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This summer my youngest son “O” walked the virtual hallowed halls of the University of New Hampshire while taking a Harry Potter as Storytelling on-line course with Professor Krasner.
The minute I saw this advertised I signed him up for it as he is a huge Harry Potter fan. You must know that he was not disappointed !!!
The course was very well-organized using the Blackboard 9.1 platform. Using the Marauder’s Map my son was lead into the world of Harry Potter via 5 courses.
- Care of Magical Creatures
- Defense Against the Dark Arts
The course of Magical Creatures teaches the ideas of themes and mythology used in the Harry Potter books. Looking at Hagrid’s love of bizarre and unusual creatures as well as taking specific mythological animals. This course has one diving in head first into the a new knowledge of beastology.
Defense Against the Dark Arts shares historical reading, social and political ideas through topics sch as Aristocracy, racism, prejudice, mental illness, medical history, bullying, cyber bullying laws and even the Manhattan project.
The Potions course is all about grammar, parts of speech, and punctuation using different characters from the books through excerpts from the books.
In the Charms course, characterization, word roots, and sound patterns were revealed through a variety of well named characters from the Harry Potter series.
In Transfiguration one learns about connotation, metaphor, symbolism, allusion, and archetypes.
Before starting the course, however, there were a few rules which needed to be taken care of.
- Do whatever you want in any order you want. Students were strictly forbidden from doing things in order.
- During quizzes, please cheat. Students were allowed to look things up online, phone a friend, or ask a parent.
- Get lots of badges. Every time a student completes one level of quizzes correctly, they get a badge. The more badges the merrier.
- Have Fun. The most important rule of them all.
Also interspersed throughout out each class are creative writing projects, mostly fan fiction. They were very inventive but the best part is that the students got to share their writing in the common room. My boy loved reading other people’s writing. It was one of his biggest highlights.
Each time a student finishes a course they get to unlock a place on the Marauder’s Map and collect yet another badge.
Here’s my take away from the course. First off it was brilliantly taught at the children’s level of understanding. Professor Krasner taught via videos in each section of the course. The array of information he pulled in from a myriad of other sources was phenomenal. “O” kept mentioning over and over again about how much he was learning. He even mentioned once that he might want to go to University of New Hampshire just to study with Professor Krasner. 🙂
Some other points I want to mention have to deal with security and my child’s safety online. The platform is very secure and being monitored constantly. Though children can comment in the Common Room on other students work, the Common Room shuts down at night. Students were reminded to be respectful and responsible in the writing, drawings, etc.
One of the things I greatly appreciated from this course is that “O” loves to write but he doesn’t feel confident sharing it with other people, that includes me and the rest of the family. In the Harry Potter through Storytelling course, students are encouraged to share their writing in the common room or they can send it privately to Professor Krasner via OWL mail. I was shocked that my guy sent in a couple of things via the Common Room.
If I could change one thing that would be for a longer amount of time to complete the course. I believe the course organizers felt the same way as the original 2 weeks got extended for an extra week. I feel 4 to 5 weeks would have been sufficient enough time to get through everything. There is so much in this course but not in an overwhelming way.
Professor Krasner and his team are very talented educators who greatly inspired my child to look deeper into what he’s reading. It also gave him ideas on how to incorporate everyday things, history, art, language into his own story ideas or mind craft creations.
A huge thank you from the bottom of my heart Professor Krasner for all of the time you invested in making an incredible online experience for “O” .
I know many of you saw the advertisement for the Harry Potter as Storytelling course and were wondering about it. I thought a little feedback would be helpful. I hope they offer it again next year and if they do, sign up right away. You won’t be sorry in the least.
Happy Reading !!!
p.s Here’s the Introductory Video UNH offered when the course first started.