For those of you who don’t know (or haven’t realized) comics are a major part of my life. My Master’s thesis was partially based on Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan and I currently am in the process of writing a few academic papers on several other comics series. So, it can be fairly said, I look for anything and everything about comics.
But enough about me, what I am going to write about is once again my “praise to the internet” type post, this time however, about education. For those of you who find that comics interests you beyond what is on the glossy page but really don’t know where to begin, I have great news for you and that news is a cryptic “Super MOOC”.
Much like MMORPGs, Super MOOCs is kind of like World of Warcraft, minus the leveling up, the orcs, and flashy graphics.
Okay, fine, a Super MOOC is nothing like an MMORPG except that they both happen online.
In fact, a Super MOOC stands for Super Massive Online Open Course and is your ticket to learning something new without having to leave the comfort of your own computer. It is a short course (usually a month or two) that utilizes basic Electronic Message Boards, an enthusiastic professor from a university, and people’s willingness to talk. What happens is that the professor lectures upon a certain topic (for example, I will talk about a Super MOOC that I just completed a few months ago, entitled “Gender Through Comics” led by Christina Blanch of Ball State University [she is awesome by the way, if she leads another course definitely you should go for it]).
The course is laid out like any that you would find, with assignments and readings and topics to be covered. You are assigned a few readings to do, for example we had to read the first nine issues of Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising, and then we discuss certain topics that the instructor wishes to point out and expand upon. Depending on the instructor, they might go the extra mile and bring in a wealth of extra information (for example, for the Gender through Comics course, ever week we had writers such as Mark Waid, Terry Moore, Kelly-Sue Deconnick, and others answer questions we had about the topic of the week and the comics we read), so it can be an amazing experience. Even if the instructor cannot arrange for such interviews, be rest assured that he/she is well-qualified and is genuinely interested in the course matter
There is one thing that I must point out, these type of courses are very reliant on you, the student. The instructor is overseeing not a hundred students, but think somewhere near several thousand (as far as I understood, I never got around to counting). So if you do join, be ready to be independent (usually I suggest doing the course with a few friends you like talking to, it makes the course even more enjoyable).
Right now, there is a course available which will discuss the history of comics and the literary quality comics and graphic novels have. If you are interested, you can go to this link https://www.coursera.org/course/comics and just sign up. I am enrolled already, so you can hunt me down and we can work on it together!