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Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Modern and the Postmodern (Part 1) by Wesleyan University

934 ratings

About the Course

This course examines how the idea of "the modern" develops at the end of the 18th century in European philosophy and literature, and how being modern (or progressive, or hip) became one of the crucial criteria for understanding and evaluating cultural change. Are we still in modernity, or have we moved beyond the modern to the postmodern?...

Top reviews


Jan 7, 2016

One of the best professors i've ever come across! If the teacher is so passionate about the subject material as well as conveying the ideas, the course will be excellent. This is one of those courses.


Aug 1, 2019

It was a fabulous journey, and brought me so much nearer to the great minds of the 18th and especially the 19th century, reading original texts, and listening to Prof Roth's wonderful interpretations.

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1 - 25 of 256 Reviews for The Modern and the Postmodern (Part 1)

By ajay r

Dec 25, 2017

I Like How Professor Roth remains objective throughout the course without letting his personal opinions hindering his teaching in any way.Enjoyed the course Very much!Highly recommend.

By Susannah R

Feb 1, 2018

The lectures were excellent, and I really enjoyed the course... However:

the reading was always quoted at 10 minutes per week, when often the reading was much longer, and was complex ideas,so quite a slow read. Madame Bovary in 10 minutes? I don't think so. More like 10 hours.

Now I know that by writing essays the info really sticks, and the understanding is greater. But this is a part time interest for me. After two essays, I had had enough, so I just watched the lectures from that point forward.

By Lynne R

May 20, 2016

This course is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. BUT, it is not well monitored, the peer review process is broken and questions are not answered, making it frustrating. For example, I wrote an essay and received a non-passing grade. I re-wrote it and submitted it. The comments back were very good, but the grade remained a non-passing one. Very difficult to figure it out. I posted a request for clarification and received no response. So, course GREAT, administration of course, not so much.

By Connie M

Dec 24, 2020

Although I firmly believe that writing essays is a superior way to learn (vs multiple-choice tests), I think having peers review each other's work is almost worthless. For one thing, it is like "the blind leading the blind". In order to access another person's essay, you have to know more about the topic than was is featured in the lectures. This being the case, you have to specify where and how the student is going off the track. Peers can't do that. For example, several times I thought a student was wrong about some comment, but, I was not sure. Perhaps they knew more about the topic that I did, thus, rendering my impression mistaken. But I wasn't sure. So, I gave them the benefit of doubt. But, if I was right and they were wrong, then they kept their misapprehension. Not exactly, good education.

And, then sometimes, I, myself, was unsure of a point in my essay. The chances of a peer correcting it was pretty nil. Lots of peers do not have the time for lengthy commentary (their comments tend to be too brief to be of much help) and they often don't feel qualified to make negative (but tactful) corrections.

One last thing: sometimes students don't really write anything. They just input random letters or numbers. One student inputted the assignment directions instead of composing an essay. In these cases, I gave them a 0. I felt bad about that, but aren't these examples of cheating?

On a positive note; I thoroughly enjoyed the readings and the lectures. I also liked the fact that I can access a transcript (although a garbled one) and I LOVE the variable speed dial on the lectures. But, most of all, I LOVE that I can audit these courses and am very grateful to all of you who have made this possible. You have made my retirement more enjoyable. I plan on taking the second part of this course. Thank you allsoooo much.

By Naman M

Jan 8, 2016

One of the best professors i've ever come across! If the teacher is so passionate about the subject material as well as conveying the ideas, the course will be excellent. This is one of those courses.

By Cindy H

Dec 29, 2020

Excellent course. The lectures were engaging and very informative and broad with the inclusion of a variety of thinkers. I also appreciated learning about the paintings of the post-modern period.

By Conor C

Feb 6, 2018

extremely informative! with both a strong historical aspect and theoretical side to the lecteurs i think it is a must for people going to further study of art, philosophy or history.

By Jan R

Aug 2, 2019

It was a fabulous journey, and brought me so much nearer to the great minds of the 18th and especially the 19th century, reading original texts, and listening to Prof Roth's wonderful interpretations.

By Shams

Mar 8, 2019

If it is possible I would give the course 10 stars not just 5 !

I came from a very different background, I'm a pharmacist from Middle East - Egypt- where English is not my mother tongue. But this course has given me the type of knowledge I was searching for not knowing where to find it .

A very interesting to-the-point presentation for western history ... serves the different ideas in the course which covers almost the remarkable thinkers we hear about with the key ideas for them .

I think this course is a must for everyone interested in the history of modern ideas and how we became what we are .

I'm studying now part ii and looking forward to join more courses about that topic .

Special thanks for Mr.Michael S. Roth for his interesting way in lectures and mastery this topic every will.

By Cecilia P T

Oct 13, 2018

Amazing course! Professor Roth guides you through philosophy, history, literature and art in depth but also in a simple, enjoyable way!

It took me more than seven weeks to complete the course as there were some readings to be done which were quite time-consuming and having a full-time job it wasn't always easy to devote as much time as needed to this pretty demanding course, but I enjoyed every lecture and managed to always find even the tiniest bit of time to watch the videos and complete the assignments.

It's been a great experience so far, I'm looking forward to Part 2 now!

By Jeyana M

Apr 27, 2016

Thank you for this course!

Professor Roth, I love your teaching style. Such course can easily be made boring, but I was excited and interested every minute of your lectures.

During last few month (luckily for me, the course is self-paced) I've read more of serious literature than during all my life.

The most resonating for me was Baudelaire and the "flâneur" aesthetics.

And, quite strangely, reading Nietzsche makes me happy :)

Thanks again to everyone, who was involved in creating this course.

By Richard M H

Oct 27, 2020

This really is a great course. I'm an English literature academic at a British university myself, and took the course to refresh my memory about the areas covered. However, this course provided me with much more than a refresher of familiar materials. Professor Roth not only covers these areas in depth in a manner that is accessible to new comers to this area of thought, but also gives new and original insights on the material and takes the thinking into these areas. Unlike many academics, he does not treat the ideas or theories discussed as holy writ, but perspectives that themselves may be challenged. Professor Roth delivers this course with an infectious enthusiasm that is compelling.

By Danai M P

Mar 10, 2018

Starting this course coincided with my having to stay at home due to a cold. I became so engrossed that staying in and studying was not only a palliative measure for cabin fever ennui but actually what I really wanted to be doing. As a result I finished the course well before its deadline. I appreciated having Professor Roth describe the perspectives of all these different thinkers so clearly, so simply, so intelligently. His enthusiasm was contagious. All the references to texts were really helpful. The course also gave me the opportunity to read texts I never normally would have done. I am already on to The Modern and the Postmodern Part II. Thank you, great experience.

By Saranya F

May 16, 2020

Prof.Michael Roth's insight and enthusiasm sustained my interest to complete the course through the last 7 weeks. The material is engaging, the method simple and the course design is free flowing. I am convinced this will help me teach my undergraduates with a broader worldview and a better command over the subject of Modernity. I have just enrolled to Part 2 of the course. It is well worth the time and attention.

By robin s

Dec 22, 2020

I really enjoyed taking this course. Professor Roth was a dynamic speaker who kept my interest .

By Lorenzo D S M

Nov 5, 2020

Really good course. The professor was particularly engaging . The topics were really interesting. I did not expect to see Darwin in a philospohy course.

By Joyce U

Jul 4, 2019

For me as an Artist; I am challenged , having to listen to the lectures several times to get it. The professor's presentations are AWESOME. The knowledge that I am acquiring is well worth it. It has been a few weeks... struggling so not being able to complete the essays; I tried to at least finish the lectures. I wasn't allowed, disappointed.

By Ron S

Sep 6, 2015

The videos lag behind, and the readings the first one of the first week, the link was broken

By Katie F

Aug 31, 2020

This was a fabulous course which I thoroughly enjoyed. I particularly loved understanding the historical and socio-cultural context for each thinker as well as the major philosophical shifts. Having never studied philosophy before I found some of the concepts quite challenging (especially Nietzsche!) but overall this was an excellent way to be introduced to classical literature by writers and philosophers that I had never read before. Professor Roth is such an inspiring and entertaining tutor that it was a pleasure to watch his passionate and knowledgeable lectures; I look forward to doing more of his courses. Overall, I can't wait to move on to Part 2.

By rano r

Jun 28, 2022

Prof. Roth is a wonderful teacher and he has designed an excellent course. Taking this course has motivated me to hone my reading, writing, and analytical skills. Situated at the intersection of philosophy, literature, and history, the course is a fulfilling experience. The only thing is that it is a heavy one. For most, this will be a positive point as it ensures that you take away the maximum from the course content.

For the maximum benefit from the course, follow its instructions carefully. Go through the prescribed readings and follow the lectures carefully. You will emerge much richer after completing the course.

By Ken H

Apr 19, 2021

5 stars (not sure I checked it off right). Again, 5 stars. Excellent lectures, consistently so. Thought-provoking material to last a lifetime. Would be nice to see more conversations in the discussions but I confess, I myself didn't go there much. This is perhaps more a matter of assimilating a lot of material, perhaps for the first time, so one does have to go a bit slowly, at least I do. Discussions can wait, I guess. But it is a great course, all the way.

This is a re-submit because I don't know if I am rightly applying that method of assigning stars.

By Arts A s

May 10, 2020

Excellent and interesting course! The instructor is extremely engaging and helps break down material that would otherwise seem inaccessible (to me at least), in an understandable way. I've learned new concepts and I now understand ideas and movements that were on the outer reaches of my knowledge much better. Highly recommended for anyone interested in history, philosophy, or just getting in touch with ideas and authors you've heard of, but have never taken the time to digest. I'm taking the second course as well!

By Athulya A

Jul 13, 2020

I took up this course just to get a background of modernism. I worried initially that wold be too boring because its history, but the way the tutor Michael S. Roth explained everything was so attention grabbing and interesting! His passion for the subject was felt even through online videos and that just keeps you so engrossed...he totally changed my opinion about online course not being able to engage students. I wish we had such amazing teachers who didn't make us dread such a wonderful subject like history!

By Samiya K

Jul 14, 2020

Tremendous journey! Really liked the way you're organizing the course in parts, suggesting to read first module and then video, so we may get many ideas and also as Prof. Roth is putting forward some of the questions, we can get easily the context of the question also. Grading system, where each classmate is required to review, hsi/her peer assignment, basing on that our gardes are generated.

Very nice and swiftly functioning system. It seems as you have constructed the course, keeping benefactors in mind.

By Yue-Zhen L

Jan 15, 2016

This course is very helpful in giving students a survey in the major thoughts of the modern Western world. The fact that it is carried out by Wesleyan University, a premier Liberal Arts College in the United States, ensures its quality and seminar-style coherence. I find it particularly interesting when each chapeter is started by an assigned reading task with the instructor's videos following, which is a rather typical method by which American collegiates learn humanities.