Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.
One reason why I do not have much time at the moment is that I am taking a few courses at Coursera. So far, Gamification, Securing Digital Democracy, and Statistics One all are very interesting. Great lecturers, each with their own style.
However, I find learning from video lectures difficult, so I played around a little and found the following solution. It requires
- the downloaded video lecture(s) — available from the course page
- an outliner (here: Circus Ponies Notebook)
- Video Lan Client (VLC)
I found it helpful to:
- keep the downloaded videos in a separate DEVONthink database, together with slides (if available) and other course notes. The amount of material can become quite large if you take multiple courses. Given that no special DEVONthink features are used, the normal file/folder system works as well.
- use a dedicated Circus Ponies Notebook file for all the courses, with one outliner page for each course. On this page I do the notes about the course. The hierarchical structure allows me to quickly resort the material in a way I can work with (depending on the course).
- Watching the video works well if:
- you switch between the video in VLC and Circus Ponies Notebook with cmd + tab — you can leave the fingers on the keyboard and quickly jot down notes
- use SPACE to pause the video when you need to write something up
- you configure VLCs hotkeys under “Preferences” – “Hotkeys” so that a “very short backwards jump” is “f”, “short backwards jump” is “g”, “medium backwards jump” is “h” — this replaces some hotkeys but it allows you to quickly jump back if you missed something without having to fiddle around with the progress slider (make sure you restart vlc after saving the new hotkeys, prior to quitting and reopening vlc they did not work)
- use the Screenshot function of VLC (alt + cmd + s on the Mac) to get a copy of a slide you want to put into your Circus Ponies Notebook outline — having the folder where the screenshot ends up visible on the screen is a great help, as it deleting the file immediately after it is copied into Circus Ponies Notebook. I usually type the information I want to remember, as you can do more with pieces of text (the LEGO bricks to build something from them 😉 ).
- sort the Circus Ponies Notebook outline after each lecture to make sure that you can deal with the information you have jotted down later
So far it works very well and the Outline is a great help when it comes to dealing with quizzes and assignments.