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History Lessons Online

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Discover the fascinating world of history with a wide range of online classes available at CourseHorse. From ancient civilizations to modern events, learners can deepen their understanding and gain valuable insights into the past, empowering them with knowledge and a new perspective on the world.

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History of Photography Abstracts

Chicago Botanic Garden @ Online via Zoom

Embark on a captivating exploration of abstract photography's rich history, forging connections between past innovations and contemporary projects. Delve into intermediate to advanced concepts, synthesizing historical perspectives with your unique artistic vision. Expand your creative horizons as you uncover new possibilities for expression in the captivating world of abstract photography.

(129) Intermediate 18 and older
$437

6 sessions

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+4370 pts
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With an Eternal Wing: Embodying Queer Histories in Photography

Penumbra Foundation @ Virtual Classroom

Embark on a transformative journey through the lens of queer history in photography. Explore the intertwined narratives of writing, performance, and visual storytelling, guided by an esteemed instructor deeply rooted in this legacy. Join a community of creatives, delving into personal narratives and emerging with a profound understanding of their place within the continuum of queer expression.

(8) All levels 18 and older
$485

6 sessions

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+4850 pts
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Risk Society: Crisis, Power, and Neoliberalism

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

Unravel the complexities of the modern world through the lens of risk society. Explore the societal implications of global risks, from environmental disasters to economic instability, and their impact on governance, culture, and individual psyche. Dive into foundational texts by Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens, alongside critical perspectives by scholars such as Michel Foucault and Mary Douglas, to understand the emergence and consequences of the risk society paradigm.

(29) All levels 21 and older
$335

4 sessions

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+3350 pts
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Thucydides and the Fall of Athenian Democracy

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

Explore the profound insights of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War in this compelling course. Delve into the fall of Athenian democracy and the collapse of the classical city-state, examining speeches and narratives that debate political theory, justice, and human suffering. Engage with the text’s oscillation between historical objectivity and intense pathos to understand the cultural and intellectual milieu of ancient Greece.

(29) All levels 21 and older
$335

4 sessions

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On the Concept of Religion

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

Explore the complex and often incoherent concept of "religion" in this thought-provoking course. Delve into classic social scientific methodologies and examine diverse scriptures and commentaries that challenge hegemonic understandings. Engage with contemporary critiques and genealogies to deepen your understanding of the varied practices, beliefs, and institutions categorized under “religion.”

(29) All levels 21 and older
$335

4 sessions

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+3350 pts
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U for You: Joyce's Ulysses for New Readers (and Re-Readers)

Irish Arts Center @ Virtual Classroom

Dive into Joyce's Ulysses with renowned scholar Jonathan Goldman, unraveling its complexities and discovering its humor and humanity. Whether you're a seasoned reader or new to Joyce's work, this immersive experience promises to enhance your understanding and appreciation of this literary masterpiece.

(53) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules
$456

9 sessions

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Infinity: History, Mathematics, Philosophy

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ 247 West 37th St, New York, NY

How can we, as finite beings, grasp the concept of infinity? Yet humans have been contemplating infinity for millennia, whether inspired by nature, philosophy, spirituality—or mathematics. This course is a historical and conceptual approach to the latter realm, the mathematics of infinity. Our topics will include the ancient Greeks’ discovery of irrational numbers and Zeno’s paradoxes; Aristotle’s distinction between “actual infinity”...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$315

4 sessions

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The Incredible Women of the Bible

92nd Street Y @ Live Interactive Online Classroom

Rabbi Samantha Frank’s The Incredible Women of the Bible The women of the Bible are complex, crafty, and sometimes mysterious. Together, we’ll explore a few of their stories and consider what lessons we can learn for our lives today. Come with a sense of open inquiry! No prior Jewish study required — all genders welcome.

