Confessions of a MOOC lurker.

I confess: I am a MOOC lurker. I signed up for English Composition 1: Achieving Expertise, by Duke University on Coursera, because the course I originally signed up for was a computer course and required a PC (which I don’t have at home). However, the writing course was just starting and I thought it would be a relevant topic for me to get involved in.

There are a few components to the course:

  • Video lectures
  • Online readings and resources
  • Writing assignments
  • Discussion boards and peer review of writing assignments

The video lectures are good. They are more of an assortment of guest speakers, talking about their disciplines and how they see writing for those disciplines. I could see these presentations getting added to a repository that faculty at other institutions could use as supplemental course material. The potential  “openness” of that material is very exciting.

I’m really impressed by easy access to the online readings and resources. Required eBooks are accessed in a click, and viewable in most browsers I tried. But what I would love, love, love, is a way of adding highlights to the book, making comments, and populating a discussion board with them. There should be a way of auto-generating that type of interactivity, but I don’t know if available in this format. (I’ve attempted it in a Google+ Hangout, with varying levels of success.)

None of the writing assignments or peer feedback tasks have stared yet – but they will this week. However, some of the initial ‘getting to know you’ discussion board posts have over 4K views of them. Other posts have zero. So I’m not sure what to expect from this type of interaction – but I would really like to see what kind of comments get posted before submitted here.

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