Posts Tagged ‘courses’

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

So, uhhhhh, how about them local sports team?

Anyway, sorry about not coming back last week like I said I was going to. Friday, instead of blogging, I tried out streaming on Twitch, which was a disaster. Oh well–can’t expect things to work well the first time you try something, right? I’m going to install different streaming software and try again sometime. Maybe tomorrow, but more likely next week.

Let’s talk about Camp, though, and how World’s Edge is going.

It’s not bad! I’m at about 8.5K for the month, which is about 3K behind where I should be.

But it’s also more than I’ve written any other month this year. In fact, it may be more than I’ve written every other month this year COMBINED.

My productivity has been really off lately, which has been so aggravating, because normally I’m that person you come to when you have a short deadline and you need something. It’s been so painful to write anything over the last year, and when I do write, everything comes out uninspired and awful.

(Semi-related, I suspect the Changeling Story just needs to be dumped in a drawer. But that’s something for another month.)

It’s possible that my 8.5K is also awful, but it feels okay. And it’s nice to actually have some momentum on something after twiddling my fingers for so long.

I’m considering, next week, adding in some smaller goals to my to-dos. Just one off things that’ll take me maybe an hour, but just haven’t gotten done yet. Maybe get some real productivity going here. It’s so nice to be able to mark things off, you know?

Because they say you’re more productive when you have more to do, I also signed up for an introductory course on graphic design on Coursera. I haven’t gotten to an assignment yet, so jury’s still out as to whether this is a course where I can access everything for free or not. I’ve yet to figure out how one tells when signing up, which is the most frustrating thing about Coursera. I don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of money on a subject I’m just trying out, but when I can’t do the assignments on a course it makes it hard to really get a feel for the subject matter.

(I took a Python course on there a few years back where I could do all the assignments, which was great for telling me I still am awful at programming, and, of course, there was the amazing Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative class that I took back in 2014. I think all the courses used to be 100% free and over time they’ve gotten less so, because it turns out offering things for free on the Internet is a bad business model.)

This may be my last go at Coursera if it turns out that I can’t do any of the coursework because I didn’t pay them $50 a month. That’s not a good investment for things I’m just playing with. So we shall see. (Probably tomorrow.)

Anyway, there’s your update. Writing goes, learning goes, random things shall hopefully be going soon. How’re you? Thoughts about online learning?

So Far, So Good

Well, squiders, we’re into week 2 on my class (and Lord of the Rings Online) and I have yet to get completely sucked into the game.

Part of this may be because I’m in the Shire at the moment, and the hobbit quests are about the most aggravating things ever. I mean, MMOs are kind of repetitive at best because you’ve got to complete quests, and a lot of times that consists of running around, killing a bunch of the same things. The hobbits want you to take things places, and they time you, and there are other hobbits that can walk out in front of you and ruin your quest after you’ve been running around for five minutes with the dang thing.

Normally I like hobbits as a species. But the game kind of makes me want to light the whole Shire on fire.

Anyway, so there’s a level of frustration that is helping me play for a reasonable amount of time. And thus far, the in-game class requirements have been more about exploring the gaming experience. I was a bit worried that we were going to have to be at a certain level each week, or something, but that’s not true as of yet.

I’m really enjoying the non-gaming content of the class as well. We’re talking about mythologies, hero’s journey, remediation of different mediums–all things that interest me. And the reading thus far has involved both Lord of the Rings and a bunch of epic poetry, which has been neat. Yesterday I downloaded a bunch of classic fantasy books onto my Kindle that we talked about in class (just kind of off-hand) to read when I get the chance.

So I’m happy with the class, and LOTRO doesn’t seem to be eating my soul, and I finished re-outlining my edit, so things seem to be all good in this neck of the woods.

How are you, squiders? (Also, if you’re interested in the above, you might jump in on this class too.)

The Trouble with MMOs–Or Why I Haven’t Touched One in 10+ Years

Well, dear Squiders, I have a bit of an addictive personality. This sounds like a lovely thing, like people think you’re so great they just want to hang out with you all the time, but unfortunately what it really means is that it’s easy to get hooked on something to the detriment of the rest of your life.

Luckily for me, mine has always been pretty minor, and I’ve trained myself to be responsible even when I don’t want to be. It’s also extremely sporadic, and my “addictions” don’t tend to last very long.

Video and computer games tend to be a weak point for me, but I’ve found ways around this, such as playing games with episodes (typically beatable in a few hours as most) or online games where you only have a set amount of energy so you can’t play for that long. And I am royally terrible at any games that require me to use a joystick to move around, so that frustration also helps.

But MMOs–especially MMORPGs–are the worst. Basically, these games are giant worlds where you create your own character and run around doing quests for NPCs. There’s also a main storyline, if you want, and you can join guilds, fight other players, or work beside them to take down bosses and dungeons.

There’s always something more to do, and there’s no set break points, so it’s easy to run around for hours, killing spiders and carting letters between villages and learning how to farm or make armor.

In college I played an MMORPG called Dark Ages of Camelot, which was brilliant and lovely and very interesting, but it ate up all my time. Sure, I made it to class and practice, but I would get sucked in and eke out play time whenever I could. It wasn’t good. I swore off MMOs.

And I hadn’t touched one since. Til yesterday.

I’ve talked about Coursera here before, but I started a class that compares video games to literature and also explores storytelling across different mediums. (Or so the course promises, anyway.) And I’ve been really excited for it. But part of the class is to play Lord of the Rings Online which is, you guessed it, a MMORPG.

So I installed the game, created my character, and completed the tutorial. And then I spent another three hours running around, killing spiders, yelling at hobbits (hobbit errands are theĀ worst, I’m going back to Bree-land), and also getting my butt handed to me by said spiders.

On one hand, I’m really interested to see how playing LOTRO ties into the subject matter of the course. (Maybe we’ll even discuss the tendency of people to get addicted to MMOs. That would be helpful.) But on the other hand, I’m worried that this is a bad idea, and that I’m getting myself into something that is going to negatively impact my life.

On yet another hand, one long gaming day does not mean anything. I mean, I played five hours for two days on Skyrim, and then never touched the game again. (Skyrim is fairly similar to an MMO, except without the other people. Also, you can teleport between places you’ve been, which MMOs should really get on because boo to running all over the place.)

Should I get out while I still can, Squiders? Or do I give myself the benefit of the doubt for a little longer, see how the gameplay ties into the the coursework? (In the interest of full disclosure, playing the game is not a required part of the class, though it does seem like you’re missing out on most of the content if you don’t.)