summer school

June 29, 2020

If you’ve ever felt like you jumped into the deep end of poetry, here’s a chance to put on your water wings and start over. Johns Hopkins University Alexander Grass Humanities Institute is offering a free online summer “blast course”: How to Read Poetry.

The five-week course will meet on Zoom for one lecture and one live discussion session each week, Mondays and Thursdays, from July 13 through August 14, 2020. “Through lectures on sound, image, language, and genre, you will learn what poetry is made of, and discover, along the way, poets of various national and historical traditions, from Shakespeare to Claudia Rankine.”

Details and registration here.

meanwhile at ModPo

April 6, 2020

We’re huge fans of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo), the massive open online course (MOOC) offered free each year through Coursera. The ten-week intensive begins each September and tens of thousands of people participate, many taking it over and over.

Perhaps you’re one of the people who has considered enrolling but just couldn’t jam in another commitment in the fall. Well, here’s some good news from instructor Al Filreis (italics added for emphasis):

The course site is open every day, all year. Come in and read some poems, watch our videos about those poems, and join the conversation in the discussion forums. You need not wait until September 5, 2020, to be part of ModPo 2020. However, please do note that starting on September 5, and running for ten weeks thereafter, we will all together move through the syllabus during what we call our annual “symposium mode.” That mode features daily office hours held by TAs, super-lively discussion forums, in-person meet-ups in various locations, and weekly live interactive webcasts on Wednesdays.

To clarify: our annual 10-week symposium mode is what our friends at Coursera think of as “a course.” But — again to clarify — ModPo is unusual in that it is an ongoing open session. Once you “enroll” you are with us, unless you un-enroll, season after season, year after year. Our syllabus expands constantly and there are always new poems and new videos to read and watch. So please stay with us!

Sign up. Your poetry may never be the same!

starts today!

March 9, 2020

Staying home? You could enroll in Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop. The six-week Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered free by CaLARTS and taught by poet Douglas Kearney includes videos, readings, quizzes, and poetry writing exercises. The course begins today, March 9, 2020, but because it is online and self-paced, you can enroll now and begin at your convenience.

starts today!

November 15, 2019

The International Writing Program (the IWP) at the University of Iowa is offering a new course, “Hidden Meanings: Creative Fiction, Non-Fiction, & Facts.” This course will be given as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) FREE of charge and can be taken on your own schedule, with scheduled programming beginning today, November 15, and continuing through December 31, 2019.

In November 2019, the world will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the same time, there is a continually growing global spread of misinformation and disinformation campaigns. This course takes a creative fiction and non-fiction approach to understanding and recognizing information, misinformation, and disinformation. You as participants will work with iconic pieces such as The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells and Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges as well as more recent fiction and non-fiction texts, technically exploring how elements of information are used, and experimenting with these elements in your own creative fiction and non-fiction responses, contributing to the identification and strengthening of the roles of mythbusters, debunkers, and individuals in countering disinformation.

The course content includes writers who are both native and non-native English speakers, and we welcome those of you who are working on your own English language skills. Reading and listening to writers from a variety of backgrounds, and locating your own voice and and recounting your own experiences through creative writing, are strong language practice techniques.

No previous writing experience is required and even poets are welcome to participate!

More information and registration here.

starting soon!

August 30, 2019

We’ve mentioned Modern & Contemporary U.S. Poetry (aka ModPo) many times before. A free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), ModPo is a ten-week intensive that includes panel discussions, videos, reading, and, if desired, writing assignments. While course activities happen on a schedule, all of the materials remain available throughout the year, so it is entirely self-paced.

The next live 10-week session of ModPo will begin on Saturday, September 7, 2019, and will conclude on November 18, 2019. Find out more, review the syllabus, and sign up.

MOOC your winter

October 30, 2018

The International Writing Program of the University of Iowa has just announced a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): “Stories of Place: Writing and the Natural World.”

Participants will work with some of the many possible types of creative non-fiction, including essays, science journalism, travel narratives, and speculative portrayals of the natural future. (Poetry isn’t mentioned in the description, but why not?) Writers will work with “ways to portray truth and fact, whether it involves telling stories about the local, the global, the invisible, the beautiful, or the uncertain.”

The instructor-led course begins November 15, 2018, and continues through December 31, 2018. After that, it will remain open online through March 15, 2019, for self-paced learning. The course is free and registration is now open.

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.

%d bloggers like this: