Massive open online courses (MOOC) are becoming more and more popular lately, especially among professionals like translators and correctors, who need to know a bit of everything to tackle the texts they receive. Being a member of this group, it was a matter of time that I enrol any.
Today I’m writing about my first two MOOCs. They were on the Miríada X platform and about free software and open knowledge the first and about the history of chemistry and the discovery of the elements the second.
Miríada X is quite simple a platform in both positive and negative senses. It is convenient for an interface to be easy to use in an intuitive way. On the other hand, how much quality can a course offer if it’s that simple and uses such an ordinary video system as embedding from YouTube?
Focusing on the courses themselves, they weren’t any better than the platform. The one about free software and open knowledge, offered by the Technical College of Madrid and the University of Zaragoza, was but a bunch of videos with vague remarks on Creative Commons and the tasks consisted in sharing relevant links on social networks. That is, you just looked for four links to create a cooperative data base. I didn’t learn anything.
The course about chemistry, offered by the University of Girona, was more informative, though not more educational. The best of it was the experiments explained at some point in the video. Not that they always gave special meaning to the lecture, but they kept the student interested and amused. The rest of the time the professors were throwing up a baroque speech they read from a screen ignoring their audience, constantly stumbling over their words in a very strong Catalan accent in Spanish. I’m not sure whether the three lines of subtitles made up for the bad reading or made it more stressing. A genuine will to do it properly could be sensed, however, both the format of the course and their communicative skills need to be improved.
I’m currently enrolled in other courses in Coursera with a higher level of satisfaction for the moment. Stay around to read about them.