Ideas of the Twentieth Century

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7/10 stars
based on  15 reviews
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Course Details

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FREE

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  • TBA

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edX online courses
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be tau...
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

Provider Subject Specialization
Sciences & Technology
Business & Management
23716 reviews

Course Description

The last century ushered in significant progress. Philosophers, scientists, artists, and poets overthrew our understanding of the physical world, of human behavior, of thought and its limits, and of art, creativity, and beauty. Scientific progress improved the way we lived across the world. Yet the last century also brought increased levels of war, tyranny, and genocide. Man pushed boundaries of good and evil, right and wrong, justice and injustice – and people lost faith in values. Now, thinkers and leaders are reconstructing theories of value and creating institutions to embody them. Join this thought-provoking, broad-sweeping course as it draws intriguing connections between philosophy, art, literature, and history, illuminating our world and our place in it. Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment and virtual labs. Learn more.

Reviews 7/10 stars
15 Reviews for Ideas of the Twentieth Century

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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9/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 8 months ago
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Paul Hundal profile image
Paul Hundal profile image
3/10 starsCompleted
  • 138 reviews
  • 119 completed
5 years, 8 months ago
This course is heavily weighted towards essays (30% of the mark) and uses an AI computer to grade the essays that in my opinion is grossly unfair. You are probably being matched to a standard essay which punishes creativity or novel thinking. Students complained to no avail. So you spend hours putting your heart and soul into writing an essay only to get an insulting mark from a computer. In my opinion this is ridiculous and demotivating. In the end the whole thing is a waste of time cause you don't even get an explanation of why the computer gave you a crappy mark. No one knows so there is no learning from mistakes other than learn to regurgitate the lectures as much as possible because computer marking systems reward regurgitation over independent thought.
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4/10 starsCompleted
6 years ago
I took this class last year with hopes of enhancing my knowledge and although I scored a 92% overall grade, I was extremely dissatisfied with the grading of my essays! They were graded by a computer...NOT a person! Furthermore the entire section on photography was taught by a boring monotone speaker, there was never any essay devoted to the photography section...'Overall NOT worth the effort or time, required...!!!' Very Disappointing class overall! Jack Rogers
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 9 months ago
edX is the worse part of this course. Dr. Bonevac provides us with an excited overview of the 20th century but the edX platform fails to deliver. We could have had very in depth conversations, but edX does not allow for this. I feel that Dr. Bonevac is held back by what edX will allow him to say and do.
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5/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 9 months ago
You give a very unnuanced account of the introduction of income tax and prohibition, to name just two initiatives presented in tones which - in general - are hostile to Wilson. One does not need to admire Wilson to find this disappointing. Vertrees Malherbe
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Ashley Petrea profile image
Ashley Petrea profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 10 months ago
I had enrolled in this class for the August 2014 session believing that this course was about the 20th Century. I love the 20th Century. While I did well in the first part of the course; I became very bored with the course and enrolled so after the course started. First off, the professor talks as if he is on a PBS special. Next, the course also presents itself as if it "Antiques Roadshow." To me, this course presents itself more as a television show than an actually course. Now, Professor Bonevac does come across as professional (too professional) and knowledgeable. I am not trying to be offend anyone. . This course just seems dull and lacking. Hopefully with some revision this course will be more fun. I would love to see this course videotaped during a semester when it is offered on campus at the University of Texas, Austin. It would be awesome to see Professor Bonevac engaging with his students.
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Mike O profile image
Mike O profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 11 months ago
superb instructors and content - a heck of a lot to absorb- I didn't finish the first time through, but I am gonna try again with some friends this time I hope. Dan didn't answer my email about Rick Roderick - pretty busy I'm sure. TAKE This Class if you can - mike
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Jack Rogers profile image
Jack Rogers profile image
