Mini-Courses

Feeling ambitious? Connect with Hopkins faculty for in-depth, short course explorations on timely topics and eternal questions.

lectures mini-courses JHU@TED Calendar For Credit For Enrichment


Open Courses


Music and Technology in the 21st Century

Tuesday, May 26 at 5:30pm EST
Prerecorded Lecture + Live Discussion

Sessions:

1. How do computers think about music?
If you’re a singer or instrumentalist that learned about music using ‘conventional’ notation, sight reading and ear training, this presentation will teach you the fundamentals of computer music software such as MIDI sequencers and Digital Audio Workstations. By the end of it you should be ready to dive into Garageband, Logic Pro or Cakewalk, as well as plug-ins and sample libraries, and get creative.

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2. What happens in the recording studio?
For musicians hoping to get experience in a professional recording studio, or those wanting to hone their home recording chops—or just music fans!—here is a primer on how a recording session is conducted, how to prepare and rehearse for it, and the roles of the musicians, producer and sound engineer.

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3. Why use music in films?
This is a detailed explanation of the history and conventions of musical scoring for films and TV, with a look into the future of interactive music for games and VR.

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Chaucer: Five Canterbury Tales

Tuesday, May 26 – Tuesday, June 23
Lecture + Live Discussion
5 sessions

Geoffrey Chaucer is sometimes called the ‘father of English literature’ not only because he wrote so well but because he has been, and remains, a poet who had a unique power to capture in language the foibles and strengths, the folly and wisdom, and the rich variety of perspectives that make us human.  Though his the language in which he wrote (Middle English) requires an initial stretch for modern readers, it is quickly mastered and well worth the effort, since Chaucer was also the first poet in English to use the language with such finesse and precision. We will read five of the most accomplished of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and I will work to explain his unusual and innovative techniques for bringing the fourteenth-century England to life in language.

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Radio: The Theater of the Mind

Thursday, May 28 – Thursday, June 18
Lecture + Live Discussion
4 sessions

Are you frightened by the thought of unseen invaders in your living room? Do you suspect foreign agents or even your own family members of trying to poison you? Is the government lying to you? If you said yes to any of these questions then you may be ready to return to the theater of yesteryear: Radio, The Theater of the Mind. Here drama is performed on the stage of your imagination. Voices become characters and sound effects props. Like bats flying blind, with radio we create set designs in our own minds through such simple means as reverb and echo. A gasp or a held breath can thrill or tickle us as much as the special effects Hollywood now spends millions on. In this course we will investigate how radio classics like the “War of the Worlds” and “The Jack Benny Program” used mere sound and even more meagre silence to spread both panic and laughter. We will consider how the Golden Age of Radio’s favorite genres and much-beloved shows were shaped by society, technology, and politics: the fear of big government, greater equality for women, the aftermath of one shadowed by the threat of another World War, as well as the invention of radio itself and the spread of other technologies designed to bring the world right into your living room.

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Sounds of Change: US Reform Movements through the Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection

Tuesday, June 2 – Tuesday, June 30
Prerecorded Lecture + Live Discussion
5 sessions

The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection is a gem among our Special Collections holdings. This carefully curated collection of 30,000 pieces of popular sheet music is the perfect lens through which to explore US reform movements, including suffrage, emancipation, anti-war, prohibition/temperance, and labor.  

Each section will provide a brief overview of the reform movement, and dive more deeply into it through the lens of 3-4 historic songs, examining the history revealed by each song and the specific techniques used by composers to achieve the emotional affect needed to further their movement.

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Cold War Liberals

Tuesday, June 16 – Tuesday, July 7
Lecture + Live Discussion
4 sessions

The purpose of this short course is to introduce (or reintroduce) alumni to an important chapter in contemporary intellectual history. The course studies several writers and scholars whose work in the early Cold War was decisive for casting the conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States as a struggle between democracy (and pluralism) and totalitarianism. All of the writers in the syllabus were politically committed to the cause of the West. Koestler was the front man for the Congress on Cultural Freedom; Orwell was an outspoken critic of “fellow travelers” in Britain; Schlesinger was a founder of Americans for Democratic Action. Berlin, a native Russian speaker, was less overtly political, but he was influential behind the scenes in official Washington and London. His articles for Foreign Affairs, especially “Political ideas in the Twentieth Century,” and his radio lectures on Freedom and Its Betrayal in 1951 were genuine instances of academic thinking that had an immediate impact on public debate and even public policy

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Course Catalog

Living with Pain

Taught by Travis Rieder and Hanna Pickard

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Jane Austen of Our Times

Taught by Evelyne Ender

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Politics and Populism

Taught by Yascha Mounk

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Shock and Awe: Impacts in Space, Science, and Society

Taught by KT Ramesh

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Eating in the Anthropocene

Taught by Jessica Fanzo, PhD 

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The Art of Negotiation

Taught by Stacey B. Lee

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Preserving Integrity in Turbulent Times

Taught by Cynda Hylton Rushton PhD, RN

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Rough Magic: Shakespeare on Power

Taught by Eliot Cohen, PhD

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Italian Style in Context

Taught by Leonardo Proietti

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Manipulating Life: The Ethics of Emerging Biotechnologies

Taught by Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH

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Fake News from the Flood

Taught by Dr. Earle Havens

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Investigating the Temple of Mut

Taught by Betsy Bryan

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