I am a nerd, a nerd who likes a good challenge. Enter Coursera. Coursera.org is a site that offers free online courses in just about any subject from well renowned schools across the country and around the world.
I realize that iTunes also offers classes, and I tried them a couple years ago. They tend to be very lecture heavy. I realize that iTunesU does have more interaction now, but Coursera gives a more college community feel to me. There are writing assignments, homework and exams that are both graded by peers and machine-graded. It really feels like you are in a classroom setting.
So, the first course, which is almost completed (final exam Friday!), that I took was Social Psychology, taught by Scott Plous, a professor at Wesleyan University. I learned a lot about myself and others in this course. We had over 200,000 students, from all over the world. It was interesting to read writing assignments from someone in India as opposed to someone else in the US. It really broadened my perspective of the world.
It was also pretty tough. I really had to work on my time management. The course took several hours of free time every week (the course was 6 weeks long). However, I found that I really flourish in a structured environment. This helped in other aspects of my life. When I know I only have thirty minutes to clean a room or to focus on a project, I tend to focus better. When I have a lot of free time, I usually just end up watching a bunch of YouTube videos, not that there is anything inherently wrong with that, but I would lose track of time (sometimes even ending up being late to other things or projects).
Now, I realize the importance of downtime. I think this class has also encouraged me to look at time management from that perspective as well. I even schedule breaks throughout the day because of it. I don’t want to get burnt out.
Not all courses are set up the same, too. In fact, I am taking a couple more classes now that have different requirements and ways they present information, so they may take less or more time to finish the course. Still, even changing the format gives me new opportunity for growth!
Overall, I really enjoyed the course, and I really enjoyed the opportunity Coursera presents to learn new things. I’m so excited to see what will be revealed in the new courses. I can’t wait to find out what I learn about myself and the world around me!