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Yale University using Randolph professor's videos for Greek instruction

Classics professor Amy Cohen, the Catherine Ehrman Thoresen `23 and William E. Thoresen Chair of Speech and Theatre.

Classics professor Amy Cohen, the Catherine Ehrman Thoresen `23 and William E. Thoresen Chair of Speech and Theatre.

There are a limited number of textbooks used in Greek instruction, so Randolph professor Amy R. Cohen wasn’t surprised when her alma mater, Yale University, came knocking this spring.

Carl Rice, a Ph.D. student at Yale, reached out to Cohen just as colleges and universities across the country were transitioning to online learning. He was interested in using videos she created that break down Hansen and Quinn’s textbook, Greek, an Intensive Course.

“When Yale indicated it was time to retool courses to move online, I started exploring options for asynchronous grammar lessons,” Rice said. “To avoid reinventing the wheel, I went searching YouTube and came across Professor Cohen’s videos. I liked their clear, concise grammar explanations and thought they might be a good resource for our students. It was a happy bonus that she’d once been a Yale student!”

Cohen began making the videos, which now number more than 100, about five years ago, after her weekly class schedule changed and she lost some instructional time. She’d ask students to watch them on their own, then she would spend the actual class time making sure they understood the material.

Cohen chose the Hansen and Quinn text because of its thoroughness.

“When I first took Greek in 1986, I think it had just come out. I think it was 1985,” she said. “I’ve always loved it because it explains things in excruciating detail. It’s not just, ‘Here’s the word.’ It’s, ‘Here’s why the word is shaped like this. Here’s how it’s used.’”

She’s also used the videos, which include drills she created, for her online summer courses, two of which she’ll be teaching this summer.

Yale started using the videos when they had one week of grammar lessons left before moving on to reading a text.

“We pointed students to them and encouraged them to look back at other videos for grammar review on topics they felt they might need more work on,” Rice said. “Lessons like those Professor Cohen has recorded are useful tools for review, but they also have a lot of potential to help us think about different ancient language pedagogical strategies moving forward.”

Yale students aren’t the only ones using them right now, either. Cohen said she’s heard from students and faculty at other institutions around the country, including Gonzaga University and Wellesley College.

For more information about the online classes Cohen will be teaching this summer, visit

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