Modern & Contemporary American Poetry

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10/10 stars
based on  174 reviews
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Cost

FREE

Upcoming Schedule

  • On demand

Course Provider

Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Provider Subject Specialization
Humanities
Sciences & Technology
4629 reviews

Course Description

ModPo is a fast-paced introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, with an emphasis on experimental verse, from Dickinson and Whitman to the present. Participants (who need no prior experience with poetry) will learn how to read poems that are supposedly "difficult."
Reviews 10/10 stars
174 Reviews for Modern & Contemporary American Poetry

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Therese Pope profile image
Therese Pope profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years, 8 months ago
It's been almost 20 years since I graduated from college, and I signed up for Al Filreis' Modern & Contemporary American Poetry course not really knowing what to expect. I originally signed up for the class because as a copywriter, I felt like my brain was stale and my creativity had fizzled. We are in the midst of Week #7 and I can't believe it's gone by so fast! I am absolutely amazed and energized by this class. It gives me hope that we still have educators in this world like Al Filreis who is not only passionate about teaching poetry to his 30,000 students across the globe, but he truly cares about us as human beings. We aren't just a number to Al and he is very interactive in the forums and discussions. I don't know when he sleeps! With the support of his wonderful TAs, Al's class is very organized and I have learned so much about modern poetry in the past six weeks. In our class, there are never any stupid questions - he encour... It's been almost 20 years since I graduated from college, and I signed up for Al Filreis' Modern & Contemporary American Poetry course not really knowing what to expect. I originally signed up for the class because as a copywriter, I felt like my brain was stale and my creativity had fizzled. We are in the midst of Week #7 and I can't believe it's gone by so fast! I am absolutely amazed and energized by this class. It gives me hope that we still have educators in this world like Al Filreis who is not only passionate about teaching poetry to his 30,000 students across the globe, but he truly cares about us as human beings. We aren't just a number to Al and he is very interactive in the forums and discussions. I don't know when he sleeps! With the support of his wonderful TAs, Al's class is very organized and I have learned so much about modern poetry in the past six weeks. In our class, there are never any stupid questions - he encourages questions and lively discussions. I love the video close reading discussions of the poems and our live webcasts. Al makes us all feel very connected to each other, despite the fact that it's an online class and we are in a virtual classroom. My fellow students are some of the loveliest and most talented people I've met. We all come from different professions, ages, and cultural backgrounds which only enriches the hands-on experience. Our "ModPo" class has truly created a diverse poetry salon community filled with amazing individuals - including a lovely 81 year old Greek gentlemen who has touched our hearts with his beautiful essays about Emily Dickinson. I have always loved learning and education, and while I enjoyed my collegiate experience this class even outshines some of my best college classes. I'm blown away every day - it far exceeds my expectations and then some. I highly recommend this class, especially to those who have always longed to learn more about poetry but were too timid to jump outside the box and take a poetry class - this class is for everyone. You don't need to know about poetry before you take the class. A truly amazing class led by a caring, supportive teacher, Al Filreis and his awesome TAs: Julia, Dave, Amaris, Emily, Anna, Kristin, Ally, Molly, Max, Lily, Steve, Jason...and his awesome tech crew (and everyone at Penn and the Kelly Writers House who supports the class).
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Timothy profile image
Timothy profile image

Timothy

10/10 starsDropped
1 month ago
This is a very well run course with excellent instructor and engaging teaching methods. The use of guest speakers such as authors of the poems is an added bonus.
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Timothy H profile image
Timothy H profile image

Timothy H

10/10 starsDropped
1 month ago
This is a very well run course with excellent instructor and engaging teaching methods. The use of guest speakers such as authors of the poems is an added bonus.
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Timothy profile image
Timothy profile image

