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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Deciphering Secrets: The Illuminated Manuscripts of Medieval Europe by University of Colorado System

76 Bewertungen
33 Bewertungen

Über den Kurs

Perhaps no other relic of the European Middle Ages captures our imagination more than illuminated medieval manuscripts, or those documents decorated with images and colored pigments. Serving as windows unto a lost world of kings, ladies, faith, war, and culture, they communicate complex visual and textual narratives of Europe’s collective cultural heritage and patrimony. In this fashion, illuminated manuscripts are dynamic messages from our communal past that are still relevant today in fields like graphic design and typography. In this seven-week course, students will explore the material creation, content, and historical context of illuminated medieval European manuscripts. Students will acquire an introductory knowledge of their distinguishing characteristics, their cataloguing and periodization (when they were created), the methods utilized to produce them, and their historical context and value. Student achievement will be assessed using not only traditional multiple-choice quizzes, but more importantly will be evaluated based on individual student projects. In their final projects students will either (1) produce a board of commented images about medieval manuscripts or (2) prepare a physical manuscript using medieval methods. The best of these peer-evaluated projects will be posted on the Deciphering Secrets website, which is our collective citizen scholarship web presence that encourages and supports our global citizen scholars appreciation and contributions to transcription of medieval manuscripts. Finally, we wish to highlight that this course is an exciting international collaboration between the University of Colorado (USA) and Universidad Complutense Madrid (Spain)....



Jan 27, 2018

An excellent overview of a complex subject , with the rare option to explore the practical skills involved in making manuscripts , and with a forward view of new research evolving IT makes possible.


May 05, 2017

fascinating subject. Excellent course whether you want to just learn about the history of the manuscripts or try creating some yourself. The Spanish professor is a real expert in the subject.

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1 - 25 of 35 Reviews for Deciphering Secrets: The Illuminated Manuscripts of Medieval Europe

von Kathryn G

Jul 11, 2019

I enjoyed this course immensely. It was challenging and illuminating (pun intended). It was particularly interesting to come away with an appreciation about the ways in which the methods of ancient and medieval writing and book making influence the ways we read, write, and preserve information today. As a copyright attorney, I was intrigued by the notion of copying as preserving civilization and the idea that without copying, large parts of our heritage can, have been, and will be lost. The materials, videos, and readings are done well, especially the second part of each week's lesson on the manuscripts themselves. The only criticism I have is that the transcripts of the videos have quite a few errors in them, but that did not prevent me from learning a great deal. I recommend this course and am looking forward to my next visit to a museum with a medieval manuscript collection as I am now armed with a greater understanding of what I will see.

von Angelina B

Jun 06, 2019

So, far I am not too far into the class however, it is extremely satisfying the level of information that one person can choose to attain via coursera. The time frames are tight, but flexible thankfully.

von Sandra B

Apr 09, 2019

I completed the course in April 2017. I found it challenging (which I like) and thoroughly instructional. I loved it. It is well presented, with a lovely combination of theory and practical work. The visuals are stunning. It has fostered a desire in me to keep on exploring these resources.

von Theodora P

Mar 03, 2019

Exceptional! I am a Historian and a Historian of Art, from Athens Greece. I am really impressed by this course and its scientific aspect.

von Laëtitia J

Oct 26, 2018

Complete, and very high quality ! And last but not least, creative and funny :) Many thanks

von Anne G M A

Sep 10, 2018

I am enjoying this course a lot!!

this despite some broken links + as per my experience with the course, the process of getting reviewed by the pairs is a pain, often not getting the feedback needed, the deadline surpasses, and it is complicated to understand if it is due to system or not. While getting those issues one cannot concentrate properly on the course because it takes time digging on that part instead of dedicating that time studying.I think the course is excellent though and I am absolutely loving it.

von Irina I

Sep 02, 2018

(+) I really liked the manuscripts part - it was great.

(+) I liked the hands-on project about creating the manuscript, but sometimes instructions were too vague or missing at all.

(-) I didn't like the history part. It has a lot of reading materials and none of the videos. And I didin't always see a connection to manuscripts.

(-) I hate the system when other students should grade my assignments. There was one student who always put too low grades to me and I didin't understand why (for example, I have written ductus of 3 letters and he put that I have done only 2 etc). I suppose that he doesn't understand English quite well so he doesn't understand the rubrics, but that's quite demotivating.

(-) The interview with a Dutch scriptor, who showed letters from manuscripts, was not translated to English.

von Roger F

Aug 07, 2018

A very interesting and enjoyable course. The Hands-on project is very worthwhile but there is quite a lot to do.

von Maryna P

May 12, 2018

Excellent! Just one problem. There probably not too many students so it takes more time to grade your peer reviewed assignement and you have to wait.

von Gwyneth T

Apr 29, 2018

This was an extremely interesting course. I learnt a lot about medieval Europe and its history alongside knowledge of medieval manuscripts and bookbinding. I am tempted to do it again using the practical projects but I am not sure I have enough time to actually complete them.

von Carol S

Apr 15, 2018

Very engaging and creative course that allowed me to study a subject I have always been enchanted with. The only issues are that the professors accent was so deep that it was difficult to understand her and the machine generated transcript had the same issue I did. Still a most enjoyable course and I would highly recommend it to all. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to take it.

von Elisa M

Feb 19, 2018

First I'd like to say that this course is quite original and I give a lot of credit to Dr. Sanchez-Pinto for taking on such a project. Her videos are the most instructional of the class. That said, there are two instructors, and Dr. Martinez-Dávila mostly introduces a series of reading materials, so there are hardly any videos on the history component of the class.

