Free Online Literary Courses for Readers and Writers (starting Sep/Oct 2014)

free online courses

As it’s the beginning of the academic year, I’ve been looking at free online courses and educational resources for readers, writers, gamers and web surfers (mostly on online security).

Resources

252 English faculty audio lectures at The University of Oxford (UK) available all year round. (They also do short fee-paying online courses with accreditation, lasting up to 3 months.)

Literature and creative writing video, audio and free courses from The Open University (UK) available all year round.


*All Harvard courses below have the option of accreditation for a fee.

For Readers

Comic Books and Graphic Novels
Run by: University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera
Starts: 22 September
Duration: 7 weeks, 3-4 hours per week
Comic books have arrived! “Comic Books and Graphic Novels” presents a survey of the Anglo-American comic book canon and of the major graphic novels in circulation in the United States today. Its governing question is simple: by what terms can we discuss comic books as literary art? In pursuit of that question it develops a theory of literary reading and time itself. Visit us at http://www.facebook.com/UCBComics

Shakespeare and his World
Run by: The University of Warwick via FutureLearn
Starts: 29 September
Duration: 10 weeks, 5 hours per week
Together with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Professor Jonathan Bate explores Shakespeare, his works and the world he lived in.

Shakespeare: On the Page and in Performance
Run by: Wellesley College via EdX
Starts: 1 October
Duration: 12 weeks, 4-5 hours per week
An introduction to Shakespeare that combines literary study with theatrical analysis to understand both Shakespeare’s continuing popularity and his greatness.

The Divine Comedy: Dante’s Journey to Freedom, Part 1
Run by: Georgetown University via EdX
Starts: 15 October
Duration: 6 weeks, 8-10 hours per week
Jorge Luis Borges, the great Argentine writer, said that no one should deny themselves the pleasure of reading Dante’s Divine Comedy. In this course, you will discover precisely what Borges meant.

The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (Hours 1-5): Epic and Lyric
Run by: HarvardX via EdX
Starts: 2 September
Duration: 4 weeks, 5-8 hours per week
Focusing on Epic (Homer’s Iliad) and Lyric (Sappho’s poems), this is the first of five modules on the Ancient Greek Hero as portrayed in classical literature, song, performance, and cult.

The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (Hours 6-11): Signs of the Hero in Epic and Iconography
Run by: HarvardX via EdX
Starts: 14 September
Duration: 4 weeks, 5-8 hours per week
Focusing on the interaction of Homeric epic and the visual arts, this is the second of five modules on the Ancient Greek Hero as portrayed in classical literature, song, performance, art, and cult.

The Art of Poetry
Run by: Boston University via edX
Starts: 30 September
Duration: ? weeks, ? hours per week
The art of poetry gives pleasure and invites knowledge. This course is based on a conviction that the more you know about an art, the more pleasure you will find in it.

Modern & Contemporary American Poetry
Run by: University of Pennsylvania via Coursera
Starts: 6 September
Duration: 10 weeks, 5-10 hours per week
ModPo is a fast-paced introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, with an emphasis on experimental verse, from Dickinson and Whitman to the present. Participants (who need no prior experience with poetry) will learn how to read poems that are supposedly “difficult.”

Poetry in America: The Poetry of Early New England
Run by: HarvardX via EdX
Starts: 10 September
Duration: 5 weeks, 3-5 hours per week
This course, the first installment of the multi-part Poetry in America series, covers American poetry in cultural context through the year 1700. We begin with Puritan poets–some orthodox, some rebel spirits–who wrote and lived in early New England.

Poetry in America: Nature and Nation, 1700-1850
Run by: HarvardX via EdX
Starts: 22 October
Duration: 7 weeks, 3-5 hours per week
This course, the second installment of the multi-part Poetry in America series, spans the poetry of America’s early years, directly before and after the creation of the Republic. We examine the creation of a national identity through the lens of an emerging national literature.

For Writers

English Grammar and Style
Run by: The University of Queensland via edX
Starts: 22 September
Duration: 9 weeks, 4 hours per week
Learn how to use a knowledge of how words work to write in the style that readers value and that the university and the professions require.

A beginner’s guide to writing in English for university study
Run by: University of Reading via FutureLearn
Starts: 06 October
Duration: 5 weeks, 3 hours per week
Learn how to use English for study at university or college and develop your writing skills, vocabulary and grammar.

English Composition I: Achieving Expertise
Run by: Duke University via Coursera
Start: 22 September
You will gain a foundation for college-level writing valuable for nearly any field. Students will learn how to read carefully, write effective arguments, understand the writing process, engage with others’ ideas, cite accurately, and craft powerful prose. We will create a workshop environment.

Introduction to Journalism
Run by: University of Strathclyde Glasgow via FutureLearn
Starts: 29 September
Duration: 6 weeks, 4 hours per week
Learn about the key principles and debates in journalism and enact the role of a journalist in the context of an escalating story.

Developing Your Research Project
Run by: University of Southampton via FutureLearn
Starts: 15 September
Duration: 8 weeks, 1 hour per week
Undertaking an Extended Project Qualification, IB extended essay or any other scholarly research? This guides you step-by-step.

Academic Integrity: Values, Skills, Action
Run by: The University of Auckland via FutureLearn
Starts 10 November
Duration: 4 weeks, 1 hour per week
This course will explore academic integrity and how you can demonstrate it in your work, study and research at university.

Start Writing Fiction
Run by: The Open University via FutureLearn
Starts: 27 October
Duration: 8 weeks, 3 hours per week
This hands-on course helps you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters.

Digital Marketing: Challenges and Insights
Run by: University of Southampton via FutureLearn
Starts: 13 October
Duration: 3 weeks, 3 hours per week
Explore the latest trends in digital marketing. Get beneath the hype. What are the implications? How will you respond?

The Secret Power of Brands
Run by: University of East Anglia via FutureLearn
Starts: 20 October
Duration: 6 weeks, 3 hours per week
Get under the skin of brands as we reveal the secret powers behind the most potent commercial and cultural force on the planet.

For Web Surfers


Introduction to Cyber Security {Led by SF&F author & visiting professor Cory Doctorow}
Run by: The Open University via FutureLearn
Starts: 13 October
Duration: 8 weeks, 3 hours per week
Our lives depend on online services. Gain essential cyber security knowledge and skills, to help protect your digital life.

Web science: how the web is changing the world
Run by: University of Southampton via FutureLearn
Starts: 06 October
Duration: 6 weeks, 3 hours per week
Explore how the web has changed our world in the past 25 years and what might happen next.

Internet History, Technology, and Security
Run by: University of Michigan via Coursera
Starts: 6 October
Duration: 11 weeks, 3-5 hours per week
What is the Internet? How was it created? How does it work? How do we secure communications on the Internet?

For Gamers


Understanding Video Games
Run by: University of Alberta via Coursera
Starts: 3 September
Duration: 11 weeks, 3-5 hours per week
An 11-lesson course teaching a comprehensive overview of analytical theory pertaining to video game media. Topics covered: play and game, emergence versus progression, game mechanics, story, interpretive theory, the culture of games, violence, sex and race in games, and finally, serious games. Estimated workload: 3-5 hrs/wk for non-credit; 7-10 hrs/wk for credit.

Current Issues


Worried about bird flu, swine flu, SARS and ebola?

Epidemics – the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases
Run by: Penn State via Coursera
Starts: 29 September
Duration: 8 weeks, 1-2 hours per week
Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Influenza, Measles – we’re in a constant battle against infectious diseases. This is a course about the dynamics of such diseases – how they emerge, how they spread around the globe, and how they can best be controlled.

Images: iosphere via FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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