Purpose and Content

Who wrote the PostMasterClass courses?
MasterClass courses are written by Washington Post columnists, reporters and other News staff who are experts in their fields with vast amounts of information and knowledge to share.

How up to date is the content of these courses?
It is current material developed by expert reporters and other newspeople in the field, and they are in constant contact with others in the various subject arenas of the courses.

Why should I take these courses when I can find other related content on the Web?
The uniqueness of these courses is that they are authored by Washington Post experts in the field, providing custom content that makes each course unique and current. These courses cannot be found elsewhere.

Is it just the content that makes a MasterClass different?
In addition to invigorating content written by Washington Post authors, a MasterClass will be known by its visual presentation. These are not “talking head” courses. Rather, they utilize the best in streaming video and pleasing, interactive design frames that encourage learning. The delivery of content is very enriching. And PostMasterClass is supportive, too, because you will have access to a Learning Adviser, a real person who you can email whenever you have issues or questions and technology assistance if you need it.

How much do I need to know on the subject before taking a course?
All you need is an interest—jump in, and you’ll be guided by an expert. If you know nothing about this subject—no problem. If you happen to have some background – moderate to advanced level – then you can build on that knowledge. Because the course is written by Washington Post experts, you get to see the world through their eyes. The courses are written to be open and accessible to novices but even expert learners will appreciate the Washington Post experts’ on-the-ground perspectives presented in the course.

What’s the difference between a longer course and a shorter course?
A longer course is more involved and will take you more time to complete. It’s a broader and deeper look at a particular topic and subject area. The shorter courses are more concentrated; they can be completed in a shorter amount of time and they address a smaller topic area.

Can I access course content from my mobile device?
In order to access course content you need an Internet browser and an up-to-date version of Adobe Flash. Apple mobile devices including the iPad and iPhone do not support Flash and will not allow you to access the multimedia aspects of your course. Other mobile devices (for example, tablets running the Android system) may allow you to view Flash content. However, note that your course website is not optimized for mobile access.

Class Experience

What is it like taking a class?
You will enjoy the depth of information; much of it is presented in dynamic media that will engage and entertain you.

Will I be interacting with other people when I take the course?
You will have a Learning Adviser who is always there for you to answer any content-related questions. You’ll be able to read questions that others have posted as well. You’ll be interacting with your expert in that you will be reading personal anecdotes and experiences in field notes from the expert.

Will there be any live sessions?
Because people will be taking this course in different time zones and at different times of day, the beauty of the course is that you can access it at any time.

How do I get help if I’m confused?
Support people will frequently be available to answer any technical questions. Your Learning Advisor will assist you with any content-related queries.

Will I have access to the MasterClass experts?
The MasterClass expert is the one who has created all of the course curriculum that you will be working with. If you have any questions, your Learning Adviser can relay them to the MasterClass expert, who may then provide that commentary in the classroom.

I haven’t done an online course before. How do I know if I’m a good candidate for this?
These online courses, because they are self-paced, are totally flexible in terms of how much time you have to spend at any one sitting. If you have family commitments or professional commitments, you can work these courses into your schedule wherever you are, whenever you are able.

I like the idea but none of these topics really appeal to me. Will there be anything new coming out?
Yes, there will be. Sign up under “Enrollment” for the e-mail that we will announce new courses. We are planning new courses every half year and in a wide variety of fields. Please let us know what topics you are interested in, as well.

How are the courses selected or determined?
The Washington Post surveyed its readers seeking opinion on a wide variety of courses. These seven courses were particularly high in people’s interest. Many other fields were also noted, and our research and continual feedback are determining new courses to develop.

How long will these courses be available in the course catalog?
The course catalog will be fluid and we’ll keep adding courses and perhaps changing the course catalog as would happen with any educational establishment.

What are certificates?
A certificate bearing your name can be printed at course’s end, certifying that you participated in a PostMasterClass and/or completed a quiz that demonstrates what you’ve learned. It’s a great way for you to commemorate your participation and involvement in a unique learning experience. To be eligible to receive a certificate of completion, you must successfully pass an end-of-course quiz.

