Technical and Other Requirements

By combining time-tested texts, teachers and methodologies with cutting-edge technologies, Great Discourses delivers professionally designed and led discussion courses of exceptional quality, both online and on location. These courses in turn foster an ongoing, online global community of like-minded lifelong learners. Both the courses and the community help participants transform the challenging into the exhilarating and elevating through “Aha!” moments of profound discovery, unlocking the mysteries of the texts being studied, the world around them, and themselves — while at the same time sharpening their critical thinking, critical empathy and collaboration skills; maintaining their general mental fitness; and forming new friendships.

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

Zoom Online Classroom

Live, online discussions of classics take place in an online classroom hosted by Zoom (, a major provider of web-conferencing services. Participation requires a modest amount of computing capability and Internet connectivity that should not present a problem for most participants.

Technical Requirements

The technical requirements for participation in the Zoom online classroom are:

  1. Hardware: A modern, Internet-enabled computer or mobile device running a modern operating system (Zoom supports PC, Mac, iOS, Android, MS Surface PRO, and Kindle Fire HD);
  2. Software: A Zoom-supported web browser plus the latest, updated web-conferencing software (free) downloaded from that is able to connect to the Internet through any firewall and/or security software that you have installed;
  3. Internet Access: Reliable, moderately-fast Internet access capable of supporting real-time video feeds;
  4. Audio/Video: A functioning webcam plus audio speakers and a microphone (ideally combined in a headset with a boom microphone or earbuds with an inline microphone).

Most participants will already have the necessary hardware and Internet access, and the necessary software is free and easy to download and install.

Local Study Space

Beyond commonly-available technology, participation in an online discussion course also requires:

  1. Local Study Space: A quiet, comfortable environment free of physical and virtual distractions for the duration of each online class session.

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