Dr M has a dream: The University of Reading has just launched a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in plant identification and field botany…
No of course it hasn’t, it’s all just a dream, but why shouldn’t it? 😉
MOOCs are certainly real enough and the University of Reading’s first MOOC, Begin programming: build your first mobile game, filled up all its places within 24 hours of applications opening, but a second-run with unlimited numbers is due to start again early in 2014.
The second MOOC, A Beginners’ guide to English for university study, will go live on 17 February 2014 – and students can sign up online now.
So why not the third MOOC in field botany?
Could we get thousands signing up to learn how to ID plants?
Well probably not, but that’s thousands missing out on the chance to learn the plants in their neighbourhood, the chance to appreciate the variety and beauty of plants, the chance to see their world from a different angle and the chance to find a new connection with their local environment.
Dr M has a dream, Dr M is on a mission. Maybe field botany won’t be the third Reading MOOC, not even the fourth or fifth. But Dr M’s dream is of a better, more plant-centred world, where field botany is as naturally appealing as… well as building your own mobile game, or learning to write a decent essay in English.
If not the 3rd MOOC, maybe, just maybe, plant identification for all could be the the 20th or the 30th MOOC? Some things are worth waiting for…