Yesterday I engaged in a death match with an online course management system that shall hereafter be called HellonWheels. The very first class I taught as a young adjunct clause (that would be last year) was on a homegrown version of HellonWheels. However, the class had already been set up for me, I just had to add discussions, assignments, and commentary. It was a pain in the ass, but I figured it out. (I am neither an adept or inept when it comes to working online.)
Then my last class had a course management system I would like to call AllthatisMagicandGood. Everything was named in a way that made sense. The organization was intuitive, streamlined magicandgoodness. The interface was clean. I entered class information on a stream of magic and light.
Not so much with HellonWheels. Because I have ADD, I have a hard time reading directions. I begin reading directions and then I just dive in and start working on it. How hard could it be, right? In addition, the directions had a serious case of corporate speak.
For example, “Course modular boxwais allow modular organization of courses to facilitate student learning.” But what are they? Are they different than “Lesson modular mitosis”? Does one use course modular boxwais with lenticular sparrows or weekly blogmires? Can we use real words here? Obviously we are trying to facilitate student learning, but which part of learning and how? What is the actual function of the modular boxwai?
I didn’t discover the institution’s guide to setting up classes until today when the class had already been set up. I can’t customize the homepage, except to turn it a hideous shade of coral (which is great for a gender studies class). Needless to say it is the same tan and maroon that it started out with.
Insult to injury, I found out that you cannot narrate a powerpoint lecture in PowerPoint 2011. But you can in the previous version for Windows, which I happen to have on Parallels, which I use for one of my freelance gigs (shout out to SjG for helping me with that a few years ago). You don’t care, but it was a long and frustrating day for me yesterday.
But today my class appears to be available. Two of my students have introduced themselves already. They are so adorable I just want to pinch their cheeks. Not really, I’m just glad that real actual students are participating in what seems to be a real actual class. I wondered there for a little while whether this class was a private purgatory I had to endure for my online sins of being a sarcastic asshole on my blog.
What sins are you atoning for?