Friday, September 11, 2009

Free Medieval History Courses

From the World History Blog:

Free Medieval History Courses: "Several universities are putting complete courses online for free now. Visitors can peruse course materials and watch lectures even if they do not get any academic credit for it. MIT is probably the best known for this but some other schools are as well including Notre Dame and the University of Washington.

Here are three example courses dealing with medieval history:

Medieval Economic History in Comparative Perspective - This MIT course is from the fall of 2006. The course features an extensive list of readings and assignments. A list of useful Web sites is also available in the related resources section. This course also features archived syllabi from various semesters.

Europe's Awakening - This is an Open University course in the UK. The site notes, 'One of the most remarkable features of modern European history is the gradual emergence of that theoretical reasoning and experimental practice focused on the natural world that today we call science. In this unit we throw light on that eventual emergence of modern science in Europe by examining its beginnings in Greece and making comparisons with the early achievements of Chinese and Islamic science.You then return to medieval Europe in order to understand the intellectual and social origins of what has been called the 'scientific revolution'.'

The Dark Ages - This UMass course is from the Summer of 2008. Beginning with the decline of the Roman Empire, this course discusses German, Muslim, Viking and Magyar invasions, the development of Catholicism in Western Europe and of Eastern Orthodoxy in the Byzantine Empire, the Arabic contribution to mathematics, science, and philosophy and the institutions of feudalism and manorialism. The course concludes with the economic, demographic and urban revival which began around 1000 AD.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Highest-Paying College Majors: PayScale

Where's Early Modern Spanish Intellectual History?

Highest-Paying College Majors: PayScale: "

If you're one of the unlucky group of recent college graduates who've found themselves contending with the rotten job market, there's a possible consolation: some majors pay much better than others. PayScale recently released their rankings of the highest-paying college majors (Hat tip to Business Insider.)

As you'll see in the chart below, the best way to ensure a high starting salary is to major in some form of engineering. In fact, the only other majors in the top ten of PayScale's rankings are economics, physics and computer science. Topping the list was aerospace engineering, which had an average starting salary of $59,600.

Sadly, some of the lowest-paid college majors are in the business of helping others. Social work finished dead last with an average starting salary of $33,400. Elementary education and education also finished in the bottom ten.

Where does your major rank? Check out PayScale's entire list.

Annual pay for Bachelors graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have 2 years of experience; mid-career have 15 years. See full methodology for more.

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Tolkien Estate, New Line Cinema Settle "Lord Of The Rings" Lawsuit

Nerds rejoice: the Hobbit movie just might get made after all!

Tolkien Estate, New Line Cinema Settle "Lord Of The Rings" Lawsuit: "

LOS ANGELES — The heirs of J.R.R. Tolkien and a movie studio that produced the blockbuster "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy have settled a lawsuit over the films' profits, it was announced Tuesday.

The out-of-court resolution clears the way for a two-film prequel based on Tolkien's novel 'The Hobbit' and will benefit charities around the world, according to a joint press release announcing the settlement.

The lawsuit had sought to rescind New Line Cinema's rights to make films based on the book.

Tolkien's heirs sued New Line Cinema in February 2008, claiming the studio owed it millions in profits from the movies released between 2001 and 2003. The films earned an estimated $6 billion in sales of movie tickets, DVDs and merchandise.

No settlement paperwork has yet been filed with a Los Angeles court. The terms of the deal are being kept confidential.

'We deeply value the contributions of the Tolkien novels to the success of our films and are pleased to have put this litigation behind us,' said Alan Horn, president and chief operating officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Warner Bros. acquired New Line in March 2008.

One of the main beneficiaries of the settlement is The Tolkien Trust, a British charity that supports causes around the world.

Christopher Tolkien, one of the author's trustees, said the lawsuit was regrettable, but the estate is 'glad that this dispute has been settled on satisfactory terms that will allow The Tolkien Trust to properly pursue its charitable objectives.'

Bonnie Eskenazi, an attorney who handled the lawsuit for the Tolkien estate, said the settlement vindicated the heirs and will touch more than just movie audiences.

The lawsuit claimed Tolkien's trust received only an upfront payment of $62,500 for the three movies before production began but was due 7.5 percent of the gross receipts.

Peter Jackson, who directed 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy, will serve as executive producer on 'The Hobbit' films. The prequels have already endured a legal path as treacherous as the story's trek by hobbit Bilbo Baggins to the Lonely Mountain.

Jackson and New Line feuded for a year over the trilogy's profits before reaching an agreement in 2007 that cleared the way for work on 'The Hobbit.'

The two prequels will be directed by Guillermo del Toro, who directed the two 'Hellboy' movies and 'Pan's Labyrinth.'


Attracting Students With 'Juicy' Course Names

This is from Inside Higher Ed. I saw a similar phenomenon when I worked at a school in NYC but this was regarding food. The chef and I were friends and he would experiment naming items. He would put out "carrots" and there would be few takers. Change the name to "Floridian Carrots" and the things flew onto people's trays. Stunning, but true.

Attracting Students With 'Juicy' Course Names: "

With administrators on the hunt for low-enrollment courses and programs to cut, faculty members are going to greater lengths to attract students to their courses. One trend, The Boston Globe reported, is to make course titles more 'juicy.' For example, Michael Resler changed the name of his “German Literature of the High Middle Ages’’ class to “Knights, Castles, and Dragons.' Enrollment nearly tripled.