Language Lessons: edX

My Mandarin skills are functional at best.  I’ve been working on them on and off over the years (with frequent regrets that I didn’t try harder to juggle lab classes and Mandarin in college; Mandarin classes seemed like a time suck then but they eat up even more time now), in a variety of settings, and at the moment I’m back on with a Mandarin course through edX, the “massive open online platform.”

I’m a week into one course, and signed up for another that starts later this week.  It’s a bit early to judge the quality of the course itself, but the user interface is simple and well-organized, if a bit confusingly labeled.  The course homepage comes with four tabbed sections, with the lecture videos under the “courseware” tab, which I figured out after clicking around some.  I don’t know, “courseware” to me sounds like where the online submission area for homework to go, and not where you get the videos.

The other pet peeve I have is that the search function for classes is ridiculous.  You can choose from drop-down menus for subject category and for university, but you don’t have an open text box to just free-search the subject.  So in order to find my Mandarin courses, I had to go through all the courses in the Humanities section.  Really, no open text box?  Has Google taught us nothing?

Chuckie the Grumpy

Chuckie the Grumpy

But I do like the online homework submission feature.  It allows for multiple tries before it reveals the answer (with explanation), which I find useful for my learning process.  Helps maintain hope that I’m not at a total loss here.

Dakin the Great

Dakin the Great

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