Monday, June 24, 2013


I'm going to start today to look for another on-line course.  The Coursera Macroeconomics course I did recently was a useful introduction to the subject and to some of the potential and the problems with on-line education.  I'm thinking what I would like to do now is to find a course that is more mature in terms of development.  I would also be very pleased to find one that deals with some subject in the humanities as an additional way to compare the medium's potential across subjects.

What I would really like would be to find something on Spanish and Latin American literature, particularly one open to non-native speakers such as myself.  I took a sit-down-with-a few-other-warm-bodies-literature-course a year ago with Tony Mares that was very satisfying in many ways.  The course gave me a chance to read some things I probably would not have tackled otherwise, as well as being able to tune into other people's ideas on the subject.  Tony is an inspiring teacher and the course, which was offered at Albuquerque's Hispanic Cultural Center, was well worth the time I put into it.

The course taught by Tony could also have been improved.  With so few students, and none of us native speakers other than Tony, it was difficult at times to overcome disparities in language facility.  I'm sure it was frustrating at times for each of the students as well as for Tony, whose skills could have profitably been shared with a bigger and more diverse group.  It seems like putting the course on-line would have offered everyone a better experience.

Today, I found an excellent discussion about on-line learning at the Los Angeles Review of Books site, entitled "MOOCs and the Future of the Humanities: A Roundtable by Ian Bogost, Cathy N. Davidson, Al Filreis and Ray Schroeder".  The participants are college professors with considerable on-line experience; I was quite a bit more optimistic about the future of the medium after reading their contributions.

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