Free Online Course on Shakespeare

First free online Shakespeare course from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the University of Warwick

02 December 2013

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the University of Warwick’s Business School have teamed up to offer a brand new interactive online course on the life and times of Shakespeare. Launching during Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary year in 2014, the Massive Open Online course, MOOC, is entitled Shakespeare and His World. Presented by Shakespearian expert and writer Jonathan Bate CBE, the 10 week course uses videos and online forums to give a snapshot of Shakespeare’s influences and legacy. Items from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s archives, which hold the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare-related artefacts and archives open free to the public, will help illustrate each module which is filmed at the Shakespeare Houses and Gardens in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The course which starts on 3 March has no cap on entries and people from all the over the world are being invited to take part and learn more about the world’s greatest playwright. Pupils will be given work to complete and after the course has finished will receive a certificate. The course is now open for enrolment.

Jonathan Bate CBE, said: “This MOOC is unique and exciting because it’s a collaboration between the University of Warwick and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. What we are doing is approaching Shakespeare, his times and his works through the collections of the very house where he lived.

“This is a MOOC for anybody who is interested in Shakespeare, whether it’s your first stab at him or you know his plays inside out, there will be something on the course for you.”

Delia Garratt, Head of Collections and Interpretation at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “This is the first time that we have done anything on this scale. The course will help connect people from all over the world with Shakespeare and our museum, library and archive collections in a new and exciting way.

“This is a good opportunity for people to discover the behind the scenes of our archives, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, which have been specially filmed for the course.  This MOOC is ideal for those with a love of Shakespeare or for anyone looking to find out more.”

The University of Warwick launched their first MOOC last month. Thousands have signed up for The Mind is Flat a six-week course run by NickChater, Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School.

To sign up for Shakespeare and His World visit

Notes to editors:

Press release date: 2 December 2013

For more information please contact Press and Public Affairs Officer Nurinder Mantell on 01789 207136.

The course is being run on

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon, and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world. The charity runs formal and informal educational programmes for people of all ages. It holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives open free to the public, a collection which is designated as being of international importance. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust receives no public subsidy or direct government funding; it depends on income generated through the support of visitors, donors, volunteers and Friends.


Warwick Business School is the largest department of the University of Warwick and the UK's fastest rising -business school according to the Financial Times. WBS is triple-accredited by the leading global business education associations and was the first in the UK to attain this accreditation. Offering the full portfolio of business education courses, from undergraduate through to MBAs, and with a strong Doctoral Programme, WBS is the complete business school. Its Dean, Professor Mark Taylor, is among the most highly-cited scholars in the world and was previously Managing Director at BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager.