Although there are literally thousands of places to learn online for free, Coursea is my newest love, my great addiction. Not only do I get to learn about a wide variety of topics courtesy of dozens of universities from all around the world—currently I am enrolled in a course from the University of Pennsylvania—but I also get to do it for free. And when I complete the course, I will get a certificate saying so.
Of course, it’s as intensive as any other online course, with about 10 hours of work per week. Video lectures, reading assignments, and quizzes make up the bulk of the learning at Coursera, but there are also online forums just as you would encounter with most other online courses. There are also papers for many courses, as you might expect.
When I became pregnant during my junior year in college, it was a total surprise, and I ended up doing most of my senior year work online. The technology we have today, six years later, is amazing. A massive variety of complete online programs are available to students—some, like Coursera, completely free of charge—helping to bridge the gap between higher education and those who cannot afford it, a group that is increasing just as the costs for such education continue to steadily rise.
Coursera is really fun, especially if you enjoy taking classes about things that interest you. You can drop out without worrying about fees if you don’t like the material, and if you stick around, you can learn a lot about things you are into. Right now I’m building my knowledge of Greek and Roman Mythology and having a blast at it.
Last night I took my first quiz, and I can listen to my lectures while I do laundry or make lunch. If everyone could have the Internet, it certainly could become the Great Equalizer that many claim education itself is supposed to be—if everyone could also be given the same speed, access to programs, and knowledge of where to look.
If you’re looking for some higher education in your life right now—whether it’s for professional development or for fun—I highly recommend this program. I’ve been telling everyone I know about it and I hope it helps people open new doors to careers, hobbies, and more. Give it a try; you might become a Coursera Addict like me!