The MOOC will cover the first three seasons of “The Walking Dead,” and will also contain some elements of the fourth season as it airs this fall. The four faculty members teaching the course will view each new episode together in preparation, Loble said.
AMC will directly provide content from the TV series to be used in the lessons.
But those “Walking Dead” fans worried about spoilers from the new season can breathe easy, said Misty Frost, vice president of marketing at Instructure, where the idea for the course originally took shape.
“The course is not specifically designed around season four,” Frost said. “It’s academic in nature and then uses examples from the show. The place most at risk for spoilers is the discussion section, but we are giving users the ability to tag a post with a spoiler alert.”
While such a collaboration between a university, a MOOC platform, and an entertainment company is a first, it’s not the only time a comic-book inspired MOOC has featured a direct line to the source material’s creators.
In April, Ball State University launched a Canvas-hosted MOOC taught by Christina Blanch that explored gender issues in comic books and comic book culture.
More than 7,000 students enrolled in the course, which was referred to as #SuperMOOC on Twitter. The course was a hit due in part to both its focus on gender when a majority of MOOCs remain slanted toward male users, and its all-star list of guests.