Thegreatcourses.com DVD's
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  1. #1
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    Default Thegreatcourses.com DVD's

    I splurged on a bunch of DVD's from a website called The Great Courses (thegreatcourses.com). Right now, they're having a sale on many of their items (DVD's, CD's, audio/video downloads). The sales look to be 70% off the regular price. The regular prices can be a bit steep but the benefit is being able to watch/listen as often as you want. Or wait until the lecture you want goes on sale.

    It seems they're associated with National Geographics and the Smithonian so they should be quality stuff. It looks like professors from various universities are the ones narrating/teaching these courses.

    I had picked up something similar years ago from Barnes & Noble, called the "Portable Professor" series. Those were basically lectures on CD and also involved professors from different universities. B&N no longer produces the Portable Professor series, which is sad. But if the Great Courses lectures are the same as the PP series, I think they should be good.

    I just received the DVD's I ordered. They include a course book with each lecture DVD, so that's a plus. I'll post reviews on what I have.

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    I've started watching one of the lecture series I ordered over the weekend. Well, I technically started two but I only watched two episodes of one so far. I'm further along (6 eps) on that one. So far so good. The professor on the one I'm focusing on is a pretty good lecturer. He speaks clearly and concisely. He's basically just speaking to camera but it does include some notes that flash up on the screen as needed. It's interesting enough that I want to continue with it. This one's on Gnosticism.

    The second one I put to the side but it's also kinda interesting. This one's on gardening, pretty much basic gardening. The lecturer is a horticulturist. The second episode pretty much flashed a bunch of pictures as examples for what she was discussing. But the first episode was good because she actually had plants and other gardening stuff to use for examples, which she did as she spoke. If she continues to do that over just using pictures, I think it will hold my attention better. But I'll wait and see.

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    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    I have the Great Courses Plus.

    It is a monthly/yearly pass that lets you watch all you want for one set price. It does not have all the courses, but it has most of them.

    I like it because I can sample the different courses. Sometimes after one episode I decide I do not care for that particular course.

    Overall, I really enjoy it. There are lots of different professors and some of them are better than others. A lot of the courses have pictures/short videos that help explain things. And some people are more interesting speakers than others.I am watching to one on music and right now. There are lots of music samples as part of the course.
    KathyB

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    I don't have internet service at home. I cancelled it when I was unemployed during the Recession and never bothered to renew since then.

    I picked up a couple more courses that were on sale at 80%. They were really expensive (one on mythology was over $600 and the second on history was over $500) so the 80% off sale made them affordable. I really enjoy mythology and history so I had to snap these ones up immediately when I saw the sale.

    So far I'm enjoying the professors on the ones I've watch so far but I have no doubt some are better lecturers than others, Kathy. I missed the Portable Professor series so this seems to be a good replacement so far. I should play the PP series in the car when I go to LARP since that's a bit of a ride.

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    Finished the lecture on Gnosticism. It was good. The Professor was a good presenter and pretty much kept my attention. There was just a lot of information. I'm going to send it on to my Dad for him to watch.

    Watching the Essentials of T'ai Chi and Qigong. I really like this presenter. He's really upbeat and clearly enjoys the topic. Plus he's actually teaching the Yang Short Form throughout the lecture series, one move per episode. Well, he did teach two in the second episode since the first move was very short and the first episode was the introduction to the lecture series.

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    Started watching "The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition". I'm a bit ambivalent about this one. There's a good deal of information but the presentation is a bit... meh. The lecturer speaks fast which makes keeping up with all the information he's giving harder. He's also constantly moving, which is a bit distracting. Granted, it seems that the lecturers are instructed to face the camera, forcing them to pace a bit, but this particular professor seems to be moving around a lot more than most. I keep wanting to say "slow down, slow down!" It seems like he's trying to cram as much information into each 30 minute lecture as he can.

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    Registered User CPA-Kim's Avatar
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    I have The Great Courses Plus and it's a wonderful service.
    Kim
    The Lord will provide

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    Thanks for the endorsement, Kathy and Kim. I am enjoying the ones I've watched so far, some more than others.

    I'm still watching the one on Mystics, Heretics, and Witches. I'm halfway through the 'course'. Finished with the mystics and heretics and will be starting with the witches. Funny thing is, the professor himself mentioned at some point earlier that his own students start chomping at the bit and want to go straight to the witches section. But I'm glad I made it through the first half. I think I need to watch this one a second time, at least. The professor himself distracts me. I think it's because he goes through the material fast and is constantly moving around. The other lecturers also move around some but they have a more leisurely pace to their pacing. So I need to watch the course again to let the material sink in. I think this first viewing is more of a cliff notes viewing.

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    Registered User CPA-Kim's Avatar
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    I've watched most of the religion and philosophy courses. Then I started watching some science ones. I did the history of Western civilization. It's really a great service and there's something in it for everyone.
    Kim
    The Lord will provide

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    I agree, Kim, it's a really great service. Haven't gotten into the science ones yet but most of what I have so far are history, religion, and literature (mostly mythology). I do have one on T'ai Chi and one on gardening.

    I figured out what bothered me about the Mystics and Heretics lecture. It seems that there was a studio audience in that one (the lecture seems to be one of the older ones). The others that I've watch so far (I finished the Gnosticism one and started the T'ai Chi and gardening ones), there doesn't seem to be a studio audience. There's a different sort of energy when there's a studio audience vs. when there's not and the lecturer's speaking to the camera.

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    Finished the Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in Western Civilization lecture. I'll have to rewatch it again at some point to really let it sink in.

    Started the Myths in Human History lecture. So far so good.

    I find it interesting that there's a different energy when there's a studio audience and when there's not. Or at least when the lecturer is talking to the camera as if speaking to the audience on the other side of the camera. Watching a lecture with a studio audience was like watching someone else's conversation.

    Watching these lectures are helping me get motivated with my writing.

  13. #12
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    Finished the Myths in Human History course. (https://www.thegreatcourses.com/cour...n-history.html) Interesting and nicely done. It included myths from all over the world. It focuses on types of myths (such as trickster gods, sacred places, creation and destruction, etc.) and uses specific myths to explain the lesson, rather than the other way around.

    The one thing that distracted me was when the Professor stepped away from his computer and there would be a few moments of silence. It seemed more like he wanted to get the laptop out of frame before he started speaking again. It was more jarring than anything else since he had a decent pacing, otherwise.

    There are other courses on mythology. I have the one on Great Mythologies of the World, which looks interesting. (https://www.thegreatcourses.com/cour...the-world.html) That one focuses on mythology by region and has four lecturers/professors taking on different regions.

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    Almost finished the course on the Apocalypse. I think I enjoyed this one the most so far. I learned a lot more than I expected, which is cool. I have a lot of other courses to view once I finished this one.

  15. #14
    Registered User CPA-Kim's Avatar
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    I cancelled The Great Courses ($19.99) and three months later they offered me a lifetime subscription for $10 a month. I'm taking it. There are so many more courses I want to watch and I enjoy the format. You can skip over certain lessons if they don't interest you. I'm interested in the T'ai Chi one too.
    Kim
    The Lord will provide

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    Kim, there are a couple of T'ai Chi courses available but it looks like they're all done by the same lecturer. What I've seen so far of the one I started, he's a really good teacher/lecturer.

    As for the lifetime subscription, just be sure to keep an eye on it to make sure they don't start increasing the price without your knowledge and approval. Granted, this is a great service but I keep thinking of how internet/cable service subscriptions keep increasing.

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