12 courses you could take for a completely free TED degree in Big Ideas:
Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World
Course Description: Fantasy is a key term both in psychology and in the art and artifice of humanity. The things we make, including our stories, reflect, serve, and often shape our needs and desires. We see this everywhere from fairy tale to kiddie lit to myth; from “Cinderella” to Alice in Wonderland to Superman; from building a fort as a child to building ideal, planned cities as whole societies. Fantasy in ways both entertaining and practical serves our persistent needs and desires and illuminates the human mind. Fantasy expresses itself in many ways, from the comfort we feel in the godlike powers of a fairy godmother to the seductive unease we feel confronting Dracula. This course will explore Fantasy in general and Science Fiction in specific both as art and as insights into ourselves and our world.
Shakespeare After All: The Later Plays
Course Description: This free online Shakespeare course focuses on Shakespeare’s later plays beginning with Measure for Measure and ending with The Tempest. This course takes note of key themes, issues, and interpretations of the plays, focusing on questions of genre, gender, politics, family relations, silence and speech, and cultural power from both above and below (royalty, nobility, and the court; clowns and fools).
Introduction to Aerospace Engineering and Design
Course Description: The fundamental concepts, and approaches of aerospace engineering, are highlighted through lectures on aeronautics, astronautics, and design. Active learning aerospace modules make use of information technology. Student teams are immersed in a hands-on, lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicle design project, where they design, build, and fly radio-controlled LTA vehicles. The connections between theory and practice are realized in the design exercises.
Videogame Theory and Analysis
Course Description: This course will serve as an introduction to the interdisciplinary academic study of videogames, examining their cultural, educational, and social functions in contemporary settings. By playing, analyzing, and reading and writing about videogames, we will examine debates surrounding how they function within socially situated contexts in order to better understand games’ influence on and reflections of society.
The Structure of English Words
Course Description: Thanks to historical, cultural, and linguistic factors, English has by far the world’s largest vocabulary—leading many of us to have greater than average difficulty with words, and some of us to have greater than average curiosity about words. Our historical and linguistic study will cover both erudite and everyday English, with special attention to word meaning and word use, to both rules and exceptions. Most words originated with an image. “Reveal” = “pull back the veil,” “depend” = “hang down from.” Change is constant. “Girl” once meant “a young child of either sex;” an early synonym for “stupid” was “nice.” Are there good changes and bad ones? And who gets to decide?
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