The Great Courses, a company that identifies, carefully crafts and distributes polished lecture series for busy lifelong learners who don’t have time to take college classes, has released a course about comparative economics by Northeastern Illinois University Professor Emeritus of Economics Edward Stuart.
The course, titled “Capitalism vs. Socialism: Comparing Economic Systems,” comprises 24 separate lectures of about 30 minutes each ranging in topics from the economic consequences of European peace to wealth and state control in China. The series is available on DVD, CD, as audio or video download, or via services such as Amazon, Kindle and Google Play.
The course encapsulates much of Stuart’s life’s work, he said, covering macroeconomics, microeconomics, economic history and international economics.
“This course is especially relevant right now as it touches on the nature of the world and big questions like health care, education, government ownership and private ownership,” Stuart said.
The Great Courses publishes highly polished lectures by professors from internationally recognized universities and other experts in their respective fields. Stuart, for example, crossed paths during filming with retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, who was the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO in the late 1990s.
“I’m both humbled by and pleased by the results of this project,” Stuart said. “This is my passion. I spend most of my time doing this—reading, lecturing and traveling.”
It all started three years ago, when The Great Courses approached Stuart with a topic it had identified for a course. After sending a senior recruiter to sit in on one of Stuart’s classes, The Great Courses invited him to company headquarters in Chantilly, Va., for an audition.
In the spring of 2016, Stuart got the word: The Great Courses wanted to move forward with his course. He had seven months to write, edit and complete 24 lectures before filming would commence. Beginning in November 2017, Stuart made a series of trips to Chantilly to film all of his lectures, usually two or three per day. That’s where he bumped into Clark, who was filming his course, “American Military History: From Colonials to Counterinsurgents.”
The result of the work of Stuart and The Great Courses team is a series of snappy, tight, visually appealing lectures thanks to a crew of three cameramen, a director, a producer, a teleprompter operator and several others.
“It was pretty grueling, the writing and the taping itself,” Stuart said. “Now that it’s all over, I have much more respect for people who do visual production.”
The experience, he said, also is directly translating into his Northeastern classes.
“The experience helped make me a better lecturer,” Stuart said. “Working in a studio with a talented team helped me think about presentation, visuals, how you use your hands. The whole thing has just been wonderful.”