Louisians take Boston University’s ‘The Art of Poetry’ MOOC

In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the American National Poetry Month, the American Spaces of the U.S. Embassy in Manila and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State hosted a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Camp.

The American Corners in the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos in Bacolod City and in Ateneo de Davao University in Davao City, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in La Union, Navotas National High School in Manila, Aklan State University in Aklan, University of Saint Louis in Tuguegarao City, and the US Embassy, were the seven participating MOOC Camp satellites.

The University of Saint Louis’ (USL) EL Fellow, Ms. Cerise A. Santoro, facilitated the MOOC Camp satellite in Tuguegarao City.

The MOOC Camp was a facilitated discussion on Boston University’s “The Art of Poetry” online course. It is one of the innovative learning platforms the EL Fellow has introduced.

“The Art of Poetry” course focuses on the elements of the arts such as: techniques of sound in free verse; form as a quality distinct from forms; poetry’s historical relation to courtship; poetry’s relation to music; the nature of greatness—with only incidental attention to schools of poetry, categories and trends.

MOOC Meetups

“There were scheduled meetups for the online course, with teachers from University of Saint Louis and Cagayan State University, 20 Education students, and two English students as course takers,” Ms. Santoro explained.

The teachers from USL were Mr. Jervis Paul Canonio, Mr. Kyle Espiritu, Ms. Sarah Ferrer, and Mr. Julius Viernes.

“I introduced the MOOC to give teachers an alternative way to teach their classes in a hybrid setting. This course allows for autonomy in a 21st century learning approach using traditional meetings with online course work,” she added.

“The Art of Poetry” course takers were given modules, anthology assignments, poem research and analysis, and other course materials by “The Art of Poetry” Team composed of Boston University professors. Professor Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate and professor of English and Creative Writing of the said school, was the course designer. 

Moreover, Quennie Bhey C. Estavillo, third year Bachelor in Secondary Education-English student, one of the course takers, enthusiastically shared, “We could see our progress weekly in our personal accounts which guide us in completing the course.”

“To gain a certificate, we need to have at least a 70% final grade and complete attendance in the entire course meetups,” she further said.

The Final Meetup was a video chat assembly of the MOOC Camp Tuguegarao which was held at the University of Saint Louis’ Pastoral Center on May 13, 2016.

All course takers or “MOOCers” in the Philippines were communicating through Google+ Hangouts. They were presenting poems and discoursing with Professor Pinsky and other involved speakers.During the online forum, Ms. Estavillo raised the question “What is the most essential thing that we have to remember whenever reading a poem?”

Prof. Pinsky answered that what should be considered is what the “poem sounds like and what it would feel like,” referring to the poem’s rhythm and rhyme and the emotions conveyed, respectively.

Francisco Sionil Jose, also F. Sionil Jose, the popular Philippine National Artist in Literature, was one of the speakers who were invited by the US Embassy.

Commending Ms. Santoro

“The University of Saint Louis will continue expanding learning opportunities beyond the classroom. We commend Ms. Santoro for using an innovative learning platform for our English teachers and Education students,” said by Mrs. Therese May G. Alejandrino, Dean of USL’s School of Education, Arts and Sciences (SEAS).

Meanwhile, Ms. Santoro said that a six-weeklong teacher professional development program known as the “American English Webinar Series: Shaping the Way We Teach English,” is expected to conclude on June 30, 2016 during the MOOC graduation ceremony.

Prof. Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate and professor of English and Creative Writing at Boston University, was the course designer of The Art of Poetry Massive Open Online Course.

F. Sionil Jose, Philippine National Artist in Literature, was invited by the US Embassy to attend the final meetup video conference of the course takers.

To culminate their 3rd Meetup, the course takers took a picture with EL Fellow, Ms. Cerise Santoro, the event’s facilitator in USL.