This Some Thing 4 Sunday post is all about Shakespeare. Okay, maybe not all about Shakespeare. It’s about an awesome (can you tell I’m giddy about it?) MOOC course I’m taking via the FutureLearn site on Shakespeare and his World.
This isn’t the first FurtureLearn class I’ve taken. Now into my third class through the site, I’m finding I like the varied formats they’re using and the general accessibility of the teachers. I’ve tried other MOOCs as well before this, including a course of History and the Occult through Berkley and Roman History class I found via Open CourseWare. Even with access to group chats on the courses, the level of teacher interaction never seemed quite adequate. I’m really happy so far with my experience at FL.
Sir John Gilbert’s 1849 painting: The Plays of William Shakespeare, containing scenes and characters from several of William Shakespeare’s plays. Since the artist died in 1897, this work is now in the public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As for my present course… I’ve never been much for the Cult of Shakespeare personally (sorry, but my school experiences till now never inspired in me a passion for his work, and with so many other great writers and artists tweaking at my senses..,). However, this class draws into my passion for history and mysteries and wordsmithery 😀 in just the right combinations. Each lecture and discussion following it has given me cow trail after cow trail of bits on architecture, social customs, politics, even history as seen by people of the time period.
Perhaps the best way to explain my feelings might be via a Doctor Who episode The Shakespeare Code. During David Tennant’s tenure as the
Love’s Labour’s Lost by Gresham’s, c. 1914 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Doctor (I have to note this because I’m such a fangirl, of course), he and Martha Jones end up in Elizabethan London during the Bard’s attempts to write Love’s Labour’s Won as a sequel to the canon play Love’s Labour’s Lost.
I liked the episode, mostly because Shakespeare wasn’t the star of the show. As usual, the Doctor and his companion(s) were, and the limelight of the week was cast on the villain(s) and the random person (usually historically famous, but not always) who needs the Timelord’s help in defeating them. I liked the way the story portrayed the jail, the potential romantic life of young people of the time, the crowds, the boarding house scenes…. even the idealistic visit by Elizabeth I herself at the end. Most of what I liked though is how Shakespeare is cast as a normal, flawed human being, a product of his time.
Conwy’s Elizabethan Locals – IMGP1538 (Photo credit: catchesthelight)
I like human beings. I can relate to human beings. I like spending time with human beings. I do not like to spend time with gods. (An odd thought–how humanity tends to try to humanize its favored gods and deify its beloved members…)
And this MOOC, while about Shakespeare’s works, is as much about the people and the world they lived in at the same time as Shakespeare. Yes, our professor uses Shakespeare’s works as a lens to show us these things; he also uses historical documentation and artifacts from the time period–things sorely deficient in my high school experiences with the Bard.
FutureLearn hasn’t closed the class to new sudents yet. If you’re interested, sign up. The joy of MOOCs is you can participate as little or as much as you’d like and at your own speed. I have no doubt you’ll get something new out of it even if you only follow the lectures and assigned plays.
Is this progress? *shakes head*
- write every day; at the minimum, do 5 sentencesdo notes count?
- finish a complete (rough) draft of Courting the Swan Song except for scratching notes, no action
- make twice weekly blog posts (WIPpet Wednesdays and Some Thing 4 Sundays) check
- maintain active sponsor participation on track; decided to sponsor again next ROWnd
- energize myself with more physical activity mostly home stuff
- reclaim my writing space the top of my desk showed up momentarily
- go through some piece of my electronic home (desktop, laptop, server space, Dropbox, etc.) a forced electronic reprieve because my PC is acting up
- laugh more, hug my family more, share myself with friends more… some, though not as much as I’d have liked; a lot of collapsed plans these past few days
- attend chats and sprints on Twitter (at least one of each) nope