Friday, November 8, 2013

Celebrity MOOCs

Brad Larson sent me this from Slate. It's site amusing actually. As we all know, teaching is part theater, so why not follow this to its obvious conclusion?  I should add that once we are going in this direction, there is no reason that just any actors should be recruited.  We know looks matter (as a peak at news anchors or leading people in films suggests) as do other things (background music, type of dress (or not), sexiness factor, etc.). I am beginning to like the way that this is going. Once we stop dropping academic categories and start thinking really creatively I bet we can soon make all of education much more fun.  No more onerous homework, no more incomprehensible classes, no more ugly profs. And this year, the nominees for best Graduate Syntax class are...


  1. Comedians might do even better ( Who was that woman who was so good a spinning the wheel on some tv game show? & the morning news shows in Oz have some very interesting male-female dynamics between the newsreaders/commentators, perhaps that something like that could be introduced, dialog along the lines of 'what kind of PRO is that? Who is binding it?" etc etc.

    Business model might be pay watch live mooc and get to submit questions in real time, delayed weblink for everybody for free.

  2. Truly a great idea, but the problem is that actors don't like gibberish. Every Star Trek cast since TNG has complained about having to memorize a few lines about subquantum field fluctuations and anti graviton particles. And most of them are really bad at reading from teleprompters. So I think we should just make acting classes a mandatory part of grad school. After all, Dolph Lundgren has a PhD in chemistry and is a remarkable actor --- his portrayal of He-Man in 1987's Masters of the Universe is quite breathtaking.

  3. My uni had the very good idea of organizing some drama training for lecturers, but failed to think about where they would find the time to actually take it ... this implementation detail aside, it is a good idea. While educational theory is not a very convincing ediface, it is surely the case that people learn more from a lecturer who they are looking at in an awake state than when they are asleep or surfing the net. "A professor is someone who talks in other people's sleep" (supposed WH Auden quote, tweeted by somebody this morning).

    Also, actors are fun to interact with, in my experience (perhaps because they are crazy in ways not so different from what academics are).