I just started a new online course this week offered by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. It teaches participants how to talk to children about art. I’ve listened to the Week One lectures, done the readings and taken the quiz. I did just fine. Wasn’t sure what kind of student I’d be after being out of the classroom for so long. Thousands of us are taking the course in this session and there are online discussion forums where we can post our responses to the lessons. I’ve already received some interesting feedback on my observations. We get credit for participating in the discussion forum and our final assignment will be evaluated by our peers. I’m excited about how the course will help me do a better job of the tours for children I guide at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
I’m also currently taking a course in writing for children. Although I send in my assignments via snail mail to my personal instructor and writing coach I do access the many online resource materials offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. This includes a Facebook page, lectures, writing tips, discussion forums and blogs that help inspire and assist students in the course. The Institute also sends me weekly newsletters via e-mail with all the latest information about what editors are looking for from children’s writers and how to improve your writing. So far nothing I’ve written for my assignments has been accepted by a publisher but I’m only half-finished the course and one of the things the course teaches you is how to be persistent and hopeful in the very difficult world of children’s publishing.
I’m also about half-finished an online course that guides you through writing a middle grade novel. I’ve listened to half the lectures and gone through half the worksheets and I’m just about finished six chapters of my novel. I won’t accomplish the courses’s promise that you will write a novel in one month. It might take me more like six. But the course does provide valuable guidance, organization and inspiration for the writing process.
I love the opportunities there are to study online. Since we travel a fair bit I am never able to enroll in university or community college courses in Winnipeg even though there are many I’d love to take. Online courses make it possible to continue the life long learning process no matter where you are.
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