Bad Education

Recently spotted on the bio of a “tutor” running an online course: Joe Bloggs*, Designer, Animator and Thinker.

Perhaps I should run my own online “tutorials.” I, too, am a thinker. Why, I can spend whole afternoons thinking. I think about courses I should study, businesses I could start up, online stores I might open, choirs I’d like to join, fences I need to get fixed, exercise I should do, dinner I should make. By 6pm I’m quite exhausted by all the thinking done that afternoon, and require a glass of wine to calm down.

Along with thousands of other people, (most of whom, I assume, are normally as unproductive as myself) suddenly I realise that the next logical step is to monetise my procrastination techniques, by turning these streams-of-consciousness into online courses. You don’t necessarily need any skills to run an online course (note that I’ve said necessarily – this post is not a criticism of the many fantastic online courses available through sites like Open Culture etc), just a catchy title and the ability to talk to camera. In fact, you don’t even need to talk to camera, thank goodness, because I don’t have that skill. That’s ok –  plenty of online courses have an off-camera tutor, so I know how it’s done. You just slowly read a carefully prepared set of instructions, paired with some low quality still images that change occasionally, just to show that you’re still there.

The first thing to do will be to decide on my bio. How about: Blathering: Blogger, Creative Content Producer, Thinker and Philosophiser.  I’m happy with that, although it was a toss-up between Philosophiser and Blathering Nincompoop, but I think Philosophiser will be better for attracting students to my courses.

Right. Now for the courses. A brief peruse of topics I’ve written about on this blog suggest that I could easily put together a few 20 minute tutorials. Possible topics might include:

Where did the time go? – How to successfully waste an afternoon away thinking of ideas that you will never implement. Requirements – a notebook and pen. Actually, not even those.

Where did the time go? (The Tertiary Student edition) – How to write a 4000 word essay in a day. Requirements – preferably you should be enrolled in a course and have a 4000 word essay due tomorrow.

Where did that pile of laundry go? – Top Tips for Procrastinating on that 4000 word Essay. *Extra bonus – Students who enrol in Where did the time go (The Tertiary Student edition) can also take our highly recommended course on procrastinating, for no extra cost. Please see here for more information on how to sign up for free.

Where did the time go? (Advanced Module) – a look at the entire history of the universe in 15 minutes. There are no pre-requisites for this course, although it is advantageous to have read the back cover of Stephen Hawkings’ A Brief History of Time.

Where did the N go??? – learning to spell rhythm* and other dastardly words that don’t contain the silent letters you think they do. Pre-requisites are that you spell rhythm as rhythmn or exercise as excercise every single time, despite trying very hard not to.

I, Robot – what even IS a Google Robot? Requirement – beginner level* understanding of the internet and Google.

That’s a fairly quick list I came up with this afternoon, and I could have come up with it even more quickly but I got hungry in the middle of all this rigorous course preparation and went downstairs for a muffin. Never fear, it may be a short list, but this is just a beginning to my new and exciting career as a tutor of online courses. I dare say I can rummage up many more ideas for courses, and may eventually even need to open my own online university,  but I’m so exhausted by all the thinking that was required to write this post that I need to take a nap now.



*Joe Bloggs was not this individual’s real name.

*Beginner level is required for the course on Google Robots, as otherwise you may be able to discredit my course content.









Leave a comment


  1. I’ll sign up! Especially if there’s muffins.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. weebluebirdie

     /  December 16, 2016

    AHAH! Is it a penny for every thought


  3. weebluebirdie

     /  December 16, 2016

    Flipping phone….there were more thoughts coming. Right, that’s tuppence earned so far. I’m going to be rich beyond my wildest dreams…..if I can be bothered;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you have just invented YouTube: that seems to be full of turgid videos telling you things at tedious length that could be much more easily conveyed in a few lines of text or, better yet, not even mentioned at all.

    Some of these videos are quite respectable, of course, and convey essential skills such as How to wrap your cat for Christmas but a lot are of dubious import, to say the least.

    I would have thought that an essential part of the online tutorial game is to issue students with certificates on completion of the course. These can be made up with a home printing set or contracted out to online printing companies. A sufficiently florid framed certificate testifying to a Masters in Serendipitous Thinking or a Doctorate in Advanced Procrastination Research would grace the walls of any professional’s consulting room. There are those who would pay good money for a genuine fake qualification.

    Come to think of it, why bother with the hard work of dreaming up tutorials when all you need to do is issue certificates? A number of institutions do this without their students ever setting foot on the premises or following a course. It’s enough that they have a pulse and know how to use a credit card online. When I was an admissions tutor at the polytechnic, I had to weed out candidates with fake qualifications and I am not sure I always got it right.


    • You could say the same of a lot of what gets posted on social media: it should probably have been cut to a few lines of text, or even better yet, not even mentioned at all. 🙂

      I was going to reply to this comment last night but became distracted by the Youtube clip on How to wrap your cat for Christmas, which I had at first assumed was a joke on your part (silly me!). When I saw it was a real thing, I sent it to my teenage daughter to enjoy. And then, like a true watcher of silly cat videos, apparently I forgot what I had originally been doing, and went on with something else instead.

      That’s a great suggestion about the certificates. I could just run an online shop selling certificates of completion for courses never taken. Naturally I’ll have a rigorous test set up, to make sure the recipient is human, as well as a holder of a valid credit card. With my graphic design skills (ie, none) you will probably have no trouble at all discerning that the certificates are fake, but that probably won’t bother the admissions officer where they next attempt to study, as long as they are willing to hand over that credit card.



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