Math is Everywhere: Applications of Finite Math

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

Computer fonts, Angry Birds, March Madness, and Google — sound like fun?  Indeed, math is engaging and influences the world around us.

Equations of lines can allow computers to create fonts, store them quite compactly, and render them at essentially any desired resolution.  Plotting the graph of a polynomial can affect how you play Angry Birds as you strive to dislodge the pesky pigs.  Linear systems model the performance of sports teams and influence which college football teams play in the new year bowl games.  You can create your own linear equations to help you create a bracket for March Madness.  Finally, probability and simulation lies at the core of the mathematical algorithm that catapulted Google as a leader in search engines.

You benefit from applications of math every day.  Through this course, you can better understand how you benefit from applications of math in your every day life.  Along the way, you will likely learn new mathematical ideas, too.

Modern China

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

Earlier scholarship on China has left us with a set of assumptions and characterizations that still powerfully affect opinion columns, television commentary, and popular books. In this course, we will rely on recent research and analysis to reach a new understanding of China’s recent past, its present and future.

The last lecture, “Qing and the World, ” has been posted, and closes Chapter 2 of the course. Chapter 3 will open with “The Withering State.”

Economics of Energy and the Environment

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

Energy use and its impact on the environment will be two of the most important issues of the 21st century. The large role of energy in geo-political relationships combined with the fact that most of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with global climate change come from energy production means the energy sector is poised for dramatic change, and thus great opportunity. This course is designed to be a primer for potential entrepreneurs, investors, managers and policy makers on energy and environmental issues.

Topics will include environmental economics, energy economics, environmental ethics, oil sector, the electricity sector, alternative energy, sustainability, climate change and climate policy.

Poetry: What It Is, and How to Understand It

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

Why read a poem?  Why write one?  People say poetry as an art form is imperiled in our time, yet everywhere in the world cultures and individuals memorize, recite, and value various forms of poetry.  This course will attempt to define this genre of writing, to discuss its particular attributes, to distinguish between good and bad poetry, to explain why so much poetry is difficult, and to isolate the sorts of truths poetry seems best at conveying.  Our focus will be on modern poetry, in English and in translation.

Ancient Greek Religion

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

This course offers an introduction to all the main features of Greek religion. It introduces students to its principal gods and heroes, and details how to contact them and gain their goodwill. It explains how to avoid offending the gods, how the gods intervene in human life, how to consult the gods about the future, how to enlist the services of the divine healer, how to look after one’s dead so that they will be able to enter Hades, what to expect in the afterlife, and much more besides.

Classics of American Literature: T. S. Eliot

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

The central purpose of this course is to facilitate a better understanding of poems by T. S. Eliot.  We will focus mainly on classic works such as The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, and The Hollow Men, but we may also take up some less prominent poems as well.  Toward this end we shall also consider some aspects of Eliot’s biography, his literary criticism, and the cultural backdrop of his times.  Our final objective will be to clarify not only Eliot’s poems but the revolution in twentieth century poetry largely attributed to Eliot and his cohort Ezra Pound.

Is U.S. Democracy Broken?: Perspectives and Debates

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

American democracy seems in crisis, as we face legislative gridlock, soaring deficits, negative campaigns awash in donations from anonymous sources, growing public distrust of government, and protest movements on the right and left on the political spectrum. This class provides an overview of competing views on contemporary American democracy and a fresh look at some key issues facing our polity, including campaign finance, the War powers, the politics of deficit spending, and the proper policy-making role of the courts.

Russian Literature and Music

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

During the previous two centuries, Russian speaking writers and composers have made extraordinary contributions to the culture of the world. They have also presented a truly remarkable understanding of the human soul. The objective of this course is to provide an opening into this colorful, absorbing, and deeply sensitive universe of written images and pulsating sounds.

Foundations of Business Strategy

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

Strategic analysis is critical for analyzing the competitive context in which an organization operates and for making reasoned and reasonable recommendations for how that organization should position itself and what actions it should take to maximize value creation. In this course, we will explore the underlying theory and frameworks that provide the foundations of a successful business strategy. Managers, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, analysts, and consultants all may find value in mastering these fundamentals.

The United States Constitution: A Biography

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

Since its adoption in 1788, the United States Constitution has provided a stable framework of government for a dynamic and growing society.  How was this framework created?  Why was it written?  What are its underlying principles?  We will discuss the Constitution’s origins in a century of political turmoil, and come to understand how it was intended to work and what problems it was meant to resolve.

Brazil for Beginners

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

Long described as the “country of the future”, Brazil has arrived. The fifth largest country in the world in land mass and population, the third largest democracy, and the sixth economy on the planet, Brazil has emerged as a power in the early twenty-first century. This course offers a concise overview of Brazilian history and culture from the 15th century to the present. It concludes with a look at the dynamic nation that has taken shape in the last generation.

Operations Management

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

This course provides a general introduction to operations management. This course aims to (1) familiarize you with the major operational problems and issues that confront managers, and (2) provide you with language, concepts, insights and tools to deal with these issues in order to gain competitive advantage through operations.

This course should be of particular interest to people aspiring a career in designing and managing business processes, either directly (V.P. of Ops, COO) or indirectly (e.g. management consulting). The course should also be of interest to people who manage interfaces between operations and other business functions such as finance, marketing, managerial accounting and human resources. Finally, a working knowledge of operations, which typically employs the greatest number of employees and requires the largest investment in assets, is indispensable for general managers and entrepreneurs.

We will see how different business strategies require different business processes, and vice versa, how different operational capabilities allow and support different strategies to gain competitive advantage. A process view of operations will be used to analyze different key operational dimensions such as capacity management, flow time management, supply chain management, and quality management. We will also discuss developments such as lean operations, just-in-time operations, and time-based competition.

Elixir: A History of Water and Humans

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

Water. It caresses and comforts us, provides sustenance and refreshment, is something that humanity has cherished since the beginning of history, and means something different to everyone else. Yet the history of water remains little known.

Water tells the story of changing human relationships with water over the past 10,000 years and tries to answer some basic questions:

  • How have human attitudes to water changed since people first began to manage their water supplies?
  • What major events in the past have defined our present relationship to water, not as something revered, but treated as an anonymous commodity?
  • Why are we now facing a global water crisis and what are prospects for the future?

This is the story of gravity and human ingenuity, of irrigation and aqueducts, of humble farming villages, ancient cities, and the rise and fall of civilizations. We draw on archaeology and hydrology, on anthropology and ancient oral traditions, on classical literature and Islamic agriculture—on a broad array of scientific inquiries in many languages and in all parts of the world.

Taking this course will make you look at water in an entirely new way.

Foundations of Public Health

A Faculty Project Course – Best Professors Teaching the World

From the plagues that took millions of lives over the course of centuries to modern day concerns about bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases, public health is a story of how nations have risen and fallen. It is a story of the human condition and human interactions. It is a story of survival and perseverance in the face of tragedy. Public health as a field is at a critical turning point. New technologies from social media to geographic information systems are changing the way we study understand the spread of disease. New methodologies from crowd sourcing to social network analysis are taking our focus away from seeing populations as groups of individuals. Instead, we now see individuals as dynamic parts of socially complex, emergent social networks.

This course introduces students to the field of public health and emphasizes where the field has been and where the field is going. Students are challenged to think of public health in new ways and to go beyond old paradigms that view public health as a field restricted to vaccinations or smoking cessation programs. Public health is presented as a fast paced field with new innovations that are changing the way that we approach disease and wellness.

Class begins soon.  Enroll now and we’ll email you once the first lecture is up!