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HUMAN-150 - Introduction to Great Ideas - Adam Kaiserman

Course:Introduction to Great Ideas
Professor:Adam Kaiserman
  • Online
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Adam Kaiserman Profile Pic

My name is Adam Kaiserman, and I am Professor of English at College of the Canyons as well as the chair of our Humanities Program. Before coming to College of the Canyons, I earned my M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Irvine. I have been teaching at COC for nine years now.

Course Description

In HUM 150 students trace the evolution of an idea in the humanities from antiquity and its influence on contemporary values and ideas through the reading of great works of literature and philosophy. In this section of the class, we will be tracing the evolution of the idea of utopia—the ideal society—and its inverse, dystopia. The purpose of utopia is to envision a better world; the purpose of dystopia is to warn of a worse world if we keep on the same course. Our class will focus more on utopia as a way of examining problems of leadership, economic inequality, gender inequality, racial inequality, and the degradation of the environment. How can ideas of the perfect society help us get there? How can visions of the worst world act as warnings for which we should be alert? 

My goals in this class are threefold: to teach you about philosophy and literature, to teach you about the history of an idea, and to think about how we might make the world a better place.

What to Expect in this Course

Students will need to use Canvas for the class.

Types of Assessments

Lecture quizzes

Discussion boards every week

3 Papers which build upon each other

No exams

Textbook Information

Mostly our texts will be accessible through the library.

For purchase:

Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future (Columbia UP: 978-0231169547)

Matthew Schneider-Mayerson and Brent Ryan Bellamy, An Ecotopian Lexicon (Minnesota UP: 978-1-5179-0590-3)

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 11/17/2021 Sub#: 1148