Student again

Signed up for Coursera

I decided the only way to learn about MOOCs and new methods of teaching and learning on the Internet is to take an online course. So I signed up (and got my husband to sign up also) for History of the Internet, taught by Charles Severance, University of Michigan. Finding time is a challenge, but I got started. (I’m behind the rest of the class which started a few weeks ago, but it doesn’t matter the way it would for a residential course.)

Here’s the message I got after enrolling. Welcome to Coursera! You’ve just joined a community of hundreds of thousands of students who are taking courses, and changing the face of higher education. At Coursera, you can take courses from the top universities, for free.

I’m impressed by the way course units are organized and by the very high quality of graphics and “page layout.” While Dr. Chuck, as he calls himself, is sometimes a talking head in a box, other things are going on in the screen to provide additional interest and explanation. The visual look is clean and appealing. Every few minutes, he stops and students are asked a question. If I don’t get it right the first time, there’s a second chance. The questions make me pay closer attention.

As I’ve said before, it’s difficult to predict where Coursera, edX, Udacity or any of the other new huge educational course offerings will end up. Maybe their business models will work out, and maybe they won’t. But they are changing the face of education. I got an even bigger sense of how huge this is when we were out to dinner last night. Our friend said he’d just signed up for a course through Coursera. (Neither of us is young.) Imagine hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, learning. Not a bad image at all!

Happy Monday! Barbara

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