My science fiction and fantasy class ends this week. Even though I had accumulated the grades to earn the certificate three weeks ago, I did all ten weeks of readings, essays, and peer reviews because, after all, learning itself is more real than certificates. I’ve registered for a number of additional online classes throughout the year, since there are so many interesting and free choices.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been sprouting everywhere in the past year or so, but the logistics and economics of getting them to a point where they can start bringing in revenue to pay for themselves are problematic. Open Culture had an interesting article on the topic a few days ago, The Big Problem for MOOCs Visualized. In the mean time, I’m enjoying as many free classes as I can; who knows how long the experiment will last. Anyone want to join me on any of these?
I’m half-way through Property and Liability: An Introduction to Law and Economics, given by Dr. Richard Adelstein of Wesleyan University. It doesn’t make for great blog posts because the homework consists of online quizzes, and I’m too new at the topic to feel brash enough to ad-lib on the lectures. However, the course is excellent and very well presented; I highly recommend it and will be looking out for more opportunities to hear Dr. Adelstein speak.
In a couple of weeks, the anthropology class Becoming Human begins, with Dr. Greg Downey of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. It sounds fascinating and only lasts four weeks, with assignments consisting once again of online quizzes.
A week later starts a class I registered for in order to get an update on official policies, Citizenship and U.S. Immigration. The course is hosted by Dr. Polly J. Price of Emory University and lasts five weeks; I expect it’s going to be another relying on online quizzes. I’m particularly interested in learning about recent, planned, and hoped-for immigration reform.
A class I’m greatly looking forward to, yet dread a little, starts in late May: Introduction to Art: Concepts & Techniques, with Professor Anna Divinsky of PennState. This one actually requires that we create art pieces and upload scans or photos to the class Website, to be critiqued and discussed; media used will include graphite pencils, charcoal, pastels, ink, watercolour, acrylic paint, and collage. So for seven weeks, this will probably be the activity I’m most interested in and talk about all the time.
In June starts another class I’m eagerly awaiting, The Camera Never Lies with Dr. Emmett Sullivan of the University of London International Programmes. This six-weeks course is an introduction to use of photographs as historical evidence in the twentieth century, issues of authenticity and manipulation, and the place of film and historical adoptions as public history.
Finally, in October I’ll be taking Live!: A History of Art for Artists, Animators and Gamers with Dr. Jeannene Przyblyski of the California Institute of the Arts: “Explore art history from the artist’s perspective. Learn how contemporary artists, animators and gamers work from the art of the past as part of their creative process, while building your own skills in visual analysis and creative and critical thinking.” Assessment will be a combination of peer-reviewed sketchbook exercises and online quizzes.