I have always said that if I had the chance I would just be a student forever. There’s something about learning and education and….just knowing stuff that I love! The only catch was that I needed to find a way to pay for these classes. When you have a burning desire to learn about things like comparative religion and literature, finding a program through your employer to cover tuition is…well, challenging is putting it mildly.
Recently I heard about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) through an article on LinkedIn. Okay, so it may have been about sites you can waste your time on that will actually make you smarter. (Some days you need to waste a little time, and who doesn’t like getting smarter?) I would love to link back to the article, but I can’t find a way to search on LinkedIn for past articles…bummer. This article led me to www.coursera.org. The home page says “Welcome to Coursera! Take the worlds best online courses for free.”, and in the search box “What would you like to learn about?” Whoa Nellie…what would I like to learn about? I want it all, baby! My first day of browsing classes, brought me to a smorgasbord of tempting options. From a class on crafting an argument (Don’t worry, Mom. I didn’t take it…yet.) to the History of Rock and Roll and everything I could think of in between. Cryptography caught my eye, but I decided to start with something a bit more practical. (Ugh, practical.)
The courses are taught by professors universities around the world. For example, New Models of Business in Society is being taught by Dr. R. Edward Freeman out of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and Comic Books and Graphic Novels is led by Professor William Kuskin from the University of Colorado Boulder. So far, I am loving this. I made a deal with myself. One work focused class and one “fun” class at a time. This way, I do get something career focused out of it, but I also get to enhance my knowledge of the topics that I find fun and interesting. (Dude, my class project is to make a comic book! How awesome is that?)
The New Models of Business in Society is fascinating, both for the video lectures and the discussion forums. There are people from all over the world who are taking this class, and the insight into the cultural differences in business is pretty cool in and of itself. The discussions have been as helpful in learning about the material as anything else. However, I’ve been more of an observer than a participant in these discussions. (although, I have thrown my two cents in there a couple of times.) There are so many people, and so many comments that I can’t take them all in before I post a comment of my own. The format is video lectures, quizzes and a final. You don’t get credit, but you can receive a certificate of completion (or achievement or…something) if you receive a grade of 70% or above.
Comic Books and Graphic Novels is a bit different, I think. This is my newest class that I began last week. This one is formatted a little differently. There are video lectures, two short papers, and ungraded collaboration and the final project. The papers are assessed by your peers, because seriously thousands of people are taking the class…even at only 750-1000 words who has time to read all those. It is a really fun class that puts a whole new spin on the way comic books are crafted and the development of the stories they bring us. Professor Kuskin also says this will help all of us become better communicators. (Wait that means this could be a work focused class too, right? History of Rock and Roll, here I come!)
Since quitting my job and becoming a full-time student isn’t exactly feasible, I’ll take MOOCs instead. Great knowledge, no cost, and fascinating topics…what more could a knowledge hungry girl ask for? Learn on, friends!
Have you ever written a comic book? I’ve written short stories galore, but no comic books. Any suggestions?
‘Til next time,