So here’s what I do, sometimes, while I’m working: I have Coursera on in the background. Well, and sometimes I just sit and listen to it.
If you haven’t run across Coursera yet, it’s one of the online sites that offers university-level courses, on various topics. For free! Yes. For free. (Oh, I know, a bunch of you already know about the MOOC — Massive Open Online Courses –phenomenon. But not everybody does. And if you didn’t, now’s your chance to find out about them, in secret.)
You can pay, if you’d like certification that you took the course. But I don’t want that. I got a bunch of paper on the wall already. I just like being able to listen to world-class scholars tell me stuff. For free! And get reading lists! For free!
I took a class on Modern Mysticism from a Kabbalah scholar at the Hebrew University of Jersusalem, and I took a class on 20th Century History of the Middle East from a scholar at Tel Aviv University, and now I am taking a class on The History of Rock and Roll Part 1 from a scholar at the University of Rochester. Later I will take The History of Rock and Roll Part 2. Also a class in Curanderismo, Traditional Healing, from the University of New Mexico. For free.
Coursera isn’t the only free game in town; I am also signed up for The History of Hadrian’s Wall, out of Newcastle University, from FutureLearn. Why look! Here’s a list of LOTS of various MOOCs, from various places, coming up in the next month!
Oh, this is so much fun.
A chance to learn, systematically, from a course of instruction that you might be interested in, but don’t necessarily need to be an expert in. Without having to apply to the universities offering the courses. Or live anywhere near them. Just stuff you might be interested in. And you can be as invested, or as not invested, in the course as you like. Nothing’s going on your permanent record. You can do all the assignments, or none of them. As much energy as you want to put in. No shame, no blame. Just learning, in case you want it.
I just love this use of technology.