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A FANTASTIC MOOC


As an author of speculative fiction and science fiction writings, I have also dedicated myself to helping writers and readers write better and read more effectively. This is Lorenzo Samuel's Advice Blog, which I'm sharing with you. This blog's tip is for writers and readers as usual: paricipate in MOOCs.


As I write this, I'm in the middle of a MOOC. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. This MOOC is run by the University of Iowa International Writing Program. The school puts out 2 MOOCs a year usually. Except for the time it takes to participate in them, they are free. All you need is an Internet connection to register and do the course being offered.


Here's the link which you can use to sign up: https://iwp.uiowa.edu/iwp-courses/distance-learning-courses/moocs .


Thousands of writers and want-to-be writers take these courses. They cover various aspects of writing. The one I'm on currently is titled "Hidden Meanings." If you are a writer, you learn how to effectively use hidden meanings (or avoid them) in your fiction or non-fiction writing. One example - opinion portrayed as fact.


If you are a reader (and not a writer), you learn how to recognize hidden meanings in whatever you are reading, be it books, magazines, Internet postings, office memos, notes left by your spouse or friends, etc. Most who take the courses are writers or potential writers. Some are readers only.


This particular MOOC is the 5th one I've taken. The University of Iowa International Writing Program not only puts on these MOOCs, it has large on-campus programs, including internships and residencies. Writers from around the world come to Iowa City to take advantage of the opportunities there. The more successful and competent residents serve as moderators, advisers, interviewees and lecturers for the MOOCs.


In my Hidden-Meanings MOOC, I've already done the Alternate Facts section, the Truthiness section and am on the Likes section. This takes me about 1/2 way through. These and the sections to come cover different aspects of hidden meanings, and do they cover it. Wow!


Here is the basic setup for each MOOC in the order one does them: 1. Introduction, 2. Texts, 3. Discussions, 4. Conversations and Craft Talks and 5. Assignment. Introduction covers the subject area briefly. It's given by a moderator. In Texts, articles, excerpts and stories (usually 3 of these) are studied. Next in Discussions, the moderators consider an aspect of the texts and ask you questions re your thoughts about it. You can comment on what other participants have written here. All the texts are covered. In Conversations and Craft Talks you listen to successful writers explain how they use the techniques you are learning. Lastly, you receive your assignment, in which you will produce a piece of writing covering the subject of the section, post in on the on-line site and post your comments and suggestions on the work of other participants.


The value of these MOOCs to writers and potential writers is immense. If you are writing now or plan on it in your future, you should take the advice in this tip to sign up right away.

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