Thank you for your interest in Online Great Books! Below are answers to some of the most common questions we are asked. However, if you have a question that is not answered below, please do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to assist you.
After your first meeting, we continue on through Homer. You’ll find that the Seminar will give you feedback on your reading comprehension, critical thinking skills, and more. You’ll dig into your text with renewed insight and purpose. This will propel you into prep for the next Seminar. We complete that process every month.
Individuals who have shown their dedication to Online Great Books by staying up with the daily reading schedule and earning 90% compliance or more will be eligible for a special award. Be persistent!
No. Seminars are created on a first-come, first-serve basis. During an enrollment period, we will populate Seminars with new members as they sign up. Once a Seminar fills with 15 members, a new class will be created and populated. If at the end of an enrollment period, a Seminar only has 13 or fewer members, we will manually assign and distribute those members between already filled Seminars. We will try to group Seminars with members from the same geographical areas.
If you would like to ensure that you and a buddy are in the same Seminars, you will need to coordinate when you sign-up so you do it at the same time.
We don’t. If people cheat or don’t do the readings, that person will be the one who suffers. We operate under the assumption that everyone who undertakes this project is doing it for themselves, and not for the sake of appearances or social credibility. Everything we do is on the honor system. When it comes to reading check-ins, Colloquia and the earning of diplomas, members are on their honor as to whether they did these things or not. If they lie, fudge, or hedge in a way they know deep down is wrong, they cheat their fellow readers, and most importantly, they cheat themselves out of getting better. Lastly, your Seminar mates will know you didn’t read the material. They’ll hear it in the quality, or lack of quality in your comments. They’ll notice you haven’t undertaken the intellectual change that comes to diligent members of OGB.
We suggest at least 18 years old. The texts we read are suitable for all ages, but the discussions in the Seminar are by adults and as such may deal with adult themes that may not be appropriate for children. With that said, a parent can sign up for an account and do the readings with their children.
Currently, no. But it’s something we will offer in the future. Homeschool, book clubs, church men’s or women’s groups and others may want to undertake OGB together. They should! In the meantime, in-person groups are certainly welcome to use OGB as a structuring mechanism for their organizations. First, email email@example.com and let us know the name of your group and the names of the people in that group. We’ll provide you with a code each member can use when they sign up to make sure we place them in the same Seminar. If the group is large enough, you’ll get your own, private Seminar moderated by one of our talented Interlocutors.
Currently, no. But it’s something that we may offer in the future.
You certainly can find a reading list and do it yourself. In fact you could’ve done that at any time in your past. Feel free to do so, but we know that reading these books and discussing with other learners is enriching beyond compare. Sitting in Seminar with other thinkers and discussing the texts brings the insights of many consciousnesses to bear on the problems being discussed. We learn from each other and our intellect is sharpened by our fellow group members.
We also find that people need the accountability that a group offers. It’s harder and harder every day to create reliable meetings in the “meat world.” People are too busy, don’t want to commit, and don’t have the time to host. Maybe most importantly, it can be difficult to find enough people in your circle who want to do such a thing. We find the people and do the organizing for you. We’ve created a community for you.
Leading a group is very difficult and is difficult among peers. We provide you with an Interlocutor who knows the text inside and out and knows how to bring out the most from a group. This alone is worth the fee.
Finally, the membership fee puts some skin in the game. We really want you to do this stuff. When things are free, most people just take it for granted and don’t do anything with it. When you know you’re paying money to be a part of OGB, you’re more likely to actually do the program and not let your money go to waste.
Currently, we are limited to timezones GMT -4 to GMT -7. If you are an English speaker in those time zones, please join us! We’ll have it open to international folks when we see enough demand from English speaking people in other timezones.
We send you your texts. All you will need is internet access with a device that can run our classroom software, a webcam (integrated is fine) and a microphone headset.
You can test your hardware by going to:
Our program always starts with “The Iliad”. We believe that these books do us the most good when read and discussed in Socratic seminars. Since these books build upon each other, we require everyone to work through them all in our seminars.
We don’t provide ebooks. We know that close reading requires us to write in our books. Underlining, making notes in the margin, writing in our questions, etc. help us get the most out of our readings. So, we encourage reading hard copies of the texts. Secondly, providing texts for all of the myriad reader platforms is something we don’t have the ability to support.
Most months you will read about 200 pages. You will never be asked to read more than 300 pages in a month. We try to pace the reading so the average reader can keep up with one hour, three times per week.
For more difficult texts, we slow the reading pace.
Not right now. We do have plans to provide a much accelerated curriculum that might be suitable for those who wish to complete the readings in a few years. This will be intended as a “college replacement”.
No, new seminars form about once each week.
The meeting times are on week nights right now. If you miss your seminar, you can go to another group’s seminar covering the same text if you’d like.
We use the best translations we can get, you may not have the same translation. Additionally, we try to find editions with numbered lines and more room to write in the books.
Since discussion is so important to our method, using the same editions with the same page and line numbers makes Seminar much, much easier.
We do not have a “no book” option.