Monday, October 24, 2022

What would you study? An Open Book blog post

Welcome to Open Book Blog Hop. You can find us every Monday talking about the writing life. I hope you'll check out all the posts: you'll find the links at the bottom of this post.

Today's question: If you could take a free class at a university, what course would you take?

I've had some great learning partners in the form of teachers in my life, and a great teacher has definitely made all the difference for me when I was studying something I found intellectually challenging, like when I took Transformational Grammar with Thom Stroik. He was so passionate about linguistics and it was hard to sit in his classroom and not become infected with that same enthusiasm.  

I'm not as interested in formal learning on someone else's schedule as I used to be, though. As much as I've loved school, there's something to be said for  auto-didacticism: building my own reading lists and choosing assignments that push me in the direction I wanted to go and are tailored to my own specific interests and strengths. 

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There's any number of things I'd like to study: additional languages, various eras and segments of literature, sociology, feminist theory, agriculture, business management, webpage design, anthropology, geography…pick. your "logy" or "aphy" and I could probably summon some interest. It all serves as fodder for my writing life, after all. And I'm at least a little interested in almost everything!

So, since I'm good at finding resources and teaching myself in a lot of ways, for me, it's not "what" I'd like to study, but "who" I'd like to study with. 

If I had the chance to study writing with Neil Gaiman, I'd pounce on it. I've almost bought his online master class more than once, but am not entirely convinced that it would worth it, without the personal interaction. Relationships are a big part of learning. Joyce Carol Oates is at Princeton. That would have to be worth the trip. 

Let's see, who else? I hear that Condoleeza Rice is teaching Political Science at Stanford. That would have to be fascinating. Or how about Andrew Ng teaching Computer Science, also at Stanford? Or a film class with Spike Lee at New York University? University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently lost the chance to have Nikole Hannah-Jones on staff through shenanigans, so I'd need to follow her to Howard University. 

How about you? Is there someone you're yearning to study with, or a topic you'd devote study to, given the time and resources? I'd love to hear about it in the comments! And don't forget to check out the other posts in the blog hop, by my fine colleagues of Open Book. 

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  1. I'd love to take a writing class with Neil Gaiman or another author I'm a fan of.

  2. So many many interesting things to learn about. Tweeted.

  3. It's finding the time to study as a mature student that might pose a problem when combined with work commitments.

  4. The great thing about the modern world is that you can be lectured on just about any subject via the internet, just so long as you have the time.

  5. I'd have a hard time picking up a new language. I was always better at the reading portion than the hearing and speaking side of things.