The Great Courses Plus ‘Top 10’ Shows Nation United in Search of Self-Improvement and Knowledge

‘What America Is Learning’ chart tracks most popular lectures of the video-on-demand service

CHANTILLY, Va.--()--Despite an election climate that sees America more divided than ever, Americans from all walks of life are finding common ground in choosing to better themselves by studying foreign languages, brain-training techniques and even proper English grammar, according to the latest top ten chart from The Great Courses Plus. The subscription-based streaming service is celebrating its first anniversary and now counts tens of thousands of paid subscribers and nearly double its launch content with over 4,000 hours of lectures.

Two lectures from the new “English Grammar Boot Camp” series, taught by University of Michigan’s Anne Curzan—an American Heritage Dictionary usage panel member—claim the first and fourth chart positions. “Cognitive Behavioral Foundations” holds on at third place, while lectures exploring Ireland’s independence from England, rank seventh and ninth, respectively. Rounding out the top ten is a lecture from “An Economic History of the World since 1400” that uses money as a lens to put centuries of power, glory and ideology in focus.

“The continuing evolution of the ‘What America Is Learning’ chart speaks to the unique and deep catalog offered by The Great Courses Plus,” said Ed Leon, Chief Brand Officer at The Great Courses. “With regular influx of new courses like ‘English Grammar Boot Camp’ and ‘The Irish Identity,’ the service allows our users to focus on improving themselves and understanding the world around them, rather than be caught up in divisive political drama as polls close.”

Joining the four chart holdovers at number five is “Jesus-The Man Who Became God,” from Bart Ehrman, a New York Times-bestselling author who has written or edited 27 books on the topic. The top ten span the arts, literature, self-improvement, history, theology, economics and personal development.

Here are the top ten lectures from The Great Courses Plus*:

1. Why Do We Care about Grammar? (from the course English Grammar Boot Camp)

The first lecture explores preferable, acceptable and unacceptable language with context you won’t find elsewhere, as taught by Professor Anne Curzan, Ph.D.

2. Europe on the Brink of the Black Death (from the course The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague)**

A guide to the religious, economic and political structures of mid-14th-century Europe just prior to the onset of the Black Plague, as taught by Professor Dorsey Armstrong, Ph.D.

3. Cognitive Behavioral Foundations (from the course Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques for Retraining Your Brain)**

An introduction to three patients training their minds to improve motivation, manage emotions and interpersonal skills, as taught by Professor Jason M. Satterfield, Ph.D.

4. Prescriptivism: Grammar Shoulds and Shouldn’ts (from the course English Grammar Boot Camp)

A primer on the sometimes ambiguous and complicated rules for right vs. wrong usage of proper English, as taught by Professor Anne Curzan, Ph.D.

5. Jesus-The Man Who Became God (from the course How Jesus Became God)

The series begins with a look at how the divinity of Jesus was first conceived, a significant question affecting Western civilization, as taught by Professor Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., M.Div.

6. Introduction to the Spanish Language (from the course Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language)**

The basics of how to approach, study and speak Spanish, as well as an introduction to the fundamentals of conversation, as taught by Professor Bill Worden, Ph.D.

7. Roots of Irish Identity: Celts to Monks (from the course The Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature)

A look at the political and artistic events that rocked the world as Ireland gradually emerged from British rule, as taught by Professor Marc C. Conner, Ph.D.

8. Yellowstone: Microcosm of the National Parks (from the course Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America)**

The tour of North America’s National Parks begins with Yellowstone, the breathtaking landscape that inspired the conservation and access efforts, as taught by Professor Ford Cochran.

9. Gaelic Ireland’s Fall: Vikings to Cromwell (from the course The Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature)

A deeper dive on centuries of oppressive English rule that puts Ireland’s history into context, as taught by Professor Marc C. Conner, Ph.D.

10. Self-Interest, Human Survival, and History (from the course An Economic History of the World since 1400)

The first in a series explores how economics created the world as we know it, from the feudal system to the high-speed information economy, as taught by Professor Donald J. Harreld, Ph.D.

Contact The Great Courses with questions or visit us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube. #LifelongLearning #WhatAmericaIsLearning #grammar #history #BlackDeath #religion #Ireland #Yellowstone #economics

About The Great Courses Plus

Unlike streaming services that merely aggregate content, The Great Courses Plus content is all originally produced, and there are no plans to remove lecture series as long as they remain relevant. Members of The Great Courses Plus get unlimited access to more than 8,000 lectures online via connected television or mobile devices for a monthly subscription fee. New members can sample the service without risk for 30 days with a one-month free trial. Learn more at

About The Great Courses

The Great Courses is the nation’s leading developer and marketer of premium-quality media for lifelong learning and personal enrichment. Delivered in engaging, expertly produced video and audio (in convenient online, digital, video on demand and disc formats), these carefully crafted courses provide access to a world of knowledge from the most accomplished professors and experts. The content-rich, proprietary library spans more than 600 series with more than 14,000 lectures designed to expand horizons, deepen understanding, and foster epiphanies in the arts, science, literature, self-improvement, history, music, philosophy, theology, economics, mathematics, business, professional advancement, and personal development. Creating unique learning experiences since 1990, The Great Courses is the premier brand of The Teaching Company Sales, LLC of Chantilly, Virginia, which is owned by Los Angeles-based Brentwood Associates. More information can be found at

*Top ten courses by play count between September 1-October 31
**Denotes chart holdovers from August 1-31 period


for The Great Courses
Kaitlen Murphy, 310-824-9000

Release Summary

Despite an election climate that sees America more divided than ever, Americans are finding common ground by studying foreign languages, brain-training techniques and even proper English grammar.


for The Great Courses
Kaitlen Murphy, 310-824-9000