Now that I’m starting to get the hang of this teaching thing, I have gained back my appetite to learn more.

Luckily for me (and everyone else), the internet is so easily accessible and you can learn about anything you want anywhere, anytime.  Sometimes it’s easy to find what you’re looking for, sometimes it’s not.  Now that more and more people are starting to realize this, more and more sites are popping up with the purpose to help people learn what they want.

coursera_logo_RGBCoursera, you should check it out.  Their tagline is “Take the World’s Best Courses, Online, For Free”.  You can’t argue with that.  Basically it’s an online platform where real professors teach real courses.  It’s free for anyone to sign up.   The selection of courses is incredible, when I first saw the site I wanted to sign up for at least 20 different ones.

I recently signed up for a course called “Science from Superheroes to Global Warming” on Coursera.  The entire purpose of the course is to make students better critical thinkers around scientific content by examining scientific accuracy of movies and videogames (I wish high school courses had themes like this to build off of!) Basically, the aim is to improve scientific literacy.  I like to think I’m already pretty scientifically literate, but I have never actually learned anything formally about it.

The course started four weeks ago.  I’ll be playing a bit of catch up, but that’s okay since everything content-wise is delivered through video and readings.   I also discovered you can speed up the videos to higher speeds.  If I watch at 1.50x speed, I deal with a bit higher pitched voice but  I can watch a ten minute video in just over 6 and a half minutes.  The course is also built on discussion boards where you discuss and apply your new knowledge, it will be impossible to catch up the 4 weeks of missed discussions, but I’m looking forward to the forthcoming ones.

They give you a grade, but I couldn’t care less about it.  I don’t think too many people voluntarily sign up for online courses because they want to get a grade in it.  They sign up because they want to learn.  I love that.   This will be the first learning environment I’ll find myself in where grades don’t matter. Thinking and learning does.

Hopefully, I can bring some of what I learn to my classroom.

Photo Credit: Zach Dischner via Compfight cc