The Great Courses is a series of college-level audio and video courses produced and distributed by The Teaching Company of Chantilly, Virginia. I can't say enough about how much Mike and I have learned from them.

Each course is comprised of a series of lectures (6 - 90) by an outstanding American university teacher. The presentations are basically just "talking heads." There may be some added photos or empasized words - but the essence of each course is a great teacher talking about their favourite subject with enthusiasm and clarity. Although there is no chance for interaction with the teacher - no essays or tests to check what you've learned - you really do learn new things. The courses build on each other. For example, the non-Newtonian concept of "gravity" was really hard to understand the first time I heard about it from Ben Schumacher. It was easier when I heard it again from Richard Wolfson. I still don't get string theory - but I'm hopeful.

Another amazing thing about the Great courses is that after a few lectures, you begin to feel as if you actually know the instructor. Yes, Robert Greenberg IS my music teacher! I love his wicked sense of humour and wide-ranging expertise on all things musical. Yes, Dean Hodgkins is my fitness instuctor - I do his classes on resistance bands or free weights a couple of times a week. My fitness level has noticeably improved.


    Here are a few of our many favourites:
  • Kloss, William: A history of European art
  • Hodgkin, Dean: Physiology and fitness
  • Sapolsky, Robert: Stress and your body
  • Anding, Roberta: Nutrition made clear
  • Liulevicius, Vega: A history of Eastern Europe
  • Dues, Michael: The art of conflict management: achieving solutions for life, work and beyond
  • Tobin, Harold: Oceanography: exploring earth's final wilderness
  • Hazen, Robert: The origin and evolution of earth: from the big bang to the future of human existence
  • Greenberg, Robert: How to listen to and understand great opera
  • Greenberg, Robert: Understanding the Fundamentals of Music
  • Solomon, Robert: No excuses: Existentialism and the meaning of life
  • Kors, Alan Charles: Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th and 18th Centuries
  • Schumacher, Ben: Black holes, tides, and curved space-time: Understanding gravity
  • Ehrman, Bart: The history of the bible: the making of the new testament canon

    Mike and I own more than 120 of the Great Courses on DVD and a few on CD. They are not too expensive, if you buy them on sale - so we buy whatever looks interesting whenever we get a new sale catalogue. Many libraries alos lend them. We have been watching the courses since 2007. We listen to at least one lecture every day - sometimes even when we are trailering or boating. Usually we have several courses on the go at once.

    The Great Courses are one of my main sources of learning after retirement. Watching them makes it easy to learn something new and worthwhile everyday.