Massive Open On-line Courses on book culture

Credit: bohdanchreptak/Pixabay

Dr Da Rold’s research on medieval handwritten culture, the close examination of medieval manuscripts, and in particular on the use of paper in book production, has contributed to the design and delivery of two MOOCs (Massive Open On-line Courses).

Da Rold’s research pioneers new ways of looking at manuscripts and materiality. It questions established methods and opens up new ways of thinking about codicology (the study of the book as a whole) and palaeography (the study of medieval handwriting), especially in relation to the dating and production of medieval books. It also puts book history in its social and cultural context as part of a wider holistic framework for the study of medieval literature.

The growing number of online digital images from medieval manuscripts inspired Da Rold and Elaine Treharne (Stanford University) to design an accessible MOOC bringing their research on the materiality of the medieval book to diverse beneficiaries.

The ‘community enrichment’ value of this dissemination is shown by the range of beneficiaries it reached, including teachers, curators and librarians, calligraphers, retired people, families taking the course together, and postgraduate students. It influenced professional practices, provided access to traditionally unattainable training, and enhanced the wellbeing of private individuals who were able to pursue their interests.

Learners enrolled from 124 different countries, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Ukraine, Vietnam and the Holy See.

“[My] health makes travel difficult. That is one of the reasons why I appreciated your class so much.”

– MOOC participant