Yep, I did it. Love me if you like. Hate me if you have to. Officially, the course starts tomorrow, but we were ready so we flipped the switch.
[UPDATE: Probably I should mention this, in case people don’t know about Coursera. It’s free and you can just sign up now and take the course, if you care to.]
Here’s what I have learned so far. It took me a really really long time to prepare. (And I’m still not done.) One of the main worries about MOOC’s, of course, is that they will accelerate the adjunctification of the profession. That’s a serious concern, which I share. But doing all this work has left me with increased respect for the quiet efficiency of our old-fashioned, medieval, live lecturing ways.
I can give a decent 90 minute Plato lecture with just a few PPT slides and a half hour to collect my thoughts. This Coursera thing was way more labor-intensive. I’m embarrassed even to admit how many dozens of hours it took to prepare for each 90 minute recording session. This does not, of course, refute concerns that this new form will accelerate adjunctification. We can talk about it.
Allegedly I have 34,000 students on Coursera. (People are funny!) I am simultaneously using this material ‘internally’ at my own school to teach a class of just 100 students. I am doing a ‘flipped classroom’ thing. The idea being: contact time is not lecture time but discussion time. We’ll see how it goes.
It was fun making illustrations to go with all my lectures. I used lots of old images from my book [amazon] and made new ones. Good excuse for a spot of cartooning. (More than a spot. Who am I kidding?)
The first two weeks are on Euthyphro, so I’ll just share one illustration. I guess I could call it “Goya McKronos Kronos”. Possibly it is an allegory of MOOC’s eating traditional academic teaching. (Click for larger.)
I do believe that doing this sort of thing makes sense. (Not the cartooning. The MOOC’ing.) I hope it works out and isn’t a disaster.