Navigating This Course Site
If you've taken several online courses before, you might skip over this section - you already presumably know your way around these sorts of websites - though if you're curious about what we've built into this course, you might also stick around and read through this page.
The class is entirely centered around something that isn't located in this website, an important and concise text of Stoic philosophy, Epictetus' Enchiridion. Everything here is designed specifically to help you get the most out of reading and rereading that book.
You'll notice, to start with, that the class itself is divided up into a number of sections. Those are the big headings in bold. You'll also notice that each section in turn is divided into a set of "lectures" (that's what they're called here in Teachable, even though they might be all sorts of other learning activities or resources).
Although the class materials are arranged in a logical and sequential order, you can poke around throughout the entire class, checking out the sections and lectures in any order you like, coming back to the ones you find particularly interesting multiple times. Or, if you like doing everything in the established order, you can do that as well.
What's most important is that you find the resources here designed to make studying the text for the class, Epictetus' Enchiridion, a more enjoyable, richer, higher-impact experience for you as a student. So, I'd like to say a bit about the different resources I've built into this course for you.
The Course Sections
There are two introductory sections before you actually get into the sections comprising the main body of the course. You're in one of them right now - that one welcomes you to the course, tells you a bit about the course and about me (the course developer and instructor), and directs you towards places where you can your hands on the text of Epictetus' Enchiridion.
The other introductory session focuses more on the philosophical school and movement that Epictetus belonged to - Stoicism - and on providing you useful background, context, and pointers as you get ready to study the Enchiridion intensively. You'll notice that there's also a video and several handouts there as resources for you.
After that, you're in the main lesson sections, the ones labeled "Commentary and Resources". You'll notice that each of the seven lesson sections covers a selected range of chapters of the Enchiridion. In each of these sections, you're going to find the following:
- three roughly 20-35 minute video lectures.
- one handout (I may be adding more later on)
- one worksheet
- a discussion forum with four main questions
- and an online quiz
There's no requirement that you make use of all - or even any - of these resources. It's entirely up to you. Some students find some things more helpful than others. But they're there for you, if you choose to use them. I'll come back to these resources in a few moments.
Before that, I'd like to say a few things about the last two sections. I've assembled and curated some additional resources for you on Stoicism, Epictetus, and the Enchiridion. Students often want to know where they might go next to deepen their studies, or to engage with other people who find Stoicism interesting, useful, or even fascinating - so leaving you with some suggestions about where to go is important. The very last section gives you a few additional resources, contains a discussion forum where you can ask and get answers on questions or issues not discussed in the other forums, and lets you know (if you're interested) how you can connect with me, support my work, or even book my other services.
Resources in the Main Lessons
I've put a good bit of time and work into the commentary Videos, going through Epictetus' Enchiridion line by line, skipping over nothing in the text (this is an approach, by the way, that I developed with the Half Hour Hegel series). In each section, you'll see three of these videos. They're pretty straightforward - not high production, since the emphasis is on providing exceptional philosophical content. I read each chapter - and you'll see the English translation by Oldfather on one side and Epictetus' original Koine Greek on the other. Then, I provide you a commentary on everything discussed in the chapter.
I don't have comments enabled here in the course site for these videos. If you'd like to make a comment, or ask a question, about what's being discussed in a video, you simply have to click on the title of the video in the embedded space, and you'll be taken to the same video located in YouTube.
I also provide you with downloadable Handouts and Worksheets in each section. These are designed to help you make sense of what Epictetus is talking about in a more visual form, and to allow you the opportunity to set down on paper some of the key ideas, insights, distinctions etc. that you're being introduced to by this Stoic master. You can print out as many copies for yourself as you like. In fact, so long as you keep the attribution to me - Greg Sadler - you can use them for whatever purposes you like (e.g. if you want to do a Stoic study group).
You can engage with your fellow students, and with me your instructor, in the online Discussion Forums. Each of these is labeled as "Questions for Discussion," and each of them contains four sets of questions designed to get you thinking more deeply about the text, to apply it to your own life and experiences, and to promote conversation. It's up to you, of course, whether you participate in these forums - but I've enabled comments precisely so that you can do so there. I've also made it possible for you to download the reflection questions themselves for your own use.
Finally, in each main section, I've created a short Online Quiz which you can use to check your memory, test your understanding, and see where you might have missed something important from the text. The level of reflection required to answer questions in these quizzes is of course lower than those found in the Discussion Forums, but it can still be useful - and for some people, fun - to take these sorts of short examinations.