End of an era. Of sorts. Eight years ago, in April 2004, I was taken on by The Open University to teach their innovative new module A174 'Start Writing Fiction'. It was innovative in that it was delivered completely online and because it was the OU's first foray into teaching creative writing at undergraduate level.
The module attracted interest across the UK and beyond. Hundreds signed up for each presentation and it ran three times per year. I've taught on it, three times a year, since then. Now, in May 2012, I've just finished marking my very last students' assignments on its very last presentation. With twenty-five students per group, I reckon I've worked with six hundred students on this one module alone.
I still hear people say, 'Can creative writing be taught?' It's such a stupid question I won't dignify it with an answer. Sufficient to say that 600 people in my groups alone have learned the nuts and bolts of how to create believable characters and satisfying story arcs and they've also been given the tools to explore their memory and imagination. Equipped for life with a satisfying creative outlet.
As for me, I'm still going to be teaching on the OU's second level creative writing module, A215. A longer module, it covers developing your own creativity, writing fiction, poetry, life writing and also preparing for publication. You can read more about it here http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/a215.htm But I'm also hoping to start writing some more fiction of my own.