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All faculty-schools under OLEF arrange their general-learning units ("GLUs") in 5 categories:

  1. History/Society/Civilization

  2. Communication/Information/Media

  3. World/Body/Mind

  4. Philosophy/Religion/Ethics

  5. Business/Finance/Trade

The quarters system required by OLEF, wherein each quarter is 8 weeks long, means that readings in each of these categories can be the focus for 8 weeks at least once a year, the 5th category being a summer session.


Every quarter, our students must take a GLU, which is a 1- to 2-credit online or hybrid class that focuses on one of the 5 categories listed above. We take those categories in order, so the GLUs for our year looks like this:

Quarter 1

(late Aug to late Oct)


Quarter 2

(early Nov to mid Jan)


Quarter 3

(late Jan to late Mar)


Quarter 4

(early Apr to late May)


Summer Session

(variable, between May and Aug)


Each quarter of our academic year contains 8 weeks of instructions. Some quarters are actually longer than others because of holiday breaks that occur within the quarter. For example, our second quarter, from early November to mid January, has 11 weeks because of Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. There is a 1-week break between quarters, and the summer break is 7 weeks long.

For each GLU, students read at least one narrative nonfiction book (250-350 pp) and a mid-sized Great Book (or half of a large one, or 2 smaller ones), and they watch at least 2 movies or documentary that align with the category at hand. They write 3 focused discussion posts. The first asks them to express an original thought they have had over the reading at that point. The second post asks them to explain a connection between at least two of the three texts. The third asks them to articulate a perennial paradigm or lesson that they will take away from the reading (we call this "the takeaway"). Students take weekly affirmation quizzes online and also engage in a speech/presentation activity which will be recorded by the student and viewed by a Ravenburn assessor.


The summer CRU is different (see above). Undergraduate students who are caught up on their credits do not have to take the summer CRU. This session is reserved for graduate students and for undergraduate students seeking make-up credit.

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