Monthly Archives: October 2012

Update on Coursera’s Modern American Poetry Course

If the lack of posts recently doesn’t demonstrate this for itself, let me just say that I’ve been busy lately between teaching, auditing, and reading for comps. So busy, in fact, that I have had to sadly let my participation in Coursera’s “Modern American Poetry” class fall by the wayside. As I indicated in my previous post, however, I did hang around long enough to complete the first unit, submit an essay, and give and receive peer feedback.

As I predicted in my last post, my essay’s reading of Dickinson’s poem was more typically “academic” than many of the other responses, and my readers didn’t seem to particularly know what to do with it, though the responses were earnest and respectful. It was also significantly longer than most of the essays submitted despite its (I thought) relatively modest five-paragraph length.

I will say that one aspect of Coursera’s format that I did like is that—after submission and an initial peer response—the essay and the peer response were placed in a forum viewable to all members of the course. I like the idea of students being able to view the work of the rest of the class; in fact, part of me is attracted to the idea of having my own students upload their work in Blackboard in a manner that all class members can view it, not just me, but I worry that this might be an overly-intimidating prospect for some students.

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