One of my goals for 2015 is to take some online courses, and I already wrote about it earlier. I knew of Coursera, and thought it was one of the few decent “biggies” for massive open online courses (MOOCs). Somehow though I completely skipped over EDX, thinking it had merged with Coursera or all of their courses were included. Apparently not. Let’s see, another 409 courses to consider. Oh joy, oh bliss, oh joyful bliss! 🙂 Let’s see what’s out there:
- PSYCHOLOGY: UC Berkeley has one on the “The Science of Happiness”, part of the positive psychology” field that is self-coalescing / emerging. It is self-paced, start anytime, which is attractive;
- ECONOMICS: Cornell is offering “Networks, Crowds and Markets”, which combines some of the other areas I looked at earlier – economics, psychology, game theory. It starts in mid-February. Equally, UofT is offering “Behavioural Economics in Action”, although might be just as useful to read one of the texts;
- A WIRED WORLD: “Wiretaps to Big Data: Privacy and Surveillance in the Age of Interconnection” looks interesting too, also at Cornell but self-paced. Uof Cambridge has one on “Economics of Cybersecurity” and Notre Dame has “Understanding Wireless: Technology, Economics, and Policy”, but it looks a little basic and dry.
- COMPUTING: I already have plans for computing courses, but Harvard has one called “Introduction to Computer Science” that surprisingly uses C, Java, etc. One of Harvard’s largest courses? Ooook.
- ASTRONOMY: Near the end of the year, I might aim for “Exoplanets”, a self-paced one offered by Australian National University. It is part of a larger series that starts with “Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe”. There’s also one called “Super-Earths And Life” at Harvard, which is attracting some press as it is one of the new ones with a decent professor.
- PERSONAL: I could file this under psychology, but it looks much more like a personal power-type course –> “Unlocking the Immunity to Change: A New Approach to Personal Improvement” from Harvard. Not currently active, unfortunately. I also see a course in “Jazz Appreciation” by UTex @ Austin that looks interesting, but I’ll probably stick with the Great Courses version. Given my interest in stress, there’s an interesting course called “Becoming a Resilient Person – The Science of Stress Management” that could be good, but not completely compelling. Heck, I even might consider doing Dante’s Inferno as a personal study of freedom and identity. It would be on the weird side of the plan though.
I’m blown away by a couple of other things I found though.
First, a brilliant version of something that I’ve seen in amateur or “open source” format of course — an online book club. Namely BerkeleyX Book Club. Except it isn’t wine, noshing and conversation, these are discussions of famous titles led by English profs. For example, The Picture of Dorian Gray or Dracula. Looks like they do one a month, with Jane Eyre for this month. Fascinating model, but none of the books were on my list for this year. Might give it a whirl after September though.
For philanthropy, I’ve been on the LearningbyGiving site in the past, and look, they have a course to take — “Giving With Purpose: How to get the most out of your charitable giving”. Perfect for my goals for the year. Not sure when to do it though.
Finally, there is one that looks relevant to the stuff I want to do, and maybe is a sign as I actually thought earlier today about ditching the area from my official list or at least moving it to the bottom. UofT has an extension course starting in just a couple of weeks called “Library Advocacy Unshushed”. Looks pretty cool. Might have to consider committing to it.