Some frequently asked questions about who we are and what we do.


Why was MASSOLIT established?

Lots and lots of reasons, but here are a few.

  1. There are hundreds of amazing academics out there who have dedicated their lives to Shakespeare, Homer, Wordsworth, Kant, etc. and whose knowledge and expertise would be brilliantly useful for school students. Previouly, these academics have been limited to visiting schools one-by-one, but technology now allows them can share their knowledge with every single student and teacher in the world. All they need is the right platform.
    YouTube and iTunes U are far too big, while the MOOCs (edX, Coursera, Futurelearn, Udacity, etc.) are (1) aimed at adult learners, and (2) overwhelmingly concentrated in mathematics, science, business. What about 16-19 year old students who want to learn about Shakespeare?
    This is why MASSOLIT was created.
  2. A lot of the resources available for school students studying the arts and humanities play it very safe, and end up being unambitious and uninspiring. We wanted to create something for the students who wanted to push themselves and to engage with interesting ideas and critical discussions?
  3. Even where great resources do exist, it's almost impossible to find them... YouTube no doubt has some fantastic resources, but these are swamped by 10,000 other videos which are no good. Another reason MASSOLIT was created was to provide a place where every single lecture was high-quality. All killer, no filler.
  4. On a personal level, it's quite nice going round the country and having a chat with some of the world's best academics.

Who is behind MASSOLIT?

MASSOLIT is run by Chris Tudor, a former Oxford Classicist who happens to know how to shoot film and to code websites. You can find out a little bit more about him on his Twitter page, or you can e-mail him directly.

Where does the name MASSOLIT come from?

The MASSOLIT was the name of the writers' union in Mikhail Bulgakov's novel 'The Master and Margarita'. It is Russian for something like "Literature for the Masses", which made some kind of sense at the time.

Lectures & Courses:

How long is an average lecture?

Most lectures are between 8-12 minutes in length. We like to keep things short so that teachers have time to play the lectures in class without eating too much into class-time, and without students getting too bored(!)

Are lectures coded to the curriculum?

Mostly, yes. In some cases, subjects may be more wide-ranging than a single specification option and/or designed for extension and enrichment.

Preparing students to go beyond their school exams and to think about what life be like at university is an important part of what we are doing.

How many lectures are there for each subject?

MASSOLIT currently features 3716 lectures across 534 courses. These are split across six subject areas as follows:

  • 1547 lectures across 177 courses in English Literature
  • 675 lectures across 106 courses in Classics and Ancient History
  • 292 lectures across 44 courses in Philosophy
  • 1011 lectures across 161 courses in History
  • 155 lectures across 27 courses in Psychology
  • 212 lectures across 36 courses in Government and Politics

Click here to download a full list of our courses and lectures [.xls, 762 KB]

How are topics for lectures chosen?

In some cases, schools get in touch to ask us to cover certain subjects, which we are more than happy to do. (So if you're a teacher or a student and you're reading this, and you would like us to cover something, please get in touch!

In most cases, however, it's a combination of looking at the specification to see what needs to be covered, speaking to the contributor to get their opinion on what would be the most useful topics to cover, and thinking about what would work best in the video format.

How many lectures are added each year?

We tend to add between 70-100 courses per year: that's an additional 500-600 individual lectures.

Where can I find a list of recently added lectures?

Other ways you can keep up to date are to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter, as we use both of these to announce new courses as they come online. The final thing you can do is sign up to our mailing list, which gives a digest of everything that has happened on the site over the past month or so..

Can I see any sample lectures?

Yes. We have a regularly-updated YouTube channel where you can check out some of our videos.

Alternatively, we provide free access to one lecture from each our lecturers, so you can see what they're like. You can start having a look at some of these via our contributor list.

Access & Functionality:

Why do you charge for lectures?

We need money to cover our costs (e.g. server and hosting costs, camera equipment, post-production software, travel up and down the country, etc.). Charging a small annual subscription fee seems like the fairest way to do it.

Access and Outreach is extremely important to us, and we welcome discussions with Outreach & Access officers (or equivalent) at both Schools and Universities as to how we best do the right thing with this, so please get in touch.

Can staff and students watch lectures at home?

Yes. Once your school has signed up, all staff members and students will have their own username and password, which means they can watch lectures whenever and wherever they like.

If my school subscribes, do we automatically get access to new lectures?

Yes. If you subscribed today, you'd not only get access to the 534 courses that are on the site right now, but everything else that is added over the next 12 months.

Can teachers check whether students have watched lectures set for them as homework?

Yes. We have powerful analytics tools whereby teachers can see who has watched what, and when. We can even tell you how much of each video has been watched!

Is there a limit on the number of students and teachers who can log in to watch a lecture at the same time?

There is no limit. Everyone in the school could watch the same lecture at the same time if they liked.

Are there any lectures freely available online?

Yes. We have a regularly-updated YouTube channel where you can check out some of our videos.

Alternatively, we provide free access to one lecture from each our lecturers, so you can see what they're like. You can start having a look at some of these via our contributor list.

Can lectures be downloaded for offline viewing?

No, although this is something that we are thinking about doing in the future.


Can we choose to subscribe to lectures in individual subjects?

Each subject collection (Classics, English Literature, History, and Philosophy) is available as a separate 12-month subscription, but you can choose to subscribe to two or four collections at a discounted rate.

Your Personal Data and How it's Used:

What personal data does MASSOLIT have on file?

Our database contains all the information you provided to us when you registered for an account: your full name, your email address, your school, and an encrypted version of your password. In addition to this, we store the date (and time) your account was created, the date (and time) of your last sign-in, and your IP address at your last sign-in.

Can I request to see my personal data?

Yes. If you would like to see the personal data that MASSOLIT has in its database, simply get in touch and we will send your full user record.

Do you share personal data with third parties?

Yes. Some of the things you do on the MASSOLIT website are shared with Google Analytics. We share data when you visit any page on the site, as well as whenever you play a video.

We also share data with Wistia, the company that hosts all our videos and whose video player we use. Data is shared with Wistia whenever you visit a page with a video on it and (again) whenever you play a video.

It is important to note that all this data is anonymised before it reaches third parties. We don't send any personally-identifiable information like your name or email address. With Google, we also anonymise your IP address.

Can I request my personal data to be deleted?

Yes. If you would like us to delete the data we have on file, simply get in touch and we will permanently delete your user record.

Are you compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

Yes. If you have any queries, complaints or suggestions with regards to how we handle personal data, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Why do you share this data? What is it used for?

Google Analytics and Wistia collate data from individual user sessions to provide an overview of how much the site is being used. We might use Google Analytics to check how many times videos on the site were watched in the last thirty days, for example, or to see how many times students from a particular school have watched videos since the beginning of term.