Tuesday, December 4, 2018

My Dinosaur Ecosystems Experience

On 11/16/18, I received my verified certificate for passing the "Dinosaur Ecosystems" course (100%: https://courses.edx.org/certificates/f2ae3b4a8ceb4dcc803a44c50df024e8?fbclid=IwAR2e1wLhDY5vKXPFw8vNJBI_yh-xetTG-wEnySGNGvkIXf-kkLqIKubUhS0 ). I enrolled in the course partly b/c of Paleoaerie's recommendation ( https://paleoaerie.org/2018/09/14/national-online-learning-day/?fbclid=IwAR2VnWO0rjLiZey8oxqznDzl6U-tUqzTs9gxaKM7aCDp5sK5-8l1ToK7_kk ), & partly to prepare myself for volunteering at a local dino museum (I think it'll help me be a better natural history interpreter). This journal entry is a modified version of my course review. 1 more thing of note: Before starting the course, I felt like Solrac in "SOLRACUEST" (See 2:30-3:00: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMJhATayEb4&t=1s ); After receiving my certificate, I felt like Homer in "The Simpsons- S-M-R-T" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcGQpjCztgA ).

Trying to review this course

I'm usually not very good at reviewing things in the moment, but I'll try.

What I liked: Almost everything about this course, especially how thorough it was (even more so than some books I've read in terms reconstructing a dino ecosystem as completely as possible), how concise each video was (which made it easier for me to focus on learning the topic at hand & re-watch the video multiple times for good measure), the use of images in each video (which made the video less static for me & helped me better understand what the ppl were talking about), the inclusion of transcripts & CC (which gave me the option of reading & listening at the same time AWA helped me better understand the ppl w/thick accents), & the practice questions (which helped me better understand why the correct answers were correct).

What I didn't like: I previously mentioned a few things that were mislabeled or presented not-so-well...but those are easy fixes. The only 2 things I didn't like that might be not-so-easy fixes were 1) Brusatte's Week 2 video being hard to take seriously, & 2) Weeks 5-6 having too much content for that amount of time. In reference to #1, I previously mentioned the weird factual errors in Brusatte's popular work in general & said video in particular...The other problem w/said video is Brusatte's presentation (which was less like that of the credible expert I know he is & more like that of a George Blasing-esque dork: https://www.deviantart.com/tyrantisterror/art/Jurassic-Fight-Club-Formula-136354754 ). More specifically, his voice got high & giggly several times throughout said video, as if he was trying not to bust out laughing for some reason. I get that Brusatte's excited to talk about his professional interests, but so are Dr. Pittman & the other course experts, yet they had no trouble showing that while also being dignified. In reference to #2, this course should've been 8 weeks long w/Weeks 5-6 being Weeks 5-8. In Weeks 1-4, I was able to spread the content out over 1 week & focus on (re-)watching 1 video per day without taking time out of my busy schedule. In  Weeks 5-6, however, there was so much content that I had to stay up later every day & (re-)watch multiple videos on a given day.

Overall, 8 or 9/10, highly recommended to anyone w/an interest in dinos, especially non-expert dino fans like me.