Sunday, November 9, 2014

Janux and the History Channel

Although I don't actually talk about Janux in this post, the way that Janux is all about lecture-quiz-discuss is, sadly, a big problem, one that could not be overcome even if they really did want to make class immersive... so, I thought it worth crossposting the link here:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 5: Done. Sigh.

Well, I guess this class is over for me in an even shorter time than my last Janux attempt. I logged on tonight just to see if the class was still flatlining, and I see a big blue thing there, the first sign of life directed at me as a person... but when I click on this, I find out my "Janux Course Features Verification Quiz" is past due... even though I filled out a survey at the start of the course in which I indicated I had no interest at all in doing quizzes of any kind. So I can just see it now - starting with this quiz, I will pile up an endless, ever-accumulating list of "past due assignments." Ugh.

Meanwhile, in the discussion space there are 9 students who introduced themselves, but no one has commented on anyone else, and neither the instructor nor the teaching fellow have posted anything there. There are a couple of comments in the other discussion forums, but no actual discussion person to person, and I'm not really sure I am interested in discussions that start with provocative but incredibly vague questions like: "Tell us what you think about the use of drones. Are they worth it or not?"

I'll check back in a month or two just to see if anything is happening here, but it seems like a pretty sad business. Personally, I don't think it's right to invite students to participate in a course when there is not going to be any instructional dimension of any kind. If I am just going to learn on my own, I'd rather learn on the open Internet with a real learning network rather than this non-network.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 4... more silence.

Quite by accident, I discovered a hashtag for the Janux course I enrolled in, and I added a Twitter widget to the sidebar. Sadly, no Twitter activity on the hashtag all day today.

Even more sadly, it appears that the information about the hashtag has not been shared with the students in the open class; I guess it is just for the students for credit. I just logged in and went to see; Janux strangely does not have any place for the instructor to make announcements or communicate directly to the students in an ad hoc way (???), and of course there is no Twitter widget in there (???)... I just see "required resources" and videos to watch when I log in. Nothing about the hashtag...

So I decided to look at the Discussion Board where people are supposed to post introductions. That is also very sad: 9 people, very interesting-sounding people, all took the trouble to post introductions ... but nobody has replied to anybody. So much for social. And no replies or comments from the instructor or teaching fellow.

I guess the content itself is supposed to be self-teaching...?

And, of course, I still never received an email to even let me know the course is, in fact, ready to go.


Day 3: hashtag!

Because I happen to follow the instructor at Twitter, I guess I have discovered the hashtag for this class, #IAS2003, along with some helpful tweets. Although it's not clear to me how students in the open course would know about that... Anyway, now there's hope! I'll embed the widget in my sidebar.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 3: more silence...

Since I'm so busy I guess it's a good thing that the open Janux class is flatlining.

No, I never got an email to tell me when the class opened (just an email when I enrolled).

No glimmer of life at Twitter for this class. Although there are some pretty funny tweets from people who like the Janux interface even less than I do (here and here). I guess these are OU students required to use the system. Me — I'm just lurking.

And, as I said, I am not going to go chasing this class. If the instructor or T.A. or the system itself cannot bother to send me an email or tweet a tweet (how hard would it be to create a little social presence for these supposedly social open classes?), then I'll just continue to enjoy the silence...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


As I said, my participation in Janux this semester is going to be very much driven by notifications from the system. I'm not going to go seeking it out; instead, the course needs to involve me (the way the other social networks I participate in involve me). So, I received a welcome email when I enrolled... but there was no email when the class actually opened on Monday (it had been closed until Monday because, well, that's how Janux does things) ... and now it's Tuesday. Still no email. Still no real communication from the instructor (the welcome email was generic, I suspect the same formula as for all the Janux classes).

As it happens, I follow the instructor at Twitter where she shares all kinds of great stuff, but I don't think she even mentioned the class in her Twitter stream yesterday.

Well, so much for Janux and social media.

This is looking like it is going to turn into a total non-event. I guess I will just follow this bit of "keep calm" meme advice:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Task list... with no mention of updating profile...? Sigh.

Sigh. Janux features list does not inspire, and the list of tasks (see bottom of post) does not even include UPDATING MY PROFILE. How are people supposed to build presence? How am I supposed to figure out which classmate(s) to add to my "social group" if we do not fill out our profiles? (Not that the profile is very inspiring... it's pretty lame; see screenshot below).

My motivation to introduce myself at the discussion board is low. I'll check back later and see who's there.

Meanwhile: EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS. Not a word about whether they exist or how to configure them. That's worrisome. Do they really expect me to just log in and log in and log in to see if I have any notifications with the little bell thingy in the right-hand corner...? Not a realistic expectation.

I'm still feeling a big blah about this sofar, so I'm going to stop for now and check back in later. Will I get an email today reminding me that the class has started? I wonder.

Here's the "task list" ... do they really think dictionary look-up is more important than updating your profile??? Apparently so.