Five new online courses start for me today:
- Nanotechnology and Nanosensors, from Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology. Like the Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space course, I’m taking this one just because I find the subject absolutely fascinating.
- University Teaching 101, from Johns Hopkins University. It seems my immediate trajectory is going to have me working in higher education for the foreseeable future, and while I have the experience, a little formal training certainly won’t hurt.
- Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace, from University of Maryland. The second in the Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business specialization, which should serve my dabbling in entrepreneurship eventually.
- New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs, from University of Maryland. The third in the Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business specialization, which I wouldn’t take simultaneously with the previous one if there was another projected start date.
- AmPoX.4 Poetry in America: Dickinson, from Harvard. My first edX course, and like Nanotechnology and Nanosensors and Astronomy: Exploring Time and Space, this one is just because I’ve always loved Dickinson.
Given that I’ll be posting reviews for all courses I take at the conclusion of the course, I won’t be posting first impressions posts anymore. However, reviews for my first four courses should be up in the next couple weeks.
One more course for now: University of Maryland’s Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship, toward University of Maryland’s Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business specialization. It seems to be the immediately-available and bite-sized of Coursera’s new specializations, so it seems like a great place to start!
I’ll also be exploring a Coursera specialization in the Virtual Teacher Program from University of California-Irvine. Toward that end, I’ve also started the course Emerging Trends & Technologies in the Virtual K-12 Classroom, the second course in the program but the first one offered. Thoughts forthcoming!
On the recommendation of a friend and because the course is available on-demand, I’ve started a second course as well: Learning How to Learn, from Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski at UC-San Diego. I commented in my previous blog post about Astronomy: Exploring Space & Time that gated, synchronous courses introduce a lot of pragmatic benefits but pedagogical drawbacks; I’ll be interested to see how an ungated course works.
As with Astronomy: Exploring Space & Time, I’ll be doing the Verified Certificate to get a look at the paid experience.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.