MindEdge Online Learning



Humanities through the Ages helps college and university students apply Humanism across the ages. Students draw connections between and across cultures and their respective aesthetic and philosophic disciplines. Students are presented with multi-faceted frameworks for understanding how Humanism has evolved over time. The course challenges and engages learners to consider how a particular culture in a particular time period was influenced by other cultures, yet produced their own, unique modes of aesthetic expression.

This is accomplished through activities, both interactive and narrative, where students must consider not only how to analyze a particular medium of aesthetic expression in its own right but also how to deepen that analysis by applying cultural, cross-cultural, historical, and cross-discipline contexts.

There is an objective midterm exam and an objective final assessment, but this course can easily be tailored to accommodate a variety of written assignments, whether analytical and/or self-reflective in nature. This course utilizes games, videos, interactive exercises, quizzes, and other engaging content.


Module 1: Introduction to the Humanities

  • Explain some of the key concepts in the humanities (Humanism, myths, beauty, and aesthetic experience)
  • Describe the major disciplines in the humanities (music, cinema, visual arts, literature, theater, dance, architecture, and philosophy)
  • Understand the different objects of study and modes of study in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences
  • Recognize how some terms apply to several disciplines
  • Discuss human languages, symbolic systems, and the development of human cultures
  • Explain the role of myth and storytelling
  • Describe universal themes in the humanities, including love, the hero, religion, and happiness
  • Recognize the importance of the Renaissance for the humanities
  • Discuss the different perspectives brought by Western and non-Western cultures to the humanities
  • Discuss the definition of art and the arts
  • Describe the purposes for art (recording the world; expressing emotions; revealing beauty; illuminating spiritual truths; edifying and persuading; seeing the world in new and different ways)
  • Outline the functions of art (aesthetic pleasure; political and social commentary; therapy; artifact; enabling commerce)

Module 2: The Visual Arts

  • Explain the key visual elements of line, form, color, space, and texture
  • Outline the key visual principles of repetition, balance, unity, and focal area
  • Explain perspective and its use in artworks
  • Describe the various artistic media available for drawing, printmaking, painting, photography, and sculpture
  • Discuss drawing and its media and techniques
  • Explain painting as an art form
  • Describe the four major techniques for printmaking (relief, intaglio, serigraphy, lithography)
  • Discuss the development of photography as an art form
  • Outline the elements of sculpture
  • Explain the elements of architecture
  • Outline the fundamentals of landscape design

Module 3: Literary Expression

  • Explain key literary concepts (plot, character, themes, motifs, POV, style)
  • Discuss the elements of fiction, including the novel and the short story
  • Describe the use of satire in the novel
  • Discuss how to analyze a short story
  • Explain the use of poetic techniques (verse, meter, rhymes)
  • Describe the use of poetic language (metaphors, similes, personification, imagery, symbolism)
  • Define key poetic terms (allusion, alliteration, apostrophe, conceits, consonance, diction, enjambment, epithet, hyperbole, metonymy, onomatopoeia, pun, synecdoche, syntax)
  • Identify types of poetry (closed form and open form, sonnets, couplets, epics, ballads lyric, elegy, ode, blank verse)
  • Discuss how to analyze a poem
  • Explain key dramatic concepts
  • Describe dramatic forms and dramatic styles
  • Discuss how to read and analyze a play
  • Describe other literary forms (essays, graphic novels, comic books, and hypertext)

Module 4: The Performing Arts

  • Describe the elements of drama (plot, character, language, theme, music, visual effects)
  • Identify the major genres of drama
  • Describe the elements of film (cinema)
  • Outline the film-making process
  • Explain the role of screenwriting in cinema
  • Discuss music and its uses
  • Explain the use of musical notation
  • Understand the elements of music (tone, pitch, volume, consonance and dissonance, rhythm, tempo, melody, counterpoint, harmony, and dynamics)
  • Describe the genres of music
  • Discuss the classical forms of music
  • Discuss dance as an art form
  • Describe the purposes of ritual, social, and folkloric dance
  • Identify the key theater dance forms (ballet, modern dance, jazz dance)
  • Explain key ballet terminology

Module 5: The First Civilizations

  • Describe what Prehistoric art is (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic)
  • Explain the Art of the Ancient civilizations (Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Persia), its significance and key functions
  • Explain the importance of the literature of the first civilizations (Epic of Gilgamesh, Code of Hammurabi, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead)
  • Recognize the significance of the Four Books and the Five Classics
  • Explain the purpose of the Hebrew Torah
  • Describe the major lessons of the Mahabharata (dharma and karma)
  • Understand the central themes of Homer’s Iliad and Plato’s The Republic

Module 6: The Classical Tradition: Greece and Rome

  • Recognize the major periods of history of ancient Greece
  • Identify classical Greek architectural styles (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian)
  • Identify major works of Greek art, sculpture, and architecture
  • Describe the style and purpose of classical Greek drama
  • Identify the classical playwrights of Greek drama (Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and Aristophanes) and their works
  • Explain the history and structure of classical Greek poetry
  • Describe the uncertain history of Homer and the themes of the Homeric epics (the Odyssey and Iliad)
  • Identify the major figures of classical Greek literature (Thales, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Democritus, and Leucippus)
  • Understand the impact of each of the schools of classical Greek philosophy (Epicureanism, Stoicism, Skepticism, and Neoplatonism)
  • Explain Plato’s moral philosophy, political philosophy, and theory of knowledge
  • Explain Aristotle’s theory of ethics and the Golden Mean
  • Explain the history of Rome and its impact on Western culture
  • Briefly describe themes and focus of Roman art
  • Identify the styles of Roman architecture
  • Identify the major figures of Roman literature and poetry (Cicero, Julius Caesar, Virgil, Horace, Tacitus, Ovid, Seneca, and Petronius)
  • Discuss Virgil’s Aeneid and its impact on Western literature
  • Understand the early Christian history and the literature of St. Augustine (Confessions and City of God)

