In the wake of massive successes in numbers and pro-interest in open access online courses studying comics and graphic novels both in the US and UK, the University of Colorado is gearing up for its own MOOC (massive open online course) starting on September 23rd with space for unlimited numbers. The Comics and Graphic Novels Course will explore the “governing question”: “by what terms can we discuss comic books as literary art?” The workload is set at 3-4 hours of work for students per week and will run for 7 weeks. Professor William Kuskin of University of Colorado, Boulder, who has been heavily involved in promoting the study of comics for some time, will teach the course. Remarkably, the Coursera hosted program is free to all who wish to sign up and there are no purchases required in terms of comics, though students may want to buy the comics anyway.
The MOOC will be particularly focused on American comics and the history behind them, and look at the place of comics in “literary culture”. The draft syllabus already posted for the course shows its comprehensive scope. It’s going to start off with modes of reading the comics medium in terms of format, then move on to Golden Age, Silver Age, Underground Comics, and economic topics as well as focusing on key canonical authors and texts. These are going to include Maus, Persepolis, Fun Home, the works of Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Joe Sacco, and Chris Ware, among others. Each week a guest lecturer will also be participating, slated as Barry Barrows, Jim Vacca, Wayne Winsett, and Chris Angel.