Teach That Old Dog New Tricks–Monday Meanderings


Photo: dogtrainingtips.com

Photo: dogtrainingtips.com

I have an insatiable need, an addiction really, to learning. If a day passes in which I haven’t had a chance to study, to learn something new, by day’s end I feel unsettled. Yes, I am an old dog and that means I may not remember every detail of the CD I’ve listened to. And I may need to listen twice or more to really hear what the instructor is saying. But I promise you I can tell you more about Othello or Waiting for Godot then I could a month ago. Or the relationship of neuroscience to spirituality. Or…well, that’s enough. But you get the idea.

Re-learning things I learned during my formal education takes on a totally new and exciting aura for me. Aside from the fact that most classroom learning occurs (for the majority of us) when we are young and, depending on how long ago that was, we may have forgotten a lot, adult learning acquires meaning that comes with living—experiences not accessible to us as a child. And for many of us, so much has happened in between—such as novels we didn’t have time to read when we were working and/or raising a family or new developments in science (there were no quarks during the four chemistry classes I suffered through.)

There are so many easily accessible sources of continued education. The courses I turn to most often are CD’s from The Great Courses—offered by The Teaching Company. Most of their courses are available in audio, digital download and DVR. Some are not offered in audio because of the need to illustrate. These include, for example, Art, Science and Math courses. Although I am a visual learner, I choose audio because of time restrictions. I listen daily while I do my half hour of floor exercises, so that both body and brain keep functioning. Also, they are a godsend for long commutes or road trips.

Photo: The Teaching Company

Photo: The Teaching Company

The Teaching Company courses are presented by outstanding professors in their field of academia. So far, the instructors I have encountered have all been widely published and are recipients of multiple awards. The lectures cover just about any subject in which you may have an interest.

They are a bit pricey, but if you get on their e-mail distribution list you will receive notification of sales and every course is offered for sale at least once a year. I rarely pay over $50.00 for a course and when I do it’s for one with a lot of lectures. The one I’m listening to now, for example, Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative, has 64 lectures.

Another resource I’ve just discovered a few month ago is offered through edX and also are taught by distinguished university professors. The course I’m just beginning is about Walt Whitman’s poetry. The professor is from Harvard. These courses are free unless you want a certificate. For myself, the knowledge is all I want or need. Fellow blogger, Amy of Soul Dipper introduced me to these courses last year (thank you, Amy) and I completed a session on early American poetry by the same professor. It was in an online video format and quite will done.

If you are aware of other places to feed my addiction, I hope you will share them with us in the comments. Have a blessed, creative week. Keep on learning! 

Note: I will be “unplugged” until Tuesday PM. “See” you then!

Image: coetail.com

Image: coetail.com

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11 thoughts on “Teach That Old Dog New Tricks–Monday Meanderings

  1. Bodhirose says:

    My nephew recently told me about edX. There’s so much available out there these days…really no reason not to take advantage of them. Thanks for sharing, Victoria.

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  2. claudia says:

    very cool…i love to learn as well…try to always extend my horizon a bit.. learning a new instrument or dip my feet into painting like right now… i always need to try something new a bit every once and awhile and that def. keeps the spirit alive..

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  3. barbara_y says:

    There’s Coursera.org. They carry Penn’s Modern Poetry (ModPo). That is a tremendously fun event. Ten weeks in the fall, reading American Modern poets.

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  4. brian miller says:

    smiles…i am back in grad school so that takes most of my spare time….i love learning new things…and often they spin off of things i read…that prompt and investigation…and more reading….smiles.

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    • Brian, I don’t know how you keep up. I was almost 50 when I finished my graduate degree, managing an AIDS unit in SF and newly married. It’s all such a challenge. I would never have had time to write poetry, let alone do all that you do for our poetry community. You amaze me.

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  5. I think we are kindred spirits, Victoria. I took my degree online, and loved every minute of it, even the exams! You can look at the Open University, which is putting on a lovely selection of FREE courses under the heading Futurelearn. I’m starting “Understanding Oceans” in a couple of weeks.

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