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules

Reading the Iliad

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

The Iliad stands at the start of most histories of western literature, even as it remains enduringly strange—often, it seems, at odds with the very tradition it has been taken to inaugurate.  In our course, we will attempt to recapture some of the strangeness and some of the continuing relevance of the Iliad. We will closely read and discuss the entirety of the poem, with especial attention to the following themes: the...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$335

4 sessions

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History of Photography: Postmodernism

Chicago Botanic Garden @ Online via Zoom

The Chicago Botanic Garden’s online photography class is a virtual experience you can take anywhere!  Explore the history of postmodern photography, from the 1960s to the present. Start with pop art, assemblage, conceptual art, and the social landscape. Create photographs like the great masters of this period such as Andy Warhol, Syl Labrot, Gary Winogrand, Diane Arbus, Bruce Davidson, and others.  This class will be taught online...

(129) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules
$499

6 sessions

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Reproductive Justice and the Torah

92nd Street Y

While Judaism is undeniably pro-life, Jewish tradition has for thousands of years seen a pregnant person’s life as invaluable and permitted abortion in many cases. In three sessions, we will explore the Jewish legal texts and recent Jewish feminist scholarship that address this timely issue.

(1074) All levels 18 and older
No upcoming schedules

A Genealogy of Eros: Plato, Sappho, Foucault

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ 417 Lafayette St, New York, NY

Sexual desire—ancient Greek eros—is fundamental to the philosophical dialogues of Plato and the lyric poetry of Sappho, as well as to Michel Foucault’s genealogy of the modern self. Both Plato and Sappho begin with contemporary ideas of eros as madness, even as they also argue for the centrality of eros to new forms of self-knowledge and self-making; Foucault, too, moved from studies of madness to studies of sexuality.   In our course...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$315

4 sessions

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Michel Foucault: Truth and Power

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The French philosopher Michel Foucault claimed that “truth isn’t outside power,” the “reward of free spirits,” nor, as Immanuel Kant imagined two centuries earlier, “the privilege of those who have succeeded in liberating themselves.” Rather, truth is produced by power—a generalized condition outside of which no one stands—and shaped by different “knowledge regimes” in which societies accept certain things to be true. Instead...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules

Capitalism and Desire

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ 75 Broad St, New York, NY

Why do we want what we want? The critique of capitalism is very often associated – by both proponents and antagonists – with a critique of consumerism which, in turn, is treated as a pathology of individual desire. People should stop shopping; people should eschew goods; people should want less; people should police their own desires (or, if they fail, have them policed by others.) The problem, in a word, is desire. But there is a long tradition...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$315

4 sessions

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Imaginary Numbers: Theory, Mathematics, and Possibility

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ 68 Jay St, Brooklyn, NY

The very idea of imaginary numbers appears at first glance preposterous, like something out of science fiction or the wildest philosophy. A real or ordinary number multiplied by an “imaginary unit” somehow mathematically produces a “complex” number that has both theoretical and practical applications. Rene Descartes, who coined the “imaginary” terminology, deemed them preposterous. And yet, imaginary numbers are indispensable—not...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$315

4 sessions

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What is Nationalism?

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Long regarded as the stuff of 19th century romanticism and 20th century warfare, nationalism is resurgent on the global stage. Despite—or, perhaps, because of—globalization, instant communication, and the seeming erosion of state supremacy, ideas about national sovereignty, national economies, and the preservation of national character have gained greater purchase at the ballot box.  Moreover, though historians widely agree that...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules

The Paris Commune: Revolution and Utopia

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

150 years ago, the workers and soldiers of Paris raised the flag of the “Universal Republic.” With this they formally established the Paris Commune: a radical experiment in collective government, social and cultural transformation, and worker autonomy. Momentarily setting aside ongoing conflicts, major European powers came together to quickly crush the nascent government—with a vengeance many times more bloody than the French Revolutionary...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules

Sociology and Social Control: Intro to Émile Durkheim

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Sociology and Social Control: an Introduction to Émile Durkheim For the pioneering sociologist Émile Durkheim, modern Western society was wracked by a seeming paradox: the more autonomous individuals become, freed from old forms of social control, the more they come to depend on society and the bonds that unite its members. But, what makes a society cohere, particularly one in which so much human interaction is transactional? And, what happens...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules

Crisis and the City: New York in the 1970s

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

In the years just before and following World War II, New York City built and maintained a municipal social democracy the likes of which had never been seen in the United States. Mid-century New York made the projects that underpin human life—housing, health care, transport, education, recreation—more available than ever to a working class whose political strength was reflected in the city’s labor organizations, municipal government, and cultural...

