Unfortunately I could not attend most of the lectures due to lack of time, but I wanted to give some general feedback on my experience of these lectures. This feedback is addressed at OGS as a whole, not the individual lecturers.
It’s a bit of a lengthy post, so here’s a rough list of what I am about to address:
- Screen sizes
As mentioned in another thread, this is a must for a whole truck load of reasons. Let me just list a few here that seem particularly important to me:
- Typing speed and connectivity feeling: almost no one types fast enough to give viewers a constant awareness of the teacher. I found myself often wondering whether I was still connected due to pauses.
- Attention: we’ve all been to school (some still are) and know what happens when a teacher turns towards the blackboard. Text-only is essentially the same. Audio keeps the presence up and greatly reduces the “drifting off” effect.
- Live lesson vs review: OGS has an awesome review support. So much so, that I found most lectures would have been better off, if they were just created as one. To profit from the live attendance of the teachers means that they have to have a very fast way of responding, hence, audio.
- Origin: text is indifferent with respect to the originator. If the teacher is not some special user, their text is the same as that of every other user. Separating the teacher to audio and viewers to text therefore reduces the mental load of viewers giving them more capacity for the actual content.
I tried switching devices throughout the lectures and the results were simply horrible.
Phone: unusable. Due to having to read the texts most of the time is spent scrolling around. I had almost no time to even think about the lecture content.
Tablet: a bit better, as long as you remain inactive. Several times the chat box froze and did not automatically show new content, so I always had to catch up again. Once you start to type something yourself it goes down the drain, as the next dozen seconds are lost to rescalings of the interface.
PC: decent. Except for the problems discussed in the other two points, the PC version was the only one suitable for attending a lecture.
On KGS, lecture boards and variants are solely controlled by one person and you always share the exact same position view with the teacher. During the LGW lectures I very often found myself to be looking at a part of the variation tree which the teacher was no longer talking about. This happened without me doing anything at all. It just stuck at some point and after realizing the teacher must have advanced to some other node I manually jumped there. After that I was automatically forwarded according to what the teacher did -until it happened again.
This was massively frustrating and the number one reason why I will not attend non-audio lectures on OGS anymore for the time being.
On one hand I would love to see things streamlined like KGS with all control taken away from me. On the other hand it is an awesome idea that a viewer can actually play out a variation and ask the teacher about it by linking to it.
I remember far too many misunderstandings in KGS lectures, when viewers asked about this or that move and a minute is lost until the teacher and the person asking are actually thinking about the same moves. But, and this is a huge but, as long as I’m a passive viewer in the audience I will never ever accept that my view of the board differs from what the teacher is looking at and talking about.
I was looking forward to lectures on OGS and I expected to find a few problems here and there. I have also read that the next version will provide some sort of teacher tools, which hopefully address the above issues. However, I believe that attending OGS lectures in their current form is a major waste of time. I know several beginners in town and I will tell them against attending. Spending time on any of the other existing options (KGS, books, YouTube, …) is way more productive than these lectures can currently be.
(Sorry about this devastating critique, but rest assured that I’ll keep an eye on how this develops and I haven’t given up hope that OGS lectures may rise to the standards I require for them to be considered a viable option.)