My decision to keep the Comics class out of the rest of my Coursera options isn’t just about the pop culture/high culture divide. It’s also a class where I have a very particular learning goal in mind. I’ve read comics and graphic novels intermittently throughout my life, but I am very aware of the ways that my reading has always been focused more on language, plot, and characterization — the things I’m good at and was trained for in grad school. This approach has always given immense short shrift to the visual content of comix.*
So by taking this class, and by choosing this particular class as the one to stay with, I’m hoping very precisely to strengthen my understanding of the visual elements of comix, and how to read them as visual documents.
Now, there’s no stakes, really, if you take a MOOC course and do it only halfway — watch only part of the lectures, or watch all the lectures while skipping the assignments. But I’m enough a believer in active learning that I usually try to do all the lectures and “homework” in the MOOC courses I take. This is part of why I try to be thoughtful about not overloading my schedule.
What I hadn’t counted on with this class is one of the main homework assignments: drawing your own mini-comic book!