16 July 2013

MOOC Week 7 - made it!

I'm glad to say I am not one of the droppers-off - I made it to the end of my MOOC. We had an extra assignment of critiquing a work of art but I did enjoy reading some of those posted. Unfortunately this was also the first week I really became aware of how nasty people can be in the forums. There was a real bullying mentality going on in one thread and it left me feeling like I wanted to run a mile from it all. If the numbers of students are too big for effective moderation, then I guess it's just a free for all. The majority were lovely, kind, friendly, supportive people but it's the nastiness I remember now. On the plus side, there is a tuition group now formed on Facebook which I'm going to try to keep up with.

There was a long interesting forum thread where students were posting their opinions of the MOOC. General themes seemed to be that it wasn't quite what people thought (suggested that they rewrite the blurb) but enjoyable. Recurring criticism of the videos too but generally thanks to the tutors and Penn State for putting the course on. I'm hoping there will be some kind of review by the tutors where they say how they thought it went. If there is, I'll  post a link. 

My MOOC days are over now for a while. It's been hugely illuminating and I feel 100% more informed on the MOOC world. I saw first hand where the librarians would have come in useful (e.g. developing copyright advice, additional resources, providing support) but little evidence that our expertise was included in development. I'm also going to be signing up for a face to face art class in September so I shall approach that in the spirit of comparison - not least because it will cost real money as well as time & effort!

8 July 2013

MOOC Week 6

The final topic is Personal Collections displayed as artwork. I wasn't alone in struggling a bit with the topic and the artists involved. I found the readings and the videos a bit fatuous although I did enjoy discovering Joseph Cornell and that there was somebody called Ole Worm. A real down-side to the videos is their lack of images, one assumes for copyright reasons. This means that 4 minutes into a 10 minute video, I have had no example of the artist's work, just someone reading out a script to a photo of the artist. Then you get maybe three images of their work and some analysis of it but if you aren't familiar with the artist, that just doesn't make for helpful viewing. I imagine in a face-to-face art class, it would be image after image after image. Some students assume we are meant to be Googling as we go. I find myself turning to Pinterest to check out the artists.

Every week they tell us to "challenge ourselves" with the assignment. I'm still not sure I know what that means or how to do it. What would be useful is to have an artist explaining their work process and how they push themselves in this way. Still, I managed to do the assignment this week - albeit badly - and that should qualify me for the "studio track" completion, fingers crossed.

As the end approaches, there is a real sense of communities forming that may go on after the course: a G+ group and a Facebook group. Other courses have been suggested on art and poetry and I've signed up. My MOOC experience has been positive - definitely willing to give some more a go.

MOOC Week 5

This week was a clash of great topic on the MOOC and extreme lack of time. This week it was installation / environmental art including a great favourite of mine, Andy Goldsworthy. Lord knows, I've seen enough installation art - and enjoyed a fair bit of it - but what a great thing to have a better understanding of what it's all about and a deeper look at some of the key artists. 

On the down side, this was the week of continued illness, extreme business at work and all the usual kids & stuff. By Friday I hadn't even done the quiz let alone thought about the assignment and we had visitors arriving that night. So I managed to get through this week only by not attempting the practical assignment and by winging it on the quiz. I noticed that, as well as feeling I've missed an opportunity to try out the art, I feel left out. The forums are full of people posting their work and doing the peer reviews. It would have been fun. Determined to do better next week...