Back to School

When cramming for an exam at Harvard Law School, Rollins felt woefully unprepared and obtained videotaped lectures of a noted authority in the field. To his amazement, the lectures “were outrageously insightful, funny, and thorough.”
Years later, when he felt the wisp of educational nostalgia resurging, Rollins founded The Teaching Company (, capturing excellent university lecturers in many disciplines on audio and video recordings. A friend and I first bought “Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition” together, and I thank Rollins ever since. These stimulating lectures have broadened my horizons and deepened my understanding of so many dimensions of human existence. Religion, history and philosophy are my draws, although I constantly dabble in all disciplines. Professor David Zarefsky’s final lecture on “Abraham Lincoln” brought tears to my eyes.
I’ve since added The Modern Scholar lectures of Recorded Books ( to my ear candy collection. Though the lecturers are less consistently out-of-the-ballpark-great as those of The Teaching Company (and sometimes there are obvious editing mistakes), these on sale are also more than worth the price. Listening to Timothy Schutt recount the “Wars That Made the Western World” is about as fascinating and intriguing as human communication can get. Marvelous!
A host of resources can also be found free online. YouTube has created a separate address ( for university lectures. The sheer volume of presentations available is daunting, but anyone will quickly find fascination by clicking on the “Most Viewed” videos.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a leader in the field of online open classrooms. While the focus is obviously on the sciences, all courses found at are incredibly interesting, even for non-scientists. A host of other university courses can be found at
Most engaging for its truly broad diversity of scintillating presentations of all kinds on all topics, with none over 20 minutes in length, is A dose each day will make you the most interesting conversationalist on the block.
This fall, when the buses roll through your neighborhood, don’t miss out. Go back to school in your car or home, or even at your computer.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

77 − = 75

Designed and Developed by Harris Internet