I'm making yet another start at learning Spanish - this time on line. It will be about my third attempt, and I'm embarking on it for a number of reasons. First because I spend a lot of time there and don't want to end up like those other ex-pat Brits who make no attempt to blend with local culture. It's a huge embarrassment, and I salute the Andalucians I live amongst for being so tolerant. The second reason is that I want to get the first-hand experience of being an on line student. Since I spend much of my time writing on line courses (at Texman.net) I want to see what works and what doesn't.
Next comes a reason which will amuse my friends and family. As an Open University tutor, I'm entitled to take one of their courses free of charge whilst employed by them. And that status is just about to change as I hurtle towards the forcible retirement barrier of seventy. So it's a little freebie which I think I deserve after working for them for the last thirty-five years. And as an online learning developer, I want to see where they are up to with their interactivity. After all, they put some of their teaching learning materials on line (at Openlearn.open.ac.uk) in a scheme which, given that it was funded to the tune of ten million dollars, is quite frankly a disgrace.
Why? Well, because no attempt has been made to transform their original courses into interactive learning materials. Guidance notes which were in printed books have just been transferred to the screen in huge indigestible chunks, and even the OU's expensively-produced TV programs have been treated in the same way - split up into short viewing units and interspersed with few feeble notes.