Think Inside the Box

My latest shipment from The Great Courses, producer of audio and videotaped lecture series, prompted me to write this post.  They came up with an innovative marketing/thought provoking technique: Think Inside the Box.

As you can see from this picture, the inside of the box is full of facts and anecdotes from various lecture series.

“Rossini wrote all of his operas before he turned 37, and then he retired.  He started at the age of 18, and 19 years later he had written 35 operas before he put down his pen forever.”  —How to Listen to and Understand Opera

“During his secret negotiations with Zhou Enlai in Beijing in 1971, Henry Kissinger wore an oversized, borrowed shirt with a label that said “Made in Taiwan.” –The Fall and Rise of China

“Beethoven’s favorite foods were oysters, blood sausage, and head cheese.”—The String Quartets of Beethoven

“In the late 1800s Georg Cantor proved mathematically that there can be more than one infinity, an idea that seems conceptually impossible.  He showed that there are infinite infinities.”—Zero to Infinity: A History of Numbers

I developed an interest in The Great Courses when I bought my parents a lecture series about the Louvre since they were interested in visiting Paris.  I ended up watching the course myself and have ordered many more since then.  Between the cool anecdotes in the shipment box and the constant supply of enticing new catalogues, I just keep ordering and learning!

I mostly like the arts-based Great Courses, but you might like the business, scientific, mathematical, philosophical, historical, or health-themed lecture series.  My favorite course is The Genius of Michelangelo—truly fascinating whether you have a passing or significant interest in the man.  I’ve ordered several surveys of art and have branched out to Understanding the Human Factor: Life and Its Impact (about the implications of man’s transition from hunting and gathering to the domestication of plants and animals) and Myth in Human History (a lot easier to explain).

If you want to learn but don’t like dealing with papers, commutes and professional development credit, The Great Courses are for you.  They make daily tasks more fun and educational.  I actually look forward to laundry and ironing because it’s such a good time to watch a course.  I imagine that an audio course would be nice to listen to on a summertime cross-country car trip or just bumper-to-bumper traffic.

I am not affiliated with The Great Courses, except as a satisfied customer.  I don’t receive any benefit from this post.  I just wanted to tell you about how these courses enhance a lifelong-learner lifestyle.

P.S. About pricing of The Great Courses:  Courses go on sale all the time, so watch for sales.  If you like a course but it’s three to five hundred dollars, just wait for it to go on sale.  Once you buy a course, they tell you about all the sales and send you coupons.  The courses are more affordable than you’d think.

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Posted in Tips for Teachers by Corey Green @ Jul 15, 2011


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