For the past three months I’ve worked as the video production manager on the University of Cape Town’s Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) team. UCT’s first MOOC, entitled Medicine and the Arts: Humanising Healthcare, is an interdisciplinary course bringing together academics from the arts, humanities and healthcare to teach a course in the Medical Humanities.
My role included coordinating thirteen academics around our four-week shooting schedule – no easy task – totally worth it!
We had a great group of people, personalities and scholarship. Being part of the production process was like being in a classroom with some of UCT’s finest minds. I had first hand access to illuminating ideas about how our bodies are understood in the context of medical practice, how conception may be the single most creative act ever, and discovered in UCT’s second MOOC What Is A Mind? that a thumb-sized part of our brains is the seat of all consciousness, and the little dictator of emotions and actions really does make us human.
When not on set helping to manage the studio floor I was engaged in consistent communication between our team, course conveners and academics by email, sometimes face-to-face meetings, as the course design was put in place and developed.
I’m happy to have gained access for the team to shoot inside the medical contexts which the course explores. Like the Khayelitsha District and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, the Heart of Cape Town Museum housed at Groote Schuur Hospital, and the Irma Stern Museum. Cold calling, what cold calling? Luckily for me the University of Cape Town has great working relationships with some of the most esteemed institutions in the province.
The film-making process is no doubt a team effort, and what I learnt through my time at the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) is that so is the business of creating a course! What a wonderful, smart and fastidious group of people are behind the MOOCs Implementation Team – a group of people committed to making outstanding UCT scholarship available to anyone, anywhere in the world. They know the need that exists in developing nations for the fair distribution of open educational resources. Africa is on the MOOC map of knowledge producers thanks to their efforts. Our time is now.
So, when you get around to producing your own MOOC remember: keep calm – and just check the schedule!