Today's award goes to the designers of a free online course on how to teach online courses. Slate reports:
In the span of a week, an online course on how to teach online courses turned into a master class in how not to.
A class called "Fundamentals of Online Learning: Planning and Application," taught by Fatima Wirth of Georgia Tech, launched on the online higher-education platform Coursera on Jan. 28 with some 40,000 students signed up. Within days, many of those students—including some who are educators themselves—were taking to Twitter and blogs to complain that the class was unraveling. On Feb. 2, Wirth wrote students to notify them that she was suspending the class "in order to make improvements."
One of the best accounts comes from Jill Barshay of the Hechinger Report, who was among the unlucky pupils:
Within hours, things were going awry. Neither the “Getting Started” tab nor the “syllabus” tab offered much direction on how to begin the class. I wasted an hour taking surveys on my personal learning style. (One said I was a visual learner. The other said I wasn’t).
The biggest problem was breaking our class of more than 41,000 students into discussion groups. Dr. Wirth asked us to sign up using a Google spreadsheet. The only problem was Google’s own support pages clearly state that only 50 people can edit and view a document simultaneously. I was one of the thousands who kept clicking, but was locked out. When I finally got in, it was a mess. Classmates had erased names, substituted their own and added oodles of blank spaces. ...
In the meantime, the video lectures were mind-numbing laundry lists of PowerPoint bullet points. A survey of educational philosophies left me no more enlightened than before I watched it. The readings were a bit better. One of my favorites, Teaching with Technology: Tools and Strategies to Improve Student Learning, linked to a hilarious PowerPoint comedy sketch about the stupidity of reading PowerPoint bullet points.
There's more at the link.
Oh, the irony! A course in how to teach online instead becomes an exemplar of how not to teach online! Isn't it just too delicious for words?