Great Courses

The Making of a Great Course

I’m thrilled to share that I’ve been offered a contract to create and teach a Great Course! I was raised on the Teaching Company’s content. Every birthday, Christmas, and sometimes just for no reason at all, my father—an insatiably curious lifelong learner himself—would gift me a new Teaching Company course. To this day, my parents have closets full of their courses on VHS—yes, VHS! — DVDs, and more.

After being raised on their content, t’s a privilege to now be part of actually creating it.

My course will be called Storytelling and the Human Condition. It will explore great stories from across history and culture and reflect on what they teach us about what it means to be human, and what it means to live life well.

Below is the course description. Be sure to sign up for Civic Renaissance to stay up to date about the course release in 2023!

Storytelling and the Human Condition Course Description

When asked how she found inspiration for her work, acclaimed writer, journalist and filmmaker Nora Ephron enjoyed quoting her mother: Everything is copy. People across time and place have used stories to help them understand who they are and their place in the world. We can, too. In looking at great stories from across history and culture, we will be better able to understand what it means to be human, the makings of a life well-lived, and how we can use stories to enhance our lives, too.

We are surrounded by fodder for our creative work. Each experience, great or small, has within it stories to discover, and insights to be mined. But which stories are worth telling? How might they help your personal and professional lives? In this course, you will explore answers to these questions, and others, as you examine the power of stories across medium and era and explore what they reveal about our humanity and the human condition. From Aesop’s Fables to Boccaccio’s Decameron and the legendary Arabian Nights, you will mine insights from famous stories and storytellers of the past to help us cultivate attention to the stories in our everyday. In encountering great stories of origin, purpose, and destiny, you’ll be invited to answer these questions for yourself, too. You’ll be given a chance to excavate your own life—even, and especially, your negative experiences—and transform them into powerful tools of healing and community. Learn to harness the power of stories to lead a better life—and to better understand the richness, complexity and possibility of the human condition.