a patriarchal society, we have few historical records from women's points of view. Nevertheless, historians have been able to deduce much about what life was like for Roman women. Life varied greatly between rich and poor, but women throughout the society were expected to marry and live sheltered lives. x
    • 14
      Roman Children, Education, and Timekeeping
      Continue your study of ordinary Romans—this time with a look at the life of children, which could be quite brutal by today’s standards. Learn about their toys and games, and then turn to the system of education. Finally, take a look at the Roman system of timekeeping, which organized the days, months, and years. x
    • 15
      Food, Housing, and Employment in Rome
      Food, shelter, and a livelihood are three of the most basic needs for people everywhere. In this lecture, Professor Aldrete surveys what Romans ate, where they lived, what their homes were like, and what they did for a living. While the upper classes did not work, farming and skilled trades were important jobs throughout the republic. x
    • 16
      The Gracchi Attempt Reform
      By 133 B.C.E., Roman society was beginning to unravel. Veterans who had lost their fortunes in war, farmers who had lost their land, and neighboring citizens who had been conquered were all disgruntled. Meanwhile, factionalism was starting to emerge within the Roman government. See how these tensions began to wear away at the republic and how an attempted reform came not from the disenfranchised, but from one of the most privileged Roman families. x
    • 17
      Gaius Marius the Novus Homo
      The late Roman republic was characterized by feuding aristocrats vying for power within the government. Meet Gaius Marius, an Italian warlord who went against the conventional mores and was elected 7 times as a consul. Follow his military exploits in Northern Africa and his rise to power within the republic. x
    • 18
      Sulla the Dictator and the Social War
      Cracks continued to appear in Roman civilization, as the Social War broke out over citizenship and leaders continued to vie for power. Among these leaders was Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who used his military laurels to march into Rome and set himself up as a temporary dictator. x
    • 19
      The Era of Pompey the Great
      Continue your survey of late republic military leaders. In this lecture, you'll find out about the life of Pompey the Great, who achieved fame and glory as a young man with ambitions as large as Alexander the Great's. Trace the events of the first century B.C.E., including the slave revolt of Spartacus. x
    • 20
      The Rise of Julius Caesar
      The beginning of the end of the Roman Republic starts with the rise of Julius Caesar. After setting the stage with Caesar's early career, Professor Aldrete explores the dramatic events that led to Caesar's election to the senate as well as his legislative and military victories. Tensions within Roman leadership were high. x
    • 21
      Civil War and the Assassination of Caesar
      The late republic tensions reached a conflagration the moment Caesar crossed the Rubicon River and led his army toward Rome. Follow the end of his astonishing career, from his exploits in Spain to his war with Egypt to his eventual assassination. Meet Mark Antony and the other conspirators. x
    • 22
      Cicero and the Art of Roman Oratory
      Before witnessing the denouement of the Roman Republic, pause for a moment to reflect on Roman oratory—an art best practiced by the senator and writer Cicero. Cicero’s insights into rhetorical strategy and human nature continue to influence us today—and in his day allowed him to play the role of peacekeeper after Caesar’s murder. x
    • 23
      Octavian, Antony, and Cleopatra
      Following Caesar's assassination, there was a power vacuum in Rome. Caesar's heir Octavian eventually took power, while Caesar's general Mark Antony fled to his lover, Cleopatra. Trace the events from Octavian's rise to Rome's war with Egypt and the suicides of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. x
    • 24
      Why the Roman Republic Collapsed
      The course opened with a simple question: “How did Rome become so powerful?” It closes with an equally simple—if equally unanswerable—question: “Why did the Roman Republic collapse?” In this final lecture, Professor Aldrete offers several leading theories, including the possibility that the republic was a victim of its own success. x
  • Capitalism vs. Socialism: Comparing Economic Systems

    Professor Edward F. Stuart, Ph.D.

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

    The illuminating 24 lectures of Capitalism vs. Socialism: Comparing Economic Systems will show you the many ways the most influential modern economic theories were developed, how they function (or don’t), and how they manage to operate both together and in opposition to each other, from the rise of Soviet communism to the future of the European Union and beyond.

