Great Books Program: Asynchronous Mode Overview

From a Great Books Asynchronous Mode Student:

I would like to inform you that these first few weeks of the Great Books Program were very instructive for me. The reading of Theogony and the Prometheus Bound were challenging but enlightening. In addition, by watching the discussion video I was able to clarify many doubts; the questions you asked the class were fundamental for me to be able to understand the books not only by the written content but also by what they mean to this day.

I admit that it was not an easy read: years and years just focused on works of medicine, computing, physics and mathematics took their price: I had to use a dictionary several times to understand the meaning of a word or a passage in the text. Oh, and I believe I finally got to appreciate poetry: the advice “don’t think too much, just feel” was great. I am currently reading the second half of the Iliad and am impressed by Homer’s writing. I’m feeling like I’m one of the soldiers on the battlefield itself, such is the richness of details and emotions of reading.

Best regards, Abrantes


Our Great Books Program, with weekly, live discussions, now in its third decade online, is described on the Great Books Program page and in the short videos posted there as well. For multiple reasons we offer our acclaimed Great Books classes both synchronously (live) and also asynchronously (recorded). We believe this offers the following categories of students the opportunity to study the Great Books and attend to the 2-hour discussion classes, which they otherwise cannot do or only with great difficulty:

  • Students in the Southern Hemisphere with seasons and semesters reversed;

  • Australian, Asian, Eastern European, and African students in time zones making live attendance seriously inconvenient or impossible;

  • Working students whose schedules conflict with our limited class times;

  • Juniors, seniors and college students who wish to complete earlier years of Great Books classes;

  • Adults whose schedules often or occasionally conflict with class times;

  • Students who wish to begin or continue learning and studying the Great Books during the lengthy summer and Christmas breaks;

  • Students who for various reasons need or wish to complete their studies at a faster, or slower, pace than we follow in the live classes;

  • Students who need a more flexible study schedule due to other commitments and obligations;

  • Students who missed significant portions of the live classes due to illness, health considerations (such as COVID-19) or other obstacles, and wish to catch up those classes;

  • Students whose preferred live class time is full and hope to stay abreast of the live class until a seat becomes available in the live class to transfer into.

In short, there are lots of good reasons for offering students the opportunity to study the Great Books and to attend to our 2-hour discussions compiled in an asynchronous mode. We believe the Great Books are critical to authentic liberal or generalist education and so wish to give everyone the opportunity to attend to the Great Books discussion classes, which are a vital part of that education, and have been since the time of Socrates in ancient Greece. With the asynchronous class-delivery option for the weekly 2-hour discussion classes (compiled from numerous prior excellent classes of our Great Books program), all the Great Books required readings, the related great poetry selections, Study Guides, essays, and written work are the same. Information on tuition and high school and college credits, the Great Books “tracks”, and specific Great Books readings (which are all the same as in the synchronous mode), are all detailed under the “Great Books Program” tab and in the related, short video on the Great Books Program. We have Great Books Asynchronous Mode FAQ  below, which we hope will answer any questions you may have. If you do have any other questions, please feel free to email or call us.

The Asynchronous classes for the Greek and Roman years are available now.  The Middle Ages and then Modern years Asynchronous classes will be available at the approximate times:  Middle Ages I – available now; Middle Ages II – available in July, 2023; Moderns I & II – available August, 2023. The Great Books courses are in chronological order, so we always recommend that students – regardless of age or grade level – begin with the Ancient Greeks. Enrollment in the Asynchronous Mode is now open.