Congratulations to my longtime friend Tom Woods on the launching of his new website Liberty Classroom after a year of planning and much blood, sweat, and tears. If you are interested in history or economics, if you home school your kids and need resources, or if for some reason you ever wanted to see me in front of a camera, please give the site a look.
The site currently contains four full series of college-level lectures on American and European history (taught by Woods, Kevin Gutzman, Brion McClanahan, and Yours Truly). At the moment, about half the lectures on the site are mine because I did all of both series on Western Civilization (84 lectures altogether!). Fortunately for subscribers, plans are for new courses to be added regularly; the first to go up will be a course on Austrian economics by Jeffrey Herbener, chair of the economics department at Grove City College.
You get access to all the site’s material, including not only the recorded lectures (with accompanying quizzes and bibliographies), but also discussion forums and access to the lecturers, at an annual subscription rate of just $99. I think this price compares very favorably to what you’ll find at the Great Courses, which charges you about the same amount during a sale for just one course of comparable length on DVD and provides no opportunities for interaction with the instructors.
(During this first week of operation, inevitably there are some bugs that have to be worked out. I understand yesterday’s spike in traffic came close to crashing the server (a good problem to have, I suppose), and the discussion forums apparently have yet to be activated. One of my lecture links on the site mapped to the wrong file . . . I’m sure all these things will be resolved very quickly, though.)
Recording the lectures for this site was a real challenge that occupied me off and on for more than six months. I was unfamiliar with the software in the beginning, and lecturing to a camera rather than to live people in a classroom was a very different experience. I eventually got comfortable with the process, though, and learned how to record and edit the presentations in a reasonable amount of time.
I’m excited about using the site myself because I haven’t yet had a chance to view any of the lectures from the other three professors, all of whom have more impressive publishing credentials than I do. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot about American history in the next few months by listening to what they have to say.
So check out Liberty Classroom and continue (or begin) your process of self-education!