7 Universities Providing Access to Free Literature Courses Online
Free online courses in literature are offered by real schools. Learn which literature courses are available, what topics they cover and which ones lead to real college credit.
Education-Portal.com courses are comprised of 10-minute videos accompanied by text transcripts and quizzes. These materials can be used to prepare for CLEP exams, though students should check with their school to see if course credit is awarded for acceptable scores. The American Literature course covers such topics as the Romantic Period and the works of Washington Irving. English Literature courses are available in a wide array of topics, including modernism, the English Renaissance and Victorian literature. Literary terms are also discussed.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
This school offers a variety of literature courses through its OpenCourseWare site. Students may view syllabi, reading lists and assignments, though they will not receive university credit for completing them. Popular Culture and Narrative: Literature, Comics and Culture investigates how more traditional literary texts have influenced comics and vice versa. Assignments in the Reading Fiction course can help students improve their critical reading skills by exposing them to such concepts as character development, historical/political contexts and structure. Some of this course's reading materials can be accessed online.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
The New Jersey Institute of Technology offers online courses via a series of audio and video lectures available for download. World Literature I surveys poetry and fiction from North American, South American, Australian and Caribbean authors, including Pablo Neruda, Toni Morrison and Octavio Paz. The World Literature II course delves into the work of Asian, African, Middle Eastern and European writers. These materials are for independent study only. Students will not receive credit for completing them.
The Open University offers free course outlines, activities and discussion points along with accompanying documentation. Though this website does offer courses for credit, these options are for self-study only. Approaching Poetry explores such topics as rhythm and alliteration. Techniques for comparing and contrasting poems are also discussed. The 10-hour course, Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners, concentrates on the characterization and narrative techniques used in Selvon's novel. Students also examine its themes of memory and migration.
University of Notre Dame
OpenCourseWare at this university offers handouts, discussion questions and lecture notes to students who would like to study topics on their own time. However, students will not receive university credit for completing them. Reinventing the Fairy Tale focuses on ways well-known fairy tales, like Cinderella, have been re-imagined in contemporary texts. The reading list includes links to some selections, though other stories and films will need to be obtained elsewhere.
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford offers a series of audio lectures delivered by the university's English faculty. D.H. Lawrence consists of 7 installments discussing themes in such works as Lady Chatterley's Lover and Women in Love. The George Eliot series consists of 3 lectures covering her literary reputation; they also explore how her narrative structure relates to the classical notions of comedy and tragedy. Students who access these lectures will not receive course credit from the university.
Open Yale courses include audio and video files accessible through iTunes and YouTube. These materials can also be downloaded. Students will not receive course credit for viewing them or completing any assignments. Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner examines these authors' major works and explores their similarities within the contexts of history and modernism. In Introduction to Theory of Literature, students can complete readings and reflect on how theoretical approaches like structuralism, deconstruction and feminism are used to understand and interpret literary texts. Students can also study the poetry and prose of Milton in this course named after the author. Other topics of discussion include his influence on English poetry.