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GOT MOOC?

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening class. Today is Monday, April 1st and Tuesday, April 2nd and welcome to the InterU Massive Open Online Course in Business Fundamentals, or as it’s known around campus: MOOC BFD. But don’t go looking for the campus – there isn’t one! A little inside MOOC humor to connect us. I am your instructor, Dr. Gordon Gstaad. Hello Botswana! As it was posted on your registration log in, MOOC BFD is a tuition-free, non-credit course offered by a consortium of top American universities that are redefining the traditional classroom pedagogical experience. Or, as we like to say, MOOC puts the critical mass in massive! Are you ready masses?

BFD Module One will be delivered simultaneously across twenty-four times zones through a combination of structured knowledge-based presentations and open forum crowd-sourced peer exchanges that develop organically among you – the 373,451 students registered for this class; wait, yes, thank you for the refresh, make that 373,452. Hello Kazakhstan! The class’s drop-add period will be active for another eight seconds. And . . . we’re closed. Three hundred seventy-three thousand six hundred eighty-three. How I love playing a big room!

Completion of Module One will qualify you to register for BFD Module Two when accompanied by a written referral, so that we can maintain best-in-class academic quality. To receive your referral, you will be guided through a series of self-evaluation prompts that lead you to determine whether you agree to refer yourself for program advancement. If you decide against recommending yourself for a referral, you can appeal the decision to the InterU Administrative Appeals web page. The site administrator will generate a response regarding the status of the appeal within ten seconds. No more windy tribunals that kill an afternoon! If the site administrator denies your appeal, you have the option of contacting the course instructor during office hours for a final referral appeal. My office hours are twenty-four-seven-three-sixty-five. But don’t go looking for my office – I don’t have one! Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Okay, let’s get started!

Our structured presentation today will examine the history and methodology of a core BFD – the Elevator Speech. That will be followed in part two of the class by the crowd-sourced peer exchange, where your text-based dialogues will be guided, as needed, by a global team of Facilitator Users, or FU’s. The FU’s are positioned in strategically located data centers to accommodate the intellectual and technological protocols of more than 373,000 people talking at once. But I get to talk first!

According to the personal information data collected in registration, nearly 372,000 of you live in places where you do not have regular access to an elevator. For those students without elevators, it may seem paradoxical to study the theory of the Elevator Speech without the opportunity to practice what you’ve learned, to say nothing of satisfying the course’s Lab requirement. Well, get in line! I’ve heard that type of comment often in my twenty-five years of bricks-and-mortal classroom teaching of physically present students, and I could say to you what I’ve said to them: welcome to college! However, MOOC learning is distinguished by countless innovations, including the utilization of the real world as the ultimate classroom. InterU has responded to your elevator deficiency by creating an alternative that will enable you to master the Elevator Speech and satisfy the course’s Lab requirement. By simply checking the box showing on your screen right now, you can choose to complete the BFD Lab with the substitute Stairway Speech, in which you will implement the objectives of the Elevator Speech while climbing a set of stairs. Our beta testing for this assignment demonstrated the Stairway Speech to be a suitable replacement in the absence of an elevator. If you do opt to check the Stairway box on your screen, you will be clicked through to a second screen for your completion. This is an electronic medical waiver form that absolves InterU from any liability associated with personal injury, maiming or death resulting from your climbing stairs as part of this course’s Lab requirement. Failure to complete the liability waiver will result in your immediate electronic dismissal from the course. Efficiency is the engine of progress, is it not? For those of you who do not have access to an elevator or stairs, please check “NA.”

Since there are so many students who lack personal elevator experience, I’ll begin by taking a step back – to the ground floor. An elevator is more than the vertical transportation that made the modern skyscraper possible. It is the competitive business environment, an incubator with shiny buttons, where worlds can turn in the time it takes two people to travel from the lobby to their destination – thirty seconds. Drilling down to an idea’s essence is the key to an effective elevator speech. Anything worth knowing can be reduced to a takeaway of three words max. Example: say I’m a brilliant and envied entrepreneur with an idea to revolutionize education, and I’m riding in an elevator with someone who has the capital resources to transform my genius into reality. Before the doors open and he or she exits, I must be prepared to close with three sticky words: Massive Means More; or Network Your Brain; or Cluster or Die. Three words. BFD. If not for the rise of the elevator, game-changers such as Steamin’ Hot Pockets would never have gotten off the ground.

Thank you. That concludes this morning’s, this afternoon’s and this evening’s formal presentation. We will now open up the class for online remixing, content injection and dynamic idea generation, all of which become the exclusive intellectual property of InterU, as noted and agreed to on your registration log in. Take it away, FU’s.