You may have heard of the Great Courses, originally developed by Thomas Rollins. For Thomas M Rollins teaching always needed to be something that appealed to everybody, while at the same time understanding that nothing every could appeal to everybody. Understanding that there were plenty of university courses and lectures available already, he decided to develop a system in which people could access that type of information without having to go to university themselves. Read on to learn how he came to develop this genius idea.

A Brief Thomas Rollins Story

Rollins was a Harvard Law student and was had to face the U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence examination. This was a hugely important examination and one for which he was totally unprepared. The subject was also notoriously boring, but Rollins knew that, if he wanted to graduate, he had to pass the exam. And, to pass the exam, he had to understand the material. Rollins was lucky enough to find ten video tapes by Professor Irving Younger, one of the greatest authorities on the subject, on which lectures had been recorded. In a marathon session, Rollins watched all the tapes one after the other and, he says, this is what changed his life.

Never had Rollins experienced anything like this in the Harvard lectures. No professor he had ever come across was as insightful, engaging, or thorough as what Irving was in his video lectures. But the key thing was that Rollins was able to grasp complex concepts in a way that was both interesting and accessible. Suddenly, he found an enjoyable adventure in learning, instead of a chore.

Rollins completed watching the video tapes and went on to sit the U.S. Federal Rules of Evidence examination. He passed the exam itself and even ended the course top of his class with a full A. But what he learned more than anything, was how powerful these types of lectures were, so long as they were delivered by a teacher who was of true high quality. He knew that people want to learn because they are inspired by others who have already done so. He kept these lessons in his heart and, in 1990, he decided to found the Great Courses so that others were able to enjoy the same.

From the word go, he knew that only the best of the best should be able to deliver lectures, so he set out to find the top 1% of lecturers from all over the world. Secondly, he knew that courses could only remain engaging if the audience enjoyed them, so he started to ask for feedback. Today, 25 years later, some 19 million courses have been taken and all of them continue to adhere to these two principles.

Every course in the Great Courses catalog comes with a 100% lifetime satisfaction guarantee. Every professor attracted to deliver lectures is vetted and vetted again, not just for their knowledge on the subject, but mainly for their ability to teach. Great Course customers continue to expect the best of the best, and that is exactly what they receive.

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