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July 07, 2008

More Toulmin

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

The LA Times profiles an inspiring, tough-love-style English teacher. (Link thanks to Dave Lull.) Fun to see that he's influenced by the philosopher Stephen Toulmin, who I raved about back here. For the life of me I can't figure out why Toulmin isn't a zillion times better-known than he is.

You can learn a lot about Toulmin and his ideas from this excellent Teaching Company lecture series. Unless you have money to burn, though, don't buy the series until it's offered on sale, when the cost will be less than half what it currently is.



posted by Michael at July 7, 2008


Why the hell haven't they adopted any of the following:

a) a subscription service (with different plans ~ unlimited lectures overall, unlimited lectures within a subject, 30 lectures a month, from any subject...)

b) An iTunes model where you can purchase lectures individually (I love Ponce de Leon but don't give a shit about explorers, for example)

c) A media or PR driven sampling strategy (putting hit lectures on YouTube for free)

They have a product that, once tried, people fall in love with...becoming loyal customers.

Seems like they're missing the boat on a lot of $$$ which, of course, would mean more and better lectures with higher production value.


Posted by: Braccia on July 8, 2008 1:07 AM

I wish I knew more about the inner workings of the Teaching Company! They seem to like keeping pretty tight control of their product -- their series are for sale only thru their own website and catalogue, as far as I know. (You can't buy them on Amazon, for instance.) I wonder if "tight control" is a part of their general philosophy. Maybe they feel that's part of what enables them to keep up standards. And if so, maybe that determination to keep control would explain why you can't access their material in bunches of ways. But I'm just speculating ... They're pretty forgiving, though: buy a series when it's on-sale and the price is great. And if you're unhappy with anything you buy from them, you can return it for a full refund.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 8, 2008 8:18 AM

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