Hello there! I’m Mike Ivens, an Education Specialist guest blogging for ArkansasIDEAS. We have just released a new course entitled “Teaching The Great Gatsby: A Common Core Close Reading Seminar” that covers how to use close reading skills to delve into F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. Sean McCann, Professor of English for the Wesleyan University and fellow of the National Humanities Center hosts this presentation with introduction and commentary by Richard R Schramm, Vice President for Education Programs. One warning: be sure you have read the novel yourself before taking the course - there are spoilers!
Hello there! I’m Mike Ivens and I have been an Education Specialist for approximately one year now. My position offers a few responsibilities, one of which is building online courses for the portal on ArkansasIDEAS. The idea for this course was brought to me, and I was made aware that this is the first of, hopefully, many courses that we will be used in partnership with the National Humanities Center.
The National Humanities Center provides online seminars geared for professional development offered through America In Class. “Teaching the Great Gatsby” came to us first, as a test for a new form of course offerings.
It should definitely be known that if you are anxious to read the book, and have not yet, then perhaps you should wait on this course if you don’t want it spoiled for you. Within the first five minutes, the presenters begin a discussion around the end of the book. So there are spoilers; you have been warned!
There were a couple things about this course that drew me to it as I began its construction. One, I’m a fan of the book, so it was really interesting to be able to get to see a more in-depth discussion about the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the friends he had, the situations he dealt with in his life and the poetry in the words of his novel that reflect many of the circumstances he dealt with, had to overcome, or that overcame him.
It’s a course full of fascinating information that I had not previously learned regarding the novel but, due to the course only being in a slideshow type format with voiceovers, it can be a bit mundane. I would not let that inhibit your choice to take the course, or at least check it out, however. If you want to dive into very useful information to help you either teach the novel or just have more information about the topic, then I highly recommend this course.