E-Learning II

A  thing that bothers me: that most online courses are in video format.

I prefer to learn from books because I can do it at my own pace. When I was in college, classes were essentially vehicles to help me make better highlights and notes in the classes’ recommended books.

Online courses do not often come with a bibliography, and in most cases don’t even offer learning materials. What this means is that to learn seriously, one needs to be always with notepad in hand, constantly pausing to take notes.

It ends up being almost as inconvenient as a physical class, with the bonus of being able to choose the time, versus the negative of not having the chance to interact with colleagues and place your questions to the teachers.

(The best online courses create groups where we can interact with colleagues, and that’s fantastic, but most teachers don’t take questions from the students, which is understandable in a way – a university professor will have perhaps 100 students in their classes. A “digital” teacher may have thousands.)

Here is the software that I would build, video software for e-learning, with the following functionality:

  1. You can open videos from a YouTube url, or directly from a file.
  2. There is a comprehensive system to leave markers throughout the video, sorted with tags. It would work as a highlighter – we would mark the start time and the end time of an interesting passage.
  3. It would create an automatic index from which we could directly view and access our “highlights.”
  4. With each marker, we would have the option of leaving a note in audio (which we could switch to from the original audio track – as in a “director’s commentary”) or text.
  5. We would have the option of exporting all notes to paper or audio file, accompanied by the time stamps to which they correspond.

Of course, I’m a long way from having the time and expertise needed for such a project. So please: steal, and let me know when it’s ready!

E-Learning I

Yesterday, I was invited to enroll in a course developed by one of my favorite marketing gurus.

I was shocked by the offer page.

As far as marketing goes, the work was fantastic. It had everything you need: social proof, professional design, emotional appeal; it established the instructor’s credentials, and the FAQ was expertly tuned to eliminate any fears that potential buyers may have.

The only thing missing? The curriculum, the learning program, the table of contents.

Something is very wrong when promoting the person who teaches the course is more important than to know in detail what you are going to learn from it.

It pays to use your good name – especially when your fame was hard-earned – but use it as your sales pitch to the exclusion of almost everything else? 

That’s a breakdown of humility if I ever saw one.

Photo Credit: mikemacmarketing Flickr via Compfight cc

Lights Out

The power failed at dinnertime. It was a bit unnerving at first – especially as I was trying to handle everything while a cat was meowing for food. For Peach, absence of electricity is no justification a late meal.

But then I came to that state where I have the good fortune of usually arrive when the power fails. It’s a state where the stresses of the unexpected dissipate, and the balm of possibility arrives – the possibility of a relaxing dinner by candlelight, of quietly reading a book, playing a game on a portable system (props to the battery quality of Nintendo consoles, which remain charged after months without use).

I was grateful to get the power back, of course – there are essays to write, after all. And there is no joy in having the freezer start leaking.

But a temporary interruption does not have to turn into a crisis.

It can even be an opportunity to relax.

Painting: “The Vigilia di San Pietro” by Canaletto.

Writer. Podcaster. Marketer. Dental Surgeon. Gamer.