If you are going to do something, do it well.
If you are going to offer an online learning program in your school district, do it well. Be thoughtful, innovative, and unhurried. Don’t just repackage someone else’s content, throw a few teachers into the mix, and call it good. Offer a unique online option tailored to your district’s demographic.
If you are going to build an online MOOC course, do it well. Make sure the content matches the lectures and that the quizzes are aligned to the content you are sharing. Don’t just write questions for English language students- think about how those questions will be perceived by a global audience . Write unambiguous questions with clear answers for those who have studied the content.
It’s been a long weekend of catching up on this Foundations of Teaching for Learning 2 Coursera since I signed up late, and I’m obviously more than a little bit frustrated. Although there have been many spelling and grammar errors present in the class, this week was full of poorly constructed content. This kind of C-grade curriculum is going to take us the wrong direction in terms of accreditation. The first question on this quiz was so poorly written that I used all three attempts, and still got it wrong. (Read: the ‘correct’ answer was the one I thought least likely to be right….. and this is after going back and watching the video lecture twice, reading the transcript, and actually Googling a few terms to try to make sense of how that one could possibly be right.) I’d prefer to just email the professor with these concerns, but there is not currently a place for that within the Coursera system. Understandably so- with an unlimited number of potential students I’m sure it would be impossible to answer incoming email. There is an area for reporting errors within the discussion boards, but the general student consensus is that there are so many that we shouldn’t bother reporting them. Not a positive thing for a course grouping geared towards future educators!
I’m not sure who is behind the editing process with The Commonwealth Educational Trust, but they need some help with revisions. Given the course global audience, one would think that extra care would be taken to ensure clarity. I don’t want to be a grammar nazi, but I do want these MOOCs to be taken seriously by employers. (See link below.) In order for that to happen, open source providers need to provide high quality, reliable classes. If the class is presented in English, it needs to be grammatically correct and virtually error-free.
Now, can I still learn from this course? Yes. I am in charge of my own learning. I think Professor Francis has interesting content to share, but I have concerns about the unclear English. If this is difficult for me to understand, how will an ESL student in Pakistan translate successfully?
If you’re going to do something, do it well.
[On a side note, it seems that MOOC students need a rating site like Rate My Professor…. or better yet someone needs to come up with a ranking system for MOOCs. If there already is one, please shout out in the comments so I can check it out.]