FREE Online Courses: How to Read a Mind / Shakespeare and his World.

Just in case anyone is interested, FutureLearn are running a couple of free online courses next month that are reading/literature related. I'm not being paid to promote them or anything, I'm taking the courses myself and would love some fellow bloggers to talk about them with!

For anyone who has never heard of FutureLearn, which I'm guessing is most of you, it is essentially a free Open University, open to everybody! There are no exams or formal assessments, just learning for free in your own time; and there's no obligation to complete the course if you don't like it or don't have the time. What's not to love?

(I didn't make this but it pretty much sums up the course, and my life!)
The course that I'm most excited about, How to Read a Mind, concerns 'the science of reading.' This may sound boring but it actually incredibly interesting; it investigates why we get so emotionally attached to the characters we read about and become invested in their stories.

As FutureLearn describe it:   
"This course offers an introduction to what has come to be known as cognitive poetics. Taking our best current knowledge of how our minds and language work, this course takes you through key questions of literature and reading: why do we feel anything for fictional characters? Why do we get angry, moved, irritated, annoyed or sentimental about imaginary people in imagined worlds? Why do the lives of imaginary minds living in fictional bodies seem to matter so much to readers? The answers to these questions are surprising and empowering."

Sounds fascinating right?
To find out more and sign up click here.

The second course is entitled Shakespeare and his World and starts next week; it's basically a whistle stop tour of Shakespeare's life and plays/poetry. Perfect as an introduction to Shakespeare or, in my case, a chance to learn more about the man behind the literature.

"William Shakespeare is one of the most famous authors of all time. 2014 marks the 450th anniversary of his birth. His words have inspired and moved people from around the globe for centuries. How much do we know about Shakespeare’s cultural background and influences and why his works have endured? To get a real sense of how the Bard’s world would have actually looked and felt, renowned Shakespearean academic Professor Jonathan Bate will be exploring the acclaimed collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Each week, Professor Bate will examine a particular play and a cultural theme alongside a selection of treasures from the Trust’s archives in Stratford-upon-Avon. Weekly learning material will be broken down into six video segments, each examining a variety of artefacts and play extracts. The course will open with an introduction to Shakespeare and his living and working environment, moving onto broader cultural themes and issues examined in his plays and ending with an exploration of his legacy."

To find out more and sign up click here.

Let me know if you decide to give either of the courses a go! 


  1. These courses look interesting.. Will check them out..Thanks for sharing..:)
    Found your blog through Book Blogs and have followed you via Bloglovin,,

    Do checkout my blog too..

    -Nikita @ Njkinny's World of Books
    My FBQ(2) Blog Hop


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