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Southeast Offers Free Massive Open Online Faulkner Class

Marine Perot
William Faulkner's house in New Orleans

Southeast Missouri State University’s Online Learning is currently offering a “Faulkner 101” class in collaboration with the Center for Faulkner studies. This eight week Massive Open Online Class (MOOC) is free of charge and available for everyone.

According to a press release published on the university’s website, anyone willing to take the class can log on to the site following this link. The class is led by Dr. Robert Hamblin, emeritus professor of English and founder of the Center for Faulkner studies, and assisted by Dr. Christopher Rieger, associate professor of English and current director of the Center.

“It’s called 101 so it’s a very basic, introductory course to Faulkner. It’s not really a class, there is no quizzes, no exams, no papers to write, it’s more like a book club,” Hamblin said.

William Faulkner is considered one of the greatest American writers and one that people find difficult to read on their own, so Hamblin said the MOOC is conceived as a place of collaborative reading where each person helps the other understand Faulkner.


The class focuses on three of Faulkner’s novels: “As I Lay Dying,” “The Sound and the Fury” and “Light in August.”

“Those three are good ones to start with, they are three of his most well regarded works, they are also fairly accessible to a wide variety of readers, at least with a little bit of guidance. And they give a good range of his themes and narrative styles and techniques and we hope to add some more novels in the future as we are building the MOOC,” said Rieger.

Even if the class focuses on those books, it also featuresvideo lectures by Hamblin and Rieger, suggestions on how to read Faulkner and approach his texts as well as a video tour of Faulkner’s hometown, Oxford, Miss., and an interview with four other Faulkner scholars who lead the annual “Teaching Faulkner” sessions at the University of Mississippi.

A class forum is also available so participants can interact with each other, post comments and ask questions. However, people enrolled in the class have the freedom to choose what they want to do with it and are not required to do all the activities offered on the site.

“It’s very Faulknerian in that regard: We jump around in time and you can begin at the beginning or in the middle or the end. You can use any or all of the activities, so it’s just up to the viewer how much they want to get involved,” Hamblin said.

Designed for beginner Faulkner readers or experienced ones, this MOOC already has about fifty people enrolled, with some signing up from Japan, China and all over the United States. It will remain on the Internet as long as people keep enrolling in it.

Marine Perot was a KRCU reporter for KRCU in 2014.