Medium is the Mooc


Image by tantek on Flickr

The Mooc continues. This is an eight week course, each week entailing a series of short videos from the course tutor, imparting information and, perhaps, inspiring further exploration. The first week was basic concepts in storytelling – the structural components you’d expect any storytelling course to cover. I thought this was ok, as we had seven more weeks to delve further into these concepts and unearth some new ones, perhaps. Instead, week two was a look at how TV series get made, and week three the same for web dramas. Now, this is fine, and these media do impose some limitations on the stories they can tell, and there’s no harm in identifying those. However, the focus seems to be more on the way stories are presented rather than the effect (if any) on their internal story mechanics.

The key phrase with a Mooc – as with any educational device (including a university degree) – is: You get out of it what you’re prepared to put in. By which I mean it is always important to know why you are doing the course, what your goal is – this will help you recognise what is important to you (as opposed to what is important to your tutors and peers). Another interpretation of the phrase, of course, is that you have to be proactive in your learning. For me, these two interpretations exist in a rather antagonistic relationship – I am all too quick to dismiss elements of the course as irrelevant to my purposes, whereas if I were a bit more motivated to use them as jumping off points, perhaps I would land somewhere relevant and interesting. Read the rest of this entry »