Coursera (and other MOOCs)
If you’re not aware, there is currently an educational revolution taking place. The ever expanding power of the Internet is bringing more information to your “front door”, if you will. College level courses are being offered at no cost (and in some cases, substantially lower costs) on the Internet!
If you haven’t already heard of the current MOOC explosion, I’d like to share with you briefly my own experiences with Massive Open Online Courses. There are several sites out there that offer this educational option, but my experiences thus far have been limited to Coursera and that’s where my frame of reference comes from.
As far as my current education level, I have an Associate’s of Science in “Computer Networking” and a Bachelor’s of Science in “Information Technology”. I have always wanted to work on my Master’s degree but, to be perfectly honest, I can’t justify paying for MORE schooling when I still am paying on the loans for my Bachelor’s degree. I’ve always felt that life is too short and too fragile to not make the best effort you can to better yourself while you’re here on Earth. If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve always got a book I’m reading (a friend of mine, Liezel, once told me she believed that you should ALWAYS have a book being read and she’s absolutely correct!)
I’ve been enrolled on Coursera for the last year or so and have taken several classes. While on the midshift, I struggled with getting in the class lectures (and staying awake during them!) and ended up “forfeiting” those classes but on day shift I’ve been doing alright.
I’ve been involved in the following classes (FOR FREE!)
Currently on track with;
- The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness – University of Toronto
- Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade – Mt. San Jacinto College
- Constitutional Law – Yale (This class is so incredible. I’m still blown away that I can acquire this knowledge at no cost. Professor Amar is so animated and obviously excited to teach about the history of our Constitution and its initial formation that it is impossible to not get caught up in the material. I’m finding myself reading things outside the scope of the course, due to my interest level.)
Coming Up Soon;
- English Composition I: Achieving Expertise – Duke
- Marriage and the Movies: A History – Wesleyan University
- Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life – The University of Chicago
- Introduction to Forensic Science – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Failed Attempts (on midshift);
- War and Peace -University of Tokyo (I actually found this class fascinating but it was quite dry and I was already struggling with sleep. I would absolutely try this one again if it opens in the future.)
- Social Psychology – Wesleyan University
The simplicity of Coursera is astounding. Sign up for an account and begin surfing through the catalog of courses. You will be able to tell when the course starts (or if it has already started you can add it to your “watchlist” and enroll on the next time around). The class instructor will have several class links on the left side of the course page, including links to the lecture videos (broken down into time gaps that won’t kill you, 20’ish minutes or less usually), upcoming quizzes and writing assignments, group discussion forums, possible outside readings (usually not required, but nice to know of), and any important announcements.
If you have ever wanted to learn about anything else (you will honestly be impressed with the amount and diversity of classes available to you on Coursera), I would highly recommend checking them out. Maybe I’ll bump into you in one of the forums!