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In close collaboration with the lecturer Dr. Sabine Ohlenbusch at the Ruhr-Uni-Bochum, I am working on my first online course or MOOC.

MOOC is an acronym for Massive Open Online Course. Via live audio and video streaming, MOOCs provide access to academic lectures and other courses to potentially hundreds or thousands of students via the internet. They are a great tool for broadening participation in academia but often suffer from being rather monotonous and impersonal in comparison to normal lectures.

Dr. Ohlenbusch teaches German Literature and her MOOC course is on the theme of ‘Narratives of Degeneration’. It looks at different modes of degeneration and how they have been treated by authors at various times, for example alcoholism or the influence of the industrialisation on human beings.

My brief was to find ways of using film to illustrate Dr. Ohlenbusch’s lectures. The films either accompany her spoken words and compliment the content of the lectures, or they show her discussing the themes of the lectures with her students.

One film for example is of steam train enthusiasts in Brandenburg, accompanying a section about how technology was perceived in Gerhart Hauptmann’s Bahnwärter Thiel to have a degenerate influence not only on the natural landscape, but on the main protagonist. Where possible, I filmed in the real locations mentioned in the text.

The MOOC is delivered via the online learning platform ‘iversity’.