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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Taking Classes From Yale

I love learning new things and I have an eclectic range of interests. Over the weekend, I spent some time exploring iTunes U and found some classes from Yale that sounded interesting. The one that grabbed my interest the most was titled Epidemics in Western Society since 1600. First up was the bubonic plague.

I learned something right off the bat. While I knew the plague had hit Europe more than once in the middle ages, I didn't realize that plague had continued beyond that. In fact, there were outbreaks right up to the 20th century, IIRC.

The class comes in an audio version and a video version. I was using the audio version, but the third lecture on the bubonic plague involved artwork of the time and depictions revolving around the plague, so I'll have to go back and watch the video in order to see the paintings that the professor is talking about.

The plague is a particularly fascinating epidemic to me--I'm not sure why--but I've watched a number of television shows about it. The best of the lot was one I saw on PBS about how a certain gene helped the people who survived.

Waiting in the wings are about three or four more Yale courses. I love that the internet has given me (and anyone else who has access) the opportunity to take classes from universities across the world, especially one like Yale. In the past, I've found other classes online like the class on earthquakes from Berkeley and the ones on geography from Stanford.

The best part? I don't have to do the papers or take the tests. I can just learn without pressure. Seriously cool!