Starting to Write Fiction – MOOC

This has been a busy week. I have:

  1. submitted my portfolio for the postgraduate certificate in teaching in higher education. Now waiting for the marks, probably in June.
  2. gone to Dublin for the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference, where I delivered my session about using Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Programme rubric to enable staff to redesign and enhance their courses. Lots of good things came out of that, maybe establish a community of practice.
  3. started the Future Learn MOOC course in writing fiction, which is an Open University free online course.
  4. Image

With all this, I am very pleased that I’ve managed to complete all the assignments in the first week of the MOOC. I’ve been doing a fair amount of short fiction, maybe as short as ‘flash fiction’ for almost two years now. I also did an afternoon workshop in fiction writing given by Honno, the Welsh women’s press, about a month ago, so this is coming at a good time.

I’m very pleased that with all the activity this week, I have managed to complete all the assignments so far. There are little video clips with transcripts (I find sometimes I just read the transcripts, it is faster). There was an audio clip with interesting observations by established writers about why they write, and an assignment to post some thoughts about why I write in response to this. There was a really nice video clip that had observations of people in public, but no real sound track (just some music). This was used as a prompt…we were asked to observe either from the clip or from life, and write down the details. Then we were given two passages showing different approaches to characterisation through description, and given two further activities where we developed our writing.

There have been NO QUIZZES! (sorry to shout). Actually I quite like that. I also like that there are many small and manageable tasks for us to do, using the comments section of each post (or our blog if we want). The instructions for the tasks are clear, and we can interact with other students by making comments on their posts. Very nicely designed.

The intimidating thing was on the very first day…I was at work all day so I couldn’t go to the MOOC until that evening. In a matter of only several hours, more than 700 posts had been made for the first mini-assignment!! I didn’t try to read them all, but dipped in and out sampling some of them.

The part I’m not sure about is where the peer assessment will come in, what we are meant to produce by the end. A short story, I think, but the details haven’t been given yet. We are taking the journey one step at a time.

If you are interested, this module is still open for people to join. It lasts 8 weeks.

So far, I would recommend it.


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