The Teaching Company

The concept is exquisite. Scour the world for the best professors and record their lectures. Paying customers get world-class university courses, at less than world-class university prices, while attending the class at their convenience. I’ve audited a dozen classes this way (while driving). My favorite so far is Robert Greenberg’s celebrated forty-eight lessons on “How to Understand and Listen to Great Music.” It was absolutely superb. No, it was stellar. More than a music appreciation class, it was a view of western civilization through music. Professionally recorded, lively, insightful, fast-paced, authoritative, and memorable. What more could you want from college on a cassette? Other favorites have been an overview of Egyptian history taught by a mummy expert and a decent introduction to western philosophy. The Teaching Company catalog lists an eclectic range of other seminars; I’d love to hear recommendations from others. One caveat: these courses seem expensive for many individuals. But they are a) way cheap for college, and b) way cheap by the tape (most courses are at least forty or so tapes; also available on DC, DVD, and other formats). You can also check your library, which is where I borrow mine from, or form a course club to share costs.

– KK

The Teaching Company