Here at Giant Freakin’ Robot, we tend to get our information about AMC’s The Walking Dead like everybody else, through interviews and reports released by the show’s cast and crew. But now it’s possible to learn about the show in a completely different context: a college course. AMC is working with the massive open online course (MOOC) platform Instructure to bring “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead” to students everywhere, or at least everywhere with an Internet connection. As if using pop culture to gain an education isn’t enough, the course is completely free of charge for anyone interested in taking it. Of course, this open invitation is balanced by students not actually receiving any certificate of completion for the class, but you can make your own, and bloody it up in the process.
“A lot of what is going on with MOOCs is too specialized, or not pressing boundaries enough,” says Instructure co-founder Brian Whitmer. “So we came up with the idea of a pop-culture MOOC.” Okay, so admittedly, this is less a formal education tactic and more of a promotional tool for AMC, who hopes to capitalize on the popularity of MOOCs. Even a small percentage of the 12.4 million people who watched the third season’s finale would qualify as a success. But that doesn’t mean the courses are being taught by any regular Joe off of the zombie-ridden street.