I have used 2 of the Great Courses(GCs) in learning circles and have 3 more scheduled for the New Year. I find the level of content just right for my audience; that is, the lectures go into enough depth to be a bit challenging, no homework is required, the accompanying handbook in pdf format suggests discussion questions for each lecture.
One issue is the length of these courses, usually 24 to 48 half hour lectures. I prefer to run between 6 and 8 lectures for a learning circle. Much longer seems like too much of a commitment.
I’ve handled this in two ways. For An Introduction to Infectious Diseases, I am breaking it into parts of 6 lectures each. The second part will start in January and will, I think, make sense without the first 6 lectures. These earlier lectures, unlike most of the GCs, are also available on YouTube.
For all the others (Mayans, Outer Planets, Music & the Brain), I selected from the full course. That would be difficult to do with some of them where the lectures build on each other to a greater degree.
Some of the shorter GCs are travelogues. I find that these are too light in content. I started with Mayan World, but after watching the first 2 lectures, replaced the remaining 6 with individual lectures extracted from the course on Mesoamerica. This was much appreciated by the LC participants.
I have some concern about if I might be infringing on copyright. Having carefully read the Terms of Service, I think we are okay as long as we don’t charge for sharing the content. I started with An Introduction to Infectious Diseases because it was on YouTube and clearly not in violation. If a lot of us start using the GCs, perhaps P2PU could approach them for clarification. Personally, I think we are offering GC a service in marketing their courses through exposure to a wide audience. Could they become a sponsor of P2PU?