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Still MOOCing strong

MOOC Week 2
(Copy of my blog post on


Read part 1.
Read part 2.
Read part 3.


I suppose my inquisitive nature got the better of me, so I delved back into the Jazz MOOC for week 2. I was frustrated by the forum, peed-off by the peer-review and naffed-off by the navigation in week 1. But this is jazz and it is cool, and I’m so desperate to try and be better at playing, that I decided to persevere.

Week 1 shame!

Oh the shame of not completing any peer reviews on time and being docked 20% from my assignment. To make matters worse there was no opportunity to go forth with my best excuses. The truth is I was so demoralised by the quality of the first assignment I reviewed belonging to someone else. It was so utterly brilliant I momentarily decided to give up. And when I went back it was too late and the peer-review deadline was passed.

How about a knees-up MOOC?

The peer review is difficult and the whole assessment and personal developmental aspect of the MOOC relies strongly on it. The problem is that I don’t have the knowledge of jazz theory, so how can I review the work of others? And I think human nature as it is, even the humble comments on my own work were stupidly positive. I couldn’t have really scored 7 out of 8 for a critique that for half of it admitted I didn’t know what I was doing.

Modal mayhem!

This week was all about modes. Apparently there are 11 scales that it would be great to learn and then to pop them in on top of solos. Blimey! I don’t think my brain has that level of higher intellectual capacity to actually THINK what I’m doing when I’m playing a solo, let alone compute what would be the best mode to play over a chord progression that I wouldn’t even know what it was. But modes are beautiful and haunting and have some lovely qualities, and this week has stretched my playing and ear in some way. I might therefore be able to go from playing “all the wrong notes but not necessarily in the right order” to “some of the right notes…..” and maybe who knows one day “all of the right notes”.

Bargain of the week!

Well I got to it and when peer assessment came round got stuck into reviewing the mode recordings of 5 other MOOCees. Then for good measure I reviewed a few more. And then the bargain of the week was an email from Coursera congratulating me – “You’ve evaluated 35 submissions! Marvellous!”

Bargain! Back in the MOOC’s good books. #chuffed.

Surprise of the week!

Well again, the dust-balls blow across the forum, and although I did eventually find out how to start a thread (although I had to ask someone), I see that most of the good chat and feedback is taking place on Soundcloud where we are posting our work.

Even more surprisingly it transpires that people are looking at my other stuff on there, and clearly the MOOC users are a cultured and refined bunch since there have been 29 downloads to a recent Chas and Dave recording (Ain’t No Pleasing You).

It makes me think with such a keen global audience, that a Knees-UP MOOC must be the next thing surely? I can see lessons on spoon playing and knees-up steps already.

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