Below are some short, online courses I have written or contributed to, which are taken from our undergraduate materials at the Open University.
This short online course looks at the history of writing and the key role it plays in human communication. Nowadays, it is difficult to think of language as existing without writing, but in the long history of humankind’s ability to use language it is only relatively recently that writing emerged. The course also looks as the vital relationship between technology and writing, and how the development of new technologies alter the way we communicate.
This short online course looks at how English became the global force that it is today. It explores the status of the language and its worldwide diversity. It looks at how social and political factors influence people’s attitudes towards it, and at the relationship between one’s linguistic heritage and sense of identity. It comprises 8 hours of study at an introductory level
There’s also a two-part time line of the history of English, related to the above course:
Part one: The history of colonialism was a major factor in the development of English. Follow the global spread of English starting with the Roman invasion.
Part two: The history of colonialism was a major factor in the development of English. Follow the global spread of English from the 17th century to the present day.
This short online course is an introduction to the relationship between language and creativity, to the roles that linguistic creativity plays in culture and society, and to the different approaches to its study. It includes a specific focus on the relationship between language and visual art. It comprises 8 hours of study at an intermediate level
This short online course examines how children’s books use words and pictures together in sophisticated ways to communicate both to young and older readers. It includes examples from the classics, such as Beatrix Potter’s Tales of Peter Rabbit, as well as contemporary children’s authors such as Anthony Browne, author of Gorilla.