Do yourself a Learning Favour
Free Online Learning from Top Universities in Arts , Humanities, Science, Maths, Computing and More from Yale University, Duke University, Berklee College of Music and more….
Check out the following sites - Coursera [link] and Udemy [link]This article discusses the world of online MOOC's – Learning online – a personal look at two current MOOC's and what they offer your art.
I have recently been fortunate enough to have discovered online MOOC's – Learning online from top professionals in many fields. I learnt this through my social network connections and had some spare time, and thought – "It's Free" I will give it a go.www.Coursera.org
I signed up for my first online class last September, called Modern and Contemporary Poetry from University of Pennsylvania or 'Modpo" as it was happily referred to by the other 20,000 plus students completing the course online.
The course was free. 'Modpo", ran late last year lasted for two months. There was no mandatory course materials to be brought, no upfront costs and no initial outlay. On signing up to the course, you had access to the course online forum, class emails from the professor addressing all the students, access to videos discussing a range of poets from Emily Dickinson to Gertrude Stein. My favourite, "Some Trees" by John Ashberry was covered in a 20 minute video, watching close reads of the poetry in a round discussion format. Recent poets were also covered, and you got to read and experiment with different type of poetry, poets and formats.
The videos were well constructed and the interaction and learning from the online forum, videos and Facebook were inspiring. I was learning not only from the teacher, but from fellow students who ranged from young adults to retirees, other professors, and as a surprise – some of the current poets themselves visited the forums and had discussions with the class.
There were regular "Live Shows" from the University which enabled you to interact via YouTube and Twitter while watching the show live on Youtube and questions were being asked from people, calling in from the USA and other countries as far as Japan on telephone call in number. Even though the course was being run from the East Coast of America, myself as a participant in Australia was welcomed via the internet from my standard no frills laptop.
During the class, mandatory multi-choice questions and also essays were required, which were "peer reviewed" - assessed by fellow unknown students and critiqued in a format given by the professor. There is no mandatory pre-learning, though a grasp of English is required as the course is presented in English. Some classes have a list of requirements before starting the course and course books that were being referred to, and mandatory for learning. Check this out in the pre-course information and video which is provided by the professors on signing up to the course. Emails will alert you when the course begins and tell you of progress of the course.
I must admit, the experience was time consuming, lots of reading of recent poetry and well known poets from history, and it does take time. Be prepared for a lot of work to complete this course. Also, on a down side, the interaction is online, not in a university classroom, where you can expect to speak to people on a one to one basis, in person networking, was not available to someone like myself, who was not near the university, nor had any chance to be. The networking came from online interactions with forums, Facebook and emails.
I liked the fact there was no mandatory times to view the videos, and you could chose at will when to view it. However, there were mandatory times for submission of the essays should you wish to persue the Certificate for the course.
For me this was an experience, and the first class that I have taken of this nature. It was an eye opening FREE experience and I could have chosen, if this particular class was not for me, to drop the class at any time, with no financial loss. If I did not like the teaching style, I could drop the class and continue trying another course that suited my learning style. At the link www.coursera.org. classes of interest are Song writing, Guitar, Psychology, computing and upcoming science courses and many more.www.Udemy.com
I am currently completing a Psychology course by Yale Professor, 110 Psychology on www.udemy.com. I have been doing so for the past month or so.
Also free, this offers beginners courses on Psychology from a well known Yale Professor giving you 17 hours of videos to watch at your leisure on beginners subjects of psychology. A book is recommended for reading for the course, but it is not required. There is no mandatory tests or essays on this particular course, and you can do the topics at your will as your spare time allows. Topics that have been covered are "Differences", "Development" "Love" with a lot of discussion on research and general theory of psychology, perfect for the beginner. There is guest professors who do a one hour class on a particular topic. There is no mandatory preresquites for the course, apart from the course being run in English, so it is required here to have understanding of the English language. There has been discussion of the text book, however it does not seem a requirement to purchase this book. There is no course fees – it is free online.
On the Udemy course, you can chose and start your course today, the Coursera courses are available at given times, months into the future, at the moment. I am waiting 1 month for the start of a guitar course on Coursera. I started the Udemy course straight away on signing up with my email address, with no wait time.
In comparing the two courses, that I have completed to date, the Coursea course on poetry, was time consuming for two months but I have made much in roads into the history of poets and been inspired by the writings of some of the poetry. The coverage of "computer generated" poetry was particularly interesting. I found the video output to be lacking on the Coursera course, and the requirement to download a different browser (Internet Explorer was not accepted and you could not complete the assignments if you had this browser – it was recommended instead to download Firefox). The video was clunky, not as fluid as the YouTube interface of the course on Udemy. However, there was no interaction with other students, no forum, Facebook or Twitter on the Udemy course.
Another note, is that these are beginning courses only, and do not give you credit in top universities. They are designed for personal interest only and not designed to be a full university course nor a substitute for one.
The information gained on both courses were brilliant. Best of all, for the moment, totally Free with no obligation to pay or continue on your part.
Check it out for your online learning in the Arts – there are more courses than I have mentioned here.
I hope it inspires you to improve your poetry and arts through learning from online top universities.
Tina White is a published writer, living in Australia and currently completing her third novel, editing more and enjoying writing books thoroughly. Her bio and upcoming chapters, novel thoughts and ideas can be found on her DA profile at [link]
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