Of the more than 500,000 college professors in the world, only the top 1% are selected to teach one of The Great Courses, and Media Arts & Studies professor Eric Williams is one of them. Often called “the Netflix of learning”, The Teaching Company’s Great Courses lecture series has been around since 1990. In January of 2018, Bill Gates told Time Magazine “One of my favorite sources for interesting lectures is The Teaching Company. They get incredible professors to teach courses on pretty much every topic you can think of. I always take at least one of their DVDs to watch when I travel. He also said the courses have "incredible professors" who cover "every topic that you can think of".
Williams’ course, “How to View and Appreciate Great Movies” consists of twenty-four half-hour episodes ranging in topics such as Screenwriting, Directing, Editing, Sound Design and Special Effects. Eric said that it took him more than a year to write and develop the content. The scripts total more than 100,000 words. He based the scripts on his history as a professional screenwriter, producer, editor and cinematographer. He has worked professionally as a filmmaker in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. He has also written three book on screenwriting and the creative process of media production as a professor at Ohio University. The series was released in September.
For years, the Great Courses series have covered topics such as history, philosophy and music. Last year, they decided to introduce the topic of film appreciation in 2018 and invited Professor Williams to audition for the job. “It was a competitive process,” says Williams. I had to do two face to face interviews, a written submission of ideas, and two practice sessions (one audio only, and one on a television set). Each step of the way, a different set of people reviewed my addition and approved me to the next round. According to the Teaching Company the process is rigorous, “Our esteemed faculty includes award-winning experts and professors from the most respected institutions in the world, selected by our customers exclusively for their ability to teach.” At Ohio University Professor Williams has received the Scripps College Teaching Leadership Award in 2016. He was a finalist for the Presidential Teacher Award in 2014, received the Honors Tutorial College Distinguished Mentor Award in 2009 and the University Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007.
You can learn more about the series and see a preview, here:
Photo: Williams and the crew from The Teaching Company
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