NPOC University Courses: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are these online courses a response to the pandemic?
  2. What is the Playwrights’ Center’s relationship to Augsburg University?
  3. What courses will you be offering?
  4. Who will be teaching the courses?
  5. Who are these courses for?
  6. Are there any prerequisites for the courses?
  7. Can I enroll in one of these courses even if I’m not currently enrolled at a university?
  8. How large are the classes?
  9. How much does a PWC university course cost?
  10. When will the courses be offered? 
  11. What time will the classes meet? Will they be synchronous or asynchronous? 
  12. How do I apply?
  13. How will course scheduling work?
  14. How do I enroll?
  15. How does the transfer of financial aid and academic credit actually happen?
  16. I’m a professor or administrator, and I’m concerned about sending tuition and financial aid off-campus. 
  17. Our university already offers playwriting courses. What will you provide that’s different?
  18. My school is on the trimester system and/or courses are 3 or 5 credits. How will that work if these PWC courses are 4 credits?
  19. If I have questions, where should I direct them?
  20. Are there any videos about the courses?

 

Are these online courses a response to the pandemic?

No. The entire University Courses program was developed long before the onset of COVID-19 in response to students' and educators' requests that we provide playwriting experiences taught by Playwrights’ Center (PWC) writers that could count for college credit. Our hope has always been to serve students more broadly and deeply at a wide range of universities across the country, and online courses help us do that. We designed this program to expose students to the expertise of professional writers, connect them with a more diverse group of artist-mentors, and give them access to tools and platforms for creating the new and visionary narratives that will transform our world. Now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, we are still maintaining our vision, while also contemplating ways we can support schools that are challenged by online education at this moment.

 

What is the Playwrights’ Center’s relationship to Augsburg University?

Augsburg is the accrediting academic institution for the Playwrights' Center. Because the PWC can't issue college credit or accept financial aid on its own without a university partner, Augsburg will process transcripts, applications, and other academic paperwork and provide IT support and online tools. But the Playwrights’ Center hires and pays the instructors and holds primary responsibility for the curriculum. We are working closely with Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE) because it already has the systems and infrastructure in place to enroll and serve students around the world—and, even more importantly, its programs focus on the “empowerment of the participants to work for personal and social transformation,” a mission that closely mirrors our own.

 

What courses will you be offering?

  • Playwriting (PWC 300) – a general playwriting workshop for students at any stage of their development

  • Themes in Playwriting (PWC 310) – a playwriting course more specifically focused on topics of interest to students and instructors, such as the revision process, experiments in genre, professional development, activist performance, etc.

  • Writing for Television (PWC 320) & Writing for Digital Media (PWC 330) – practice-based courses in related fields of writing that playwrights have been bridging into and transforming with their skills in dramatic storytelling

 

Who will be teaching the courses?

Playwrights’ Center Fellows and Core Writers and Affiliated writers will be teaching and mentoring the next generation of playwrights in these courses. The program will provide an opportunity for students to connect deeply with these leading writers in the field who would ordinarily not be able to teach at students’ own universities.

 

Who are these courses for?

Undergraduate students with a passion for playwriting, an eagerness to learn from professional writers all around the country, an interest in building community with peers at other universities, and a desire to tell stories on stage and in other related fields. 

 

Are there any prerequisites for the courses?

The only official academic prerequisite is a basic effective writing/composition course or equivalent experience, usually completed by the first semester of a student’s first year.

 

Can I enroll in one of these courses even if I’m not currently enrolled at a university?

Yes, although spots are generally first set aside for current undergraduates. We also have a wealth of other non-accredited short- and long-term classes offered at the Playwrights’ Center that may be a better fit for you if you’re not a full-time student. If you are indeed interested in a semester-long experience for academic credit and you are not currently enrolled at a university, please reach out to Sarah Myers, Director of University Programs and Partnerships, at sarahm@pwcenter.org or 612-547-5743 to discuss your options.

 

How large are the classes?

Classes are capped at 15 so that all student writers get the individualized attention they need and can create community with each other.

 

How much does a PWC university course cost?

Before financial aid and scholarships are applied, the cost per course for non-Augsburg students during the 2020-2021 school year is $4,912, the equivalent of a 4-credit course at Augsburg. Please don’t let concerns about cost keep you from applying. Consider these very important factors:

  • We will work closely with a student’s home institution to make sure they can apply their financial aid to the cost of the course.

  • This tuition would replace the cost of one course at a student’s school, so taking a PWC course should be cost-savings for students from universities with higher tuition than Augsburg University.

  • If you attend a community college or 4-year school where $4,912 is higher than what you’d pay for a 4-credit course, we will work with you on cost. Please contact Dr. Sarah Myers at sarahm@pwcenter.org or 612-547-5743 to discuss options. 

  • We will be making need-based scholarships available for the 2020-2021 school year in response to the challenges associated with the pandemic.

