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Life-long learning with Coursera

You probably know already that there’s a huge amount of free online courses out there. I did too, but I never really looked into it. Then my sister came to advise me to check out this course named How To Change The World on the website of Coursera. I followed her advice, got super enthusiastic, took the course and now I’ve gotten even more enthusiastic about the whole thing!

The course How To Change The World was really cool. It’s content formed part of the motivation for me to create this blog. The course was hosted by Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and particularly by the sympathetic Michael S. Roth, whom I really got to love. It contained a lot of useful content and really good, inspirational speakers, including lots of video material from the Social Good Summit of 2014. From the description: ‘This course examines issues concerning poverty, the environment, technology, health care, gender, education and activism to helps us understand better how to initiate positive change.
I won’t go into further detail here, but I’ll let you know if it’ll be running again! And I’m not sure if you can still get access to the course material right now, you can try! And maybe let us know by writing a comment down here.

The courses being offered are hosted by universities and institutes from all over the world. Check out this list. I don’t know about you, but I find it impressive! I think it’s really cool that all these courses are accessible for everyone all over the globe (everyone with internet connection, of course).

Most courses seem to have a specific time span in which they take place and you can join, but some of them are a bit different and always freely accessible. Many courses take about 4-6 hours a week and last for 4-6 weeks. You can do the whole thing, meaning watching all the lectures and doing the assignments, but you can also subscribe and see how you like it and to which extent you want to invest.

Taking part in the courses is for free, but for some courses you can also get a verified certificate in exchange for €35. The money is being used to verify your identity, so you can receive a proper certificate with your name on it. You can add this one neatly to your LinkedIn page and your CV. There used to be the possibility to get a free Statement of Accomplishment, for which your identity isn’t being verified so it will be less ‘useful’ but still nice, but this option might disappear soon.

Anyways, you should just check out the courses being offered and see if there are some nice ones for you. I have done just that and there are so many I would be interested in!  I’ll show you the courses I have subscribed to. I won’t have time to do them all properly, but maybe I can watch some lectures here and there.

Learning-How-to-Learn-Logo-with-textLearning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects, University of California, San Diego
Jan 2nd – Feb 2nd

The title of this course is pretty explanatory already. This course just started for the third time. I already watched some of the lectures of week 1 and it’s really fun to do, because the material is being presented in a somewhat old school or dorky way.

reason and persuasion Reason and Persuasion: Thinking Through Three Dialogues By Plato, National University of Singapore
Jan 12th – Mar 20th

This course is so appealing to me! I’ve been wanting to get into philosophy for a long time. (…) Plus, it is about persuasion as well, and I could definitely use some of that, in changing the world and such.

greening the economy Greening the Economy: Lessons from Scandinavia, Lund University
Jan 19th – Feb 20th

How can we live a good life on one planet with over seven billion people? This course addresses sustainability, climate change and how to combine economic development with a healthy environment. We will explore how individual choices, business strategies, sustainable cities and national policies can promote a greener economy.‘ This is exactly what I want to major in, seriously. Well, let’s see if I still think so after checking out this course. Oh and I have been in Scandinavia recently and I loved it. Awesome.

These are some courses that particularly attract me, but there are courses starting every day with a great variety of subjects! So if you have the time to squeeze in some extra knowledge: go here! And of course there are other such websites besides Coursera, but this is now the only one I have experience with and I am very positive and currently don’t feel any need to look further, but feel free to do so and if you already have/get positive experiences: please do share them in the comments!

Before you leave, let me make you love Michael S. Roth too. To do so, I’ll show you his lecture at the Social Good Summit about life-long learning, liberation and empowerment and ‘an education that goes beyond the borders of any campus’. Check it out here. It’s the one called Beyond the University. It is really good, seriously. The others seem good as well. How about ‘Embracing Your Inner Punk Rock to Change the World’? Awesome title.

On a wholly different note: Happy New Year! And happy learning. 😉

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