Thoughts on ADLS

Well, the ADLS MOOC finished a while back and I’ve now had to time to give it some perspective.

Certainly it was fun and the large number of participants on the message boards contributed to that. The other students were also important contributors to the learning on the course. The mechanism of peer-review (having students review one-another’s exercises) exposed us to a range of ideas on the various topics being discussed.

The standard of lectures was certainly on a par with the standard on the courses at Oxford’s Department of Continuing Education and the involvement of staff in the on-line interaction with students was exceptional. Reading assignments – all accessible on-line – were varied and relevant.

Criticisms?

Well, some of the message board threads got a bit unwieldy at times as they didn’t break down into sub-threads. Some of the students had problems with working with the Coursera platform but I didn’t experience any. There have been quibbles about the final scores given but in my case the results were in line with the work I had done and the scoring methods announced at tthe start f the course so I can’t really comment. My biggest criticism is certainly an unfair one – given that the course was only ever billed as an introduction to the range of topics that archaeology is concerned with – I’d have liked to see some (many?) of the topics covered in much more depth. Marking and commentary on exercises was variable – some of my peers took a lot of trouble in reviewing work but others did little more than give work a score.

There is an enthusiasm on the message boards for a follow up course and I would certainly consider taking another course from this team. There is also discussion of re-running this course at some future point: I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a introduction to archaeology or – like me – someone that has learned a bit from various sources and wants to put it all into a coherent framework.

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