Collaboratory Online Course Center

Collaboratory Online Course Center


Great Discourses uses an online learning environment called the Collaboratory ( to manage its discussion courses. To participate in most discussion courses (online or on location), you must have a user account at the Collaboratory in order to access a dedicated course page that contains important information about, and resources for, your course; and allows you, your instructor and your classmates to easily communicate with each other. The account is free and easy to set up, does not obligate you in any way, and can be closed at any time.

Accessing the Collaboratory requires a minimal amount of computing capability and Internet connectivity that should not present a problem for most participants.

Setting Up Your Account

When you register for your first activity that requires a Collaboratory user account, a user account is automatically created for you if you do not have one already — so you do not have to create one yourself: simply log into your new user account following the instructions that were emailed to you

If you would like to explore the Collaboratory Online Course Center without registering for a Great Discourses course, you can quickly and easily create a new user account for yourself. Should you choose in future to register for an activity that requires a Collaboratory user account, the user account you have created for yourself will be used to complete your enrollment (i.e. a new user account will not be created).

When you create your account, you will be asked to choose a “Username” and “Password” for your account, and for your “Email address”, “First name”, “Surname”, “City/town” and “Country”. In order to maintain an authentic global online learning community of like-minded lifelong learners, Great Discourses requires that all members of the Collaboratory register using their real name.

Every Course Has a Dedicated Course Page

Every course has its own course page in the Collaboratory that can be accessed only by registered course participants, the course instructor(s) and Great Discourses administrators. On this page you have access to:

  • Course Details (such as course meeting times)
  • Course Materials (such as the course syllabus as well as course handouts)
  • Secondary Resources Related to the Course (if any)
  • Course News
  • a Course Forum (for bulletin-board-based discussions outside of the online classroom).

The course page will also provide access to:

  • the particular Zoom online classroom used by the course.

Communicate with the Great Discourses Community

In addition to hosting course pages to support discussion courses, the Collaboratory also facilitates messaging between community members.

Powered by Moodle

The Great Discourses Collaboratory is powered by Moodle, a major open-source learning platform. The system is easy to learn and use, but if you do have any difficulties Student Services is always on hand to help.