Reflection on the Crit101 Course

Originally published here.

At the conclusion of the Crit101 course in which I have been engaged, I feel proud to have participated and completed the work. I took the course because I was interested in trying out a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course). I am glad that I chose Crit101 in which to participate because it was so professional and challenging.

The designer, teacher, and facilitator of the course, James Michie, did a fantastic job with this course. He provided a tremendous amount of structure and guidance. He also provided a tremendous amount of resources which included lectures, articles, videos, assignments, feedback, and awards (badges). It is shocking to me that this course was free. It has me very interested in the implications for open education.

The participants in the course had high expectations to work up to. The assignments were deep and challenging. The resources were complex, relevant, compelling, and challenging. I felt challenged by the course. It was difficult to invest the time and energy to do good work in this course. I would not have wanted it any other way. I feel that I earned it and am proud of what I accomplished over the past six weeks.

I learned quite a bit in the course. I am used to reading and writing analytically. I had not done very much work in research and evaluation of sources. This course filled in for me some of what I think was missed in my undergraduate experience. That is saying a lot. This was a real learning experience with as much value as any college class and more value than some. Participating in the course allowed me to flex some mental muscles that I haven’t used for a while. It was nostalgic to feel the stress of meeting a deadline for assignments. It helped me become more empathetic to my own students.

The course demanded that we collaborate in group work and provide peer-to-peer feedback. I felt comfortable in this type of work because I participate in so many professional development projects with the Northern California Writing Project in which the basic structure of all work is collaborative. I was interested to observe how the younger participants developed as collaborators. I think the course guided the discovery that critical reading and writing is not the same a criticism. Even though we all became more critical, judging from the lack of critical comments from others on the blog posts, I think that most are still a little shy.

Winning badges was a terrific part of the course. I have been hip to badges for a while and have wanted the opportunity to earn more badges. The badges offered by this course are smart, lovely, and legitimate. I will proudly display these badges. They are proof of my significant accomplishments:

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I have created impressive content for myself in these blog posts. I like to develop my online portfolio. Having this guided instruction created a real purpose for professional writing. I am proud of my posts and I will promote my work to my friends, colleagues, and students.