Beginning a Course: Astronomy: Exploring Space and Time

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that, after completing my dissertation defense, I am — for the first time in my life — not presently working toward my next educational achievement or milestone. And that, to me, is absolutely unacceptable.

So, starting today, I’m taking my first Coursera course: Astronomy: Exploring Space and Time. I have three goals in mind here:

  1. To achieve a more complete view of online education, I want to explore the different major players. I’ll be completing a Udacity Nanodegree credential in the near future, as well as exploring edX and others.
  2. To keep my sanity, I want to continue working toward new educational milestones. I’m a firm believer in the growth mindset and its criticism of external motivators, but I’m also a firm believer in clear indicators of progress. It’s certainly possible to learn outside of a formal course like this, but it’s often difficult to monitor progress in the same way. A course to complete and a verified completion certificate can serve as a check that progress really is occurring.
  3. Astronomy has always been one of my unexplored passions, and I’m looking forward to finally having a venue and motivation to explore it!

I’ll post my impressions both of the course and of the platform as a whole as the course goes on. I’ll be doing the Verified Signature track as well, and it will be interesting to see how much rigor and reliability the track adds to the otherwise open program.

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