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules

Saidiya Hartman: Scenes of Subjection

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

Delve into the transformative insights of Saidiya Hartman's groundbreaking works on Black life and history. Join us as we explore Hartman's profound reimagining of freedom, agency, and the legacy of the Atlantic slave trade. 

(29) All levels 21 and older
No upcoming schedules
$335

4 sessions

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History Lessons Online are rated 4.5 stars based on 1,293 verified reviews from actual CourseHorse.com purchasers.

Discover the Best History Classes Online

No one has to stop learning after they graduate. Adults pursuing their GED or who want to learn more about a particular period in time have access to a wide range of history-based courses thanks to the proliferation of the Internet. Even students who want to access supplementary materials can use today’s wealth of online history courses to better understand the goings-on of yesteryear.

That said, which of the courses in the vast catalog of online history classes rank among the best? The truth is that the answer varies depending on the lessons a person wants to learn. That said, interested parties can browse this list of some of the best history classes online to see what kind of history courses they can participate in from the comfort of their homes.

Why You Should Learn History Online

There are several benefits to learning history online. The convenience of these online courses is just the start. Busy professionals and students alike can access today’s online history courses from anywhere in the world and often at any time, making it easier than ever for interested parties to gain access to expert opinions on their areas of interest.

What’s more, today’s online history courses promote a sense of community between participants. Even though these courses lack an in-person touch, participants can still discuss lessons with one another courtesy of classroom Slacks and online forums. Intercommunication helps course participants stay in touch after a class concludes, meaning that students can continue to learn together.

In this way, the accessibility of today’s online history courses promotes a sense of community while encouraging participants to continue learning about the historical events, movements, and themes that interest them the most.

Virtual History Classes 

Some of the most notable virtual history classes available to interested parties include the following:

Ancient Masterpieces of World Literature - Harvard University, 

History and literature tend to go hand-in-hand. Harvard University thinks so, too. That’s why one of the most famous American institutions offers its “Ancient Masterpieces of World Literature” online for students around the world to enjoy. 

This course runs for six weeks and lets students participate in relevant lessons at their own pace. The course’s instructors recommend that students engage with up to six hours of course material per week. The course comes free of charge, though students can engage with additional materials if they pay a little extra. The $159 Verified Track gives students access to graded assignments and exams as well as a shareable certification upon their completion of the course.

Participants have the chance to learn about how certain pieces of literature from cultures all around the world represent those cultures’ identities, particularly at the moment when those pieces of literature were initially released. The course also teaches students how to productively engage with literary works from different cultures.

The course’s instructors include Harvard’s David Damrosch and Martin Puchner. This course does not take place live but instead consists of pre-recorded lessons that students can access as the course progresses.

American Policing: History, Politics, and Society, Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The public’s opinion of the police has significantly transformed over the past several decades, and often in ways that the average person might not anticipate. Instructor Patrick Blanchfield, working through the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, has made a point to investigate this transition alongside today’s students of history. Curious minds can now join Instructor Blanchfield as he outlines that transformation in his course, “American Policing: History, Politics, and Society.”

This course runs for four weeks and most often takes place on Sunday afternoons. Students can expect to spend three hours diving into police-oriented literature produced by minds like Jennifer Wang, Alex Vitale, and Naomi Murakawa. The course costs $335 to join and offers a waiting list once full. The course also runs on Eastern Standard Time, meaning that students should prepare their schedules accordingly if they want to participate.

History of Photography: Postmodernism - Chicago Botanic Garden - 

What is postmodernism, and how does it make itself known in photography? These are the questions that the Chicago Botanic Garden wants to explore in more detail. The institution’s instructors offer its “History of Photography: Postmodernism” in an effort to encourage today’s students of history to think critically about the postmodernism movement and its impact on historical records.

Chicago Botanic Gardens offers its “History of Photography: Postmodernism” course for $499. The course takes place over six sessions, all of which typically run for three hours at a time. Students can expect to participate in the program via Zoom. 