Timothy

10/10 starsDropped
1 month ago
This is a very well run course with excellent instructor and engaging teaching methods. The use of guest speakers such as authors of the poems is an added bonus.
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Timothy Hew profile image
Timothy Hew profile image
10/10 starsDropped
  • 2 reviews
  • 0 completed
2 years, 6 months ago
Overall, an excellent course with a very lively instructor, and guest speakers who provide additional insights into the poems discussed. An interesting way to teach using a roundtable discussion format. But you need to be ready to spend time to work through the course.
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Karen Ledford profile image
Karen Ledford profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
3 years ago
I have taken more than a dozen courses via EdX or Coursers. Mod Po is by far the best organized. The syllabus is extensive, the videos excellent and the instructor the best teacher I've ever known ((I was a college instructor myself for 15 years). They keep us coming by for more by adding content and hosting the weekly live web chats. I am currently taking the coursr for the second time and I will enroll again in 2016.
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Mark Jackson profile image
Mark Jackson profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 7 reviews
  • 6 completed
3 years, 1 month ago
A truly inspiring course. The Professor and course team appear to work 24/7. Every single student appears to receive support. I would recommend this course to anybody wanting to learn through the platform of a mooc. I cannot find any negatives with regard to this course.
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 profile image
 profile image

10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
3 years, 2 months ago
ModPo quite literally changed my life. From the community that Al Filreis and Julia Bloch have created I have experienced my first true Socratic dialogues since college not only with the instructors but also their brilliant TAs and the thousands of participants from every corner of the globe. And, oh yes, the poetry is wonderful, too!
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Ronald Keeperman profile image
Ronald Keeperman profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
3 years, 12 months ago
I expected to learn more than I already knew about Modern, Post-Modern and Contemporary American Poetry. I knew that that would be easy, because I knew practically nothing about these subjects. I had been an avid student of English Literature for my entire life, especially focused on 18th Century, but also 17th and 19th Century poetry and prose. I was an avid reader of 20th Century American and English prose, but found little that appealed to me in the abstract arts of expression. My feet were pretty much deeply embedded in the concrete one might say, if one were me, what with my concrete imaging mechanisms firmly rooted, because of all those decades of reading/seeing the world as an infinity of possibilities given my free-ranging/reigning imagination, but unready to concede that I could also rely on the alternate realities of others, those with different visions to guide me forward. So what did I learn? I learned that I could rely o... I expected to learn more than I already knew about Modern, Post-Modern and Contemporary American Poetry. I knew that that would be easy, because I knew practically nothing about these subjects. I had been an avid student of English Literature for my entire life, especially focused on 18th Century, but also 17th and 19th Century poetry and prose. I was an avid reader of 20th Century American and English prose, but found little that appealed to me in the abstract arts of expression. My feet were pretty much deeply embedded in the concrete one might say, if one were me, what with my concrete imaging mechanisms firmly rooted, because of all those decades of reading/seeing the world as an infinity of possibilities given my free-ranging/reigning imagination, but unready to concede that I could also rely on the alternate realities of others, those with different visions to guide me forward. So what did I learn? I learned that I could rely on these forms of expression to allow me the freedom to decide to wallow in my comfort zone, or put out a toe into the roiling/sizzling/eddying waters of radical expression. With the Filreis option/blessing of just keeping it out there for as little or as long as I could manage the sensation, without being chastised/chastened. How does one improve on this total freedom to explore oneself through others? I cannot answer that question.
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M Obropta profile image
M Obropta profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
3 years, 12 months ago
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 OB... 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.
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Magdalene Kastani profile image
Magdalene Kastani profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
3 years, 12 months ago
The course was magnificent!!! I liked it all!!! The only thing is that there were lots of stuff for us to learn that it felt like maybe we needed some more time to complete all the extras etc. Anyway I'm happy it will remain open with new materials added till the next session that begins in September!!! I would like to see a ModPo 2 or something with different material!! I think that would be great!!! THANK YOU!!!
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Student profile image
Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 12 months ago
This is one of the most worthwhile courses I've ever done. In fact the whole experience is one of the best things I've ever experienced. I have three degree with English as a major and I have never been taught as well as this. The instructor believes that learning happens in discussion, he poses questions and the group explore the answers. There is no teacher who knows it all, students who know nothing. This is how I learn and love to learn. Thank you for a most enriching experience.
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Keisuke Sakurai profile image
Keisuke Sakurai profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 7 months ago
I learn from this couse a lot. poetry makes our lives more active and more sirious. However, in some aspects, this course is boring. Firstry, professor's voice. It has no energy and sometimes make me sleepy.
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sam tan profile image
sam tan profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 33 reviews
  • 31 completed
4 years, 11 months ago
This is what every MOOC should aspire to be - a passionate, encouraging and kind instructor, carefully selected study material, a very active discussion board filled with enthusiastic students, the instructor and the teaching assistants having a very strong presence on the discussion boards, weekly live panel discussions whereby students could phone in, well-produced video 'lectures' or discussions. It was amazing to witness a community that was quickly formed during this course and it has continued to exist via facebook and elsewhere after the course has ended. I checked out this course just out of curiosity to see the pedagogy behind it and was very impressed. Not many other MOOCs i suspect approach this really high standard that this course has set for itself. The peer reviews remain a weaker point in the course but there again it tries to mitigate it by the instructor choosing to post ALL of our writing assignments onto the board... This is what every MOOC should aspire to be - a passionate, encouraging and kind instructor, carefully selected study material, a very active discussion board filled with enthusiastic students, the instructor and the teaching assistants having a very strong presence on the discussion boards, weekly live panel discussions whereby students could phone in, well-produced video 'lectures' or discussions. It was amazing to witness a community that was quickly formed during this course and it has continued to exist via facebook and elsewhere after the course has ended. I checked out this course just out of curiosity to see the pedagogy behind it and was very impressed. Not many other MOOCs i suspect approach this really high standard that this course has set for itself. The peer reviews remain a weaker point in the course but there again it tries to mitigate it by the instructor choosing to post ALL of our writing assignments onto the board so many more students could respond to it. That, i thought was a great idea given the variance of quality in the peer reviews. So BRAVO, Prof. Filreis and Julia and the teaching assistants plus the rest of the support team. It's no wonder why so many fell in love with this course and have returned to the second run of it.
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Sanjeev Naik profile image
Sanjeev Naik profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 1 review
  • 0 completed
5 years, 1 month ago
20+ years in schools, colleges, and universities did not inspire me even once like this course has in just a few weeks. THIS is what learning has to be about. The Generosity (yes.. capital G) and the sense of community that the class engenders, in no small part starts from Professor Al Filreis and his TA's, and is one of the highlights of the course. In this regard, I also want to mention the discussion forums (and the MOOC Facebook group), where the students - who come from all spheres of life and from so many different countries around the world -- add to the learnings= and build on what is "taught" in class in so many different ways. The "in-class" teaching itself is open-ended, provoking thought and never didactic. Abstract and sometimes meaningless language ("babbling", Stein, Dickinson, etc.) that can otherwise confound or at least throw up a wall of resistance now become accessible after this course because we learn to read po... 20+ years in schools, colleges, and universities did not inspire me even once like this course has in just a few weeks. THIS is what learning has to be about. The Generosity (yes.. capital G) and the sense of community that the class engenders, in no small part starts from Professor Al Filreis and his TA's, and is one of the highlights of the course. In this regard, I also want to mention the discussion forums (and the MOOC Facebook group), where the students - who come from all spheres of life and from so many different countries around the world -- add to the learnings= and build on what is "taught" in class in so many different ways. The "in-class" teaching itself is open-ended, provoking thought and never didactic. Abstract and sometimes meaningless language ("babbling", Stein, Dickinson, etc.) that can otherwise confound or at least throw up a wall of resistance now become accessible after this course because we learn to read poetry without necessarily paying attention all the time to meaning. Poetry reveals itself in new ways sometimes when you just open your minds and "listen". Or as Wallace Stevens put it: "The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully." From Dickinson to Ashbery, what is not familiar is what beguiles and engages us. I resisted the opaqueness in their poetry when I read them early on but slowly, over time, I've come to appreciate the mystery. ModPo has clearly been an essential part of this awakening, if you will, and for that I will be eternally thankful. Everything I read these days, I see it through the lens of what I learn and read in ModPo -- that is definitely one big mark of impact. I have never taken a MOOC before but am encouraged by how it is possible to teach - even multiple thousands of us - via such a forum. There is nothing I dislike about the course; if only I had more time to give to it every week because there are so many aspects of the course that I wish I could delve deeper into.
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Karen McAdams profile image
Karen McAdams profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 11 months ago
I took a poetry course some decades ago. Decided to take this one and really enjoyed it. Planning to complete It even though it's over.
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Justine Tajonera profile image
Justine Tajonera profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 11 months ago
I loved ModPo! It brought me in touch with poetry again in such an intense way. I've never taken a class that just concentrated on poetry, not even in college or when I was taking my M.A. What I got was the urgency, the absolute necessity of language as embodied in the poem. Poem as metaphor for life. It was well worth all the effort and late nights (on top of my job and other responsibilities). I recommend this to anyone who wants to dive into poetry.
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Student profile image

