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Friday, August 21, 2015

The Great Courses - Lifelong Learning at the Library

Posted by Amanda E.:

The Great Courses materials are university quality educational materials designed for lifelong learners.  They cover a broad range of subject matter.  EPL was fortunate enough to have quite a few donated to us recently and I had the privilege of cataloging them and helping to get them ready for circulation.  While I was cataloging them, quite a few really piqued my interest.  I wanted to share these with you so that you know about them and check them out. 

I currently have The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking by Chef Bill Briwa of The Culinary Institute of America at home.  This is the second time I’ve checked this one out.  It is a ton of information that starts right at the very beginning.  I’m still on the fourth lesson Saut√©—Dry-Heat Cooking with Fat.  The first three lessons have already improved my kitchen skills. I have begun thinking differently about how flavors interact and my knife skills have sky rocketed. If you’ve ever had trouble dicing an onion I recommend this DVD set just for that! The instructor is engaging and informative.  I am never bored.  He uses recipes as part of the instruction so you get a practical example of how to use your new skills. The lessons are all presented in DVD format and there is an accompanying book that presents the same information nearly word for word with DVD. It has great images and is a really helpful resource when you’re actually working in the kitchen.  I can’t recommend this course enough if you are interested in brushing up your culinary skills.

I haven’t checked out the rest of these Courses yet but I’ll be hitting them up as soon as I’m done with the Cooking Course. (All summaries taken from the Great Courses website

In 24 detailed lectures, using numerous guided exercises, Professor Muesse teaches you the principles and techniques of sitting meditation, the related practice of walking meditation, and the highly beneficial use of meditative awareness in many important activities, including eating and driving. As a major strength of the course, you learn in depth how to use the skills of meditation in working with thoughts and emotional states, in deepening sensory awareness of the body, and in becoming deeply attentive to the operation of your mind. Emphasizing clarity and practical understanding, this course will leave you with a solid basis for your own meditation practice and for bringing meditation's remarkable and empowering benefits to every area of your life.

With Fundamentals of Photography, you'll learn everything you need to know about the art and craft of great photography straight from a professional photographer with more than 30 years of experience. Designed for people at all levels, these 24 lectures are an engaging guide to how photographs work and how to make them work better for you. National Geographic contributing photographer Joel Sartore has crafted a course that will hone your photographer's eye so you can capture the greatest moments in nearly every situation and setting imaginable, from a field of flowers to a friend's birthday party to a grand mountain range. Taking you both inside the photographer's studio and out into the field, this course is a chance to learn, in a way anyone can grasp, the basic insights and hidden secrets of photography.

Now, discover the secrets to increasing and expanding your brain's power to meet everyday challenges and enhance the quality of your life with Optimizing Brain Fitness, an engaging 12-lecture course that shows you how to take advantage of the basic principles of brain operation and build the brain you want to live with for the rest of your life. Delivered by Dr. Richard Restak, an award-winning teacher, practicing neurologist, and professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, these lectures are packed with vital information and research-based exercises you can perform every day to tap into your hidden mental potential.

With 12 Essential Scientific Concepts, you can finally satisfy your desire for scientific inquiry in a way that makes this enormous field accessible, understandable, and undeniably captivating. Indre Viskontas, an award-winning cognitive neuroscientist affiliated with the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco, has a knack for making hard science clear to laypeople. She boils down the scientific world into 12 key concepts every educated person should know. Devoting two lectures to each concept to give you more time to engage with it, her 24-lecture course is your introduction to everything from the behavior of subatomic particles to the latest theories about the Big Bang. Concepts that may have eluded you in school, that you may not be familiar with, or that you simply never appreciated for their intricate beauty are now brought to vivid life in a way that sticks. Welcome to the world of science—reduced to its powerful essence.

Created for a lay audience and readily accessible, in this course science always takes precedence over drama. The lectures are certainly entertaining, often funny, even awe-inspiring at times, as befits the subject matter. Even though you will be entertained, you will be learning good science. Clear introductions to essential principles of physics support these lectures, including density, quantum theory, gravity, and the General Theory of Relativity. Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson also includes forays into disciplines such as chemistry and biology as needed to explain events in astronomy.

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