Poetry classes show MOOCs can have a personal touch
- Online poetry classes from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University are showing that massive open online courses aren’t necessarily impersonal, and can draw students into smaller communities of teaching and discussion.
- UPenn’s Modern & Contemporary American Poetry course, or ModPo, had 42,000 students in its first year and 38,000 students in its most recent semester, according to the Atlantic. The Harvard course has students from 150 countries.
- ModPo professors moderate discussion groups in Los Angeles, New York, the District of Columbia, San Francisco, and Prague, and users lead their own groups in more than 20 cities around the world.
ModPo students receive a syllabus, links to texts, and video clips, including prerecorded discussions of the poems, and they take quizzes and write essays, which are optional. In addition to a weekly live webcast, the course stresses the importance of joining in the discussion groups. The ModPo class does exhibit some typical MOOC characteristics, though: it has a high dropout rate, it seems that most of its students already have been to college, and it appeals to a wide audience, both in terms of professional backgrounds and its global reach.
- The Atlantic The Web Poet's Society