Taking an Open Course

December 5, 2010 tinkisamy

I have been checking into Open Course websites that offer just that courses for free. I found a great course that is called, Women’s Novels: A Weekly Book Club. This is designed for an undergraduate audience and uses some great female novelists.  This course is a pass/fail course that lasts 14 weeks. Most of the novels will take two weeks to finish. The books and authors are what sparked my interest in this course. This course is carefully planned out and is designed for a distance learning environment. This course is a great start for any distance learner. It appeals to the beginning distance learner to the most experienced distance learner.  The most important part is discussing the novel.

The course originally was designed to be done in a relaxed setting where students sat around and discussed what they read. This type of instruction will work when adapted for distance learning. The learning is a characteristic of the Learner-centered model discussed in our class textbook Teaching and Learning at a Distance. This course allows for student discovery and uses a collaborative learning environment.

The activities in the course keep the student active in the novel and the discussion of how they felt and interpreted the novel.  The course incorporates trips to the museum and watching various films. These are things that can be done independently and then discussed as a group. In a distance learning environment this would bring different types of opinions and cultures. The varied learners would create unique museum trips that would encourage more discussion and collaboration. The course could offer the learner the ability to keep a blog or use a class wiki so that there can be more interaction since meeting in person will not occur. The course also could add a web chat session so that the learners can have some synchronous interaction with each other and the instructor.

Overall I would enjoy this course and would actually like to teach a course like this someday. Not only is interesting for learners, but it uses great writers and reminds us of how literature influences our lives more than we think.


Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Women’s Novels: A Weekly Book Club. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/special-programs/sp-260-women-s-novels-a-weekly-book-club-spring-2006/index.htm


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