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Treva Stose

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Over 33,000 students are enrolled in Professor Al Filreis’ Modern and Contemporary American Poetry class. I commend Professor Filreis and his very capable Teaching Assistants for their milestone success in online education and for bringing us a thrilling poetry class like no other. We are into week eight (The New York School) and it’s fair to say that we have an enthusiastic international poetry salon going on. Our professor and TAs lead very interactive, inclusive and involved discussions via live webcasts, social media and designated threads on the insanely active online forums. During live webcasts students from around the world participate in discussions via telephone, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube boards and Coursera discussion forums. We can also participate by showing up at The Kelly Writers House on campus for any of the live broadcasts or any other Kelly House event. In addition to the live events there are prerecorded videos of lively discussions and vigorous close readings of each poem in the course. These are led by the professor with the TAs who also give their all to the spirited online discussion forums. They manage to pull everything off with great knowledge, cheer and supportiveness. We have over 100 study groups on the online forum that are organized by geography, language and special interests including a group for poets, one for professors, one for home schooled high school students, one for feminist study and one for hostiles. Many of the groups meet offline as well. Many more, like me, skype with classmates throughout the course. I’ve seen students from age 14 to 81 participating in the forums. Prof Al cheers them and all of us on. Essay assignments are subject to peer review by no less than four students guided by evaluation rubrics. After initial evals, each essay is automatically posted to a forum for further and open comment. Our class is called ModPo. We follow #ModPo on Twitter which is closely monitored by @ModPoPenn