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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to Who Wrote Shakespeare by University of London

215 ratings
106 reviews

About the Course

This free course from the University of London explores critical thinking, and the interpretation of texts, through the Shakespeare authorship question. Using doubt about Shakespeare’s authorship as our playground, we will explore the key concept of authorship attribution, while developing skills in literary analysis, interpretation, and argument. Through forensic exploration of key texts, you will learn why Shakespeare’s authorship is questioned, and what evidence is cited on both sides of the debate. For those of you interested in exploring the works of Shakespeare from a new angle, or just wanting to hone your analytical thinking skills, this course offers an introduction to a fascinating area of interest. Those of you already interested in the Shakespeare authorship question will be encouraged to question your own assumptions in fruitful ways. Whether undertaken as a standalone course, or as preparation for the University of London BA in English, this course will be food for thought....

Top reviews


May 18, 2020

Ros Barber did a wonderful job, opening my eyes to all kinds of possibilities! The experts she brought in were very knowledgeable as well as entertaining! Thanks to Coursera for making this a reality!


Sep 13, 2020

A very well done, interesting and thought-provoking course that not only teaches the basics of the "non-Stratfordian" approach to the study of Shakespeare, but also encourages critical thinking.

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51 - 75 of 104 Reviews for Introduction to Who Wrote Shakespeare

By Lexi O

Jan 3, 2019

It's a good course for beginners and you get to know new things.

By Julian N

Jul 13, 2020

Superbly researched, explained and presented. Thank you!

By William C

Mar 15, 2018

A very thorough introduction to the authorship question.

By Alcina C

Jun 23, 2020

Great course. Would highly recommend it.

By Armin A

Mar 10, 2018

Excellent presentation. Well done!

By Ana R O A

Jan 14, 2019

Simply mind opening!

By Eleonora L D

May 4, 2020

Really intresting

By Iffat J S

Jun 19, 2020

great lectures

By Rob S

Mar 16, 2018

Well done

By luce n

Mar 3, 2018


By Toni P

Mar 25, 2018

This course provided some excellent, detailed material for exploring various aspects of the Shakespeare authorship question. I especially enjoyed the content of the interviews with Mark Rylance, Greg Thompson and William Leahy, partly because, on a mooc there needs to be a human dimension, but mostly because they gave thought-provoking into this issue from their own specialist and knowledgeable perspectives.

I understand why it was not possible to include material on other candidates, and internal evidence from the texts, on this course but I feel that it is difficult to avoid these two key aspects of the debate. It would be great if the University of London provided further courses in these two areas, linked to this one.

It is always good to get to know your fellow participants on the programme, and I enjoyed conversing with a number of individuals on the threads on various aspects of the SAQ. However, it was noticeable that only a small number of participants took part in these discussions. It would be worth thinking through whether there might be a better way of bringing participants together in a way which encourages everyone to exchange views and ideas, rather than just a dedicated few.

Ros Barber managed the course very well, dealing with problems effectively, and presenting the evidence in an engaging and well-conceived way. The only issue I had with the content of the course was the use of quizzes to test the memory,, and the fact that this was mainly on information which tended to be favour a non-Stratfordian perspective. I didn't feel that this was a very effective way for me to test my own critical thinking on the various matters discussed, although I understand that it would be difficult for the small team involved to deal with written material from participants.

By Geoff W

May 3, 2020

This being my first course I'm reluctant to award 5 stars. Perhaps I would have if I had completed others to compare it with. I found it well structured and remained focussed on the central questions, most significant lines of argument and most relevant evidence. Being a somewhat 'controversial' topic it was pleasing to see a preamble that both acknowledged this fact and provided helpful information and suggestions as to how best to approach such a topic, even in a climate of 'internet trolling' and the like. Thanks for all your hard work, Ros Barber in in particular of course.

By Margaret S

Mar 26, 2018

I greatly enjoyed the course and found it quite informative. Dr. Barber’s open attitude encouraged us to reflect and ask questions of both the evidence and ourselves. Me only bémol is the forum, which at times was very contentious, people with an agenda fir disruption, people who wanred only to push their rather already cemented ideas. For this reason I didn’t participate much in the forums. But still, I am quite pleased with the course.


By John B

Mar 9, 2018

Excellent course. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved Dr. Barber's presentation and especially the discussion interviews. I have been interested in the authorship question for many years and was very happy to see it given such a presentation. I have long thought that the actual facts of the authorship should be taught in schools rather than the assumptions that have built up around the lack of factual evidence.

By Vivek S

Jul 14, 2020

A Very Detailed Course on this existing question. The content was good, solid, and the quizzes were slightly tricky.

By Steven J L

Mar 16, 2018

Excellent, thorough introduction to the principle textual, artistic, contemporaneous sources

By Joy S

Jun 10, 2018

Lots of detailed info about the evidence for and against.

By Soniya.M

Jun 19, 2019

Awesome course for college students

By Catherine S

May 5, 2018

It started great, but seemed to drag by the midpoint. By the end I had to force myself to finish.

By Lisa H

Feb 3, 2021

What a great course for anyone who loves the works of Shakespeare. The authorship question is something I’ve always fought with, but never explored. I am a steadfast traditionalist and found anyone questioning this fairly problematic. Having worked, studied and performed the works most of my life, I was finding gaps in my knowledge and this course was able to get me to a point where I felt ready to look at the authorship question seriously. The course is fairly concentrated, but not so much that completing it is impossible.

By Walfer A S W

Jul 19, 2021

Para aquellos que quieran profundizar en el universo Shakesperano, la Dra. Barbber Ross les dará interesantes entregas sobre los diversos puntos que rodean a personaje tan misterioso, apoyandose con herramientas y teorias muy actualizadas y analisis de distinguidos autores, respetanto las diversas posiciones, conlleva e invita al buscador sacar sus propias conclusiones, solo resta decirles a quien quiera realizar el presente estudio, Buen Provecho.

By Lily P

Jun 8, 2021

I​ have been interested in the Shakespeare Authorship Question for about a decade - picking up a book here and a book there. This course was invaluable for me to get an overall purview finally. It helped me sort through the information I had gathered and I now have a workable timeline in mind. I also know what I want to know more about! I hope Dr. Barber developes another course, a bump up from this one! I'd pay a lot for a course like that!

By Heather G

Aug 10, 2020

I had some previous knowledge of the authorship question, and I feel that the course assumed very little to no previous knowledge. Therefore, the content was very accessible and the pacing appropriate for an introductory course. I enjoyed the interviews and the enthusiastic lectures. I definitely feel more informed about the authorship question and capable to discuss with other interested parties.


Sep 4, 2020

This is an excellent course and I'm really glad I took it. The first lesson with the discussion about the importance of keeping an open mind is very worthwhile in itself. The question of Shakespeare's authorship has always been on the periphery of my life, but now I have a lot more to be aware of. Thank you so much.

By Malu C

Jul 17, 2019

As an avid Shakespeare reader, I found this course fascinating. Listening to Roz and to the interviews with prestigious scholars opened my eyes to new perspectives and points of view. It encourages me to continue reading and to submerge myself into the Shakespeare authorship and the question ho wrote Shakespeare