Although post-secondary institutions offer courses based on pop culture, some are unable to afford them. However, Academics Today is offering a free comic book course through Youtube at no cost. Michael Murray, the lecturer of the course and host of the channel, said he wanted to provide an outlet for those wanting to create their own course, and take some for free. He was inspired after he couldn’t study a subject he was interested in at Western University.
“I wanted to take a course on Norse mythology, and there was nothing even in North America that was offering it,” he explained, “You’d have to go to Europe to take it.”
The comic book course, still in development, looks at the history of comics and graphic novels, and the problems during the timeline. Murray said comics often had a bad reputation because they were stigmatized as children’s entertainment, and there was a call for censorship in the United States of America during the 1950s, when horror and romance comics were emerging.
“All of the comic studios gave in to the censorship and said ‘We’re going to make all this stuff as non-offensive as possible, and what happened was they made really boring material that almost completely destroyed the entire industry and the entire medium as we know it.”
While the Academics Today website is in beta, they will offer online multiple choice quizzes after each weekly lecture. Murray said that so far, the results have been positive. “When I see them in person, the people that I’ve talked to about the course, they’re able to tell me the information from the quiz up to a month later.”
“We’re able to go and bring the information at their own pace, and these days a lot of people are visual learners as well as audio learners, so they should be able to retain more information just by watching it than by reading it from a book.”
After the comic book course is complete, Academics Today will offer a course on the influence of Norse mythology and religion in every day life.