Also, the weekly assignments are quite lengthy and require quite some work. For these, there is a deadline of only one week and the feedback from students is very diverse, depending on whether they are themselves librarians or not.

Overall an interesting course for those who are curious about manuscripts, but could definitely use a makeover.

von Kenneth K

Jan 27, 2018

An excellent overview of a complex subject , with the rare option to explore the practical skills involved in making manuscripts , and with a forward view of new research evolving IT makes possible.

von Ivan S

Jan 22, 2018

It was amazing course full of new information and things to know, full of activities and works for creation own medieval manuscript. A lot of thanks for all people who done it!

von David B

Dec 30, 2017

This class was even better than I expected, and I expected a really good course. The professors are passionate about the subject, and they have very good teaching methods. I should probably say subjectS, because there were so many interesting things involved in this course. We learned about writing materials, the chemistry of ink and paint, textual analysis, analysis of the structure of the book and of the page layout, some psychology, lots of history, and - something very useful - advanced internet search methods for original sources. I would recommend this course to anyone; in fact, I've already done so several times. I look forward to doing more courses with Professors MARTINEZ-DÁVILA and Professor SÁNCHEZ-PRIETO in the future. Nice work!

von JOHN Q

Dec 11, 2017

Interesting and enjoyable course. Thanks for all the work in preparation of the course.

von Eleni P

Dec 10, 2017

Very interesting MOOC. Don't miss out on the opportunity to make your own "medieval codex" from scratch! Choose the hands-on project and put everything you learn through the videos to the test. You don't have to be an artist, don't worry; there are a lot of shortcuts available for us (the non-artists). I enjoyed it a lot!

von Rowena A

Dec 09, 2017

This course has been easy to follow and enjoyable, while still offering a high level of rigor and challenge. I especially appreciate the differentiation in projects available, so as to allow learners to choose their degree of engagement. The instructors are clearly knowledgeable, and responsive to learner communication. Highly recommended even (or maybe especially) for novice MOOC learners!

von Kate S

Nov 05, 2017

Lots of information here! I enjoyed the content and lay out of the course as well as the presentation of the material. I have a new-found appreciation for the production of manuscripts and an interest in learning more about their illustration. Thank you for offering this course!

von Nathan B

Oct 29, 2017

An excellent course covering all aspects of Medieval Manuscripts, from parchment and pigments to illumination and binding. The only drawback is the Peer Review process, the vast majority did not leave comments so it was not that helpful, and those who were not thorough in their review of your work can provide an incorrect review lowering your overall score. The instructors are great and their passion for the topic shows! Expect a lot of work, but there is a lot to learn. I had a grand time!

von Jax L

Sep 19, 2017

This is definitely a must for anyone with an interest in history. The combination of the historic backdrop and the practical nature of manuscript studies makes it even more

von franca g c

Sep 06, 2017

While this course was not exactly what I had expected, it certainly offered insights that I would have never imagined. More importantly, I now know the terminology used and can differentiate the different periods in which the books were bound.

What I loved most was the hands-on-project, which takes the students through the full process of not only creating an illuminated manuscript, but it also drives the student to one of the most important elements which makes up the codex, the binding.

Participating in the above process is invaluable. If you're a lover of illuminated manuscripts, or letters, the freedom towards the creative process is quite "illuminating." Coming up with the content for the copy and the corresponding illustrations was quite fun and somewhat unnerving at the same time. I was nervous about approaching the illumination, not of the letters, but of the other elements such as the initials. Once done, though, it was a very satisfying feeling. The binding process was a bit unnerving as well, not because it's so difficult, but because I didn't necessarily have all the tools.

Having said, this, I would have given the course 5 stars. I gave it 4, only because, the binding process "how to" was not the most clear.

Otherwise, this is an excellent course which I highly recommend. I look forward to other related courses.

von Birgitte B

Aug 24, 2017

Even though I already had some knowledge on Medieval manuscripts via Philology and Paleography courses I took as part of my BA English Language & Culture, this course gave me additional and broader knowledge on the subject, particularly on codicology. I found the hands-on project exercises both fun and instructional. I really learnt a lot in this course.

This is a very well-structured and informative course, suitable for students with no prior knowledge as well as students who have already some prior knowledge.

von Elz d B

Aug 13, 2017

I loved it! Although one can only touch the surface of this field in such a short time frame, I learned a lot. I liked the combination of medieval history and manuscript making. It helps putting it all in perspective.

von Emily L

Aug 10, 2017

Great course, very informative, and left me inspired to learn more!