Thursday, 25 July 2013

A MOOC Primer by SEK Once upon a time I did one of these that proved so popular Insider Higher Ed promised to pay me $125 to reprint it at their place. And they did reprint it yes they did. But I digress: last night I was avoiding things I couldn't change, but lacked the courage required to change the things I could, so instead I decided to write a primer summarizing my feelings about the MOOC phenomenon I've been reading so much about lately. It goes something like this: A is for affordable, you too can attend! B, the boredom of the automated emails that they send. C is for the crowd-sourced marks you never can protest, D, the comments you receive from Dr. Dispossessed. E is for efficiency, you'll learn much more and faster; F, the mark you'll earn from your anonymous headmaster. G is for goals you'll meet, should fleeting time permit; H, the honey badger, who doesn't give a shit. I's for innovation, as the Internet is used; J's the campus jobs "human appliances" will lose. K is for "the kids," for whom all this is done; L, the learning process, endless lectures on re-run. M is for the money that will soon begin to rain, O for the obscenity of pipe dreams, most profane. O's also for objectives and assessments by machines, C, "collaboration," 'cross seas of dim-lit screens. Q is for the questions never answered in a MOOC, R for "really thoughtful answers" copied from a book. S, the rare impoverished souls, who care enough to try, T, the time spent wasted, "learning" from a turned blind eye. U's for universities, who seek to monetize, V, the vastness of the campus they've lobotomized. W's for the wallet, slit wide and fit to pad, X is the amount slipped in, the bills that feed the fad. Y is for the questions time and space do not permit, Z, the honey badger, who doesn't give a shit. NOTE: Editorial advice is always welcome, as deaf scansion tends to emphasize rhythm at the expense of everything else.
Massive @Hertz fail, Twitter must be informed HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: Hello, welcome to Hertz Ontario! SEK: Hi, I have a question about the A/V connection on the SUV I’ll be rent – HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: HELLO? (giggling) ANYONE THERE? TURN UP YOUR VOLUME. SEK: (master volume is already at JITTERBUG) Let me turn my volume up. (pretends to up the loudest setting to ludicrous, but really just starts shouting) IS THAT BETTER? HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: HELLO? (more giggling) WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM HERTZ? SEK: I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT – HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: SORRY WE CAN’T HEAR YOU. (click) SEK: Must have been a bad connection. Let’s try it again from my wife’s phone: 1-909-937-8877. Ring, ring, telephone ring, hope somebody knows, what they’re doing – HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: Good morning, Hertz Ontario! SEK: Hi, I just tried to call a second ago but I guess we had a bad connect – HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: (to unknown compatriot) Him again. (more whispering) YES WE ARE HERTZ. SEK: YES IT’S ME AGAIN CAN YOU HEAR ME? HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: (muffled laughter) SIR WHERE ARE YOU CALLING FROM? SEK: CORONA! HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: (more muffled laughter) WHICH DAKOTA? SEK: ISTANBUL MOTHERFUCKERS. HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: (shuffling phones and flustering composure) HONESTLY – UNCALLED FOR – WHAT DO YOU NEED? SEK: SO YOU CAN HEAR ME NOW? I DON’T NEED TO YELL NOW? HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: Please don’t call back. (click) SEK: Ring, ring, telephone ring … HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: I TOLD YOU NOT TO CALL BACK. SEK: I know you can hear me. I just need to know whether there’s an A/V outlet on the SUV I rented – HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: (phones shuttled into other hands) SIR WE ASKED YOU NOT TO CALL BACK. SEK: I just have a simple question about my reservation for Saturday – HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: I’M CANCELLING IT. SEK: You can’t. You don’t even have my information. HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: WE HAVE YOUR PHONE NUMBER SIR (more muffled laughter in the background) AND WE HAVE CANCELLED YOUR RESERVATION. SEK: That’s my wife’s number. The reservation’s in my – HERTZ AT ONTARIO, CA AIRPORT: DON’T CALL BACK. (click) SEK: I won’t. That’s what Twitter’s for. Any car rental companies in the Corona and/or Ontario area that would like to shame Hertz are more than welcome to contact me via Twitter @scottekaufman, Facebook, or scotterickaufman (at) gmail (dot) com. I will return your call within the hour. UPDATE: Nothing as yet, really, so it's time to go Full Jew: Maybe if enough people "like" and "share" the following, some important person will notice their blackberry's been barking at them for hours now. Hi Hertz! Remember me? I'm the deaf guy your Ontario, CA employees mocked this morning. I spent the better part of the day talking my way up from one middle-manager to another and was PROMISED...

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