    View Lecture List (24)

    The illuminating 24 lectures of Capitalism vs. Socialism: Comparing Economic Systems will show you the many ways the most influential modern economic theories were developed, how they function (or don’t), and how they manage to operate both together and in opposition to each other, from the rise of Soviet communism to the future of the European Union and beyond.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Capitalism vs. Socialism: Comparing Economic Systems
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Gorbachev's Hello and the Soviet Goodbye
      Begin your foray into comparative economics with a look at the USSR in the final few years before its collapse and the restructuring known as perestroika, which led to an increased interest in the study of capitalism versus socialism in the U.S. Examine some of the major questions that shape economic systems and close with a brief overview of the goals and scope of the course. x
    • 2
      Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Keynes, and Friedman
      Meet four of the most influential economic thinkers in history: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keyes, and Milton Friedman. As you examine their individual philosophies and influences across three centuries, you may be surprised by how many of their ideas overlap even as their philosophies differ. x
    • 3
      How to Argue GDP, Inflation, and Other Data
      From GDP and inflation to unemployment and standard of living, there is no one absolute measurement that determines the health of an economy. Get an overview of the different metrics for economic success and a general understanding of how they are calculated and interpreted—and why these data points can start more arguments than they resolve. x
    • 4
      British Revolution: Industry and Labor
      Travel to the birthplace of industrial capitalism: Great Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries. A fortuitous meeting of politics, technology, and economics would shape the future and give the world innovations like insurance, corporate ownership and investment, and extended payment systems. It would also inspire writers like Charles Dickens to reveal the horrifying social repercussions of unregulated industrialization. x
    • 5
      American Capitalism: Hamilton and Jefferson
      Modern capitalism may have been born in England, but America would be defined by it from the very beginning. Look at some of the paradoxes inherent in free market systems and how Protestant religious philosophy played a significant part in the direction of the economy. Then, see how founding figures like Hamilton and Jefferson set the course for American economic dominance in the years to come. x
    • 6
      Utopian Socialism to Amana Microwave Ovens
      The many opportunities and innovations of capitalism in the U.S. did not come without a cost. Religious and political thinkers alike turned to new solutions to alleviate the often horrible conditions many workers experienced, resulting in socialist projects that fell into two camps: utopian and scientific. Close with a look at the difficulties inherent in running socialist systems in a largely market economy. x
    • 7
      The Bolsheviks: Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin
      Examine the ways Stalin sought to exercise complete control of the Soviet economy, focusing on his Five-Year Plan for production—an object lesson in the complexities of anticipating and satisfying the material needs of a society. Professor Stuart also gives you an eye-opening look at the ways economics and politics can feed off of one another. Or, in this case, starve each other. x
    • 8
      Soviet Planning and 1,000 Left-Foot Shoes
      Examine the ways Stalin sought to exercise complete control of the Soviet economy, focusing on his Five-Year Plan for production- an object lesson in the complexities of anticipating and satisfying the material needs of a society. Professor Stuart also gives you an eye-opening look at the ways economics and politics can feed off of one another. Or, in this case, starve each other. x
    • 9
      Economic Consequences of European Peace
      The end of World War I illustrates one of the iron laws of capitalism: upheavals in one part of the world have repercussions all around it. Understand how the Treaty of Versailles set up harsh terms for a depleted Germany and why shortsighted leadership from the Allied powers led to economic fallout and, eventually, the second World War. x
    • 10
      How FDR and Keynes Tried to Save Capitalism
      Was the stock market crash of 1929 the cause of the Great Depression? Find out why Black Tuesday was actually a symptom rather than a cause and trace the origins of the Depression in the U.S. to events and policies of the 1920s, both domestic and international. Then, look at the ways FDR applied the ideas of John Maynard Keynes to help America recover from economic devastation. x
    • 11
      Social Democracy in Europe
      In the wake of economic and social turmoil in the 19th century, some European countries sought to reform the capitalist system and make it more sustainable. Examine the different motives behind the reforms, understand the differences between public and private goods, and compare and contrast the myriad ways economies can blend capitalism and socialism. x
    • 12
      Sweden's Mixed Economy Model
      Called “The Third Way” by some economists, the economic system of Sweden is perhaps the best example of a philosophy that falls between the extremes of free market capitalism and government-controlled socialism. Professor Stuart explains the many factors that have contributed to Sweden’s relative economic success and what it can teach us about mixed economies. x
