Do love learning? Do you dream of taking college classes, but the cost and the time is too much? Are you taking a high school or college class and struggling to understand the material? Did you cut your cable, and can’t find anything decent to watch anymore?
Fear not! The Great Courses are here!
Cheshire Public Library has always had a handful of these delightful media, but through a generous donation, we’ve been able to greatly expand our holdings to more than 70 titles.
What are the Great Courses? Professional college-level lectures on audiobook or DVD on a variety of topics, given by actual college professors and experts (like Neil DeGrasse Tyson!), that will give you the equivalent of an entire college class in the comfort of your car or living room. Some come with study guides and questions to think about, but you will never have a test or a grade at the end!
The Great Courses was the brainchild of Thomas M. Rollins, the former Chief Counsel of the US Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources (1985-89). Inspired by a 10-hour video lecture series he watched as a student at Harvard Law, he set about creating his own video series under the business label The Teaching Company. He recruited professors to record lectures on topics people were interested in learning about. Because the lectures were chosen by customers, they caught on quickly. There are currently more than 900 lectures available in a wide variety of topics. Some are short – four hours – while others (like the Civil War) can run to 14 discs.
Great Courses are expensive – that Civil War set is more than $500 to purchase yourself, but in 2016 the company began a $20/month streaming service, and then in 2021 rebranded itself under the name Wondrium. Wondrium not only offers more than 280 of the Great Courses, but also content from Magellan TV, Craftsy, and Kino Lorber, which carries art films, documentaries, world cinema, and classic films (silent films like Metropolis, Charlie Chaplin, and more).
If you don’t feel like yet another subscription to a streaming service, check out the library’s offerings downstairs in the adult department. We have more than 30 titles on DVD, and more than 35 on audiobook for learning on the go. As Fat Albert used to say, “If you’re not careful, you may learn something!”
Did you know that if you’ve already studied the material, you can often exempt a college class? It’s called the CLEP program – College Level Examination Program. Basically, if you can pass the exit exam for a class, you can get college credit for that class. Not every school offers it, not every class is covered, but if a Great Courses lecture can help, you can save several hundred dollars!
Check out these great titles and more!
Some of our Audiobook titles:
Native People of North America
Rise and Fall of the British Empire
Some of our DVD titles: