You heard right— today I registered for my first class at Columbia University, The Age of Sustainable Development! I am also taking a class a Rutgers University on Soul Beliefs: Causes and Consequences and am set to go at UC San Diego, for a Climate Change in Four Dimensions class. And yes, I’m still working towards my Masters in Public Policy and Administration, and am enrolled at Cal Lutheran as well. If you’re asking yourself: wait, what?! then you’re probably in the same boat as I was just a few days ago. Welcome to the world of MOOCs, massive open online courses, a trend in higher ed that’s been around for some time now, but that I’m just learning about for the first time. As with most things, I’m a season behind on all this, kind of like how Ive finally purchased my first pair of ankle boots, a season or two after they re-emerged on the scene. Go figure.
The best part about all this is that I get to participate in these courses, interact with others who are enrolled, and “attend” lectures (without having to leave paradise!) by some of the nation’s top professors at some of the best colleges in the world for FREE! No, really— no application, no hefty price tags, and no pressure to ace the class because no actual college credit is given. Instead, it’s an opportunity to dive into material that interests you, to be part of an academic community, and to always keep learning, discovering, growing. To register it took me literally 2 minutes max at Coursera where you will find the detailed course description, faculty bios, and syllabus at the click of a button. You will find all sorts of classes, from Medical Neuroscience to Write like Mozart: An Introduction to Classical Music Composition, offered by top universities, such as Duke, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, and my alma mater, UC Berkeley. If you’ve always wanted to study abroad, but just cant at the moment then why not take a class at a university abroad— how about Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology offered by University of Alberta, one of Canada’s top universities, or Terrorism and Counterterrorism offered by Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands, or Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life offered by the University of Edinburg in the UK?
In all seriousness, I’m a huge fan of educational access for the masses, for folks like you and I, and I’m looking forward to starting my new classes. Check it out—and better yet—register for one of the classes I’m enrolled in and we can chat about it over cups of coffee at the French Press. Dorks unite!