    • 13
      French Indicative Planning and Jean Monnet
      Discover why France, a latecomer to industrial capitalism, was vital in shaping influential socialist theories, and how centuries of political upheaval can leave distinct impressions on a nation's economic history. From the French Revolution to World War II and beyond, France is a strong example of the ways economies are shaped by both internal and external forces. x
    • 14
      British Labour Party and National Health
      The British economy has vacillated between privatization and nationalization over time. Here you will look at one of these shifts by first examining the socialist programs introduced by a post-World War II Labour Party government (including the National Health Service), followed by the Margaret Thatcher era of deregulations and privatizations. x
    • 15
      Social Welfare in Germany: Bismarck to Kohl
      Socialist policies are not limited to the realm of idealists and reformers. Germany under Otto von Bismarck shows how socialist policies like public education, unemployment benefits, and tax-funded healthcare can be used to create more efficient workforces. See how Bismarck's ideas were used to help Germany achieve greater political power and trace the echoes of his legacy into the 20th century under Chancellor Helmut Kohl. x
    • 16
      Soviet Bloc: Conformity and Resistance
      After World War II, the Allied powers were divided by their economic policies, resulting in a divided Europe. Examine the ways Soviet Russia dominated the nations of Eastern Europe, bringing them under the umbrella of authoritarian communism, and which nations pushed back against this takeover. In contrast, also look at the policies and institutions put in place by the Western allies to rebuild Europe. x
    • 17
      Two Germanies: A Laboratory in Economics
      The post-war occupation of Germany by four separate powers—and the difficult question of how to avoid the problems that stemmed from the Treaty of Versailles just a few decades earlier—created a division that would dominate Europe for more than four decades. It also created a unique opportunity for direct comparison between communist and capitalist enterprise, which you will take advantage of here. x
    • 18
      The Soviet Union's Fatal Failure to Reform
      Despite attempts by some Soviet leaders in the mid-to-late 20th century, Russia was never able to successfully reform the oppressive and increasingly inefficient Soviet communist system. Professor Stuart shows how the authoritarian government encouraged dysfunctional behavior in production and why the resulting scarcity of decent goods and services ultimately became unsupportable. x
    • 19
      “Blinkered and Bankrupt” in Eastern Europe
      In retrospect, it would seem that communism in Eastern Europe was doomed to fail. However, when the communist governments began to collapse in the 1980s, it took many people in the West by surprise. Trace the ways Soviet communism's failures were replicated over and over again in the Eastern Bloc nations, with nearly the same results for each of them. x
    • 20
      From Chairman Mao to the Capitalist Roaders
      Professor Stuart turns his attention to China, focusing on the 20th-century influence of Soviet communism under leaders like Mao Zedong. Look at the ways China was shaped by its earlier history to be especially unprepared for industrialization on the Soviet scale and how the cultural revolution under Mao further impeded progress, eventually resulting in an overthrow of his ideas after his death. x
    • 21
      After Deng, China Privatizes and Globalizes
      How was China able to make the dramatic transformation from a nation in decline to a global economic powerhouse in just a few decades? Contrast the economic reforms under “capitalist roader” Deng Xiaoping against the earlier communist strategy under Mao, as well as against the unsuccessful attempts at similar reform in Russia under Gorbachev. Close with a look at China’s economic influence on the world stage. x
    • 22
      Asian Tigers: Wealth and State Control
      Reveal the secrets behind the remarkable transformations of the “Asian Tiger” countries of South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore from poor countries to high-income economies in the span of 50 years. Starting with their shared features, trace their progression from authoritarian regimes to more democratic governments and compare and contrast their concentrated efforts to shape their economies. x
    • 23
      European Union: Success or Failure?
      While the European Union has been a spectacular success in its fundamental mission—preventing war between major European powers—here you will also look at the other ways it could be considered a failure. Professor Stuart presents the post-war conditions under which the EU was created and the dimensions of its economic influence, for good and ill, throughout Europe. x
    • 24
      Both Sides Now: Experiment in Slovenia
      What does the future hold for economies around the world? Using Slovenia as a model, explore some of the crucial questions concerning the evolution of world economies. Are economies becoming more similar? Or are they diverging? Is there even a clear-cut answer? The issues and debates that opened the course come full circle here; definitive answers remain elusive, but the tools provided open up a world of possibilities. x
  • Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy

