It’s the academic culture, stupid

Posted on June 1, 2015


I was helping a fellow this morning to navigate an online course.   Yes, he also has to do the “well, just closely crawl through everything on the page and click on it, though you have to watch out because some things you click on will mean you have to do more work to find your way back to where you were because that was not where you needed to go but there’s no path back.”

The “what does a discussion forum look like” and how do you know where to click and start typing thing is one of those “how am I supposed to know that already” things that it wouldn’t occur to me to wonder, since I’ve been clicking on top of the message I”m replying to for years.   To the new user, that’s a screen that is already full, thank you.   They haven’t learned what “editable” screen looks like.

And then there’s the android class that I’ve gotten past the deadline for week two for, but I’m hoping I’m allowed to plow through it.   But design clue, people: Here are my directions for this lab activity: “Download the full lab writeup and source code files from the TheActivityClass folder in the course’s Github repo.

This link does not open in a new tab or window.   I’m supposed to remember the whole directory path when I click through.   Okay, make habit: “open in new tab!”   Oh, and … where is this write up?  Where are the source code files?   How about telling me the flogging file name so I don’t have to analyze the names and read your mind, especially since I don’t know what folder they’re in?   How about making it a PDF I can actually get access to?  I’m pulling up the laptop so I’ll have three running monitors because I have to “sign in” to make changes.   Of course, I’m signed in to the course, so now I have to remember what else I signed in for to get this far.  Oh, I’ll need GitHub for Windows — well, that’s on the laptop and since I need three monitors anyway(one for the directions, one for navigating in GitHub and one for the actual code and … well, probably a few other things too)…

and … MOOCS are supposed to be equalizers??? THey’re going to help bridge the digital divide?

Please, Louise, this is just another little insiders learning from insiders gig.   Oh, everybody’s “welcome,” of course.  YOu just have to already know all the special fraternity codes and traditions.

Time to use this monitor for 15 minutes more on this attempt. (No, not 15 minutes working on the course.   That’s 15 minutes trying to find my way **into** the course.)

Welp… took more like 20… to get far enough in to realize that, in fact, there just aren’t enough clues.   I haev absolutely no idea what the “full lab writeup” is.   There’s a “lab activity pdf” but … that’s inscrutable.   I get a directory full of files which have been modified — I guess I’m supposed to understand how this works.

I may just not have the background for this… I’ll give it fifteen minutes to find the files and then be one of the “did not complete” people that they can shrug their shoulders about.

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