starting soon!

September 6, 2017

Here at The Poetry Department, we’re big fans of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (“ModPo”) in particular. This ten-week, FREE, interactive, online poetry course is demanding and rewarding. An “introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, with an emphasis on experimental verse, from Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman to the present,” it combines readings, webcasts, video discussions, forums, and, if desired, writing assignments. The fall session begins on Saturday, September 9, 2017, and concludes on November 20, 2017. For more information and to enroll, visit the ModPo page on Coursera.


new MOOC

March 20, 2017

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) has announced two new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for the summer:

The courses are self-paced and completely free for all participants. No writing experience is required. Follow the links for additional information.

more than a MOOC

March 2, 2017


When is a MOOC more than a MOOC? When it’s a MOOC-Pack!

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) offer a rich array of free online learning. Any user can follow along at their own pace. Now The University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP) has assembled MOOC-Packs for each of its MOOCS. “A MOOC-Pack provides a MOOC’s core content, packaged with a how-to guide and extra instructional materials. Using a MOOC-Pack, anyone can lead a writing class or a study group.” Of course, you can also enjoy the MOOC on your own.

Browse a list of current MOOC-Packs.

Registration for two new IWP MOOCs will open on March 15, 2017. To stay current with IWP news, sign up to receive the IWP Distance Learning Program’s email announcements.

planning ahead

January 9, 2017

ModPo 2017 schedule

For those of you who like to plan ahead and have been contemplating taking — or retaking — Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (“ModPo”), here is the 2017 schedule. Enrollment is now open and you can find all the details regarding this free and very worthwhile MOOC (massive open online course) on the Coursera ModPo page.

writing fiction

October 7, 2016

How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women!

While most of our posts focus on poetry, there’s certainly a lot of overlap between poets and writers of other genres. So we include here this notice of a University of Iowa Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that begins on Tuesday, October 11, 2016: How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women, taught by Professors Christopher Merrill and Margot Livesey.

Open to all genders, this course is centered on female voices. Participants will tackle two crucial elements of fiction writing: character and structure. The course will include a diversity of perspectives and advice on principles and processes from an amazing group of contributing authors (see graphic).

The course is free of charge and it’s not too late to enroll. Writers of all levels are welcome; no experience is necessary! To learn more, visit the University of Iowa How Writers Write Fiction page.

ModPo about to begin again

August 31, 2016


This year’s Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is about begin. Offered through Coursera, the free ten-week online course is intensive, demanding and rewarding. Taught by Al Filreis and a panel of teaching assistants, it is a combination of audio, video, live sessions, reading, forums and, if desired, writing. ModPo begins September 10, 2016 and enrollment is now open.

See our previous posts about ModPo.

massive Whitman

June 9, 2016

Whitman's Civil War

Now and then, we post about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which are free college-level courses offered online. The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa has just announced a new MOOC: Whitman’s Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster. Running July 18 through September 5, 2016, the MOOC “will embark upon a journey through Walt Whitman’s writings on the American Civil War. Through Whitman’s lens, we will explore how writing and image can be used to examine war, conflict, trauma, and reconciliation — in Whitman’s time and today.”

The course will be taught by Ed Folsom, Whitman scholar and University of Iowa Roy J. Carver Professor of English; and Christopher Merrill, IWP Director and University of Iowa Professor of English (and poet). It will include instructional videos, readings, assignments and live discussions. The instructors “estimate that this will require 5 or more hours of your time per week.”

For information and registration, visit the course page on NovoEd.

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