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Tania is currently the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker and an Associate Editor at Womanista. With past writing credits as a freelance writer and journalist with Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF), and NBC News' Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the US that promotes and represents journalists. As a writer by vocation and entrepreneur by nature, Tania is a life long learner who enjoys traveling and meeting new people. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley, and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and road-tripping across the great United States. She is currently attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and studying journalism. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Film Noir with a Touch of Class: TCM’s “Summer of Darkness” Now in Session!

The Maltese Falcon starring Humphrey Bogart is considered one of the greatest films ever made. The noir airs as part of TCM’s “Summer of Darkness” festival on June 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET on TCM. Check your local listings for details. {Image Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures}

School’s not out for summer just yet. This month, class just got a whole lot cooler by letting students and cinema lovers dive deep into the world of film by devoting two to four hours a week, simply watching television. That’s right—you read correctly. Watch television and learn something?

In mid-May, it was announced that the Peabody Award-winning television network, Turner Classic Movies would collaborate with one of the nation’s best public institutions, Ball State University on the Canvas Network for a free online course open to the public. Leaping into the world of film noir with the help of social media, the course is one of several interactive efforts from the television broadcaster in hopes to connect audiences from around the world to study and appreciate the roots of this beloved, classic genre.

As a life-long fan of Turner Classic Movies and a student at Ball State, I truly believe this groundbreaking course redefines the medium of education, setting a definitive precedent for advanced learning that is open to all. It’s a big step forward into the tech-driven classroom culture and with the blend of television, this makes the experience all the more fun for everyone involved. Online education has exploded in recent years, giving students the chance to explore beyond the classroom and interact with technology, but this course is different in the sense that it’s not as isolating. With the combination of video lessons and lectures with social media, students will not just focus on the films itself, but gain knowledge from public discussion with others. The nine-week course running concurrently with TCM’s Summer of Darkness programming event (an annual tradition first introduced in 1999) will air 120 noir classics in 24-hour marathons every Friday in the month of June and July.

In a press release from Turner, general manager of TCM, Jennifer Dorian expresses her elation for the program to begin. “We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Ball State on this exciting and innovative approach to learning,” she says. “TCM at its core is about context, curation, and connections and by working with Ball State on this online course we are able to engage with our passionate film audience in another exciting and new way.”

The program, taught by Executive Director of Ball State’s iLearn Research (and film noir expert), Dr. Richard L. Edwards, hopes to bring together a worldwide community of film noir students and fans to investigate and discuss these great films in depth. “As an educator I am excited to coordinate Ball State’s learning opportunities with TCM’s programming efforts to present students with a rare opportunity to engage with the material and genre,” he says.

Gilda starring the immaculate Rita Hayworth airs June 19 at 9:30 a.m. on TCM. Check your local listings for details. {Image Credit: Columbia Pictures}

Starting today, students will get a chance to travel back in time to investigate “The Case of Film Noir” with studies that focus on the means, motives, and opportunities that led Hollywood to make these hard-boiled crime dramas. Best described as a “flexible, multimedia investigation and celebration of film noir,” these films are certainly not your average run-of-the-mill classics. With titles from the likes of The Maltese Falcon (1941), Gilda (1946), Strangers on a Train (1951), and L.A. Confidential (1997), the extensive genre-specific catalog presented by the network is by far one of the deepest ever showcased by TCM or any other broadcaster to date. It’s impressive, especially with the network’s 21 year run and Ball State University’s continued drive to redefine education. It’s remarkable to see a university like this one break down barriers between school and the outside world, while maximizing the use of modern technology to promote outward thinking.

Complete with educational lecture videos, access to TCM’s online archives, and video chats, the course utilizes Canvas’s platform, and allows students the experience of having real-time discussions about specific film titles. In addition to its work with the Indiana university, TCM is creating social engagement tools to provide additional opportunities for broadening discussion. Students (and fans) can share thoughts through the hastag, #noirsummer on Twitter to discuss the festival and its films.

And that’s not all! Your “hard work” won’t go without a reward. Students who complete assignments will receive a certificate of completion and that’s pretty great to add to any resume. That being said, if you want to take part but don’t subscribe to TCM, have no fear. As per the syllabus, there will be “free links to online public domain films noir” so anyone can fully participate in this course.

TCM Presents Into The Darkness: Investigating Film Noir” begins today and the first set of films airs this Friday. Check out this trailer from TCM below to get a sneak peek at what’s in-store this month!

This summer, drop the books because it’s time to hit the movies!

For more information and how to enroll in the class, “Investigating Film Noir,” check out Canvas and for more information on TCM’s Summer of Darkness, visit their official website for updates and film schedules.

Are you taking part in this course? What movies are you most excited to see?

Last day to enroll: July 19, 2015

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  1. Film Noir with a Touch of Class: TCM’s “Summer of Darkness” Now in Session! | westlifebunny - June 2, 2015

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