A prescription to curb mental cobwebs after general anesthesia: ER22x

2013-03-14_17-36-24I blogged recently about my excitement at the prospect of participating in a massively open online course at edx.org called “ER22x: Justice.”

The course, which started on March 12, has been joined by thousands all over the world. An exploration of political philosophy, this course is ideal for the online environment and, being about morality, has already begun to generate so much online comment (including its own Facebook page), that keeping up with the discussions will be hard, if not impossible.

I’ve been busy this week  so I couldn’t start the course on time. Today, I endured a day-surgery procedure under general anesthesia. Knowing that I couldn’t drive for 24 hours after getting home and being told to take it easy, I set aside this afternoon for starting ER22x. I wondered if the post-Propofol cobwebs would interfere with the heady lectures and readings from Prof. Sandel. But I was betting that the ability to stop and start the lectures and review the readings at my narcotic-laced pace would make it possible for me to absorb, however slowly, the course material. Plus, I am not allowed to do much else for the time being and I thought this would be a good time to test MOOC technology along with the course itself.

IOW, if it works on a drug-addled mind, MOOC evangelists are on to something.

Man, are they ever. I’ve always been proud of my quick mind and its steel-trap nature. When I was in school, I could be resentful of the smart kid who needed to go more slowly; he or she was “wasting my time” and “slowing the whole class down.”

But today, the after-effects of anesthesia have slowed me down and made my mind thick, like the McDonald’s chocolate shake I am jonesing for. (I can’t wait to re-read this post over the weekend to see if it’s even in English, much less comprehensible.) But even in my Pruis-decelerated state, the lectures and materials all got through. Why? It’s the MOOC tech. I could play the lectures at my speed. Watch, listen, rinse, repeat. The video in one window — notes taken in another. Scroll through the readings at my pace; make the font larger to make it easier on my Versed-misted eyes.

And after a couple of hours of ER22x, I feel refreshed — not mentally grungy like one usually does after these nasty, nasty drugs work their way out of your system.

The next time you need to purge anesthesia cobwebs, I prescribe a MOOC on edx.org.







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