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May 27, 2003

Teaching Company Alert


The Teaching Company, which markets recorded lecture series that you can buy on CD or audiotape, and of which I'm a semi-great fan, puts their courses on sale now and then, at which point they become amazingly good deals.

They just announced that two courses I enjoyed a lot and can recommend enthusiastically have gone on sale: Timothy Taylor's Economics and Robert Sapolosky's Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality. Taylor's series is ideal for math dopes like me who nonetheless want to make some sense out of econ -- I can't imagine a better intro for mush-heads. An incredible steal: 35 bucks for 15 hours' worth of couldn't-be-more-clearly-organized-or-enthusiastically-delivered lectures. Sapolsky's course is a quick but brilliant romp through how the physical properties of the nervous system and what we experience as mind might interact -- it's a fab intro to neuroscience for, yes, mush-heads. Plus, hey, it kicked off fresher ideas in my head about the arts than any art criticism has in years. An equally good price: 16 bucks for 6 hours of lectures.

The Teaching Company is here. Taylor's course is here. Sapolsky's is here.



posted by Michael at May 27, 2003


I second this sentiment. The Teaching Company is the best educational product I've ever seen and their prices are a steal. The lecturers are at least two levels above the average lecturer I had at Pitt and the London School of Economics.

My daughter was just born and I'm already dreaming about taking a year or two to homeschool her using Teaching Company tapes (along with the great reading lists that come with each course). I bet we could beat the pants off of St. Johns Academy!

Posted by: Robert Holzbach on May 29, 2003 12:54 PM

Hi Robert, I'm with you -- some of these taped courses (at prices like 16 bucks or 64 bucks) are far better than almost anything I took at a fancy Ivy college and a fancy grad school. And I'm surprised more people don't take advantage of what the Teaching Company offers. I've certainly listened to some bummer courses of theirs, but I'm enjoying passing along recommendations to the good ones. Which ones have been your faves?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 29, 2003 1:15 PM


Actually I plugged this before (in a previous TeachCo thread), but my favorites have been:

1) US Civil War
2) Understanding Poetry
3) Shakespeare
4) Dante

And I should caution the other readers that what you mean by "bummer" courses is that they were just typical, or the kind of avg course we took in college but at $50 vs what $3000 a class?

My big question is: what does the existance of things like this mean for homeschooling? TeachCo is expanding all the time and the field is sure to attract new entrants as well.

Bill Gates said of the internet "I don't know what it will come out to, but I do know I wouldn't want to be in the long distance phone business with that THING out there." Well, I wouldn't want to be in the private prep school business with these THINGS out there!

Posted by: Robert Holzbach on May 31, 2003 2:32 PM

Oops, right you are, Robert, of course. Apologies -- middle-aged Alzheimer's in full bloom here. And thanks again for the recommendations.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 31, 2003 8:21 PM

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