Preparing for Class

Preparing for your discussion course, class or event is quick and easy. Just be sure to complete each of the necessary steps. If you have questions or need help of any kind, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re glad to be of assistance.

Steps 1 & 2: Find and Register

Find the course, class or event you wish to take on the Great Discourses website and register online or by email or telephone.

Step 3: Read Welcome Email

Shortly after your registration is completed, you will receive a welcome email containing important information about preparing for and accessing your course, class or event. Please ensure that your email provider and spam filter(s) will allow you to receive email from If you are participating in a free introductory class, you will need to do very little. If you are participating in a discussion course, you will be directed to the dedicated course page at the Great Discourses Collaboratory Online Course Center where you will be able to access course information and communicate with your instructor and classmates before and after class sessions.

Step 4: Obtain Syllabus, Books and Other Materials

Great Books discussion courses, classes and events revolve around one or more readings. Usually you will be asked to do readings at home in advance of a class session. Sometimes there will be no homework and all reading will be done in class. In either case, please make sure to follow the instructions in your welcome email and/or at the Collaboratory course page to obtain whatever readings and other materials are required. Particpants in free introductory online classes will receive a short reading by email that does not need to be read in advance, as it will be read and discussed during the introductory class itself.

PLEASE NOTE: For a variety of reason we generally recommend that participants use physical paper books and texts whenever possible. If you do choose to use a digital format text in an online class, however, we recommend using a separate device for your text so that your primary device can be reserved for accessing the online classroom.

Step 5: Test Equipment and Local Study Space [Online Classes Only]

Participating in an online discussion course, class or event requires an Internet-enabled computer or mobile device running free web-conferencing software, as well as a local study space that is free of physical and virtual distractions. We recommend that you set up your computer or device before your first scheduled starting time in order to make sure that everything works as expected, and that you arrive for your first scheduled online session about 15 minutes early so we can troublehshoot any technical problems that may remain.

Step 6: Read Homework for First Class Session

Although most Great Discourses discussion courses, classes and events do not require any reading in advance of the first class session, some do. Please make sure that you know what reading(s), if any, will be discussed in the first class session and that you do the required readings in a thoughtful and open-minded manner.

Step 7: Join the Zoom Online Classroom [Online Classes Only]

Every online classroom has a unique identifier called a “Meeting ID,” which is a 9, 10, or 11 digit number. Depending on the type of activity you are participating in, your activity Meeting ID number as well as a live Internet link to your online classroom will be either be sent to you in a Welcome Email or will be found on the relevant course page in the Collaboratory Online Course Center. We recommend that you arrive for your first online session about 15 minutes early so we can troubleshoot any technical problems that you may experience.

Step 8: Congratulations! You are Now Ready for Class!

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