As a researcher, Decherney focuses on media law and policy, particularly as it pertains to the regulation of Hollywood. As an educator, he is an advocate of educational fair use and has incorporated many film clips and interviews to demonstrate Hollywood’s complex history in the massive open online course.
“MOOCs are one of a number of exciting changes that are encouraging us to rethink the way that we teach,” Decherney said. “Like writing a textbook, they allow us to make elements of our teaching available publicly,” which directly supports the Penn Compact 2020’s goal of increasing access.
Using interviews with a wide array of Hollywood leaders, including Academy Award winners, noted directors and studio heads, among others, in “Hollywood: History, Industry, Art,” Decherney delves into how business and politics translate into the art of film, TV and new media.
The self-paced online class covers topics such as genres, stars, well-known studios and filmmakers, censorship and piracy. Dechereny illustrates these and other themes like Hollywood during wartime and Hollywood’s response to crises and countercultural movements as well as new technologies including synchronized sound and computer-generated images with an in-depth analyses of classic movies such as “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “Casablanca” and “King Kong.”