Does the certificate give me any sort of professional qualification?
The certificate does not count for any continuing education units. But professionals recognize that certificates do help you to “certify” and celebrate your own sense of accomplishment in completing a course and acquiring an understanding of the knowledge that the MasterClass experts are imparting.

Time Allotment

I’m really busy. How much time will this take me?
It depends mostly on your own schedule and how you proceed through the course. Besides all the interactive media and dynamic screens, there are optional activities that you can try out on your own, both online and offline, including some reading material, researching and visiting Web sites. It’s up to you to decide how deeply you want to go into the material and how much you want to get out of it. Generally speaking, you can plan on anywhere from 8 to 25 hours.

How long do I have access to the course?
You have access to a MasterClass course for six months, during which time you can work at your own pace. So you can move through the material as quickly or as deliberately as you like.

What if a personal or professional emergency prevents me from completing the course?
We have purposely allowed six months for the completion of each course so that you have the best learning experience possible. You may even go back time and again within the six months to review any additional material that you have specific interest in.

I may want access to the course after six months. Are there parts of the course that are printable or that I can store on my computer and refer to after I have completed the course?
Yes. There are many elements of the courses that are downloadable PDFs you can save on your own computer or print out as reference material. We want you to continue to benefit from the content that you learned and experienced in your MasterClass.

Technical

I’m not really good with computers. Will I still be able to take the class?
Yes, you will. The technology is very easy and straightforward to use. It requires no special technical know how. Nor do you need a special kind of computer or software. Anything that you need to be able to access any of the courses is readily available. If you can do a search on Google, you’ll be able to do the courses.

What are the system requirements you may need to be able to access the courses?
You need some type of computer with an Internet connection, preferably a high speed Internet connection to be able to really enjoy all the interactive media. You will need a Flash player, but that is also freely available.

Transactional

How do I qualify for a discounted rate in these courses?
We are offering PostMasterClasses at a low introductory rate. If you are a Washington Post newspaper subscriber in the geographic area of Greater Washington, D.C., there is an additional preferred discount offered in appreciation of your newspaper subscription.

Can my family also take the course on my single registration?
Each MasterClass course is designed to be taken by one individual only. If others in your household would like to take a course, we invite you to give the PostMasterClass to them through our Gift Program.

I think I’m in the wrong course. Whom do I contact if I don’t like my course?
Because these courses are self-paced and can be taken quickly or deliberately, there are no refunds. If you would like to provide comments about the course, please e-mail your learning adviser, who will keep track of all comments you have and communicate them to all relevant parties, including the expert. Thus your observations may be incorporated into future courses.

General

Why is The Washington Post doing this?
The Washington Post considers itself a content provider with a great number of experts (reporters and others) imparting knowledge in a wide variety of fields. Because the popularity of online self-paced courses that allow people to enrich themselves in their own timeframe is growing rapidly, we are taking our knowledgeable resources into this field for our readers who are interested in exploring areas we are uniquely qualified in helping them understand.

Why do people want these courses?
In surveying our readers, we found they very often look for further information on news topics of interest to them. One of the reasons they come to The Washington Post is to feel involved in their current world and to access experts’ points of view on material that pertains to their lives. These courses are yet another step in making that material available at the pace that our busy readers can manage.

Is anyone going to be tracking me when I’m online? How is my profile information going to be used?
The MasterClass learning environment system notes if you are progressing through the course. In accordance with The Washington Post privacy policy, we do not utilize any information about you for sale to any third parties. The final quiz in each course, in order to determine your certificate completion, is tracked but, again, the information is not utilized for any sales purposes.

I’m a teacher in a school and I think one of these courses would be really interesting for my students. Do you have any educational bulk discount so that I can use this in the classroom?
For educational purposes and use, please contact Candy Lee at leecandy@washpost.com.