    Professor David Kyle Johnson, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma

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

    In Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy, Professor of Philosophy David Kyle Johnson, of King’s College, takes you on a 24-lecture exploration of the final frontiers of philosophy across several decades of science fiction in film and television. See how science fiction allows us to consider immense, vital—and sometimes controversial—ideas with a rare combination of engagement and critical distance.

    View Lecture List (24)

    In Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy, Professor of Philosophy David Kyle Johnson, of King’s College, takes you on a 24-lecture exploration of the final frontiers of philosophy across several decades of science fiction in film and television. See how science fiction allows us to consider immense, vital—and sometimes controversial—ideas with a rare combination of engagement and critical distance.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Inception and the Interpretation of Art
      Begin your journey with a look at why science fiction is one of the primary ways contemporary society engages with philosophical issues. Get an overview of the kinds of sci-fi media you will explore throughout the course and explore how you will address the interpretation of art with a look at the film Inception. x
    • 2
      The Matrix and the Value of Knowledge
      Which will you choose, the red pill or the blue? Look at different ideas concerning truth, knowledge, and reality through the film The Matrix, from Plato's definition of knowledge to the theories of Jean Baudrillard. Also, grasp the important distinctions between epistemology and metaphysics. x
    • 3
      The Matrix Sequels and Human Free Will
      Though panned by critics and science fiction fans alike, upon first release, the two sequels that followed The Matrix—Reloaded and Revolutions, respectively—provide surprisingly fertile ground for philosophical investigation surrounding the existence of free will. Compare multiple theories and see whether these oft-derided films can offer any answers. x
    • 4
      The Adjustment Bureau, the Force, and Fate
      Explore the concept of individual fate through the film The Adjustment Bureau and the larger concept of universal fate in Star Wars. Along the way, take a look at the ways conspiracy theories and supernatural claims invoke “fate” to explain real-world happenings and how philosophers handle these “explanations.” x
    • 5
      Contact: Science versus Religion
      Science communicator Carl Sagan believed science and religion could be compatible. But does Contact, the film based on his novel, prove his point or undermine it? Probe the many ways humans use personal experience to justify belief and whether or not such experiences can justify belief in the face of contrary scientific evidence. x
    • 6
      Arrival: Aliens and Radical Translation
      See how the 2016 film Arrival can help you examine the three questions that arise when discussing the possibility of alien life in the universe: How likely would a visitation be? What effect on society would it have? And, particularly pertinent to the film, would we be able to communicate with them once they're here? x
    • 7
      Interstellar: Is Time Travel Possible?
      This lecture will take a look at what metaphysics has to say about the possibility of time travel, focusing primarily on the film Interstellar. Along the way, you will also look at other influential time travel stories and the various theories they represent, like Back to the Future, Quantum Leap, Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Planet of the Apes. x
    • 8
      Doctor Who and Time Travel Paradoxes
      Open with a look at a fan-favorite episode of Doctor Who and explore the nature of paradoxes in time travel. You will also see that science fiction doesn’t always have to take itself seriously to tell a great story—or to explore fascinating philosophical questions—when you turn your attention to the Futurama episode “Roswell That Ends Well.” x
    • 9
      Star Trek: TNG and Alternate Worlds
      What can quantum mechanics tell us about the likelihood of alternate worlds? Explore the multiverse theory with Lieutenant Worf in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Parallels” and see how science could support the idea of multiple worlds, while also grappling with the seeming untestable nature of such a theory. x
    • 10
      Dark City, Dollhouse, and Personal Identity
      The nature of personal identity is tied to numerous philosophical concerns: memory, consciousness, even the possibility of an afterlife. With films like Dark City and Moon and TV shows like Dollhouse, Professor Johnson guides you through the theories of great thinkers like Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, and their intellectual descendants. x
    • 11
      Westworld and A.I. Artificial Intelligence
      Sentient machines have been a staple of sci-fi for decades. Although here you will focus on a few key stories, you will also take a look at the long history of intelligent machines in film and TV—as well as get a glimpse into our very possible future—examining the ways we conceive of the mind and the implications of artificial intelligence. Machines can calculate, but could they one day be sentient? x
    • 12
      Transcendence and the Dangers of AI
