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Randolph to offer choose-your-own-pace online Greek courses

Amy R. Cohen, classics professor and Randolph’s Catherine Ehrman Thoresen ’23 and William E. Thoresen Chair of Speech and Theatre, will be teaching the online courses—eight sequential modules, worth one credit each. 

Students will soon be able to enroll in a series of choose-your-own-pace online Greek classes at Randolph College.

The College’s online summer program will continue to offer Beginning Ancient Greek in two five-week, four-credit classes—Greek 1101 and 1102, which, together, constitute a full traditional year of Greek.

Now the same material will also be available as eight sequential modules, worth one credit each, with the intention to appeal to students anywhere in the world.

Amy R. Cohen, classics professor and Randolph’s Catherine Ehrman Thoresen ’23 and William E. Thoresen Chair of Speech and Theatre, has taught 1101 and 1102 online since the College’s summer program launched in 2019.

“I had increasing numbers of students every year,” she said. “But I’ve also had people who’ve said it was too fast for them or have done the five-week first half and can’t keep going at that pace, either because the intensive pace doesn’t suit their learning style or they’ve got other things to do during the summer.”

Students can start the modules any of six times throughout the year and can also choose how many they want to take at a time. They can even stagger their enrollment.

“It’s always better to do it continuously, but if there’s a time they need to take a seven-week break before the next module, that’s fine too,” Cohen said. “You just have to complete the one before it. At any time of year, a student can do any of these eight, one-credit classes.”

The courses are mostly asynchronous, using videos Cohen began making about six years ago, after the College’s weekly class schedule changed and she flipped her classroom to make up for lost instructional time. She’d ask students to watch the videos on their own and would spend the actual class time ensuring they understood the material.

The videos have taken on a life of their own in the years since. Cohen used them while teaching virtually for the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges’s Language Exchange program. And, during the early days of the pandemic, Yale University was among many institutions that used videos she created breaking down a popular Greek textbook as students transitioned to online learning.

She’s taught students in all stages of life through Randolph’s online summer program, from high schoolers looking to get a jumpstart to teachers using the course for certification points to archaeologists working in the field.

These new modules are designed to fit into students’ already busy lives, no matter their reason for taking Greek.

“I’m really pleased I get to try this,” Cohen said. “I think my materials are good, and students are going to get personal feedback from me, personal interactions with me, but will also be able to plan a course that works with their other priorities.”


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