Student

6/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 11 months ago
The TA's really make this course worthwhile as a MOOC. They are stand-ins for the student. They can't answer the Prof's questions sometimes, they can't get the poem or they can but it is questionable, etc. They bob their heads when the Prof enlightens them without any idea what he/she just said, etc. Just like us out here in the electron world. The guest speakers are always a delight. Some are more adult than others but so are we. Course permits a student to either rest or romp off ahead without penalty. Very nice presentation.
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Mike Coultas profile image
Mike Coultas profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 11 months ago
This is my first MOOC. What can I say about it which had not. Been said before. I live in Australia. I had thought that the remote aspect of where I lived was going to be problematic. So much to learn. If you consider education as a process involving a. The delivery of content; b. a set of processes including technologies which enable you to learn and are able to refine both content and execution as a means of improvement; c. The development of community in all it's richness. Then I am able to say, without hesitation how able and progressive this course was for me. There is a time when your anonymity becomes your strength . Thankyou all - See you next year Mike
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Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 11 months ago
very enjoyable mooc with a wonderful professor How does this course compare to others? What did you like/dislike about the course?
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John OConnor profile image
John OConnor profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
4 years, 10 months ago
Please do not be put off by the word poetry in the title of this course; this a very practical course that will improve both your ability to read a text closely and your ability to think in a creative manner. This course has been the most valuable class and the most enjoyable class that I have ever experienced. Professor Filreis and his talented team of TA's have created in this course an amazing online learning environment in which a wonderful community of learners emerges. The course includes poems by Dickinson, Whitman, Pound, Gertrude Stein, Robert Creeley to name just a few.
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S Collins profile image
S Collins profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years ago
Modern & Contemporary American Poetry facilitated by Al Filreis is an outstanding course for novices and professionals, old and young, female and male, national and international, able and disabled, open- and close-minded-- no one is exempt. Besides learning to close read poems, students learn how the poems are related to the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Assisted by Mr. Filreis, his teaching assistants, and other staff, students learn via lectures, webcasts, discussions, quizzes, essays, and peer-review of essays. What is unlikable about the course is (1) it includes few contributions by African American poets and none by Latinos (except William Carlos Williams) and Native Americans, at least none who are recognized as such and (2) the course is too short.
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Ryan Rapp profile image
Ryan Rapp profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
5 years ago
I had a maybe 1 or 2 college classes that included Modern Poetry in their subject matter. But most of my knowledge has been self-learned. I was definitely among the lower have of students! Part of this is me being older and not as fresh as I used to be. This class was great. I loved it's "panel" format. It offers relief from the problem of looking at the same face, with the same voice, for an entire set of videos. It's also really fun to feel like you are part of the discussion of students/teachers in the video, and offers interesting moments of contention and humor that can't otherwise happen. I was a huge fan of this class.
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Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsCompleted
5 years ago
