The University of Iowa

New MOOC examines Whitman’s writings and medical service during the Civil War

IOWA CITY, Iowa—The International Writing Program’s new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Whitman's Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster opens on July 18 and runs through September 5. This MOOC is taught on NovoEd, a website for creative collaborative learning. Enrollment is free and open to anyone. Students can still register on NovoEd’s website.

Longtime friends and collaborators Ed Folsom, Whitman scholar and University of Iowa Roy J. Carver Professor of English, and Christopher Merrill, IWP Director and University of Iowa Professor of English, are the instructors of this MOOC, which embarks upon a journey through Walt Whitman's writings on the American Civil War. Through Whitman's lens, this course explores how writing and image can be used to examine war, conflict, trauma, and reconciliation - in Whitman's time and today.

Each week, an experienced teaching team with expertise in literature, poetry, nonfiction, journalism, and photojournalism will lead live discussions of the video topics, readings, and assignments around the clock in the MOOC discussion forum.

No previous experience in literature, writing, or any other course subject is necessary. This MOOC will bring together readers, writers, artists, students, and teachers around the world. Participants who are nonnative speakers of English, new to online learning, and/or new to writing are encouraged to join this new international community. Our community moderators will actively support your participation.

Since 1967, the IWP has hosted more than 1,400 writers from more than 190 countries, connecting well-established writers from around the globe, introducing American writers to other cultures through reading tours, publishing books and journals, pursuing cultural diplomacy, and organizing tours, conferences, and other events around the world. Learn more at