AMC, Instructure, and UC Irvine Launch Online Course Inspired by The Walking Dead - Dread Central
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AMC, Instructure, and UC Irvine Launch Online Course Inspired by The Walking Dead

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AMC, Instructure, and UC Irvine Launch Online Course Inspired by The Walking DeadWell, this is certainly something I didn’t expect to be typing up today. An online course that uses themes from “The Walking Dead” to teach students lessons about science and survival? Somebody pinch me because I must be dreaming!

From the Press Release:
AMC, Instructure, and the University of California, Irvine, have announced the joint production of a massive open online course (MOOC) exploring a broad range of scholarly topics through the lens of a hypothetical zombie apocalypse.

The free, eight-week MOOC, titled “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’,” will be offered on Instructure’s MOOC platform, Canvas Network, and will be taught by a multidisciplinary team of UC Irvine faculty: Zuzana Bic, public health; Joanne Christopherson, social sciences; Michael Dennin, physics; and Sarah Eichhorn, mathematics. They were handpicked based on experience in teaching MOOCs, history of using pop culture in the classroom, and strong curricular alignment with case studies from the TV series.

“Fans of the show know that ‘The Walking Dead’ is about more than zombies; it’s about survival, leadership, and adapting to situations that are perilous and uncertain,” said Theresa Beyer, vice president of promotions and activation at AMC. “AMC is excited to be the first entertainment group to make the foray into the online education arena through this unique partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and Instructure. There is clearly a growing appetite for engagement with ‘The Walking Dead,’ and we hope this online course will drive a deep, sustained connection with the show during its upcoming fourth season and offer a legitimate educational experience that can be applied even more broadly.”

Enrollment in the course is currently available to anyone in the world. The first class is scheduled for Monday, October 14, the day after the Season 4 premiere of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

The course will run for eight consecutive Mondays through December 2. Because the series will air at different times around the world, Canvas Network will put in place provisions to help international participants avoid spoilers.While using pop culture references in the classroom is nothing new, this MOOC represents a unique level of experimentation in teaching and learning by formally infusing an academic syllabus with contemporary media. It’s also the first time a technology firm, entertainment company, and major university have collaborated in this way.

UC Irvine, which is ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education, has been a leader in the MOOC movement and a pioneer in open education for more than a decade. This partnership reflects UC Irvine’s next step in utilizing popular culture and flexible technology to improve outcomes in the open, online learning environment.

“As an educator, I’m always looking for ways to make scholarly ideas come alive for my students,” said Bic, who regularly employs pop culture analogies in her teaching on public health issues. “‘The Walking Dead’ provides many poignant case studies related to the scholarly areas covered in the course, and it helps that it’s one of TV’s most popular shows. There will be something for everyone in this course, which will explore concepts as varied as post-disaster nutrition, the foundations of human survival, and stereotypes in a Darwinian environment.”

“The Walking Dead” is the most-watched TV series in basic cable history and was the No. 1 show last season among adults 18 to 49 across all broadcast and cable networks. In addition to including content from the TV series, the online course will allow professors to digitally insert guest lecturers to add depth and variety to the curriculum.

A recent study by Instructure and the enterprise survey company Qualtrics revealed that students are most likely to complete MOOCs if they have a uniquely engaging academic experience.

“The education industry continues to experiment with MOOCs and is yielding insights into how to economically educate on a global scale,” said Instructure CEO Josh Coates. “‘The Walking Dead’ MOOC by UC Irvine will explore new ways to teach serious multidisciplinary academic curriculum in a popular social context that is engaging.”

Click here to enroll today for what promises to be the most fun learning experience you’ve ever had!

To stay up-to-the-minute on all things walker related, follow @WalkingDead_AMC on Twitter and visit “The Walking Dead” on Facebook. For more be sure to hit up the official “The Walking Dead” page on AMC.com.

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Rob Zombie Narrates Charles Manson’s Last Words to a Wider Audience

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Charles Manson. The name alone lives on in infamy even long after his physical remains lay rotting… and rightly so. A new docudrama entitled Charles Manson: The Final Words is on its way, and we have new details and behind-the-scenes imagery for you. Check it out!

The flick made its premiere on the REELZ Channel, and Breakthrough Entertainment has announced that they’ve acquired worldwide distribution rights to the project that features narration from Rob Zombie and is home to the final interview given by America’s most notorious and now deceased cult-leader and mass murderer, Charles Manson.

The opportunity that we have to offer this distinct and truly unique documentary to our international clients is beyond exciting for Breakthrough Entertainment,” said Craig McGillivray, Vice President, Distribution at Breakthrough Entertainment. “We are continuously focused on sourcing captivating new premium content that pushes the envelope and generates mass attention such as this amazing film from James Buddy Day and Pyramid Productions.

The two-hour film narrated by musician Zombie focuses on the so-called Manson family murders told from Manson’s perspective using never-before-seen case files, pictures, and exclusive interviews with Manson himself from inside California State Prison. The feature documentary reveals new details that unveil the true story and motives behind the grisly murder spree. The audio used in the doc contains the last recorded interviews with the infamous killer conducted by director and producer James Buddy Day.

It has been a truly distinct project for us and an experience that very few producers encounter. This film has the potential to captivate global audiences, and we are very excited to have Breakthrough Entertainment on board to share this one-of-a-kind documentary,” says James Buddy Day, Executive Producer at Pyramid Productions.

Look for more on this one soon!

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The Strangers: Prey at Night and Spread Holiday Fear

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Sometimes we wonder just what our local UPS man thinks when he drops boxes off here at Dread Central HQ. Case in point: this ominous little package that was left upon our doorstep to say “hello” and wish us a happy and probably not-so-healthy holiday season!

That’s right, kids! The Strangers: Prey at Night spread a bit of holiday fear around these parts with a little something for everyone, including those who celebrate Hanukkah! Check out the eye candy below!

The Strangers: Prey at Night is directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) from a script by Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai. It stars Martin Henderson, Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, and Lewis Pullman.

The film hits March 9, 2018.

Synopsis:
A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive. Johannes Roberts directs this horror film inspired by the 2008 smash hit THE STRANGERS.

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Exclusive: Go Behind the Scenes of Leatherface

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Rev up your chainsaws because next Tuesday sees the Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital release of Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s Leatherface (review). A prequel to Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Leatherface takes us into the origins of the Sawyer family and the makings of the titular character that has since become a mainstay in popular culture.

To give you a taste of what the special features are like on this release, we’ve got an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip that focuses on the young actors that make the script come to life.

You can see the footage for yourself below, and then you can pre-order Leatherface through Amazon.

Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, Vanessa Grasse, Nicole Andrews, Julian Kostov, Jessica Madsen, and Lorina Kamburova star. Leatherface was written by up-and-coming genre scribe Seth M. Sherwood.

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