The course begins!

February 28, 2013 § 2 Comments

After joining the kickoff for the first UvA MOOC, it was impossible not to be curious. How many classes would we have? Where do students come from? What kind of doubts participants will have? Will they join the forum, create a Facebook group or even a Meet Up? Where will I look for additional information about the topic?

Credit: UvA MOOC

Credit: UvA MOOC

So, what is communication?
I began the course watching eight introductory videos (they’re available on Youtube). Lecturer Rutger de Graaf speaks with a clear speech about the topic, which is good for students who have English as a second language. After watching all videos, I could have a guideline of the course and an overview of some important communication theories which were introduced after the First World War (introduced by Harold Lasswell and Shannon & Weaver, for instance). The videos focus in some of the most important topics of communication: Concepts, Theories, Transmission of the Message, Reception, Signs and Significations Cultural differences were also highlighted, along with the comprehension that theories may differ according to different perspectives in the society.

After watching all videos, I’ve started to answer the quiz. Questions are also direct. They go directly to the topic and bring again some of the phrases of the video. I believe that it’s best to do them straight after watching the videos, so information is fresh and you simply fix what you just heard. However, as questions are short, it’s also a good idea to come back after a while (two or three days) and double check your knowledge (I only answered some questions four days after watching the videos, and shame on me – had to look at my notes!).

In the Forum, many students sent questions and raised constructive debates. I’ve engaged in one about the differences between Lasswell and Shannon, and how the context is important to establish different types of communication. It was also interesting to see that many students shared additional content found online, such as slides about the topic. They also gave some tips about websites to download books and articles. In addition, many participants sent feedback about the platform and some had technological problems with the application. I’ve seen one interesting case: a student from Pakistan couldn’t watch the classes because Youtube is blocked there. Only five hours after posting this problem, he got a reply from another student who gave some tips about changing his proxy.

Looking forward for next class!

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