Napoleon: A Life

14th May 2020

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

Napoleon: A Life, by Andrew Roberts.  Having read Robert’s wonderful Napoleon, we now realize that we’d had an enormous gap in our understanding of European history—a gap related to Napoleon and the Napoleonic wars. If you’re a biography buff, Napoleon himself was one of the most fascinating characters of his, or any, age.  As Roberts points out: “Napoleon Bonaparte was the founder of modern France and one of the great conquerors of history. He came to power through a military coup only six years after entering the country as a penniless political refugee. As First Consul and later Emperor, he almost won hegemony in Europe, but for a series of coalitions specifically designed to bring him down. Although his conquests ended in defeat and ignominious imprisonment, over the course of his short but eventful life he fought sixty battles and lost only seven. For any general, of any age, this was an extraordinary record. … 

“Even if Napoleon hadn’t been one of the great military geniuses of history, he would still be a giant of the modern era. The leadership skills he employed to inspire his men have been adopted by other leaders over the centuries, yet never equaled except perhaps by his great devotee Winston Churchill… The fact that his army was willing to follow him even after the retreat from Moscow, the battle of Leipzig and the fall of Paris testifies to his capacity to make ordinary people feel that they were capable of doing extraordinary, history-making deeds… Napoleon is often accused of being a quintessential warmonger, yet war was declared on him far more often than he declared it on others.” 

If you are a fan of either history or biographies, don’t miss this book! But be prepared for battlefield detail—right down to the McDonalds’ parking lot currently located at a once key hillside now called Napoleonshöhe outside Abensberg. Also good for (33-hours-long!) audio listening.

Free Distance-Teaching Resources for College Instructors, Now Through September

Whether you have been teaching online for 15 years or 15 days, the last few weeks have tested your resilience and ability to adapt. Course Hero is one of Barb’s very favorite student and instructor support institutions. They have a digital mountain of materials to help with course and assessment design. The great news is that Course Hero is opening this gigantic digital library of course-specific resources to all college instructors in the U.S. and Canada, from now through September. You’ll find this is an enormous support if you are designing online courses for the upcoming summer and fall terms. When you sign up for a free educator account, you can access a library of more than 40 million course materials—including case studies, tests, quizzes, assignments, problem sets, and more—to support your course and assessment design.

Smart Speakers May Soon Act As Public Speaking Coaches

As Terry has mentioned, education is the killer app for deep learning in artificial intelligence.  And here is a perfect example of why that’s the case: “Researchers from Penn State have developed a program that turns Amazon’s Alexa into a public speaking coach.”

Learning Effectively

Barb had a lot of fun speaking about learning, and all and sundry, on Max Wiegand’s podcast. Enjoy!

Why I’m Learning More With Distance Learning Than I Do in School

This New York Times op-ed by 13-year-old Veronique Mintz provides insight into how online learning can actually be a boon for students.  As Veronique notes: “I don’t miss the other kids who talk out of turn, disrespect teachers and hit one another.” This one is worth reading in its entirety.

The Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Here’s a marvelous little video from our friends at Olive Oil Lovers about the myriad of health benefits of high quality extra virgin olive oil. And here’s a link specifically to high polyphenol olive oil selections at Olive Oil Lovers.  (Each olive oil listed there shows the polyphenol count in mg/kg.) Here’s one of the many recent research papers about the health benefits of the oil related to memory and cognition. Finally, here’s our favorite book about olive oil: Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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