Coursera: Education for the Masses

Roughly three months ago, or shortly after my return to the States, a friend of mine had told me about this website that offered free online classes to anyone as long as they had Internet access called Coursera. On top of that, they’re all taught by professors from well-acclaimed institutions of further education. Of course, I did a little bit of research; it seemed too good to be true, especially for my incredibly bored self, just coming through the transition of being a Busy Bee in Korea and a semi-Bum here, at the time. Honestly, all I did was go to their About Us page since I was pretty desperate and here’s a basic introduction:

We are a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Our technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students.

Classes offered on Coursera are designed to help you master the material. When you take one of our classes, you will watch lectures taught by world-class professors, learn at your own pace, test your knowledge, and reinforce concepts through interactive exercises. When you join one of our classes, you’ll also join a global community of thousands of students learning alongside you. We know that your life is busy, and that you have many commitments on your time. Thus, our courses are designed based on sound pedagogical foundations, to help you master new concepts quickly and effectively.

That’s not quite the case now (I’m no longer dying of lack of things to do; quite the opposite, rather), with the job and me adding on additional schedules to Life, but I just got an email from one of my courses and it got me excited. As the program’s still new, they don’t offer courses in everything imaginable, but they do have an interesting selection all the way from “Game Theory” to “Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computation“. You’re free to choose which one you want to enroll in without any prerequisites, since most of the classes are an Introduction to Such and Such. I just thought it’s such an awesome idea that I had to share! Here are actually all the classes I’ve enrolled in up to this point:

I’m not a nerd, I promise! Okay, not that much of a nerd, at least. I admit that “Vaccines” and “Fundamentals of Pharmacology” are taken for my own enjoyment, but the first two are taken in preparation for my goals in grad school.

Now, my only worry is how I’ll juggle 7-hour workdays, semi-regular workouts, teaching English class, and meetings to prepare for aforementioned English class with three “leisure classes” on the side and trying to maintain a decent Life Outside of Duties at the same time. It’ll be just like that one semester at uni when I had classes from 8:30am till 7pm at night (I’m not exaggerating as there really was no lunch break), but that was my most rewarding semester in college. I’m going to hope everything works out come June 25th and this’ll just add on to my knowledge instead of giving me unnecessary stress.

Either way, this is better than forking over several hundred bucks and gas money – and less work hours which means less money earned – to the nearest college to take only a class or two. I’m still terribly excited.

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