This was my second coursera course (and the best of the two) and I am absolutely blown away by the quality of the instruction, materials and participation. ModPo is a MUST for all aspiring poets and poem-lovers. It promises, no I promise, it will bring a whole new and fresh perspective to your enjoyment of modern poetry. As Al so delightfully and wonderfully says in his course more than once - once you have tasted this, there is simply no going back. I owe Al, the team and the extended community an incredible debt of gratitude. I will likely return to redo this for sheer pleasure next year. Av
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Bitzou profile image
Bitzou profile image
10/10 starsDropped
  • 2 reviews
  • 0 completed
5 years ago
I couldn't understand what is Poetry. Now, I do. Thank you! But more, I thank you because I learned how to "touch, love and explain". (My classmates will understand what I mean...) This course was a life experience that I never could imagive having while working and taking care my family.
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Celeste Budwit-Hunter profile image
Celeste Budwit-Hunter profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
5 years ago
Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) will help spark your curiosity, support your learning, and invite you into a world-wide community. There are no lectures in ModPo. Not one. What you view are discussions with a few students, expertly facilitated by Al Filreis, who trusts "the wisdom in the room" to elucidate key features of each poem. There are live webcast discussions (with "real" poets) that help enrich each week's material. Everything is recorded so you can participate when you have time. The cheerful discussions help you think through a close-reading process. I found it confusing at first, but I grew to absolutely love it. I learned how to really read poetry. You study a few poems a week. The syllabus looks intimidating, with maybe 20 or more items to do each week, until you see that each item is a small task. You can get through the entire course one bite at a time. The quizzes are directly related to the content and... Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) will help spark your curiosity, support your learning, and invite you into a world-wide community. There are no lectures in ModPo. Not one. What you view are discussions with a few students, expertly facilitated by Al Filreis, who trusts "the wisdom in the room" to elucidate key features of each poem. There are live webcast discussions (with "real" poets) that help enrich each week's material. Everything is recorded so you can participate when you have time. The cheerful discussions help you think through a close-reading process. I found it confusing at first, but I grew to absolutely love it. I learned how to really read poetry. You study a few poems a week. The syllabus looks intimidating, with maybe 20 or more items to do each week, until you see that each item is a small task. You can get through the entire course one bite at a time. The quizzes are directly related to the content and designed to help you review the material, not trick you. If you want to get the full Monty and complete the course, you can write four essays. If you keep up with the material, they’re very doable and an effective way of learning and getting feedback. You write—and receive—peer reviews for each round of essays, which are so helpful. You share feedback with your fellow students. You begin to see the rich variety of students taking the course, and you learn from everyone. I spent 5-7 hours on the course each week, and would have loved to have given more time to it. One thing I will do when I repeat this course next year-- apparently lots of ModPo'ers can't get enough of it--is spend more time in the discussion forums. That's where you can express your confusion and enthusiasm, complain and get help, share your insights, and feel a part of the community. You will be surprised how connected you can feel to 40,000 fellow poetry- loving students.
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Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years ago
My first experience with modern poetry and it was quite an eye-opening experience. Al and the TAs do a wonderful job of making it a collaborative, community feel, pretty amazing for such a large number of students! This is my first mooc so I don't really have a comparison scale, but it was pretty amazing...
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Student profile image

Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
5 years ago
I have an MA in English. Although an undergraduate survey course, ModPo is one of the most engaging courses I have ever taken. Although it is a MOOC, it is intimate. The professor and TAs unselfishly reveal their personalities, and their passion shows. The curriculum is inspired and inspiring. And for many, the combination of its content and its format may be transformational.
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Michael Susko profile image
Michael Susko profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
4 years, 11 months ago
ModPo is not only the most satisfying MOOC experience I have had but it is one of the best educational experiences I have ever had as an undergraduate or graduate student. Not only is it evident that many people and much work went into developing this MOOC, but, and this is what blows me away, how much time, attention, energy, and work go into to present the course day by day, week by week. Al, Julia, the TAs, volunteers, support staff, visiting professors and poets, and friends of the Kelly Writers House all go out of their way to make ModPo as close to a real-time, live experience as can be accomplished through digital media. Along with an excellent syllabus, this group has assembled a wealth of resources, available from within the course portal. All the material you need for the class is available through the portal--plus, the student is introduced to so many other resources that live long past the ending of the course. These onli... ModPo is not only the most satisfying MOOC experience I have had but it is one of the best educational experiences I have ever had as an undergraduate or graduate student. Not only is it evident that many people and much work went into developing this MOOC, but, and this is what blows me away, how much time, attention, energy, and work go into to present the course day by day, week by week. Al, Julia, the TAs, volunteers, support staff, visiting professors and poets, and friends of the Kelly Writers House all go out of their way to make ModPo as close to a real-time, live experience as can be accomplished through digital media. Along with an excellent syllabus, this group has assembled a wealth of resources, available from within the course portal. All the material you need for the class is available through the portal--plus, the student is introduced to so many other resources that live long past the ending of the course. These online sources are maintained, containing decades of material of readings, interviews, audio recordings, videos, and a host of other resources. Along with the Kelly Writers House community, the student also joins an international community of other students, at all levels of proficiency and experience with both poetry and English. This diverse, international community generates ideas, readings, connections, and interactions that truly feed intellect, soul, and self. I signed up for this MOOC because I wanted to add some humanities to my life. As a humanities student many years ago, I fell in love with poetry, languages, philosophy, art, cultural history, fiction and have maintained that passion, but primarily alone. I write training for my career, but in the technology field. I thought I would take this course to get poetry back in my life more deliberately, perhaps brush up on my scansion, read a few poems with other people, and learn more about poetry from the Penn faculty and students. It didn't take too long into the course, say within 15 minutes of the first video discussion, that I knew this was going to be something special. And I was right. It is. Because of the the people who developed it, contribute to it along with their responsibilities at the university, and all the thousands, tens of thousands of poetry lovers who open their hearts, minds, mouths and share their passion, ideas, voices. No lectures here--only conversation, discussion, sharing ideas; exploring the text together, making discoveries about the poem and the self. The course does not tell you what a poem means, but rather shows you how you can find meaning in the poem by close reading. Al Filreis is not only committed to poetry scholarship, but he is committed to people, regardless of their background in poetry and literature, to help develop an understanding and love for poetry. His philosophy of education is so refreshing. His style is to explore a poem with a close reading, which he and his colleagues demonstrate through playful, insightful conversation, where no one is the expert, but each person adds something to the experience. I think this is a large part of what makes ModPo work: it is a community experience where each person is involved in reading a poem, that is, interpreting and applying it. I have taken more than a few MOOCs at this point. Some have been well worth the time; others, well, they weren't a good fit for me. Some I lost interest in because of the way they were presented. With so many things demanding my time, I have to be selective in what I commit to. With ModPo, while I could commit to a few hours a week and satisfy the requirements, I find myself putting in more time, not just on the course site itself but in exploring the resources. This course has reignited my passion for poetry again, giving it more focus and purpose. Amazing that something free and online could make such a strong impact on me-- and, this semester, 35k other people world-wide. I can recommend this MOOC without any reservation. Thank you, Coursera and ModPo, for bringing education to so many people globally.
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Malena Scotti profile image
Malena Scotti profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
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5 years, 1 month ago
This course doesn't compare to others. Or rather, other courses can't be compared to THIS. The amazing professor Al Filreis, together with his wonderful TAs, have worked really hard to create a syllabus and audiovisual material that is thorough, enriching, challenging, and absolutely enjoyable at the same time... and then, they have committed to participating actively in the forums and collaborative teaching-learning experience in such a way that when you take ModPo you don't feel you must do this or that, you just feel welcomed and honestly encouraged by this incredible group of people... ModPo is much more than a course. It's a life changing experience.
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