College to offer online creative writing master's program

by Laura King / Beacon Staff • November 13, 2014

The Writing, Literature, and Publishing department plans to offer an online master’s program in Popular Writing in Publishing by 2016. It will be the country’s first fully online master of fine arts degree that focuses on creative writing, according to President M. Lee Pelton’s State of the College letter.

The online program will follow much of the structure of Emerson’s on-site master’s program, which focuses more on literary writing and poetry, said Maria Koundoura, chair of the writing, literature, and publishing department.

For the Popular Writing program, the department plans to include online writing workshops and classes in literature and publishing, but with a focus on genres like young adult, fantasy, and science fiction.

Koundoura said Emerson is angling its program towards popular fiction and publishing—which she said are the school’s strengths.

“We wanted to look at what’s unique about the WLP department and what’s unique about Emerson and offer that,” said John Rodzvilla, senior electronic publisher-in-residence and current chair of the committee that is drafting the online program.

The committee is looking to offer the master’s courses through Canvas, the online system already used for on-campus classes, said Rodzilla. 

“It’s different to teach in a virtual classroom,” said Koundoura. “The college is making sure that the faculty who will be teaching in it have the appropriate training both pedagogically and through IT to be able to teach it in the best possible way.”