10 TED Talks That Could Be Used As Course Titles

I was perusing my morning Twitter stream and came across a few friends discussing the current state of course titles. Long story short, most are still stuck in the dark ages. Biology 101? World History 1812-Present? These titles may seem like they’re accurate and fit but… they’re boring.

In this day and age of short attention spans, flipping of classrooms, and rethinking of education… it’s time to rethink course titles. While some schools admittedly are starting to do a better job of making course titles a bit more attractive, most are not up to par.

In an effort to give school administrators and teachers a guidepost with which they can rethink current course titles (what better time than in July, right?), I offer up the idea being shared on Twitter this morning: that we take a page from TED and offer courses using their naming schema.

In other words, make the course titles sexier, the descriptions more attractive, and get students excited to attend a class before they even step foot in the classroom for the first time.

So, without further ado, here are potential course titles that are actual TED talks / TED categories. I’ve put the actual name followed by what course it could actually be below it. Click the big title to learn more about each topic.

Inventions That Shape History

(Could be a course on world history or even engineering / physics.)

The Way We Think

(Could be a course on sociology, anthropology, philosophy, Kant, Sartre, etc.)

How Things Work

(A course on engineering, chemistry, or any life science.)

Playing With Language

(Pick a language, any language! Or call your Latin 101 course this!)

Math In Real Life

(Could be literally any basic to advanced math class. More likely the former.)

Awesome Nature

(Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geology, pick a science… any science!)

Cyber-Influence & Power

(Political Science or most any computer-related subject.)

What Will You Do With Your Life?

(That’s a doozy of a title, eh? Could be good for a capstone course right before graduation.)

You Graduated…Now What?

(Another doozy of a title. Could be another great course for seniors / people about to graduate.)

Ingenuity And The Developing World

(An inspirational title that could be the focus of a political science, history, or even computer-based course)

Go And Flip Your Lesson!

Now that you’ve seen some of the topics and videos from TED Ed, why not use their new ‘Flip This Video’ tool and edit the video so it’s perfect for your classroom. You can use TED’s tool to turn a basic TED talk into something perfect for your classroom. Click here for more info on how to flip these videos. Want to flip a video from YouTube? You can do that here.


  1. Bill Hanna

    July 18, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I think I’d rather have “boring” course titles that could be easily transferred between institutions than something that’s “sexy.”

    Plus, I’d be curious to know how many grad schools or biotech companies would be eager to see “Awesome Nature” on a graduate’s transcript.

  2. Terry Heick

    July 18, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Bill, I think it’d be easy to align TED-style titles beneath the umbrella of traditional “content areas,” while also benefiting from titles that more precisely described what was being learned.

    And were more engaging to boot.

  3. Michelle Spear

    July 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Creative-sounds like our passions titles!