NotreDameX Courses

The Meaning of Urban Form | Part 1: Renaissance and Baroque Rome

About this course


Taught by Professor David Mayernik, this course will introduce you to the reasons behind urban form. In the past, the makers of cities shaped them to reflect their society’s ideals and aspirations. They did this through the organization of the city—its plan, its walls, etc.—through the quality of its urban spaces—streets and squares—and through the meanings that the architecture could convey. The city was a work of art, shaped more or less deliberately by patrons and architects not merely to be beautiful, but meaningful. We will look at one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Rome, and try to discern how it got to be that way, and why.

Course Start: March 15, 2016

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Note: Archived courses are available to explore in a self-paced fashion. Certain features of the course may not be active.

Introduction to the Quran: The Scripture of Islam


Discover the themes of the Quran, its role within Islam, its meaning to Muslims, and relationship with the Bible.

About this course



Dome of the Rock, Facade by Godot13

According to Islamic tradition, the Quran is not simply an inspired scripture. It is a divine book brought down from heaven by the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad, and its message is the key to heaven. Join us for an exploration of the scripture that is the word of God to over a billion people. 

This course will introduce you to various aspects of the Quran, including its basic message, the historical context in which it originated, the diverse ways in which Muslims have interpreted it, and its surprisingly intimate relationship with the Bible. By the end of the course, you will gain an appreciation for the perspectives of Muslim believers and academic scholars alike on the origins and the meaning of the Islamic scripture. No background in Islam or Arabic is necessary for this course.

Join us as we discover a text which inspires many and remains at the heart of fascinating scholarly debates. 

What you'll learn
  • Basic organization, structure, and literary style of the Quran
  • The Quran’s role within Islam and its meaning to Muslims
  • Traditional Islamic and critical academic perspectives on the origin of the Quran
  • Strategies utilized within the Quran to construct persuasive arguments
  • Identify how the Quran employs Biblical characters and traditions
  • Analyze and interpret religious arguments in a scholarly manner

Meet the instructors: Gabriel Said Reynolds

Click here to view the course trailer. 

Course Start: October 12, 2015

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Math in Sports

Come learn how you can use mathematics to get a deeper insight into both the sports you love and everyday life.

About this course

Math in Sports

In this course you will learn to use some mathematical tools that can help predict and analyze sporting performances and outcomes. This course will help coaches, players, and enthusiasts to make educated decisions about strategy, training, and execution. We will discuss topics such as the myth of the Hot Hand and the curse of the Sports Illustrated cover; how understanding data can improve athletic performance; and how best to pick your Fantasy Football team. We will also see how elementary Calculus provides insight into the biomechanics of sports and how game theory can help improve an athlete’s strategy on the field.

In this course you will learn:

  1. How a basic understanding of probability and statistics can be used to analyze sports and other real life situations.
  2. How to model physical systems, such as a golf swing or a high jump, using basic equations of motion.
  3. How to best pick your Fantasy Football, March Madness, and World Cup winners by using ranking theory to help you determine athletic and team performance.

By the end of the course, you will have a better understanding of math, how math is used in the sports we love, and in our everyday lives.

What you'll learn

  • Draw conclusions from mathematical analysis using inductive reasoning
  • Evaluate data using principles of probability
  • Assess risk and develop strategies that drive event outcomes
  • Model physical processes in order to predict (or change) outcomes

Meet the instructors: Associate Professor Anne Pilkington and Professor Michael Hildreth

Click here to view the course trailer.

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Jesus in Scripture and Tradition

Explore the identity of Jesus Christ through a treatment of  , the Gospels, and the traditions of the Church.

About this course

Jesus in Scripture and Tradition

The Bible says that Jesus was identified as God's beloved son at his baptism. The same identification was made about Israel in the Old Testament and the disciples of Christ at their baptism. The striking similarity of these titles establishes a tight interrelationship between the people Israel, the person of Jesus Christ, and the church.

In this course, we will explore how a close reading of the book of Genesis, the Gospels, and early Christian writers can shed further light on these relationships and, in so doing, deepen our understanding of the figure of Jesus Christ. Unlike many other treatments, this course does not presume that Jesus’ character can be plumbed solely by an examination of the Gospel stories. The witness of the Jewish scriptures and the lives of the saints are also important sources for this task.

The course will be eight weeks in length and organized around three topical questions:

  1. Who is Israel? (primary source material: the book of Genesis)
  2. Who is Jesus? (primary source material: the Gospels and the Creeds)
  3. Who is the Church? (primary source material: a selection of post-Biblical Christian writers)

No matter what your background in the study of theology, this course will provide a fresh approach to the identify of Jesus Christ that will reveal how the church has explored the unmeasurable depths of his person.

What you'll learn

  • Recognize major people, places, and events of the Old and New Testament as related to the narratives of Israel and Jesus Reflect on the mysteries of Christ
  • Examine the Church’s relationship to Christ
  • Explore religious questions through study of themes and selected biblical passages
  • Reflect on ways major biblical themes apply to modern life

Meet the Instructors: Endowed Professor Gary Anderson and Professor John C. Cavadini

Click here to view the course trailer.

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I "Heart" Stats: Learning to Love Statistics

Is your relationship with statistics dysfunctional? We can help: Get to know stats, build a healthy bond, and maybe even fall in love!

About this course


When you meet a new person, it is hard to know what to expect. You may not be able to read the person or understand what they mean. Even if you want to have a good relationship with them, this lack of understanding can make interactions tense, unpredictable and scary! The same is true for a lot of people as they encounter statistics and mathematical ways of working with data. Statistics can be confusing and opaque. Symbols, Greek letters, very large and very small numbers, and how to interpret all of this can leave to feeling cold and disengaged—even fearful and resentful.

But in the modern information age, having a healthy relationship with statistics can make life a whole lot easier. We are constantly faced with an onslaught of data and claims about it—from news articles, to Facebook and blog posts, casual and professional conversations, reports at our workplace, advertising, and claims from politicians and public officials. How can we process that information, make sense of it, evaluate truth claims, and put ourselves in a position to act on the information? One of the most important ways is by befriending statistics and consistently using statistical ways of thinking.

The purpose of this course, then is to help you develop a functional, satisfying, and useful life-long relationship with statistics. To achieve that goal, we will take a non-technical approach—you will learn how statistics work and why they are so helpful in evaluating the world of information that is around us. You will learn about the logic of statistical thinking and the concepts (rather than the mathematical details and probability theory) that guide statistical inferences and conclusions.

You do not need to be a math whiz to take this course. If you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide (or just be able to use a calculator to do that!), you will be more than able to handle what will happen as this relationship develops.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Identify the most important features of a data set
  • Select a statistical test based on the features of the data
  • Think like a statistical detective Understand the relationship between two different characteristics or variables
  • Perform some simple statistical calculations and draw some conclusions from real data
  • Hopefully, love stats!

We’ll do all of this using entertaining examples related to real-life situations we all encounter in everyday life.

What you'll learn

  • Select appropriate statistical tests for data according to the levels of measurement
  • Perform basic calculations to determine statistical significance
  • Use standard methods of representation to summarize data
  • Interpret and assess the credibility of basic statistics

Meet the instructor: Professor Dan Myers

Click here to watch the course trailer.

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