2/10 starsDropped
  • 14 reviews
  • 8 completed
5 years, 10 months ago
I am looking forward to taking this updated, verified course. The syllabus , mentions that the 'ESSAY' portion of this course has been restructured and improved. I am looking forward to this opportunity to further enhance my knowledge on this course material. UPDATE: " DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME OR YOUR MONEY...! " Disgusted former student, please refer to my prior review for specifics!
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10/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 12 months ago
Excellent and mind-blowing course! It opened my mind to many previously unknown ideas and ways of looking at the world and our history. Pure intellectual pleasure.
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8/10 starsCompleted
5 years, 12 months ago
This course is a great introduction to the thinkers of the last century. It is setup by decade and shows not just how these thinkers influenced Philosophy but how that in turn influenced the arts, politics and every day events. The good: Dr. Bonevac is an amazing teacher and it is obvious he enjoys the subject mater. Dr. Flukinger brings a gravitas to the discussion of the arts. The videos look great. The discussion boards are filled with people ready to have a real discussion. The essays require actual thought to complete. The bad: Dr. Bonevac's conservative world view gets in the way a bit too often (especially in the later sections), although this did lead to some good discussions. The second half of the course is not as full as the first. The ideas presented are almost all from Europe or America. Overall, this was a very solid edX course. Thank you Dr. Bonevac for taking the time to do this.
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2/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 2 months ago
stupid video. How should the listener follow the old guy speaking, and understanding? And if it is not meant to be followed, what for is this video? really stupid.
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10/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 1 month ago
My favourite EdX course so far! A real gem for the humanist! Prof. Bonevac can explain the most complex philosophy and literature in 10-minute videos! Especially useful for guys like me, who did not have basic English literature in high school and would never otherwise understand, say, T.S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land' on my own (try it yourself!). Prof. Bonevac not only explained Ludwig Wittgenstein, he made me fascinated by the latter's 'Tractatus Logico- Philosophicus'! This is the ideal course all humanities classes should strive towards - it not only opened my mind to the brave, rich world of the Western cultural landscape but veritably changed my life forever, by making me think with the categories of the thinkers who have long ago gone through the same battles for ideas as we face today.
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A. L. profile image
A. L. profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
6 years, 5 months ago
The best aspect of this course is its interdisciplinary approach: it blends history, literature, philosophy, art, photography and cinema in a fascinating, intellectualy stimulating mix. It includes video lectures, and readings by several different authors ranging from Hobbes to Borges. Also, students are strongly encouraged to discuss the materials and express their opinions. The first half of the course is really good: it explains different ideas from different thinkers and authors and is lively and stimulating. But the sections about the latter decades (from the 1940s onwards) are much poorer, and extremely US-centered. Sometimes the material is biased and poisoned by the conservative political opinions of the main instructor. There were some technical problems. Besides the usual multiple-answer quizzies, students had to submit three essays, to be graded by an experimental software, that was used for the first time in this course a... The best aspect of this course is its interdisciplinary approach: it blends history, literature, philosophy, art, photography and cinema in a fascinating, intellectualy stimulating mix. It includes video lectures, and readings by several different authors ranging from Hobbes to Borges. Also, students are strongly encouraged to discuss the materials and express their opinions. The first half of the course is really good: it explains different ideas from different thinkers and authors and is lively and stimulating. But the sections about the latter decades (from the 1940s onwards) are much poorer, and extremely US-centered. Sometimes the material is biased and poisoned by the conservative political opinions of the main instructor. There were some technical problems. Besides the usual multiple-answer quizzies, students had to submit three essays, to be graded by an experimental software, that was used for the first time in this course and had endless problems. Discussion was an important part of the course, but unfortunately the discussion forums in EdX are set up in a very impractical way. If the second half of the course were as rich as the first, and the instructor were less politically biased, this would be a great course. As it was offered, it's good, but not great.
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Andrea Fernández profile image
Andrea Fernández profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 completed
