Frequently Asked Questions About Dr. Daniel Fincke’s Online Classes


Dr. Daniel Fincke in Sylvia Broeckx's Hug an Atheist documentary.

F.A.Q.

What is the class format?
How long do classes run?
How do these classes compare to MOOCs?
Is there any way to get college credit for these courses.
Is any prior background in philosophy necessary? 
What if I can’t make every session?
What are the prices?
How do I sign up? What is the current schedule of class times?

What is the group class format?

The way these classes work is that you and your fellow participants video conference with me for a private face to face lecture. We use Google Hangout, a user-friendly, reliable service that takes just seconds to download and get started with. Classes typically feature anywhere from 2-6 students. The maximum enrollment in any class is 9. Occasionally there’s just 1. We interact in real time class discussions that allow for personalized attention for every student. The classes wind up being organically customized to the students’ interests as the conversations’ natural flow dictate our emphases and determine what new topics arise. There is also no pressure to talk if you don’t feel like it but would rather learn more from listening to the conversations between me and your classmates.

How long do group classes run?

All class sections meet only once a week and last 2 hours. They run for as many weeks as students remain interested in exploring their topics or for as many weeks as it takes students to get in their ~18 sessions that would provide equivalent material to a traditional college class. Students are most welcome to join a class in progress, using any kind of pass, and I will extend its length to feature enough material (or some repeat material they missed if starting students leave early) in order to go more than just 18 weeks. For any class topic there is always that’s worth exploring more than can be fit in a traditional single semester.

How do these classes compare to MOOCs?

My classes are the polar opposite of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which are notorious for their high attrition rates, low student engagement, and minimal direct contact with professors. In my classes, you get all the benefits of a small traditional college class and personalized mentoring, directly learning from a scholar who takes the time to treat you as an individual and work with you through your own individual thought process. There are no reading requirements and there is no homework. Students interested in supplementing their learning with extra reading work are given reading suggestions. But students will never find these are necessary for full, confident, rewarding class participation. I explain all the concepts students need to engage fruitfully.

In no small part because of factors like these, my classes slot as easily as possible into busy people’s lives. They only take a 2 hour time commitment weekly and they consist of stimulating, lively, interpersonal engagement with other smart people. They’re both intellectually and socially enjoyable with minimum pressure or demands involved. Students also do not have to worry about wasting paid time with absences. They are automatically refunded their automatic subscription payment whenever they miss class, with no questions asked and no excuses required. I understand that sometimes students are busy and can’t make it every week. My motto is “the year is long”, we have plenty of time to do philosophy when you are available. I occasionally have to cancel class myself and will also refund you in those cases.

The result of all these factors is that my classes have satisfyingly low attrition rates, high student engagement, and I regularly have students sign back up for more classes.

Can you get credit for these sessions?

These classes are NOT eligible for any college credit whatsoever. They are for people interested in learning for other reasons than college credit. I teach them with the same quality of material and instruction that I used to teach college classes with. But when teaching on my own, my classes are not accredited by any body.

Is any prior background in philosophy required?

No prior knowledge of philosophy is required to take any of the classes. Each class is designed to be rigorous and deep enough for the advanced student and accessible enough for the introductory student. I don’t assume background knowledge in lectures and I adjust my depth level to the needs and abilities of the students present as we go. A student could profitably start or advance their study of philosophy with any of the courses offered. My experience is that both advanced and new students to philosophy have much to offer each other in class discussions.

If you have any questions remaining about how classes work, please e-mail me at dan.fincke@gmail.com to inquire about more details or to enroll for classes today.

What if I can’t make every session?

We don’t need to conform to any larger institution’s academic calendar and my typical student is someone with other work, family, and/or school responsibilities, so I am extremely laid back about absences. We have plenty of time to get through the material and to do make up sessions. Students are also welcome to alternate to different sections of the same class if one is running concurrently with their own. Most students take about 23 weeks to make it to 18 sessions of class. I can extend what I cover in any class to accommodate at least that many weeks. And with new students adding to existing classes, I already have classes occasionally extend longer. The worst case scenario is that you attend so infrequently that after 20 or more weeks everyone else is done and gone, and it makes sense for me to reallocate the time slot to a new class and work with you on a new time slot for you to finish studying your topic. But you are never charged or shamed for the weeks you miss. What’s important is that you’re enjoying the classes month in and month out, even year in and year out, whenever you can attend around the demands of your otherwise full and busy life. It’s not important that you cram in all your participation into an arbitrarily short time span.

What are the prices?

Classes are $39.99/week, payed by weekly subscription. Students entering under this price policy will have the ability to cancel at any time.

Refund policy.

Students enrolling under the current subscription system are required to make no long term commitments. You simply subscribe to a class and are charged automatically for it on a weekly basis. You can cancel your subscription yourself at any time you want to stop attending. Weeks you do not attend, regardless of the reason, I will refund you as soon as I possibly can (which is almost always the same day).

For students who purchased “passes” under previous pricing and policies instituted in 2013 and 2014, there are no refunds eligible.

From the menu below, select any currently available class and subscribe to it today. If you have never attended my classes before you are entitled to your first session free. If no existing class fits your schedule or you want to join a fresh class rather than one in progress, write me at dan.fincke@gmail.com and I will schedule a new class around your needs and interests.


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