Metamorphosis MOOC: A Proposal

Due to family commitments, I wasn’t able to be much of an active participant in the MoocMooc activities today, which included a lot of collaborative work in Google Docs brainstorming possible new MOOCs.

However, I did begin a very minimal proposal for a MOOC based loosely on a Freshman Writing Seminar I’m teaching this fall called “Metamorphosis: Identity and Change.” Thus far, I’ve only gotten through the first week of what I imagine to be a four to six week course.

Here’s how I described the original fall seminar in my syllabus:

What does it mean to say that “you’re not the person you used to be” or to claim that you “aren’t yourself today”? Why do we so insistently define ourselves in terms of what we are not (or are no longer)? Are we ultimately who we were, who we are, or who we are becoming? These questions have been at the heart of literary and philosophical thought from their beginnings- but the way that these questions have been posed has changed over time.

In this course, we’ll consider both some of the most ancient and some of the most recent narratives of metamorphosis and we’ll explore what these narratives have to tell us about the nature of identity and its relationship to change. We’ll pay particular attention to the way that narratives of metamorphosis influence our cultural understandings of gender, sexuality, race, and ethics. We will also approach writing itself as a process of metamorphosis. Throughout the semester we’ll return to the questions of how writers transform language and how it, in turn, transforms them.

Since the course is explicitly about transformation, I couldn’t resist the idea of trying to transform it into a MOOC.

Unfortunately, mobile only Internet access prevents me from doing more on the doc (or on this post) this evening, but I’m going to try and fill it out over the course of the next week and will post the final proposal when it’s finished.


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