Saturday, 3 May 2014

Free, Open Access Higher Education Resources and Courses on Creative Writing and Literature

There are a now a number of higher education institutions worldwide that give open and free access  to online course materials. These are made available for use at your own pace, and are largely about downloadable materials. Here are a few from writing and also literature courses that might interest.

Open Learn - from the Open University - creative writing: Start Writing Fiction Looks at character, setting and genre. Writing What You Know  includes reading and writing activities geared to developing the use of memory, observation and the senses.  Start Writing Fiction: Taking it Further   established writers talking about how they go about writing, their methods, approaches and rituals. There are also  activities and exercises, and interviews with writers.

Open Learn - from the Open University - literature: Approaching Poetry  this course aims to develop the analytical skills you need for a more in-depth study of literary texts. Learn about rhythm, alliteration, rhyme, poetic inversion, voice and line lengths and endings. What is Poetry?  this course introduces common techniques underlying free verse and traditional forms of poetry. You are also introduced to the basic terminology and practical elements of poetry.

Open Yale - literature Modern Poetry  This covers the body of modern poetry (characteristic techniques, concerns, and major practitioners). Authors discussed include Yeats, Eliot, and Pound, to Stevens, Moore, Bishop, and Frost, also poetry of World War One.

Open Yale - literature  The American Novel Since 1945   This course traces the formal and thematic developments of the american novel since 1945. It focuses on:  the relationship between writers and readers; the conditions of publishing; innovations in the novel's form; fiction's engagement with history, and the changing place of literature in American culture. 

On the other hand, a MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course with an unlimited number of participants and online access to a range of distance learning materials. Typically video, audio, webinar, and softcopy resources are provided with some online forum support for participants. Again, some very well known higher education insitutions worldwide provide a range of these courses including in creative writing or literature.

Participants can join and participate as a student of lots of these courses free of charge. Feedback on progress is usually provided in some form of large scale basis e.g. use of multiple choice quizzes, peer or collaborative review. So, it can be a way of  gaining education from large and well known institutions, but there is typically little or no individual attention between tutors and students. So, you need to be computer literate and also an independent learner who can manage their time and study without much tutor intervention. Not surprisingly, these courses do tend to have a high non-completion rate, as they are not for all, and there is no selection process. So for example, you may find the time commitment too much, or that the course content is different from you anticipated, or that the level of learning is too high or too low based on your previous experience and knowledge.

Anyway, mindful of all that, there are a range of these courses online that may interest those of you who can spare the time and want a free course.  Here are a few current examples in creative writing and literature that would be useful for learning about writing process: 

Universtity of IOWA - from their new MOOC series How Writers Write Poetry (28 June - 09 Aug) and How Writers Write Fiction  (27 Sept- 08 Nov 2014). These are both courses on the practice of creative writing.

edX - The Art of Poetry - not a creative writing course, as in you will not be asked to write poetry, it is about looking at the craft of poetry. 

Do look carefully at the syllabus content of the individual course to make sure that you are aware of what it is offering, at what level, and the expected workload and timings.

Happy learning.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this Deirdre, lots of useful sites to look at. Annalisa


We welcome and appreciate your comment.