Lifelong Learning

Q&A with Short Courses Creative Writing and Film Teaching Fellow

Douglas Dougan tells us about his Term 1 Creative Writing course 'Adaptation for Film'.

Not only has Douglas Dougan been teaching Short Courses here at the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Open Learning for years, he's also a BAFTA Scotland award winning screenwriter teaching two Short Courses this Term - Adaptation for Film and Screenwriting 1

Today, Douglas will be giving us some more info about his Creative Writing course 'Adaptation for Film.'

douglas dougan

1. Hi Douglas! What are the main topics that your course explores?

Adaptation for Film is an interactive course that looks at the challenges of turning a short story, a novel, even a poem into something that will work on screen.

Whether you love literature or film or both, this course will appeal to you if you have ever wondered how our favourite reads end up on screen, and why sometimes they are different.


2. Which part of the course do your students tend to enjoy the most?

This course appeals to both students who like to discuss books and films and students interested in doing their own writing and are thinking about adaptation. It also gives people the chance to discuss their favourite books and films. Those interested in creative writing enjoy having a space to discuss any project of their own they have in mind to adapt into a screenplay.


3. How will the course be of a similar standard remotely to the on-campus version?

The course has the same structure and approach as usual. There will be the same level of interactivity and room for student input as in the classroom version of this course.

As there is reading involved, I may set some reading homework which students will do in their own time and then we will discuss these during our weekly synchronous video meets. This might actually benefit students as it gives them more time to read and think before we talk in class. 

Similarly, I will use the University’s LEARN system to provide a place where students can watch film clips easily outside the class sessions.


4. In terms of opportunities for discussion, how will the course be similar to the classroom experience?

A lot of online opportunities are built into the course to support and encourage discussion. These might take the form of online discussion forums, video chats, or group activities. 

Students will have lots of opportunities to ask questions in our time together each week, plus they can continue the discussion in chats or via email. They will also be encouraged to engage in peer support and peer review activities.


5. What transferrable skills might students acquire by taking one of your courses?

The analytical thinking skills, decision making, and communications skills (both written and verbal) we will employ can all be used in a variety of different settings. Creativity and imagination are at the core of the course.


6. What have some of your former students gone onto achieve after taking your course? 

After the 2018 course, a student went onto write an adaptation that they came up with during the course and it was produced as a short film; and later led to a play writing project that was staged during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Other students have gone onto study screenwriting or been encouraged in their own creative writing or filmmaking.


7. What would you say to someone who’s thinking about taking your course but is still making a decision?

Firstly, if you just love books and films, this is a great course to indulge your passions and meet with other like-minded students. 

Secondly, this remote online version of the course might be more interesting if you have worried about the pressure of a two-hour classroom. Remote learning allows you space to read and think (and write if you wish to) in your own time and then come to the weekly online meetings to share your thoughts. The best of both worlds really!


This is a great course if you are new to studying or returning to studying and want to ease in with a course that is fun, creative and interactive...You'll learn lots of fascinating things about the film industry, literature and creative writing!

-Short Courses Teaching Fellow Douglas Dougan
Inspired to join this course?

Register Here For 'Adaptation For Film'