Q: How are courses structured?
A: Courses are two, two-hour sessions within a one week span. We use this structure to keep people engaged with the content without needing to make a large long-term commitment. People are busy! We may offer different time, frequency, and duration structures as our program evolves.

Q: What kind of content and assignments should I expect?
A: This will vary by course and instructor. We trust our instructors to decide the best way to reach their students. However, in general, most courses will send you reading in advance of the first meeting, you may or may not have time to read and review it. During the first session there will likely be a lecture explaining the context and content you were given, there may be a slide show that helps visualize the lecture content, there might be film clips or images, etc. There will likely be some amount of "close reading" of the texts, which is a way of unpacking complex language word by word, phrase by phrase, so that the material becomes accessible. You might have a brief writing assignment or other activity that will help you engage with the material. The second session may include more lecture time if needed, but will likely be primarily discussion-based. Some professors will assign written work and provide feedback, others might only use written work for purposes of igniting discussion. Courses all have a discussion board open for 7 days after the course ends where participants can continue to talk to one another about their questions and reflections.

Q: What if I find the reading or writing assignments too difficult?
A: That's ok! We are teaching tough stuff! It is ok if you find the reading too hard to do on your own and decide to rely on the lectures and discussions to help you understand and think about the content. We all learn differently and the important thing is that you care about learning! It is also often easier to read a text once you have had time to really gain an understanding of its historical and theoretical meaning. You might find that after the course you are able to read something that was absolute gibberish to you before you participated in a VT course!

Q: If I can't make a session, will content be recorded?
A: In order to protect the integrity of our pedagogical values and participant privacy we do not permit recordings of our courses. All courses are live and personalized to each participant group.

Q: How do I pay my application fee and course enrollment tuition?
A: Application fees are currently waived! You will get a link to the Application Form in the confirmation email after purchasing your course enrollment.

Q: Can I get financial aid?
A: YES! We want to make this kind of learning more accessible to everyone. If the course cost is an issue for you, please indicate that on your application form. Please also indicate if you identify with any groups historically excluded from these discourses, including: BIPoC, LGBTQIAP+, immigrant, ESL, low-income/working class, etc. Typically, we can support one tuition waiver per course, per person. We hope to expand these tuition waivers as our program grows!

Q: What literacy level is required for participation?
A: For now, our courses are all taught in English. Our courses will be most beneficial to those with at least high school level literacy. Many courses use primary texts that are quite difficult, but the point of the lectures and activities are precisely to help you understand those difficult texts and ideas. So, advanced, graduate-level literacy skills are not required. If you are interested in attending or teaching a course in a language other than English, please contact info@vitalthought.org. We love requests and do our best to create courses that meet people's needs.

Q: Are there age requirements? Can high school students participate?
A: There are no age requirements! However since content in some of our courses is very challenging, controversial, or upsetting, a certain level of maturity is recommended. So courses are best suited for audiences over 16 years old. Those under 18 years old must obtain written permission from a parent or guardian. If you are interested in a course geared to your age group or need a permission form, please contact info@vitalthought.org. We love requests and learners of all ages and do our best to create courses that meet people's needs.

Q: Why is there an application form fee? Do I need to pay this fee for every course I apply to?
A: The Application Form Fee is currently waived!

Q: Can I enroll in more than one course?
A: Yes! You can absolutely enroll in more than one course at a time, just make sure there are no scheduling conflicts.

Q: Can I be refunded if I drop the course?
A: We understand that plans and availability can change, so you can drop a class and request a refund within one week (7 days) of your course start date. We will also issue refunds in cases of financial emergency. To request a refund, contact info@vitalthought.org.

Q: Can I donate to Vital Thought?
A: YES! Please! We are a small operation focused on supporting scholars and students directly. The more funding we have, the more we can expand our offerings and provide more financial aid to students otherwise often excluded from vital contemporary discourses. To make a donation simply purchase our donation items here, or if you prefer, contact info@vitalthought.org.

Q: Can I teach a course through Vital Thought?
A: We are not currently seeking instructors but, but we are open to those who want to pitch courses for future sessions! You must be enrolled in or have completed a PhD in a relevant field (we may make some exceptions). Stay up to date on calls for instructors by joining our mailing list.