14 August, 2013


I had a dream that I was some kind of superhero trying to defeat some other kind of superhero group, in a crowded multi-storey building. The group included a guy I went to school with, Rich. Suddenly I realised Will Riker was missing and I asked where he was. "He's up the top floor, near the statue. He's not looking good." I was terribly, terribly upset at his death. Then of course I had to battle my way up to the top through all the people, because I was determined to see his body and cry over it. As I was fighting my way back up I started to become aware that it was a dream, and somehow I knew that at the end of my dream he wouldn't be quite dead and I'd be the one to discover that. I woke up thinking that the scene had to go in my book somehow (obviously, not Commander Riker). So I tell my husband and what does he say?

"Did Riker have a beard, or not?"


This is going to haunt me, I just know it.

11 August, 2013

Learning online

So I signed up for a free course named Foundations of Teaching for Learning 1: Introduction. I also paid for the official certificate showing that I really sat the course. It was intended for anyone teaching, thinking of teaching or planning to teach, and made it quite clear you don't need to be a teacher to do the course. It also noted that it's about teaching students of any age. The course is supposed to be an introduction to what's in the following 7 parts. I still have no idea about anything in the following parts. It simply isn't what was claimed.
"...this course provides an overview of what you will go on to study in greater depth"
"Being a teacher: an ambassador to the kingdom of the child"
Do either of those look like they're diverse? Or accurate? No. My score: 4/10.

The course material was dreary videos with a professor just rambling about learning, without actually saying much. He constantly made reference to my classroom and my children (remember when I noted that the description said it was suitable for those who are not actually qualified teachers? And people who teach adults? Yeah). The assessment involved four quizzes and two assessments (graded by your peers - many of whom can barely write English).

The quiz for the first week contained questions not answered in the course material. The quiz also claimed you'd get immediate feedback on where you went wrong (but it didn't, because they set the quiz up wrong). People began to complain in the forums and wonder aloud what to do. Many of them noted that the material was centred on elementary-school age; several people admitted they weren't teachers and felt that this wasn't aimed at them; more felt that it used terminology way beyond a layperson and assumed professional knowledge and qualifications. One lady said she taught handicapped adults and felt that the material wasn't useful for her needs.

Cue the self-righteous and pretentious twats blabbing on about how you're supposed to do your own research. Um, how can you know what to research if the question has nothing to do with what's in the lectures and reading material? Then someone else haughtily suggests you keep the quiz open while googling for information to answer each question.

That's not an assessment, sunshine, that's a learning exercise. You don't put that into the EXAM. Exams are supposed to check whether you did the groundwork to understand the learning material supplied. If you study, then a multiple-choice quiz should be easy.

Oh and by the way, there was also a bonus YouTube video in the first week. It was ok, but nobody can actually figure out how it had anything to do with the course at all. AT ALL. It showed us the relative poverty of major nations in the last 200 years.

I've studied online before - I was enrolled in university and took four of the courses online (brilliant, well-organised and all the material was supplied). But on this one, I've demanded a refund. I consider this course to be a piece of shit. Other courses from the same provider might be excellent, but this is your warning on this course in particular. Beware of shit.