Wanted to share an update upon completing the 1st week of the Ball State University/ TCM free online course "Mad About Musicals." It's really really good, so good that it's hard to believe it's FREE lol!
Last week covered the birth of musicals up through the 1930s.
On the Canvas Network course site, each day (M-F) there was a different topic about that decade in musicals: the technogical progression, the performers, the talent behind the scenes, the cultural context informing the content. The page's first tab summarized the contents of that day's subtopic. The next tab was a concise blog-type post of "lecture notes", giving photos and hitting the major points of the day. The next is a video "lecture", really a discussion between Dr. Ament and one of her fellow professors similar to the intros on TCM's "The Essentials", but more in-depth. That said, the videos run about 17 minutes, tops. The last tab is called "Daily Dose of Delight" and it's 1 or 2 film clips further illustrating points made during the discussion. At the end, there are discussion questions we are encouraged to post about on the TCM Message Boards, if we like.
There were a couple of fun games testing your film knowledge & covering the week's topic. There will be new ones each week. And the voluntary, end of week quiz was multiple choice & true/false. Upon completion, you get awarded an online badge - I've posted mine here. The content stays up through the end of the course, so if you were to enroll now you'd be able to start at the course's beginning without "falling behind" in any sense. It truly is structured to be digested at whatever pace you like with no pressure. And the main professor, Dr. Vanessa Ament, is extremely charismatic & energetic, so the video lectures are never boring. Plus, she appears with Ben Mankiewicz on TCM Tuesdays & Thursdays this month, further discussing each week's topics as they present many of the films covered in the daily modules.
Enrollment has been extended to this Sunday, June 17th. So if you have any interest whatsoever, I highly recommend you take advantage of this opportunity. I'm really glad I did! And those of you already taking the course as well, please post your impressions below - it will be fun to hear what you think too!