The institution tends to cap its class sizes at 12 students, allowing for creature instructor-to-student interaction. The latest iteration of “History of Photography: Postmodernism” sees Dianne Kittle at its helm. Incoming students must be 18 years old or older to register for this course.

The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World, Universiteit Leiden and Coursera

Professor Petra Sijpesteijn teaches “The Cosmopolitan Medieval Arabic World” through the Universiteit Leiden and Coursera. Both institutions make this course available to students all around the world for no cost. The course is open to beginners and does not require students to have any pre-existing knowledge of the study of history, let alone the medieval Arabic world before they participate.

The course runs for three weeks, with students attending class for eight hours a day, though students can dictate which hours they spend in class. The course discusses trade between the Arabic Medieval world and the surrounding empires. Students should expect to complete 14 assignments and take one quiz to test their overall knowledge. At the end of the course, students can share a certificate of completion through their LinkedIn profiles.

Private Online Group History Classes

Parties interested in private online history classes can register for any of the following programs:

History Lessons, Academic Tutoring, TakeLessons

The private history lessons offered through TakeLessons and Microsoft tend to work best when paired with a history program or course. That said, students can also reach out to TakeLessons’ instructors to begin an independent study into the field that they’re interested in.

This platform pairs students with professionals who serve as experts in their chosen fields. There is no set course schedule. Instead, students can select an instructor from TakeLessons’ roster and set their own tutoring schedule.

The cost of each tutor varies on their area of expertise and amount of professional experience. Students can choose to work with an instructor whose area of study they admire and whose fees they can afford.

Virtual Pasta: Ravioli Workshop

What do food and history have in common? More than the average student might think. Today’s virtual cooking workshops can teach modern students about the history of a culture and food product while engaging senses that a traditional course can’t. That’s the value of a private online group history course like “Virtual Pasta: Ravioli Workshop.” 

This course takes place on Zoom and runs for 90 minutes. The instructors available through CourseHorse Experiences can teach up to 100 students about the history of ravioli and the process that goes into making this popular pasta dish.

The course costs $100 per person. Students can register for the course individually or as part of a group at any time, any day of the week. The course’s instructors partner with Global Grub to provide students with the ingredients they need to create the ravioli and its sauces. That said, instructors expect students to bring their own rolling pins, baking sheets, and assorted kitchen materials to the course with them.

Students can even customize the course for an additional $150 charge. This customization process allows students to learn more about particular pastas and their histories.

Online vs. In-Person History Classes

How can today’s history students choose between online courses and their in-person alternatives? The answer to that question is multi-faceted. To start, many online history programs are more budget-friendly than their in-person alternatives. Professionals or students who want to advance their education without breaking the bank can use online courses to improve their understanding of history while taking on as little financial stress as possible.

Online history courses also tend to be more flexible than their in-person alternatives. Even if these courses take place at the same time on specific days, attendees can sign into their class of choice from the road, the comfort of their home, or wherever they happen to be in the world. This flexibility, paired with the lack of a commute, can make online history courses ideal for travelers.

That said, there are course elements that online history courses lack. In-person history classes tend to put students in contact with their like-minded peers. Students graduating from in-person history courses can keep in touch with their fellow participants and create a community based on their shared interests. While online programs can connect students via Slack or forums, some students may find those digital options lacking.

With all that in mind, the difference in value between online and in-person history classes really depends on the student. That’s why each student considering taking a history course should consider their schedule, learning style, and desire for collaboration before registering for an applicable course.

Can I Learn History for Free Online?

Interested parties can learn history online free of charge. Programs like CrashCourse and A Taste of History make comprehensive and accessible lessons on historical moments available free of charge through platforms like YouTube. The accessibility of these programs makes them ideal for busy professionals or students who don’t want to commit to a course but still want to develop a better understanding of an interesting historical moment.

That said, parties who really want to advance their understanding of historical themes and events often find paid online or in-person courses more effective at imparting their lessons than free online alternatives. Virtual courses that put students in touch with a historical expert specifically give interested participants to ask questions about complex topics that might otherwise go unaddressed in free courses.

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