I read on Al Filreis' Twitter that the University of Pennsylvania was opening out a course in Modern and Contemporary Poetry, so of course I signed up to see how it was done. I am so very happy that I did, it gives me an opportunity to read again those wonderul poets, Dickinson, Ginsberg, Whitman, Williams and More. There is so much happy !
Penn is using Coursera , which to my untrained eye is the equivalent of a moodle, where students can access teaching programmes when and how it suits them. There is a lot going on on the #ModPo site. (Twitter : @ModPoPenn)
The Modern and Contemporary Poetry Coursera includes:
- Coursera Home Page
- ModPo main syllabus/schedule
- Discussion Forums
- Video Discussions
- Writing Assignments
- And a course Wiki
The whole gamut is there with resources for all types of student, and whilst I have completed a course or two using external and blended resources such as Moodle/Citrix, I find it to be incredibly well-organised in terms of access. This means that some access courses do not necessarily live up to their name , I am mostly happy with Pennsylvania University at this moment in time.
The course is subscribed to by 30,000 students and one only hopes that other colleges follow the University of Pennsylvania's lead in extending expertise to people who might not have the time or the money to attend courses this Autumn. I believe in putting my money where my mouth is so my intention is to follow through the programme for the entire ten weeks and to attempt (in the busyness of my life) to finish the course.
I decided to do this to give myself a small gift , after a not so wonderful summer. A lot of my reading is for sheer pleasure and my blog is about communicating the vast area of poetry with emphasis on women's poetry and editing. I suppose that I wanted to try a more structured reading and studying, because mostly I am a nerd.
This Week on Modern and Contemporary Poetry
This week we are reading Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. I am enjoying the Dickinson moreso than the Whitman. I know that this is because of Dickinson's minimalistic expression ! I listened to Al's discussion group for Song of Myself before Breakfast , a nice way to begin the day. Though I am a wee bit trepidatious of the written assignments and wonder at the logistics of correcting them.
Those who have a little more time than I to study will be delighted to learn that resources in #ModPo(Penn) extend through Facebook and Twitter threads and groups. I think the idea should be taken up by Irish Universities , who do use similar blended learning but not to this extent.
Many of us are truly privileged to have our degrees, and even the most cynical of us should think about extending knowledge and expertise to those who may not have had educational opportunites and who desire to read and study great works of poetry. In all, I admire the way this course is taught and I enjoy awaking to listen to Whitman, or reading a short Dickinson. Even if this occurs in tiny stolen or reclaimed corners of my unusually bustle-y life.
Here's the links :
My blog : http://poethead.wordpress.com