6 years, 6 months ago
Before taking the course I had only studied history at secondary school, I found it very interesting, and the connection they made when explaining a history topic with photography, literature and art was really interesting. It helped me, as they offered, to understand the main ideas of the Twentieth Century and why we are how we are not. Some of the listenings were a little long (for me) and I did not find much sense in getting scores from just ticking yes when I finished watching the video. But, I dearly recommend the course for anyone wanting to understand the Ideas that brought us here.
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Arnold Lau profile image
Arnold Lau profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 8 reviews
  • 8 completed
6 years, 7 months ago
The course title has ambitious scope. As it is, it's a series of overviews of many works of philosophy, literature, and art, with a strong focus on the development of photography. The first half of the course was highly enjoyable and exposed me to the ideas and works of many thinkers that I had never encountered before. This course wasn't hard at all in terms of getting a high grade: you can get points just for claiming to have viewed course content. The material was challenging on its own merits (though this had nothing to do with the course design, which seems set up purely to provide students with a wide survey.) Probably the biggest merit of the course is its framework of analyzing ideas as two-level theories, including both manifest and latent segments, and in its meta-approach to philosophers (looking at the structure of their philosophy and not just the content.) There were, however, many things that went wrong with the course... The course title has ambitious scope. As it is, it's a series of overviews of many works of philosophy, literature, and art, with a strong focus on the development of photography. The first half of the course was highly enjoyable and exposed me to the ideas and works of many thinkers that I had never encountered before. This course wasn't hard at all in terms of getting a high grade: you can get points just for claiming to have viewed course content. The material was challenging on its own merits (though this had nothing to do with the course design, which seems set up purely to provide students with a wide survey.) Probably the biggest merit of the course is its framework of analyzing ideas as two-level theories, including both manifest and latent segments, and in its meta-approach to philosophers (looking at the structure of their philosophy and not just the content.) There were, however, many things that went wrong with the course: 1.) There was far less content towards the latter half of the course. Readings, if present, were mostly truncated to only a couple of paragraphs. There was far less philosophy and literature in the latter half of the course as well. About 2/3 of the course content was in the first six weeks. 2.) Towards the latter half of the course, each week became almost exclusively focused on a bunch of history segments and an art/photography/cinema segment or two. The history segments were exclusively focused on what was going on in the United States, discussing the acts of US presidents and the like, and after the WWII segment pretty much ignored developments in the rest of the world. In short, it didn't feel like "ideas of the twentieth century" anymore. 3.) There was questionable balance in the views and summaries expressed, particularly regarding political issues such as the legacy of certain presidents. To be more precise, there was a bit of a right-wing (in the American political sense) bias in the course. It was a pretty interesting viewpoint, however, considering that professors on average have more of a left-wing bias. 4.) Three essays were required in the course, and unlike every other course that uses peer review, this one decided to experiment with an automatic grader that would grade based on a rubric and a pattern developed from the professor's personally grading about 150 essays per topic. This is more of EdX's fault, but the automatic grader frequently crashed or failed to grade essays until certain conditions were fulfilled. When it did work, it predictably applied very narrow criteria and seemed to operate via searching for keywords. Whether or not this reflects flaws in the grader or reflects the professor's grading style is still an open question. 5.) Discussion forums were a mess. EdX has poor discussion forums in general, but for some reason, philosophical and historical topics were mostly assessed with multiple choice quizzes while the art and photography sections were mostly assessed with discussion questions, resulting in forums filled with posts that were just replying to the given discussion prompt. Trying to post about another topic was generally futile, as no one would see your thread unless they were specifically searching for the topic you were talking about. This sort of thing plagues other EdX courses such as Harvard's ChinaX as well, though it's been solved in other EdX courses (e.g. 7.00x, 8.01x, 6.00.1x) by providing an open discussion forum in every segment of the course material. The latter two problems are more platform-specific, so I can't really fault this course for those, but the first three problems indicate to me that the enthusiasm and effort put into the course pretty much bottomed out after half of it was done.
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