My current course, Fantasy and Science Fiction, is chugging along. We start the Hawthorne/Poe Unit today, a mixed bag apparently. I've enjoyed the readings so far, and some of the forum discussion, as well as the essay writing process. Peer evaluation - not so good. We assess form (how well it's written) and content (how good is the thesis and argument itself) as 1-3, low, medium, or high. The quality of the essays I see is mixed, with most missing the mark with form and/or content. We get info each week showing how our marking relates to the average over the others - several thousand of them. The class average, and the course's target, has 60-65% getting average, rest skewed a little to the low end. Mine so far is similar for form - maybe a few more low marks. Content - most are getting a 1, either because is confusing, or no support, or is plagiarized. This is a non-credit course, and anonymous - why plagiarize?
I do like this concept of free online courses, and the way Coursera is working to make them interactive. Already signed up for more courses - all intro level. Astronomy in December, Philosophy in January, Sociology in February. Some overlap but the estimated work load on the sites, and reading list, all look OK. I see all these as part of being a writer or fantasy and science fiction - for us to write 'what-if's about different things and peoples, we have to learn about what's around us.
So - how went the last few days? A bit of editing, caught up somewhat on blogs I follow, and read a fantasy book. A Knight of the Word, by Terry Brooks. Second of three, almost stopped in the middle when Brooks started sermonizing, but glad I hung in. Rest of my time was reading, analyzing, writing, editing, and discussing Frankenstein.
Oh - I also did a Flash Fiction about returning to school. A little sad.
Next few days? Finish videos for Dracula unit, watch new ones for Frankenstein, and start reading Hawthorne and Poe. Write a Flash Fiction for Friday. And start getting all my short stories reading for submitting!