Last year I read an interesting blog post that taught me the name for something I’d been hearing more and more about for a while: MOOCs (“Massive Open Online Courses”). You know, they’re those online classes that you can take, offered by universities like Stanford, Harvard and others — plus a host of private companies — typically for free and without credit. Oh, and across an absolute metric fuckton of topics.
Yesterday, setting aside any traces of an um-yeah-I-already-finished-college-thank-you attitude, I spent some time poking around MOOC List — an extensive aggregator of available classes — and found something that caught my eye: Intro to the Design of Everyday Things, as taught by Don Norman, author of that book you may have seen on my dining room table, waiting patiently to be read, for a little while now. (Okay, Amazon says it’s been over two years.)
So I’m taking Don’s class now, and while I’m not sure if I’ve had my eyes opened to any truly new concepts yet, I’ve picked up a couple of terms: “affordance” and “signifier.” And to finish off Lesson 1, I’m currently on the lookout for a signifier to photograph, critique and improve.
So, why Intro to the Design of Everyday Things? I can actually share the answer I posted to the class forum:
I’m taking this class because, as a copywriter whose opinions on the finished product tend to extend a bit beyond my specific area of expertise, I’d like a more solid grounding in these other areas.
Basically, soon I’ll be telling you why I’m right about even more things, using all the right terms. Look out.