Open Culture maintains a 1,200+ list of free online courses. I just finished up my most recent class so I’m on the lookout for the next course that will help enrich my writing. What are my prerequisites when I’m looking for an online class?
- It has to be free. I’m not taking these for credit. I just love to learn. So I look for classes that are free.
- Videolectures are a must. I love videolectures. They definitely aren’t all created equal but I listen/watch while I knit or crochet. Sue me. Keeping my hands busy helps me focus.
- I don’t want to write papers. Maybe because I write for a living, I have no interest in writing 4 750-word essays to wrap up a class. Zero. Interest.
- Peer review just makes it worse. It only becomes less appealing if I am required to peer review someone else’s work and they review mine. At one point I took a class on evolutionary biology. Several of my classmates were religious fundamentalists. Yeah, I know. Why would you sign up for the class but they did. I wanted to know what the reknowned professor had to say. Not my “peers.” Rude but true.
So what do I look for? Classes on writing? Classes on topics that I’m writing about? Classes on topics that simply interest me. Here are a few from the Open Culture list that I’m currently considering.
Creative Writing – A Master Class. I generally avoid writing classes but this class pulls together lectures from a variety of top-notch writers. Among them are poet laureat Natasha Trethaway, Amy Tan, Khaled Housseini, Michael Crighton, Jackson Brown and Sue Grafton.
Darwin and Design. This is a 21 video lecture course from MIT. Darwin fascinates me and I’d love to say I’ve had an MIT class. Yeah, I’m that kind of girl.
Introduction to Literature and the Environment. This Princeton Course (I’m all a-tingle!) starts with Gilgamesh to show how literature reflects our ideas about our environment. Lectures via Youtube so this should be super-convenient.
Honestly, I don’t know how I’d fit all three into my schedule but I’m seriously tempted! Which one would you take?