MOOCS – Free online learning for the world

CourseraOver the last 12 month I have become a big fan of learning in a MOOC –  Massively Open Online Course. I have taken these courses on the Coursera platform where I watch videos, do  quizzes to check my understanding, participate in discussion forums and complete assignments – multiple choice questions or peer-assessed written responses.

I recently started a course on the History of Rock Music which was covered in a recent news story on Yahoo. This course is run by Professor John Covach of the University of Rochester and his comments appear in the article.

After I left university I wanted to learn some Arts subjects to balance my Science degree. In the 1980’s the way to do this was to enroll in an adult education class.  This involved attending a class on a weeknight evening and listening to a  qualified person give a lesson. Sometimes there was some discussion involved but generally there was very little interaction with other students.

I took a course titled Looking at Art which ran for one evening a week for about 4 to 6 weeks. An art teacher gave some interesting talks and projected colour slides of art works. She organized a Saturday excursion to the Art Gallery of NSW which I attended and had a lot of fun. I made some new friends on this excursion as well.

A couple of years later I took an Introduction to Psychology course organized by the WEA   which was interesting, but rather challenging to attend. Classes were  held in the city on Monday evenings and I drove in, and found a parking spot in a side street. I didn’t make any friends in that course and there were no discussions, just a lecture.

Now I am continuing the “adult education” and pursuing courses of general interest in a global classroom.     I discovered the Coursera web site and have now completed three courses – Listening to World Music (University of Pennsylania), Introduction to Digital Sound Design (Emory University), Introduction to Music Production (Berklee College of Music).

Other courses I am looking forward to are Maps and the Geospatial Revolution (I love maps!), Exploring Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas and Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists where I will learn about the ChucK programming language for audio.

What I like about online learning is the total flexibility in when and where I watch the videos. I can pause or replay a video, download the transcript to use as lecture notes, and interact with other students in the forums. I am currently enrolled in a 4 week course on Teaching Adult Learners on  – a collaboration of Australia tertiary institutions.



Author: charuzu

I live in Sydney and interests include music, piano playing, technology, cooking, English language, public speaking, Toastmasters, Asian culture (especially Japan and Korea), cinema, personal development, productivity and making friends with people from around the world.

3 thoughts on “MOOCS – Free online learning for the world”

  1. I agree entirely, I recently completed a course with Coursera as well. While I haven’t studied at university formally, I enjoyed the course and used it as a tester for an actual degree. I am in the process of applying for semester 2 right now and fingers crossed my acceptance goes through!!

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