I was so excited to see that Penn State was offering another MOOC this year, this time about geodesign. It’s been on my watchlist for the past few months, so when I got the email to announce that class was starting, I immediately checked it out.
After my last Penn State MOOC though, I was a bit more wary this time around. A cursory glance down the left pane showed me what I was hoping I would not find:
I half-heartedly went through the course content after that, but I had already decided not to carry on. The peer assessment assignment is 40% of the grade for the course. I’ve mentioned here before that peer assessments in a MOOC are a dealbreaker for me. I learn best on my own. I enjoy working as part of a team, but on my own as part of a team.
This week I started with the two other modules I need to get into Hons. The one is about software engineering principles, while the other is about advanced database development using an old version of Oracle (why, Unisa, why). I’m quite excited about the SQL one, as it will give me more opportunities to flex my SQL muscles, and to get exposure to a different database platform (something other than SQL Server).
Basically, even if I wanted to do this MOOC now, I can’t. Best of luck to the Geodesign students, and hopefully with the next offering, they will relax the peer assessment requirement.
So I stopped doing assignments for the GEOINT MOOC. I know I said a short while ago that I was really starting to enjoy the MOOC, purely for the reading notes structure, but that has been overwhelmed by my intense dislike for discussing stuff on the internet.
Maybe I should define what I mean by discussing stuff. I’m totally cool with discussing stuff in a Q&A type way – in fact, I owe alot to this type of interaction for why I am so comfortable with coding today.
I just don’t like the general “let’s all go crazy around this topic for an hour before we move onto the next one” type vibe that most discussion forums have. That’s personal preference. I have absolutely nothing against the course/lecturer/institution, it’s just that the format did not work for me. So I’ll be keeping my Notebook with the notes in from the course for future reference, but otherwise, I’m out.
I’ve really started enjoying this MOOC. As I mentioned last time, the text-based notes are very nice, and this week has shown they are getting even better. The definitions are clear and concise, and the concepts are explained very well.
The assignments haven’t really been assignments though. I like assignments where you answer a bunch of questions and get graded on the answers (MITx on edX is particularly good with that kind of structure). This is why I don’t really have much to say about this MOOC.
I liked the refresher on remote sensing that this week’s notes covered. At one point I was considering specialising in remote sensing, since I felt that GIS alone was not challenging me enough. It only took a few weeks into my first GIS job to realise that what I was taught at university about GIS was laughable.
Week 2 has been better than Week 1. I’m still not too happy about having to post in the discussion forums, purely because I’m not a discussion kind of person, but it is making me think about the topic at hand.
I am thoroughly enjoying the lecture setup, where the text based lessons take precedence over video lectures. I’ve said before that I do not enjoy video lectures at all, because that is not the way I learn.
Much like when I was in university, when I would skip most of the classes in favour of self-studying with notes, I tend to skip most of the video lectures with MOOCs and rather go through the slides instead.
I’ve been wanting to take some sort of course from Penn State forever. Although I would love to follow their Masters programme, sadly the kind of money needed for it is a bit out of my price range. By that, I mean it is a lot out of my price range.
So it was with great excitement that I started the Geospatial Intelligence & the Geospatial Revolution MOOC last week. I was a bit put off when I saw that using the discussion forums would be part of the mark for the course, as the whole appeal of online learning for me is not interacting with anyone in any way at all.
Once I went through the reading material (which I quite liked – I prefer studying giant blocks of text than watching videos), I found that I did have enough to say to write two comments in the discussion forums as requested. In fact, I could relate the contents of that week’s material to examples of work I’ve done.
While I’m still not crazy about the fact that I have to discuss my findings, I am finding the MOOC enjoyable so far. This may be the last MOOC I complete properly for a while, since something else has come up, so I do intend to make the most of it.