Senior Slump

I promised to deliver the good, the bad and the ugly with regard to this project, so in between some of the loftier commentary accompanying the end of my One Year BA, I need to fess up to the agro I’ve had completing my last course for Senior Year: HarvardX’s Science and Cooking.

First off, this should in no way be seen as a commentary on the course itself which is terrific.  The professors are spunky, eccentric and informative and I love the integration of fancy cooking demonstrations and explanations of scientific principles (even if I find a few of the dishes being prepared a bit off the wall).  Most of all, the class has really set new standards with regard to implementing quality assessment and activities into the grading system for the course, including the introduction of some groundbreaking ideas for integrating lab work into a massive online course.

No, the problem is with this student who is running into the kind of Senioritis you see with residential college seniors who have to juggle remaining classes with the need to finish a major writing (in my case, that MIT Press book on MOOCs).   While I’ve jokingly been treating it as a “senior thesis” equivalent to a single course, as October (when I was able to juggle Science and Cooking alongside five other courses) ran into November and December (when book writing has had to take precedent), my ability to dedicate hours to online lessons has waned.

I must also admit to a bit of burnout with regard to adding anything else to the hundreds of hours of video lessons and other classwork that’s marked the last twelve months.  I’m sure that feeling will dissipate once my manuscript is turned in after the holidays, but for now I just can’t seem to bring myself to spend several hours learning about the science of baking and fermentation (the last two lessons in Science and Cooking) before the year’s end.

And so, my plan is to do whatever homework and labs are required to drag my sorry ass over the finish line before the holidays are out (which, in the case of this last class means getting to the 60% threshold which qualifies as a passing grade), and then spend time in January finishing the last two lessons in a way that hopefully doesn’t leave me with an embarrassing final score for the course.

Not pretty, but there you go.

And while we’re on the subject of schedules, this will be the last blog post for the week, but next week I’ll be back with a final series of posts on what this whole One Year BA might say with regard to the type of independent learners able to take advantage of all the free learning movement has to offer.

So until then, happy happy holidays all!


One Response to Senior Slump

  1. HM December 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Well done on almost finishing and good luck with the last part on the Cooking course. Also, good luck with the book.
    I also had fun this year doing a ‘double degree’. I managed to finish 75 courses with certificates, mainly at coursera and edx, which included writing over 50 essays. I understand what you mean about burn out! Anyway, holiday time now, but a lot more courses start in January.
    It’s pretty addictive and, with more providers like iversity and futurelearn growing, it looks as if the opportunities will expand.
    With courses like Chinax, don’t you agree that there has already been significant improvements in the last year?

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