Week 01 of OOTLE17

January 30-February 5, 2017

Getting Started with OOTLE17 and the Study of the Hebrew Bible


  1. See Dave Cormier's very short YouTube video, "Success in a MOOC." It will give you a great idea about how you might approach an open course like this one.
  2. Read Bandstra's introductory chapter, or the introductory chapter(s) in your textbook of choice (whatever chapters talk about the shape and content of the Hebrew Bible, and about its "composition history" in broad strokes). If you're feeling crazy, you might look at Bandstra's concluding chapter, "After the Hebrew Bible," as it gets into books that are part of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox canons but not part of the Protestant canon, plus the Dead Sea Scrolls, New Testament, and some other stuff.
  3. View or listen to the two-part lecture, "Introducing the Tanak A" and "Introducing the Tanak B." View on YouTube, or get them as MP3s via this Dropbox folder link. (Weekly lectures will normally be in two parts, each part about 25-30 minutes in length.) Sound quality is uneven on some of these early efforts on my part, but they are audible, and it gets better.


OOTLE17 Week One Treasure Hunt!

See how many of these you can do by Sunday evening, February 5:

  • Orient Yourself: If you haven't already, follow our instructions to "Get Involved" with OOTLE17, creating a blog and a Twitter account, and signing up to participate. Browse around this site, including our Twitter feed, and our learners' blog posts so far at our aggregation page.
  • Declare Yourself: On your blog, respond in some way to this week's resources: What surprises did they hold for you? What, if anything, bothers you? What excites you? What further questions do you have now about the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament that you did not have before engaging this week's resources? (Remember to tag your post with the "OOTLE17" tag, so that your post appears in our aggregation page!)
  • Make Connections: Visit the aggregation page, and find some posts that look interesting to you. Visit those blog posts, and make comments: ask questions, thank the writer for their insights, start a conversation.
  • Housewarm your blog! If you haven't already, write some information into your About page on your blog. Even if you use a pseudonym and avoid including identifiable information, you can communicate some of your loves and interests.
  • Housewarm your Twitter! If your avatar is still an "Egg," replace it with a photograph or some other image. Not sure where to find images that you're allowed to use? Start with sites like Public Domain Images. Also remember to write up your short bio. Want to take it further?
    • "Follow" someone else who is participating in OOTLE17.
    • Retweet somebody else's tweet.
    • @-mention ("at-mention") somebody else in a tweet.
    • Promote somebody else's blog post by writing a tweet that includes that post's URL (web address). Remember also to use our course hashtag, #ootle17.
  • Invite a friend: Know anybody who is "Hebrew Bible curious"? Let them know we're here, and help them get started.

Fireside Chats

Beginning in our second week (hopefully), I plan to start hosting online "fireside chats" for anyone who is able to attend. This could include Q&A about the course and how to succeed in it; open discussion about aspects of the Hebrew Bible and its study; questions around online community, social media, etc.; or whatever we like. I'm pretty open about it.

What can you do? Please respond to the poll on our Moodle course site, letting us know about your availability. We're interested in when you're normally available during the week. I may plan to offer them at different times: say, during business hours one week, and a weekday evening the next. We'll see how it goes.

These are not required! But I hope we can make them valuable. The tool will be "Zoom," which does not require special software on your part, but does call for a microphone and a web cam.