Diary of a MOOC student – Installment 1

As an educator, I felt obligated to try a Massive Open Online Class, the latest fad. When I heard that Canvas is offering MOOCs at https://www.canvas.net/ I decided this would provide an opportunity to sample both a MOOC and the popular open-source Canvas Learning Management System.

Jowever, the Canvas MOOCs that interested me in January 2013 were all Full. In fact almost every class was Full. This seemed strange because MOOCs are supposed to accommodate tens of thousands of students. I heard later that Canvas may be limiting the number to about 500 per class. Another possibility is that some of them had simply not opened up.

The only class I saw that was accepting enrollees was Gender in Comics. Aargh. I haven’t read comic books since I was in junior high school and I generally do not think gender is of much importance in much of life. However, I wanted to get into a MOOC so I registered figuring I could always drop the class before it started.

Today is March 22 and I received some instructions about the class including a list of about 50 comics students are expected to buy and read. This is interesting because there has been some flack about MOOC providers requiring students to buy materials. I happen to think it’s a great idea and that it may be a way for Open Doors Group to get some sales of its Project Management Skills for All Careers Book.
However, looking at the comics and the class requirements — 3 to 4 hours/week including attending online lectures and even creating a comic book. No thanks! I’m too busy. Also, I am 100% convinced I will disagree with almost everything the instructor says.
Still, I keep hearing that we boomers are stuck in our ways and not in tune with current culture. So I decided to take the plunge. I can always drop out. Also MOOCs have no grades or credit so, theoretically, I do not have to put in the time. That is, of course, only theory. Decades of trying to get an A+ in every class (certainly not succeeding) means that I will put in the time. Other work will get pushed aside.
So I ordered the first week’s three comics, paying a little over $12 for versions that can be read on various pads (I do not own one) and on the web. The first 2 or 3 weeks are current comics. Later in the course, we will look at comics I remember: Superman and Wonder Woman. The ones I liked (Archie, Katie Keene) are not there.
The instructor cited several sources for the comics; I chose comixology. It provides a Flash reader that has multiple modes to view. Then I plunged in. The first book is a series. It is much like a soap opera or a chick flick. All about relationships; almost no action or plot or careers. However, it is still a page-turner. Boy A loves Girl B who loves Girl C (who loves Girl B but not that way) who loves Boy D who only loves himself.
Stay tuned!