Humanities – Western Civilization

Course Description

Humanities is a one-semester online course designed as a survey course of western civilization. Each unit blends the reading of rich texts, the exploration of historical documents, the immersion into the arts including painting, music, and movies, and the opportunity to write about your insights. The ability to connect ideas and concepts analytically and to write expressively is a cornerstone for success in the work place, the military, and/or post high school collegiate work. Dive in and embrace all that history, the arts, and literature have to offer.

Course Objectives

Upon completing this course you will be able to:

  • analyze various genres of literature, historical documents, and creative work to understand their significance to culture and time period.
  • analyze the critical attributes of literature and art to appreciate the artistry of the creator.
  • analyze creative works of art for messages, purpose, and audience.
  • compose various types of analytical essays
  • incorporate standard grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling into all written work.

Required Course Materials

This may be a small composition notebook or a spiral notebook.
Your journal is where you will keep notes and ideas you have for writing. You may write your draft copies in your journal.
Your journal is where you will keep notes and ideas you have for writing. You may write your draft copies in your journal.
Review what you write in your notebook and use it to help you complete graded assignments.
You will need access to a dictionary for words that you may find in your reading and not know the definition.
Dictionaries may be in book form or accessed online.
Novels You will need to have access to the following major works:
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Internet Access Libraries and coffee shops often provide free Wi-Fi access
Software You will need a Compatible web browser:
Adobe Reader is required to view PDF documents
You will need a word processing program for creating and uploading assignments. Written assignments must be saved as a PDF. Audios should be saved as an MP3 and videos should be saved as an MP4. Canvas has a feature for downloading audio and video which you may also use.


Course Organization

  • 8 units in one semester with 3 – 5 lessons per unit
  • 16 Graded Assignments
  • 1 final exam (taken in-person)

Final Examination

The final examination is comprehensive; it covers the material from all of the units. To pass the course, you must receive a grade of 70 percent or better. You can apply to take the Final Exam after 100 percent of your graded assignments have been submitted, and at least 70 percent have been graded and returned to you.

Format: Multiple-choice, essay

Time Allowed: 3 hours

Required Materials: A student may use a dictionary (printed or non-digital)

Semester Topics

  1. Origins – The Norse, The Greco-Roman, The Judeo-Christian, The Egyptian
  2. Identity – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  3. Freedom
  4. Power
  5. Morality – The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  6. The Pursuit of Happiness
  7. Life Affirmation
  8. Capstone/Portfolio