      Science fiction has always been fascinated by the possibilities of artificial intelligence, with many storytellers focusing on the dangers of sentient machines. But human predictions of the future are often inaccurate, so here you will explore arguments both for and against the creation of AI through the film Transcendence, as well as through other iconic stories. x
    • 13
      The Thirteenth Floor: Are We Simulated?
      What is the likelihood that we are living in a simulated world right now? Some philosophers, using laws of subjective probability, would say it may actually be much higher than you might think. Examine the film The Thirteenth Floor and understand how creating a convincing simulated world could alter our conception of reality itself. x
    • 14
      The Orville, Orwell, and the “Black Mirror”
      The pervasive influence of social media makes life feel more performative than ever, yet it really just demonstrates an old dilemma heightened by new technology. Here, see how the anthology show Black Mirror and the Star Trek-influenced series The Orville offer episodes that examine extreme cases of objectification and mob mentality. Also, look back on a pre-internet example in George Orwell's much-adapted Nineteen Eighty-Four. x
    • 15
      Star Wars: Good versus Evil
      The original Star Wars trilogy is not morally ambiguous, but many other entries in the franchise present complicated gray areas when it comes to good versus evil. Professor Johnson demonstrates how the 21st-century films in the series, especially Rogue One, create a more complicated view of morality—and what Nietzsche can tell us about space politics. x
    • 16
      Firefly, Blake's 7, and Political Rebellion
      Many science fiction stories revolve around scrappy, sympathetic rebels and the overthrow of oppressive government powers. Here, look at how two series—Blake’s 7 and Firefly—take similar approaches to the experience of political oppression and individual defiance. Consider the implications of dissent within society and contemplate the perpetual dilemma of balancing freedom and social order. x
    • 17
      Starship Troopers, Doctor Who, and Just War
      From the overt (though satirical) militarism of Starship Troopers to the pacifism of the Doctor, examine how societies view war and the ways we are (or are not) able to justify it. As you compare and contrast two very different ways of confronting violence, you will also look at the middle ground via Just War Theory and ponder the difficulties of preserving life while sometimes having to cause harm. x
    • 18
      The Prime Directive and Postcolonialism
      What can science fiction tell us about the dangers of colonialism and moral relativism? Take a look at the Prime Directive—the rules that are supposed to prevent interference in other cultures—and the ethical ramifications of imposing one society’s values on another, as you plunge into several episodes from different iterations of Star Trek, including the classic series of the 1960s, The Next Generation, and Enterprise. x
    • 19
      Capitalism in Metropolis, Elysium, and Panem
      Capitalism is an economic philosophy as much as it is a practical system and, while it has many benefits, the capitalist system also has its share of pitfalls and ethical quandaries. Looking at the dystopian visions of the sci-fi films Metropolis, Elysium, and The Hunger Games, you will dive into the issue of balance and understand why an unregulated free market is a recipe for inequality. x
    • 20
      Snowpiercer and Climate Change
      Open this lecture with a look at how and why we get scientific information from experts (or don't) and why what we should conclude about climate change is as much of a philosophical issue as it is a scientific one. Then, through the film Snowpiercer, take a look at how a lukewarm approach to pressing issues can create narratives of false security and cast doubt on real dangers that will have consequences for the fate of humanity. x
    • 21
      Soylent Green: Overpopulation and Euthanasia
      When is it acceptable to end your own life? With the rising threat of overpopulation on Earth in the future, see what the 1970s film Soylent Green offers as a solution to dwindling space and resources. Also, consider other ways societies, in both science fiction and the real world, tackle the moral issues of euthanasia (both self-chosen and coerced) and population control. x
    • 22
      Gattaca and the Ethics of Reproduction
      Dive into the ethical questions of “designer babies,” genetic manipulation, and human evolution at the heart of the movie Gattaca, a film which NASA once considered one of the most plausible sci-fi films ever made. Then, turn your attention to a similar issue as you explore the philosophical and scientific ins and outs of cloning, via the Canadian TV show Orphan Black. x
    • 23
      The Handmaid's Tale: Feminism and Religion
      The television adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale offers a grim vision of a future in which religious fanaticism reshapes the United States into a misogynist totalitarian state. Professor Johnson provides a brief overview of the meaning(s) and different stages of feminism in the 20th century and examines what the disenfranchisement of women says about the uses and abuses of power. x
    • 24
      Kubrick’s 2001 and Nietzsche’s Übermensch
      Analyze one of the most famous—and possibly weirdest—sci-fi films of all time: 2001: A Space Odyssey. Consider the imagery and ideas of Kubrick’s vision and determine whether, as some suggest, it reflects the concept of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Übermensch. Close with a brief glimpse of the science fiction worlds still waiting for you to explore them. x