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A Global Success. Reflections on the success of a ‘Romp through the History of Philosophy’ Marianne Talbot University of Oxford. At the beginning of the academic year 2008/9… …I didn’t know what a podcast was….

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a global success

A Global Success

Reflections on the success of a ‘Romp through the History of Philosophy’

Marianne Talbot

University of Oxford

At the beginning of the academic year 2008/9…

…I didn’t know what a podcast was…

“In case no one has told you: your podcast entitled ‘A romp through the history of philosophy’ is number 1 in the top worldwide downloads from iTunes U. 

Yes, your podcast is currently the most popular worldwide download of those in iTunes U.

Congratulations!”Barry CorneliusOxford University Computing Services,

It meant that ‘The Romp’ was being downloaded 20,000 times a week…

…as of May 2010 it had been downloaded over half a million times…..

…it was also written up in many UK national newspapers.

At the moment, just over a year after it hit number 1…

…it has returned to no.6 in the iTunesU chart (after being featured again on the iTunesU front page)…

…it is still being downloaded 5,000 times per week

Some hugely flattering….

“Thank you thank you thank you.”John Stroncheck Web Developer

“Thank you for this outstanding resource. I forgot how fascinating philosophy could be, and I am sure your exemplary and passionate delivery of the lectures is largely responsible for that”Maurice Frank, GA, USA

“You changed my life. Absolutely loved “Philosophy for Beginners”.Vivek

“Thank you for the wonderful initiative. Now I can drive my car while listening to your philosophy course and leave my car a bit wiser then when I entered it. Keep up the good work!Best regards from a Norwegian fan, Heggedal, Norway

Others complaining….

“As a result of your lectures, my journey takes a lot longer as I slow right down to make the journey last a lot longer.” Ben Rooney USA

My wife and I both found the series accessible yet not simplistic, interesting and engaging (indeed, so engaging that the discussions resulted in several late nights and one missed meeting!). Thank you. Bryan & Gwen Wagner-Adair

Still others engaging me in philosophical debate….

“I have a question for you: does the idea of potentiality undermine much that could be believed about causality and ethics?”Christopher Buck

“you can help me figure out something that has had me confused of late. What is the meaning of life?”Daniel, Sweden

It is truly humbling….

…I love the idea of reaching people all over the world….

…it has been impossible not to speculate on…

…the reasons for the success of ‘The Romp’..

I think its success is down to the following factors in the following order:
  • Philosophy
  • Oxford
  • The title
  • My lecturing style
The word ‘romp’ was truly inspired…

If you put it into Google images this is the sort of thing that’ll come up….

I am not sure how many people searching for something quite different….

…decided instead to do philosophy but…

Marianne Talbot\'s lectures are engaging, accessible and entertaining, striking the right balance between challenging the listener to make cognitive leaps and leaving them lost without hope of grasping the key concepts. She is clearly a very gifted teacher, not only because of her obvious enthusiasm for philosophy, but because she is very mindful of her students\' perspective, allowing her to guide them through the thought experiments step by step, making sure they truly grasp the topic at hand.

She clearly defines specialist vocabulary and concepts allowing the listener to follow without difficulty. Even without the aid of the diagrams she draws for her audience, very little is lost through the audio format as she explicates and reiterates her arguments so well.

These lectures have been a wonderful introduction to philosophy and have genuinely inspired me to learn far more about this fascinating subject. I hope that more become available soon, I will be sure to listen to them if they do!




Spreading the word
  • barriers
  • incentives
  • Are we making ourselves redundant?
  • We are not at all technical
  • We are very shy
  • We hate losing control
  • Talking to the world!
  • Usefulness to students
  • Hugely useful
  • World travel!
I know that many of you are teachers…

… and that you are hoping soon to make some podcasts….

…I think you are doing absolutely the right thing…

…I wish you the very best of luck…

…ditto to the techies amongst you who will surely help!