Help & FAQ

Help & FAQ

Thank you for your interest in Great Discourses. We’ve tried to anticipate your questions below and in the nearby help topics and resources. If we haven’t completely succeeded, please contact us. We’re glad to be of assistance.

1. Are Great Discourses online courses “MOOCs” or webinars? TOP ↑

No. Both MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) and webinars (web seminars) are primarily about the one-way transmission of information from the teacher / presenter to the student / participant. Great Discourses online discussion courses are live, interactive two-way/many-way discussions that take place online in which participants interact with each other in real-time — just like in a physical classroom. If anything, our online discussion courses are more like “teleconferences on steroids,” adding live video conferencing to traditional audio conferencing. See “How Discussion Courses Work” for more information.

2. Are there any requirements for, or prerequisites to, taking these courses? TOP ↑

Yes and no. On the one hand, Great Discourses online discussion courses are designed for intellectually curious adults from all walks of life who want to read and discuss Western and World classics in order to unlock the mysteries of the texts — and of their own lives. As such, they do presuppose a desire and ability to devote a modest amount of "quality time" to the thoughtful reading of weekly homework assignments, as well as to active participation in weekly online class sessions. On the other hand, our courses do not require anything more than that. Almost every intellectually curious English-reading-and-speaking adult is capable of successful participation. See “Types of Discussion Courses” for additional information.

3. How do I get started? TOP ↑

Easy: register for a free introductory online class or one of our general interest online discussion courses. Participation requires an Internet-enabled computer or mobile device that you almost certainly own and free software that is easily downloaded and installed. A webcam (web camera) and a headset with boom microphone or earbuds with an online microphone are recommended for the best experience — and you probably have those already too (if not, they are widely and inexpensively available). See “Technical and Other Requirements” for details.

4. What if I’ve never done anything like this before? TOP ↑

No problem. Your instructor, your more-experienced classmates and our Student Services help desk will be happy to “show you the ropes;” and almost everyone gets the hang of what we mean by “collaborative close readings of classics” within a few sessions. In fact, most new participants are soon amazed that they’d ever lived without this kind of intellectual stimulation.  See “How Discussion Courses Work” for more information.

5. What if I try it and I don’t like it? TOP ↑

Every Great Discourses online discussion course is covered by our money back satisfaction guarantee. If a course is not to your liking after the first one or two class sessions, you can unenroll and receive a full refund. See “Tuition, Discounts and Guarantee” for complete details.

6. Can I get credit for completing a course? TOP ↑

As a form of adult lifelong liberal education, Great Discourses discussion courses do not carry educational “credit” in the traditional sense. Students may, however, request a “Certificate of Completion” for each course successfully completed. Moreover, through an arrangement with Harrison Middleton University, most Great Discourses discussion courses have been pre-approved as eligible for Harrison Middleton CEU. See “Completion Certificates and CEU” for additional information.

7. What if I’m traveling or need to miss a class? TOP ↑

One of the best features of online discussion courses is their convenience. You can literally participate from almost anywhere that has Internet or telephone access. All you need is the time. And if you don’t have the time to participate in a live online class session, you can watch a recording of the session and “chat” with your classmates via the supplementary online course forum. See “Missing Class” for more information.