 

When will the courses be offered? 

Courses will be offered every fall and spring semester (and, in the future, in the summer semester when there is demand). Start and end dates will follow Augsburg University’s academic calendar

 

What time will the classes meet? Will they be synchronous or asynchronous? 

A little bit of both. We will use Zoom for synchronous playwriting workshops and Moodle (an online learning platform) for other asynchronous activities. While the number of scheduled workshops will vary depending on the instructor and class, students can generally expect to have at least four workshops during the course of a semester, as well as other opportunities to interact directly with their instructor and peers. Read on for more information about how the synchronous workshops will be scheduled.
 

How do I apply?

Students must apply through Augsburg’s Center for Global Education & Experience (CGEE) site (found here). Once you’ve entered the system by clicking on the “Apply Now” button and receiving a login for non-Augsburg students, you will fill out a short application with contact information and a brief questionnaire about your playwriting experience and reasons for applying; you will also sign off on the course cancellation policy and provide a copy of your unofficial transcript. You won’t be charged or enter into any commitment at this time, and you won’t have to submit your official transcript until later.

 

How will course scheduling work?

Once your application is reviewed and accepted, you will be sent one more simple survey in which you will indicate your availability and schedule constraints for the semester. PWC and CGEE staff then work to create synchronous workshop times that accommodate as many students’ schedules as possible, and we may be in touch with you personally at this point. No one will be turned away because of scheduling constraints. Workshops will be recorded and other accommodations will be made for anyone with unavoidable conflicts shared before the application cut-off date.

 

How do I enroll?

Once you are accepted into the program, you will receive an Augsburg email address and access to the course Moodle site. CGEE staff will enroll you in the course, and PWC staff will continue to be in touch both with you and with your home institution. Because these courses are intimate and our approach is very hands-on, we are always here to help you through this whole process and answer any questions you may have. Once the course is over at the end of the semester, CGEE will ensure that you receive transcripted academic credit from Augsburg for the PWC course.

 

How does the transfer of financial aid and academic credit actually happen?

The Playwrights’ Center and CGEE work directly with each university to create a pathway for students to register, apply their aid, and get credit at their home institution. This can be done on an individual basis for a single student or ideally through an affiliation agreement with a university. The affiliation agreement simply ensures there is a standard path for students to follow to get college credit for their work and apply their financial aid. This agreement is generally negotiated with the study away office, the registrar’s office, and/or the dean’s office at any given school. Additionally, departments can decide whether PWC courses may count towards a major or minor, as electives, etc. We consider Theater and Creative Writing faculty key partners in this program and will be in ongoing contact with them to be sure these courses are meeting curricular needs.

CGEE already has affiliation agreements with universities across the world for its many programs. The Playwrights’ Center is working with CGEE in part because they have the infrastructure and processes in place to make courses like these possible for the greatest number of students.

 

I’m a professor or administrator, and I’m concerned about sending tuition and financial aid off-campus. 

That’s understandable in our current academic climate. But please consider that because we are building a cohort of student writers from all over the country this program can only accommodate one or two students from any given school at a time—and, even then, only for one course per student; at most that’s eight credits of aid/tuition from an entire university for a semester. View this program as a mini-study away experience or an independent study with an off-site instructor. We’ve deliberately designed our courses to complement, rather than compete with offerings at your school—and to give your students an opportunity they would not be able to get elsewhere. 

 

Our university already offers playwriting courses. What will you provide that’s different?

The Playwrights’ Center will regularly hire leading writers in theater, TV, and other media to teach these courses—artists working actively in their fields who would not be able to teach at one university for an entire semester. We’ll also be offering specifically-themed playwriting courses on topics you may not have in your standard curriculum. And beyond playwriting courses, your students could study writing for TV or digital media. You might even have a student who has already taken every creative writing course you offer and still wants more, but you can’t accommodate that request for just one student. We can. Not every course we offer will be right for your school, but we’re here to support you and your specific needs with an array of options.

 

My school is on the trimester system and/or courses are 3 or 5 credits. How will that work if these PWC courses are 4 credits?

We will figure out an arrangement that works for your university. CGEE has lots of experience navigating situations like these. That’s one of the many reasons we’re partnering with them. 

 

If I have questions, where should I direct them?

Please get in touch with Director of University Programs and Partnerships, Dr. Sarah Myers, at sarahm@pwcenter.org or 612-547-5743. She’s also an associate professor herself, so she can help you navigate many parts of this process.

  

Are there any videos about the courses?

 

Philip Dawkins, Playwriting (PWC 300) Online Instructor, Fall 2020

  • Award-winning playwright Philip Dawkins talks about his pedagogy, artistic experience, and approach to teaching the Fall 2020 playwriting course.

Sarah Myers, Registration for Playwrights' Center University Courses, Fall 2020

  • Dr. Myers discusses who the program is for, as well as logistics, application, and registration.