Rimsky-Korsakov and OCW

Driving home from a meeting last week I heard a truly atrocious recording of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, one of my favorite pieces for orchestra. The conductor’s interpretation (or complete lack thereof) had me screaming at the radio and almost putting my head through the steering wheel on a couple of occasions.

The best recording of this fabulous piece of music is, in my not so humble opinion, John Mauceri leading the London Symphony Orchestra – (previews available from Amazon at Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade). How does this relate to OCW, you ask?

For a number of years there has been an opinion among some in the OCW community that we need (only) one really excellent open version of each of the high enrolling GE courses like English 101. My experience in the car reminded me why several different versions of open courses are necessary. Obviously, a rather talented conductor had led a rather competent orchestra in this recording, and NPR had liked it well enough to play it. But it was truly awful. Painfully so.

In education, as in music, matters of taste matter. No, you won’t learn more or remember longer when the teaching is adapted to your so-called “learning style,” but the experience will be much more pleasant when it is. And who hasn’t sat through a class that made you want to put your head through the desk? I never want to have that excruciating experience again, neither with music nor with learning.

1 thought on “Rimsky-Korsakov and OCW”

  1. I completely agree with you on this point. And even if you set aside issues of taste (and I don’t think we really can), there’s the matter of which models will help OCW continue to develop into a robust, flexible, deepening project. Offering one “solid” course in gen ed areas doesn’t support growth; it supports stability, perhaps, but it also supports what might appear to be a single-minded approach to subject matter. OCW, at its best, argues against that model of teaching and learning–its resources should reflect that.

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