MasterClass offers a unique variety of online classes to try at home


photo by Eva Bard

Seventh-grader Simon Bard watches a lesson from MasterClass on chess.

Harry Davidson, Reporter

MasterClass is a compelling online learning platform with classes taught by experts in their fields, and it provides a unique opportunity for anyone looking for a way to pass the time or trying to take up a new skill.

Masterclass includes various courses about entertainment, cooking, sports, business, politics and lifestyle. Two of the most popular classes are Poker with Daniel Negreanu, a six-time World Series of Poker champion, and a basic cooking class with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. 

One class that I took was “Shooting, Ball Handling and Scoring” with Stephen Curry, a member of the Golden State Warriors and a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player. The class was very detailed and informative, and it gave detailed sheets explaining how you should practice. However, unlike some online learning platforms like Coursera, nothing is graded or mandatory to complete. The course has definitely improved my basketball skills and given me new knowledge about the game. 

A typical course on MasterClass is about 15 to 25 classes that are each around 15 minutes long, which amounts to three to five hours of content total. This is great for people with short attention spans or those who do not want to sit through long lectures. There is usually an introduction class at the beginning of each course, and each subsequent class is a new lesson building on the previous one. 

In some of the more hands-on topics such as cooking and sports, a typical 15-minute class involves thorough tutorials with instructors who demonstrate what to do. In the more thought-based courses such as “The Art of Negotiation” by Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator, the classes are composed of lectures. Although the lecturers just sit down and talk, the classes are still interesting because they are led by experts who discuss very intriguing subjects. 

When purchasing MasterClass, it is important to understand what you are actually getting. The classes offer skills that extend outside of the traditional academic world, like singing or stand-up comedy, but they do not go as far as to teach practical skills like how to use a computer or repair a car. 

Another thing to understand is that there is no face to face interaction with the teachers or time to ask questions. There is a community page where you can ask questions to other people taking the class, but it is difficult to communicate with the instructors.

An all-access pass to the website costs $180 dollars per year for one account. An account can be shared by a family and easily accessed on multiple different devices. Also, when you purchase an account, it comes with a free year-long subscription for someone as a gift.

It seems like a significant investment, but for the over-75 courses it offers and the quality of the instructors, MasterClass is well worth the expense. The courses are fascinating, and everyone will be able to find a class that really speaks to them, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when there are fewer activities to do at home.