Persian literature, Iran, Persianate societies

Open Library Courses in Islamic Studies

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      Aqil Visram

      Dear members of the Persian and Persianate Studies group,

      Recently, the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched its inaugural Muslim superhero series, Ms. Marvel, starring Iman Vellani. According to Forbes, Ms. Marvel “is the highest scoring Disney Plus Marvel series ever.” I was very excited by this as I’m an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto who’s been involved in a Government of Canada and Government of Ontario initiative to develop media-rich, student-centered, pedagogically sound learning materials that professors of Islamic Studies or anyone else can use to teach and learn about Islam. Led by Professor Shafique Virani, the team includes over forty talented and creative participants, including expert consultants from Brock, Carleton, McMaster, and Ryerson Universities, the Universities of British Columbia and Toronto, and the Aga Khan Museum, all of whom generously shared their insights and suggestions for the materials and content. Living artists worldwide contributed much of the original art, music, and other multimedia in the modules. The first module we developed talks about Ms. Marvel and also includes four historical Muslim heroes: two females and two males, from the classical, medieval, and modern periods, an Arab, a Persian-speaking Central Asian, a Turk, and a South Asian. This demonstrates our team’s dedication to showcasing the diversity of the Muslim world. You can click here to see our four-minute introduction, “Heroes: Do All of Them Wear Capes?” which will give you a taste of other materials we developed. Anyone in this group can download the Instructor’s Guide and the full courses with all their modules at the following links:

      RLG 2xx: Introduction to Islam and Muslim Civilizations

      RLG 3xx: Shiʿi Islam

      RLG 4xx: Researching Islam

      The courses are in “Common Cartridge” format and can be imported into virtually any major Learning Management System, including Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle. While it’s not possible to see the modules without having access to an LMS, the introductory videos are available on the iBrary YouTube Channel, and anyone can view them. If you think these types of materials can be useful for teaching and learning, please like and subscribe to the channel to receive future updates. We hope these materials will be helpful to professors looking for engaging materials for their courses. The modules can prove valuable for museums, undergraduate and graduate school classes, high schools, religious institutions, adult learners ranging from journalists to public servants, and many others.

      Aqil Visram

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