Module 7: The Middle Ages

  • Describe Medieval European culture and its primary artistic styles (Romanesque and Gothic)
  • Discuss the style of Romanesque art and architecture
  • Discuss the style and significance of Gothic architecture
  • Recognize the themes of the major literary works of the Middle Ages
  • Describe the rise of Islam in the Middle Ages

Module 8: The Renaissance, Reformation, and Age of Exploration

  • Describe the major historical events of the Age of Exploration
  • Understand key elements of Renaissance art and architecture (classical humanism, chiaroscuro, and linear and aerial perspective)
  • Recognize major works of Renaissance art and architecture
  • Describe Reformation art and the style of mannerism
  • Recognize major works of Reformation art
  • Identify major writers of Renaissance  literature (Petrarch, Machiavelli, Erasmus, More, Cervantes, and Shakespeare)
  • Explain the significance of Shakespeare and identify his major works

Module 9: The Baroque and Age of Enlightenment

  • Describe the characteristics of Baroque art and Rococo style
  • Identify key pieces of Baroque art
  • Understand Baroque musical elements (counterpoint and improvisation)
  • Recognize major Baroque and 17th century literature (metaphysical poets, King James Bible, John Milton, and John Bunyan)
  • Describe the Age of Enlightenment
  • Explain the themes of Enlightenment literature and its major figures (French philosophers, English philosophers, Swift, Boswell, and Kant)

Module 10: Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and Realism

  • Describe Neoclassicism and its influence on 18th century art and architecture
  • Understand the subject matter of Neoclassical literature
  • Discuss the themes of the Romantic period
  • Explain the themes and subject matter of Romantic art
  • Describe the Romantic style of music
  • Recognize themes in Romantic literature and its famous figures (Goethe, English Romantics, The Brontë’s, American Romantics, and Slave narratives)
  • Understand the theme of Realism and its expression in art
  • Be familiar with major intellectual figures who influenced Realism (Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and John Stewart Mill)
  • Explain the historical developments that spurred Realist literature
  • Recognize major 19th century Realists and their novels (French Realists, English Realists, Russian Realists, American Realists, and Realistic drama)

Module 11: Modernism and the 20th Century

  • Understand the Impressionist movement and recognize its major artistic works
  • Describe Post-Impressionism and Art Nouveau and recognize their style of art
  • Explain the social and political influences of Modernism and the characteristics of Abstract art
  • Identify early Modernist styles of art: Fauvism, Cubism, and Expressionism
  • Describe the characteristics of Modernist literature and its major figures
  • Understand the cultural and artistic significance of the Harlem Renaissance
  • Recognize major 20th century playwrights and their works
  • Know the themes of Modernist poetry and the significant Modernist poets
  • Identify Modernist architecture and describe its primary characteristics
  • Explain key modern musical movements and composers (Impressionism, Primitivism, Expressionism, Minimalism, and electronic music)
  • Recognize notable 20th century filmmakers and their works

Module 12: Post-Modernism and the 21st Century

  • Understand ways in which digital art has enabled new possibilities for postmodern artists
  • Describe an experience of digital art
  • Discuss the ongoing nature of postmodernism art and mention a few of its notable movements (Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Pop Art, and Robert Rauschenberg)
  • Recognize elements of postmodern influence in architectural design
  • Explain the ongoing discussion regarding postmodernism in literature
  • Describe the characteristics of postmodern music compilation

Module 13: Imagination, Values, and Emotion

  • Explain the diverse ways in which individuals search for meaning (religion, history, politics, ethics, and morality)
  • Recognize the factors motivating creative expression
  • Understand how artists convey a given emotion in art, music, or literature
  • Discuss the relationship between functionality and art
  • Explain how the artist’s social and cultural environment influences the artist’s creative expression
  • Describe the tension between artistic intent and an audience’s interpretation of the artist’s work
  • Explain how an artist can attempt to bring an audience to understand or experience a point of view
  • Describe how art can provoke conflict
  • Discuss whether the audience understands an artist’s intent
  • Explain how and why interpretation of a given work of art can change over time

Module 14: Connections Across Disciplines

  • Identify major movements in the humanities such as Classicism, Realism, Modernism, Pop Art, etc.
  • Explain how characteristics of movements are expressed across different disciplines and media
  • Understand how a philosophical theory can influence the visual arts
  • Understand how a philosophical theory can influence literature
  • Discuss the connections between literature and art
  • Recognize the importance of religion for the visual arts and music
  • Discuss the impact of technology on the visual arts and music

Module 15: Humanities and Culture

  • Explain how studying the humanities can promote recognition or appreciation of the experiences of others
  • Recognize how ideas about aesthetics, truth and beauty evolve in disciplines of the humanities
  • Recognize the role of conflict in the interpretation of meaning in the humanities
  • Analyze how art serves a specific purpose in a given culture or society
  • Explain how the humanities reflect a specified aspect of a given society or culture
  • Identify a cultural condition that contributed to the movement away from realistic representation in art
  • Explain the role of tradition in the humanities
  • Analyze the influence of politics on a given cultural expression within a specific discipline of the humanities
  • Recognize how music furthers or achieves a specific societal purpose
  • Examine how the humanities influenced a given social movement
  • Analyze how art and society affect each other in a given context
  • Recognize the roles that art plays in a modern society