The New Format for My 2014 Online Philosophy Classes

Today I am very excited to announce my new schedule of classes and the new flexible pricing plans students can choose from. And in this post, I will explain the new format for the classes that will enable students to join classes midstream and to continue learning subjects they like at times convenient to their schedules for as long as they want.

I used to have classes with discrete beginning and end dates, and a set schedule of 40 hours, much like a University course. From now on, however, I’ll be doing things differently. The model is no longer the university course, but the weekly book club or yoga class. People will be able to join in at any time without worrying about having “missed” previous material and they will be able to keep going for as long as they want continuing to have fresh discussions.

In the Ethics and Philosophy for Atheists classes, I’ll accomplish this using two techniques. The Nietzche class will be handled differently, as will be explained at the bottom.

First, there will be a general orientation for new students, with the purpose of making sure they are up to speed on what I consider to be a minimal knowledge set for participation in my classes. There is not much that I assume students will know, but an orientation will work well in any case to ensure that students aren’t lost from day one.

Second, I’ll structure each class session so that the first half hour will introduce the session’s topic from scratch, regardless of what may have been covered already in previous class sessions. This initial discussion will be useful to students who are new to the class, and to students who would like a “refresher” on some things that had been previously covered. But any student who’d prefer to skip out will be absolutely welcome to join in for the main part of the session and not be charged for the half hour they skip. In the main two hours of the session I will always cover a fresh reading, book, philosopher, or angle on a question that none of the participants have studied with me in depth before.

Of course, it may be that a class happens to contain all beginners or all experienced students. In such cases, I’ll adjust the format accordingly. The main goal will always be to make the class flexible enough to accommodate students whatever their level of experience with the topic.

The Nietzsche class will always be a regular 2.5 hours designed for both beginners and advanced students to study the entire time together. New students will be given a special 2.5 hour orientation lecture, outside of a regular class session, to orient them to the big picture of Nietzsche’s philosophy. Then the regular sessions of the Nietzsche class will consist of close readings of texts running through most of Nietzsche’s work, book by book, covering a substantial number of each book’s subsections throughout the course of a year or longer. Students are not obligated to take the full year or longer but can sign up for differing weeks’ long commitments, according to the various course “passes” (see below.

New students will acclimate to reading Nietzsche through practice in class. I will also regularly fill in all the students about other ideas from Nietzsche’s other works that illumine a particular text we are looking at that moment. Both beginners and advanced students will benefit in their own ways from my orienting discussions and my more in depth analyses, and from each other’s novel insights into the text.

See the new schedule of classes and check out the new pricing options. Classes begin March 9, 2014 and then run indefinitely. Write me today at camelswithhammers at gmail dot com to enroll or ask questions!

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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