“The Soul and the Search for Meaning” will be UNCG’s first massive, open, online course (MOOC). It is available free to anyone with an Internet connection, beginning March 25.

“The Soul and the Search for Meaning: From the Greeks to the Present” will be taught by Dr. Stephen Ruzicka., a UNCG history professor and author of “Trouble in the West: The Persian Empire and Egypt, 525-332 B.C.”

Building on a similar course taught by Ruzicka on the UNCG campus, the new MOOC explores the development of ideas about the soul and the universe and the connection between the two.

Three modules will be offered. The first explores the classical era and how the ancient Greeks understood the origins of the soul, the cosmos and what it means to be human. The second explores how St. Augustine, Dante and other early Christians translated the ancient Greeks’ view of life through the prism of Christianity. The third explores the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, Romanticism, Pragmatism and Existentialism.

“Our quest to understand our existence has played out over many generations and across the rise and fall of civilizations,” Ruzicka says. “We are all driven by a need to understand who we are, where we come from and how we got to where we are today.”

Students can take the self-paced course online when they choose, from anywhere they want to learn. A certificate is available to those who complete the course in its entirety.

More information on the course may be found at moocs.uncg.edu. To register, visit moocs.uncg.edu/sign-up.

Story by Mike Harris, University Relations