As I mentioned in my first post for the A to Z Challenge, I don't have a degree in English or Literature. I have a degree in biology and to be honest, my English courses in college were more about ticking off a box on my requirements than learning anything. I enjoyed my American Lit class, but I also chose it because I had read everything on the syllabus.
I love learning and have maybe a bit of free time I would like to learn about something I'm passionate about (I was passionate about biology and I do use my degree a little bit in my day job). As an employee of a university, I can enroll in classes for free. I almost completed a Ph.D. in Ecology (didn't defend). But I don't care to take tests or do projects. I want something that fits my schedule.
For those wanting to learn anything, technology has definitely made it possible. If you don't care about getting a certificate or college credit there are a number of literature courses available online for FREE! And these aren't no-name schools or shady organizations. You can listen (and in most cases watch) recorded lectures from MIT, Yale, Harvard, UC Berkley, Oxford and more.
If you are looking for a bit more interaction than just listening to a lecture, you will often have access to the assignments (i.e. essay topics) and since in some courses (like those at Coursera) the assignments are peer graded, you could get your own "class" together. Again technology can help with that. You can use Google Docs to share essays or Google Hangouts or Skype for oral presentations. You can create a Facebook group which would allow for ongoing discussions. Reach out to your network and see who is interested. (I know some homeschoolers do something similar).
Where can you find these courses where you can learn anything from basic English grammar to studying Shakespeare and the Great American Novel? Here are the top spots I've found (often the same courses are cataloged at several sites, these sites offer the widest range of different courses). While I linked to the literature courses, you can find a number of other subject matters if you are interested in something else.
edX Literature Courses
Open Yale Courses
Oxford Playlists This includes all subjects, but there are a number of audio guides to classic novels.
Do you have any favorite learning sites?
Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.
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