Samhain Winter Moon
“…the Penn survey found that in the United States and developing countries alike, most Coursera students were well educated, employed, young and male.” NYT
(Whitman. My new beard model.)
I have it half right. If you’re retired, a self-guided learner and expect challenge and high quality, then MOOC’s are perfect. In addition the cost is favorable. They’re free and can be taken with no driving on your own schedule. Yes, there may be some expense for books, but if you’re a self-guided learner already, what’s another book or two or three?
As the quote above shows, the learning communities, usually in the tens of thousands have a predominantly young makeup. This is invigorating to me. Let’s me see what the next generation’s up to. O.K. Maybe it’s the generation after the next generation.
Of course, you have to enjoy structured education. I don’t always, but when I’m taking only courses that address my interests, as opposed to those of a curricula, I find the upside of considered readings and condensed material in lectures suits me.
If my dream were to manifest in this realm, there would be enough variety of courses to allow a college major’s depth and breadth in a particular discipline. Right now they’re very hit and miss. Greek Mythology, ModPo, Modern-Post Modern and History for a New China, the MOOC’s I’ve taken, are humanities courses, but there is no way to follow any of them with narrowers courses, say in Homeric Epic, or Whitman, or the Industrial Revolution or Early Dynasties of China. In this sense the MOOC experience is less than satisfying.
That only amounts, however, to wishing that a very good thing was better rather than a true critique. Keep’em coming, Coursera and EdX. My computer’s on.