University of Wisconsin–Madison

New MOOC brings Shakespeare into the digital age

William Shakespeare’s plays have remained relevant since their origins in the Renaissance. The Massive Open Online Course “Shakespeare in Community” offers new perspectives on the Bard in the context of the digital age.photo_shakespeare in community logo

“Shakespeare in Community” is a free non-credit course that will explore “Romeo and Juliet,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “The Tempest.” Running April 26-May 23, it features discussion forums, articles, lectures, and videos that will bring the plays to life. Anyone can participate in this engaging Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) by enrolling here.

Shakespeare’s works investigate the nature of humanity, and “Shakespeare in Community” will consider what it means to be human in a time of rapid technological changes. The course will use online tools to build a global community of learners in ways that Shakespeare himself couldn’t have imagined. Along the way, it will help students develop digital literacy by introducing cutting-edge methods of literary analysis.

Professors and players

American Players Theatre.
American Players Theatre.

The MOOC’s instructors are Shakespeare experts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison: Jesse Stommel, Sarah Marty, and Catherine DeRose. They’ll be joined by actors from Wisconsin theater groups like American Players Theatre, the Young Shakespeare Players, and Children’s Theater of Madison, along with R L Widmann, a reader at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

The course also offers a chance for Shakespeare lovers to leave their computer screens for an in-person event.

On June 15, from 5-7 p.m., UW-Madison and the Young Shakespeare Players host a free night of performances at the Madison Central Library, 201 W. Mifflin St. RSVP here.

“Shakespeare in Community” is the third of six MOOCs UW-Madison is offering in 2015-16. Next up is “Energy and the Earth” on June 21-July 18. To learn more, visit moocs.wisc.edu. For additional information, contact Lika Balenovich, Balenovich@wisc.edu, 608-890-2442.