The Berkeley extension course I wrote about before (internal link) started today. It’s a writing course devoted to nonfiction. I think I’m going to like it.
The interface used to assign work, provide grades, communicate with the teacher and so on is well thought out and I’ve had no problems accessing the virtual classroom. Students don’t communicate in real time, rather, we are given a week to complete reading and participation tasks; the only time we need to be online for very long is when we post comments and replies to a discussion board.
The textbook is The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Phillip Lopate is the editor. When I got this 777 page tome I was disappointed — no index! Most writers and researchers would quietly put such a book back on the shelf without further consideration. But an index may not be needed for a collection of stories. We’ll see.
The class size is small, with less than ten students. I think this will keep the instructor from being overwhelmed and perhaps enhance our chance of success. For now, I have three essays to read and a personal profile writing assignment to write. I’ll keep you informed.