Interested in learning more? Click below to find out how it all works!
All meetings are 75 minutes long, and each group has its own regular, recurring meeting time — for example, Wednesdays at 6 p.m., Eastern Time. Most groups meet weekly; some meet every other week. For details, check the listing for the groups you’re interested in, or write us at register (at) thetreasures.org.
We start in early-mid September, take a break in early-mid December, resume in early-mid January, and finish around early June. There are also usually a few other weeks taken off each year, including one near Thanksgiving and one near Easter.
That adds up to about 34 or 35 weeks of activity, and most groups will continue across that full period, though a few will last only one semester. Individual participants are welcome to start and stop most groups at any time, so committing to the full course is not required; see “What if I can’t come to every meeting?” below.
Groups are capped at 20, and most often will be considerably smaller (15 or fewer). That’s partly to make things run smoothly on Zoom, but it’s also, more importantly, to foster the active learning and the group-formation that are central what we do.
About a week before each meeting, the convener will let you know what particular passage the group will be discussing. Everyone reads the texts ahead of time and brings questions and ideas along to the session. As much as possible of the 75 minutes is given over to free-flowing (but guided) discussion, roughly on the model of a “Great Books” program.
In most cases, participants provide their own texts. Your “convener” will be in touch a few weeks before your group begins with suggestions about translations, editions, and how to obtain texts cheaply. Often participants find that they can use a translation that they already own, though we do sometimes recommend against particular translations that have proven less than useful.
Important: Long pedagogical experience, along with a large body of research, suggests that the experience of reading on a screen is not adequate for our purposes: active engagement with the material, retention of content, and ability to find particular passages for discussion are all improved when one reads on paper, even among people accustomed to using screens! So, in order to create the best possible experience for everyone, we require that you obtain a physical book (or printout) and have it with you at every meeting.
All groups currently meet via Zoom. If you haven’t Zoomed before, we’re an easy way to start! Your convener will email you an invitation to a Zoom meeting. You can download the (free) Zoom app at www.zoom.us , but you can also simply join through a browser by clicking on a link in the email. If you’re looking for simplicity, try a browser first, then upgrade to the Zoom app if necessary.
We recommend that you participate on a laptop or desktop computer rather than a tablet or smartphone; experience has taught us that the Zoom experience will be better for you, and also for the rest of the group, that way. (It is possible to use a smaller device if you have no option, but you’ll have to scroll around to see the whole group.)
In some cases we have allowed people to participate by calling in to the meeting, without video, from an ordinary cell phone or landline. That’s usually not ideal, but do ask your convener about the possibility if you have special circumstances that make it attractive.
Most groups operate with open registration, which is to say that you’re welcome to come when you can and miss classes when you must. You will, of course, get more out of the experience the more frequently you come! You only pay for the classes you attend, though substantial discounts are available for those willing to pay in advance for multiple sessions; see the “Contact / Register” page for details.
Almost always, yes! That’s also part of the open registration idea. Please don’t hesitate to write a group’s convener to ask about the best jumping-in points; in past years, for example, we have had several people begin reading Dante’s Divine Comedy with the Purgatory (starting in December, 1/3 of the way through) or the Paradise (in March, 2/3 of the way through).
Everyone is welcomed at one meeting for free in order to find out without risk what the experience will be like! It is expected, however, that you will treat that free session as you would any other: that is, that you will do the relevant reading in advance and participate in the discussion.