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M Obropta

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I honestly went in kind of blind. I have a background in instructional design and was chosen to interview for a position, so in preparation for the interviews I decided to review as many UPenn MOOC offerings as possible. ( I was basically looking at as many as I could in a short amount of time to compare and contrast the different approaches by various UPenn professors, as well as to look at a other delivery platforms.) While they ultimately chose another finalist for the opening, I got something better. I fell in love with this course and rediscovered the joy of reading and analyzing poetry. (I dropped the other courses I had been sampling, to focus on this one.) As mentioned, I did have some background in literature, so I expected to maybe learn about some newer poets. However, I was stunned that this was not the typical boring online lecture course (or, even worse, a bunch of pdf files or powerpoints with "GOALS AND OBJECTIVES" listed every 12th screen in repetitious and rather condescending bullet points). It blew all my previous experiences with online learning out of the water. This course challenged me to think every day (and many late-nights, in discussion with people across the globe.) Not only did this course recreate the intimacy and excitement (and fun and humor) of an actual college seminar, it went on to exceed any college seminar I've taken because we had the whole "massive" aspect going on: thousands of participants who were also involved in animated conversations about poetry, challenging, championing, and teaching me in the forums. Most of all, making me smile as we connected. We had dedicated TAs and Volunteer Community TAs asking provocative open questions and generating exciting discussions. We had excellent writing assignments. We had the amazing technical staff that created this particular course's audio/visuals and made the live webcasts possible. We had a Professor and a co-Professor who were entirely engaged, reached out to us, and made us feel relevant. I honestly can't think of anything that could be improved upon. I learned so much more than I ever expected.