Online courses are nothing new. They’ve been around a while. What is changing is the number and quality of classes that are available. Many universities and colleges are putting courses online for free. They range in topic from anthropology to zoology and that is what interests me. The online community is spreading knowledge at a spanking pace.
I recently took an online class and I rather enjoyed it. I’ve taken online classes. before, some that I thoroughly enjoyed and some that I dropped. They always say to plan on devoting four to five hours a week on the class. I have learned to take one at a time, when possible. I’m signed up for two at the moment. One is on metadata – the descriptions of things, which allows search engines to find pages on the internet. That said, I find that sometimes it is impossible to take notes on these classes. Are they good? That depends on what you are taking them for, college credit or pleasure.
If you just want to brush up on a subject, these classes are great. They are also good for getting a taste for a subject. Say you have something that you think would be interesting and, when you take the class, you find it are not as interesting as you thought they would be. It’s a good way to find out if you are prepared for something as well.
Now, the online courses that I am referring to here are the free ones offered at a website called Coursera. It’s a good place to find that math class you need to review, or perhaps you just want to learn something. There’s no credit for the class and you can drop it, audit it, or go for a certificate stating that you have passed the course, if they offer one. There’s no pressure except that pressure you put on yourself.
I found out that there is more to metadata than I suspected and I am not as well prepared for the course as I had thought that I was. I’m still taking it because I do find it interesting. I won’t get the certificate at the end, because I don’t think I will pass it, judging by the ‘grade’ I’m getting on the homework. Yes, there are tests and homework. Don’t be afraid of it. Remember, there’s nothing riding on this but your pride. So check out Coursera and see if there is anything there that interests you. You might find yourself a new career, or you might not. You will find that your life is just that little be more enriched. Who can’t do with a little enrichment in their lives?