- I've had a lot of experience presenting and talking to audiences, be it from teaching students, presenting at conferences or delivering staff development sessions. And well, it would be good to be able to polish that experience a little. Everyone can get better, and I'm no exception;
- It's from the OU - it must be good. They're like, the rulers of online learning.
"Talk the Talk will provide you with the language and strategies to deliver talks with a difference. It will boost your confidence and turn public speaking into a valuable experience."So my intro email popped through and I set aside some time to dip in. The first thing to disappoint me was learning that the MOOC would be so interactive:
"In Week 1 you will explore some talks online and decide on a topic for your own talk.Wait, I have to do my own talk?
Weeks 2 and 3 will look at the content of your talk – the introduction, middle part and the conclusion. At the end of Week 2, you will record and share your own introduction and receive feedback from your fellow learners.
In Week 4 you will examine other elements of a talk – what does your body language say? Who are your audience? You will finish your talk in Week 5, and give and receive feedback after making a recording of your entire talk. You will reflect on what you’ve learnt in Week 6 and also examine how you can enhance a talk with visuals. "Now I don't know why this makes my heart sink, but it did. It might be because earlier MOOCs have somehow conditioned me that it's easy to be more passive. It might be because I already see myself as a reasonably experienced presenter and don't feel the need or want to go through a peer review process of my ability to present (in a totally non-arrogant way, that is).
Perhaps this MOOC like so many others, isn't for me? Or, perhaps I can get away without engaging with the peer review aspect and get to some teaching material to help me brush up. So I clicked on...
The next page - why am I here? I was prompted to reflect on what I wanted to get out of the course. The same old stuff facilitators always as at the beginning of workshops. I looked at the discussion for this page. 598 comments already. None of the first 3 pages would actually class as a discussion though. Just individuals posting a message, with only 1 response to any post (occurring on 3 occasions) with a one line comment - 'sure, I know what you mean'. Hum...
On to to watching a short TED clip, encouraging me to identify good/bad aspects of the talk. It was alright. Reasonably interesting I suppose. But it didn't blow my socks off. I wonder if that was by design? I actually can see the point of this activity. Reflect on this to inform my own practice. But is it going anywhere. Well yes, but at no blistering pace...
A couple of pages of nothing much, and then the good old end of week quiz. Not much content in the week at all, and no multimedia content from the OU. Hmmm.
Questions 1, 2 and 3 were reasonably easy to answer without paying too much attention to the content. But it is question 4 that has prompted this post and ignited my MOOC-frenzied-fury (not too dissimilar that which sparked Beatrix Kiddo's Roaring Rampage of Revenge).
Which of the following words does Bill [the presenter in the TED video earlier] use most often to begin a sentence?Seriously? WTF? Does it matter? Who cares?
The correct answer was 'And'. And here's the feedback...
"He uses ‘and’ 18 times. Most of the times, it is used to join two related ideas together. You will learn in the next few weeks about both the importance of linking ideas together in a talk and how to link ideas effectively.
Davenhall has obviously prepared and rehearsed, but he’s not reading from a script. Therefore, sometimes during his talk, his use of words like ‘and’ and ‘so’ serve no grammatical function. It is perfectly acceptable to do this in a relatively informal speech, but you need to be careful not to overuse certain words or phrases that do not carry any meaning."So again, what is the point? Tenuously linked to learning about joining ideas together?
'And' and 'So' serve no grammatical function. This question serves no pedagogic function, but unfortunately for me, it is still there!
So what?Ok, I don't just want this to be about me ranting. There has to be something to it. Right? I think my frustration is multi-faceted:
- I expected something very good from the OU. 15 minutes spent completing this first week leaves a lot to be desired.
- Yet more poor attempts at instigating online discussion, which, whether being down to the prompts themselves or the platform, just doesn't work.
- Let's say I am old and bitter in this MOOC game (which I probably am), what experience is this MOOC providing to the young and fresh, enthusiastic MOOCites? If I try to set my bias aside (if that's possible), I'm still left somewhat disappointed. The MOOC game, and the platform, haven't innovated at all.
Ok, rant over. I will check back in for week two when the time comes. Right now though, I need a cuppa!
The Reed Diaries by Peter Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License