Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Open Yale Courses - "The American Novel Since 1945"

I've long dreamed of living in some university town where I would be within walking distance of a school that encouraged people like me to monitor lectures and classes that appealed to them.  In my case, these would most often be in the areas of  world literature and American history.  Houston is home to several good schools (Rice University, The University of Houston, St. Thomas University, among them) but none of them are easy for me to get to  - nor, as far as I know, do they allow casual monitoring of even their largest classes.  So, no joy there.

But guess what?  I have discovered that lecturers from the best universities in the world are willing to come to my house to deliver personal lectures free of charge.  No travel expenses, no college fees, and, of course, no college credit.  Materials are suggested, but whether you purchase them is entirely up to you.  Sounds perfect to me because, at this point, I'm not after a degree.  I'm simply looking to have some fun by learning strictly for the sake of learning.

This, for example, is a lecture series from "Open Yale Courses" that I plan to start soon on "The American Novel Since 1945."  This screen shot provides a course overview and shows the first five lectures of a series of twenty-six.

Click on this screen shot to see a more readable version

Think about this for a minute...twenty-six lectures totaling almost 21 hours of clock-time.  Can you imagine what this would have cost you just a few years ago, or what it would still cost if you took such a class on-campus?  Here's a link to the complete page for those who want to take a closer look - please do let me know if you decide to listen to some of the lectures and what you think of them.

This is just the smallest tip of a very large free learning iceberg.


  1. Coursera.org is another great source. Thanks for bringing Yale Open Courses to my attention!

  2. Sounds like a great opportunity to "attend" class from the comfort of our own home and enjoy world-class lectures from great professors. Thanks for letting us know about it. I'll check out Coursera.org as Debbie suggests as well!

  3. It's because of stuff like this open course that I love the internet so much! Thanks for the link!

  4. Great to see a few of my bookish friends are excited about this kind of thing. I've gone through the introduction and most of the second one that continues with a look at "Black Boy." Already learned something I never knew...this Richard Wright "autobiography" is largely fictional and/or stretches of the truth. Ms. Winfrey would be appalled!

  5. I actually did this a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it and read some books I never would have normally. I think only one book I had to abandon though and it took me ages but its well worth doing as I learnt loads :)

  6. Jessica, I'm looking forward to working these classes into my routine. I watched two lectures a few days ago and have been unable to get to another one...can't wait for things to finally settle down. Glad to hear it worked out for you.