Coursera.org – advocate for humanity

“Higher education that overcomes the boundaries of geography, time and money! – Gerald Dicen.

Join 1,593,867 Courserians “

Coursera.org is an online platform offering free courses through partnership with top universities around the world (Columbia, Standford, Princeton, Barkely, Mount Sinai etc). It’s spreading fast and, much like a viral phenomenon, it buzzes the internet. I thought I’d share from my experience what is all about.

First of all, I loved that the curriculum is large and diverse. You can choose from a wide range of topics, from computer science to neurology, business management, networking, psychology, mythology, the art of gastronomy, gamification, music, engineering and so on. Everything looks amazingly attractive and only at a few clicks away. Because that’s all you need to do – create an account and join course.

This is definitely creating courseaholics. I myself joined 28 courses for the following 2 semesters and plan to join others as well. I don’t have a lot of free time, and their way of organizing things fits my crowded schedule.

For each course you have a dedicated webspace with videolectures, messages from the professor, tests, quizzes, assignments and a forum. You don’t have to be logged online around fixed timetable – you can check the video lectures whenever you have the time, so it’s very flexible.

There are no restrictions, you can follow the class lightly or super seriously, get involved as much as you want or even place things on hold until you have the time needed in your life.

You may be interested in presence and active involvement, as well as a final acknowledgement of the education process. Now learning and certification are 2 distinct concepts – some universities are open to both, others only to online learning. What it means is that in most cases if you do your assignments, get good scoring for the quizzes etc, you receive a signed certification from the university offering the course. Whether a certificate is given or not is specified in the description of the course.

However, you may not be into this and simply be passionate about the info. In this case you may watch the video lectures just like you would be watching a video on youtube or the TV and enjoy the experience.

The video lectures last from 10 to 30 mins and there are series of them throughout the course. Should you watch them and them alone, it requires the amount of time equal to the video duration. Should you get involved in writing assignments, taking a quiz, doing peer review, it may take around from 30 min to 1 extra hour of your time for that class.

For me it’s like reading a book or watching a movie, with having someone else drawing the learning path to follow.

And best of it all it’s the experience. The number of people joining is unbelievable.

On the networking course there are over 14.000 people enrolled. Yes you read correctly the first time. Sure not all of them will follow through and not all of them will do their assignments, but the percentage of those who are interested in a topic enough to watch the video lectures is impressive.

There’s also a sense of community, especially after professors organize groups of peer reviews, like in the world music course. People are active, they share info and among the tonz of info dropped daily it’s most likely that you’ll find something new/fresh/fascinating/worth the minutes spent. Half of the people in this class said they would like to take the course again, as they feel the info itself was beyond the video lectures, spreading mostly from what everyone shared.

I know I sound enthusiastic about it.
That’s because I am. 🙂
Did I also mention it’s free ?

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