Wednesday, July 24, 2013

USF Offers Its First MOOC. And It's a Fairy Tale Subject!

The Iron Stove by Warwick Goble
The illustrations in this post are from the awesome princess story The Iron Stove. Both Grimm's Household Tales and also in Lang's Yellow Fairy Book have a version. Click on the links in this paragraph to read this fun and different princess story.

What the heck is a MOOC? It stands for Massive Open Online Course. Which means, it's open to everyone (no prerequisites), it's online (no traveling) and it's a bona-fide higher education course (so expect assignments and being required to participate via email and online discussion boards) which you can receive credit.

The Iron Stove (which looks suspiciously like a TARDIS here) -
Artist unknown

This one lasts for 4 weeks and commences August 5th (2013) and finishes September 1st.

This one is also FREE.

The subject: "Fairy Tales: Origins and Evolution of Princess Stories." (Yay.)
If you haven't heard much about MOOCs or online learning, here's theTampa Bay Times' in-depth look from earlier this year. They're the latest trend in free, accessible higher education, with schools from Stanford University to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology taking part. USF professors have taught independent MOOCs before, but this is the school's first official offering.
I am really excited about this MOOC trend! Let's hope more fairy tale courses become available.
The Iron Stove by H.J. Ford  - Yellow Fairy Book

Here's a little more about this particular one:

The four-week class, "Fairy Tales: Origins and Evolution of Princess Stories," will be taught by professor Kevin Yee, who holds a Ph.D in German language and literature, and who USF describes as an expert on "comparative literature and German Romanticism and online learning." 

Course description:
"Princess stories have been popular for centuries and remain so today around the world; we’ll dive into what these fairy tales mean, and trace the history of these narratives back to their source material, examining contexts all along the way. We’ll borrow tools from cultural studies, literature studies, and film studies to help us analyze these phenomena and what they mean to our society.
Many of us may associate princess stories with modern-day products (much of it marketed to small children) or with Disney movies and theme parks. We’ll examine these current versions of fairy tale mythos as well, using our new interpretive tools to uncover not just what’s been changed in the moral and message of the narrative, but what the stories mean as told now."
So where do you sign up? Right HERE. :)
The Iron Stove by H. J. Ford - Yellow Fairy Book
Sources:, University of South Florida


  1. OMG!!! "Free" is my favorite word, and "fairy tale" is/are a close second! I have a writing conference 2 of those days, a fairy tale workshop in PA during another 6, plus my 2 jobs, but I am SERIOUSLY considering taking this course! You in too, Gypsy?

    1. Yay. :) I signed up too, out of curiosity mainly as I'm not sure if I will have time to do it. I couldn't see indication anywhere of the time commitment (or assignments etc) required. I also couldn't find a reading list so not sure if I will have access to what I need. But that's also why I signed up - to see what these are like and give input. I am actually hoping I can participate but trying not to get my hopes too high in case I have to bow out. Hope to see you there!

    2. Yeah, that was really frustrating--I too wanted to know the time commitment/pacing, like are there going to be weekly readings? quizzes? a final exam? The class is free so it's hard to know how seriously they're going to take individual work. But whatever. I'm doing it to learn something (anything!), and to strengthen my stories! I will definitely see you there. :)