Note: this post contains paid marketing links, which I only do when I really support a product or service. If you click/buy through the link below (at the bottom of the post), I will get a micropayment to help defray the operating costs of Blue Night.
But really? I’d much rather you just go look at what Coursera has to offer you.
Coursera is an online educational service that provides access to some of the world’s best university courses and lectures, from thousands of sources, most priced from $29 to $99 per course. Courses generally run from 4 – 6 weeks.
You can brush up on old professional certificates, earn new ones, round out your old degrees before challenging course requirements at new universities…or just round out your knowledge base.
Why pick Coursera?
It’s easy, if you have little self-discipline. If you can pay bills online and navigate Facebook or Twitter, you can do this.
Your brain will thank you. We’re seeing more and more evidence that early-to-midlife brain workouts help reduce Alzheimer’s Disease and some other forms of dementia.
Your future earnings might thank you. Yes, we’ve all heard the one about Masters-degree grads flipping burgers. But did you know that many jobs that didn’t require a Bachelors’ degree in 1997, do now? People with a better knowledge base can take advantage of earnings opportunities others might miss. As jobs become more high-technology, workers must keep up with new job specifications…even whole new industries.
Plus, you’ll be better insulated against falling for ‘fake news’ scams and tricks, on the right or left side of political debates.
In our modern American (and some other countries, I’m sure) education system, we’re seeing two horrific trends: the debt bubble crippling many for-profit-college students, and the ‘cheat-your-way-to-the-top’ mentality made popular by Wall Street and our politicians. For the latter, there’s growing evidence that relying on paid thesis papers and other outsourced coursework doesn’t really ‘teach’ the student, so they don’t go into a field with the necessary base knowledge, or even the ability to learn and retrain as new information evolves. That can be fine if it’s a low-impact position in a minor industry.
But it can become a catastrophe. Like this guy:
A little history: the American and British industrial era was helped along in the 1880s to 1920s by many factors, but a love of (even a duty toward) education became many citizens’ aspiration. Free public libraries and reading rooms sprouted up from the biggest cities to the tiniest coal-mining towns. Their proponents knew that not everyone was going to college, or would become a fancy businessman in a marble house. But they knew it was important to have informed citizens. Who read and debated, and sometimes became writers and scholars guiding the next generations of informed citizens.
We need to ditch the fashionable hatred of ‘intellectual elites’ and get back to the America that loved learning and science. STEM is for everyone, not just the geeks in labcoats!
Self-guided learning can be a more-affordable option for busy (and poorer) people, to hone critical professional skills, or regain (or find in the first place) a joy of simply learning new things. Again with the science: learning and play (‘plasticity’ in neurological terms) help keep our brains functioning better and longer.
So, back to Coursera. Don’t be afraid of their course lists and lectures. Hop onto the site. Browse the catalog.
Do you like to watch how-to building, cooking, or crafts shows on cable or TV? Is there anything you have ever…however briefly…wondered about: How does that work? Why does this happen? What was it like, in that time, or that place?
You can find a course or lecture on Coursera that might answer your question, taught by the experts in that field, more deeply than you might get in a brief Wikipedia search.
Kudos if you know how to do basic Google or Wiki searches: many people who fall for ‘fake news’ scams can’t even do that…in an age of internet wonders, they’re stuck watching the sideshows.
This is Coursera. I’ve tried it a couple of times and enjoyed the experience, and I have friends who’ve been fans for years.