The passage of history brings new achievements of technology and culture to the world, and political climates are in continual flux, but many aspects of the human experience remain consistent over time. The 16th century novel Don Quijote de la Mancha is one of the oldest novels in the Western canon, but the insights of its author Miguel de Cervantes into human freedom — religious, political, personal, and even economic — have a remarkable relevance to life in the 21st century, explains Professor Eric C. Graf of Atlas Network partner Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM).
Graf is leading an English version of a new massive open online course (MOOC) devoted to exploring the 52 chapters of Don Quijote over a span of 21 weeks, in which participants from around the world can register at no cost and delve into the novel’s classic themes along with supplementary material that includes animated videos, quizzes, illustrations, readings, and discussion forums.
“We are particularly concerned with Cervantes’s approach to big ideas, such as friendship, justice, loyalty, and heroism. In other words, universal values as important today as they were at the beginning of the 17th century and which have never been dealt with in any other novel as intensely as they are in Don Quijote de la Mancha,” Graf said in a UFM video promoting the course.
More than 5,000 people have participated in the Spanish language version of UFM’s Don Quijote MOOC, and the English course begins on Aug. 24.