Last week, I started two very different courses and they are worlds apart.
Firstly, I am doing a web design and WordPress course at a Local Authority College. The ‘Digital Suite’ is a very small room with a very large radiator, belting out heat. There are ten tiny workstations wedged into the room. Fortunately, only seven people have signed up, otherwise we would struggle to squeeze in. We will all be sitting in this tiny room for 3 hours every Monday afternoon, trying to get to grips with the heat from the radiator and building a website. As with all group courses the pace of study is likely to be determined by the slowest person, and I am hoping it’s not me!
The teacher is patient and friendly and seems very knowledgable, which always makes me wonder why she would be teaching us in the Radiator Room, rather than building websites or writing code in a more exciting environment. Anyway, clearly this is a practical, skills-based course and i feel I might actually get to use some use of my new skills when I do embark on my career change, even if its just to make my blog look pretty!
The second course is Forensic Science MOOC that I have mentioned before. There really are no similarities between the two courses. 23,000 people are registered for this course. It is free, all done online and run by a team of Professors and Lecturers at the University of Strathclyde. The material is available for you to work through at your own pace. No handouts, just Google hangouts, and video tutorials that you can stop, rewind and replay in your on time. Class discussion involves almost 5,000 people. We are trying to solve The Murder on The Loch, and I am loving it.
As budding Forensic Scientists we are not to hypothesise before the evidence has been collected and analysed, but after a few decades of Silent Witness, Waking the Dead and CSI it is hard not to try and home in on whodunnit. I was distraught to only get 8 out of 12 in the end of week test (largely as I failed to answer the question ‘What is a Crime Scene?’ 3 times!). This course also takes 3 hours of my week, but I can stay in the comfort of my own home, sit back and have a cup of tea whilst I study! I feel a small MOOC addiction coming on.