TV version of Harvard course a welcome innovation

A popular Harvard course becomes a local TV series, inviting community members into the classroom.

by The Harvard Crimson

Just this past year alone, 872 Harvard students enrolled in professor Michael SandelâÄôs legendary course, Moral Reasoning 22: âÄúJustice.âÄù But now that HarvardâÄôs most popular class has been made into a public television series of 12 episodes on WGBH, thereâÄôs no telling how much larger its âÄúenrollmentâÄù will be this season. While âÄúJustice: WhatâÄôs the Right Thing to Do?âÄù makes it easy to get a more comfortable seat with a better view of SandelâÄôs teachings, it is also an admirable continuation of HarvardâÄôs commitment to its Extension School programs and sharing its academic resources with the larger community. Most of the âÄúJusticeâÄù lectures have already been available online for some time through its own Web site or other Harvard Extension School portals. The creation of the television series was a natural decision for a course that has been so popular for so long among both current Harvard students and alumni. Drawing on thinkers from Aristotle to John Rawls, the course has the potential to be a formative experience, one in which viewers will undoubtedly be forced to reflect on important moral questions and decide for themselves where exactly they stand. While the television show will naturally reach a much larger audience than the course ever has, we hope that this extension of information beyond Harvard also takes place on the Internet and in media forms other than television. The best thing about this new television program is that, with it, Harvard has shared some of its incredible academic resources with the rest of the world and has invited the public to join its unique academic community. This editorial, accessed via UWire, was originally published in the Harvard Crimson at Harvard University. Send comments to [email protected].