Last week, before class, I had only a passing knowledge of online schools. Most of that came from the Television Commercials for University of Phoenix Online and all of that information had a drastically negative connotation. This week I’ve totally changed positions on the matter.
Researching our guest, I came across Coursera, Audacity, EdX, and other free online schools that had many classes set up from well respected Ivy League schools such as Stanford, Berkley, MIT and Harvard. I hadn’t even thought this were possible and as anyone as excitable as I am would have done, I joined two different schools and three different classes. I took Introduction to Philosophy as my first online class experience and it was wonderful. The teacher seemed reasonably well versed in the subject of philosophy and the lessons were split into 5 manageably small yet conceptually rich sections.
Another aspect of the experience, outside of the learning, that I’d like to touch upon is the absolutely abismal qualities of what I feel is epidemic in the world of online tutorial. The videos, recorded of the lecture, were utterly bland versions of being taught by someone physically in the room. The green screening was totally off and he almost never moved but instead looked awkward and uncomfortable throughout the length of the class. Most people wouldn’t take these issues so harshly. However, this I believe is one of the things that I want to go after in this class, which is making better more riveting content overall. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited with the content and I’m excited for the course but this has to stop or at least change.
This first lecture concerned itself with figuring out the right questions to ask and how to think. I came up with some questions myself about the state of online content delivery. The main question I ask myself when confronted with this type of content is, Why? Why use a camera only to show someone standing in place? Why use green screen when it looks awful when you aren’t showing anything except a white background? Why use these specifically filmic aspects when really all we’re doing is listening to what the teacher is telling us? How could we change this content in a special way to get more people involved in it? I realize that online school is only in it’s infancy right now and therefore can’t be expected to know exactly what’s wrong but I hope to change that with the video project that we have coming up.
In all, I was very happy with my experience and excited to take suplemental classes with curriculum outside of ITP.