TED Talk Leads to Coursera

We should spend less time at universities filling our students’ minds with content by lecturing at them, and more time igniting their creativity … by actually talking with them. (Daphne Koller)

As an auto-didact, I am constantly learning and growing. One of my recent “I must make this a priority” decisions was to spend more time listening to TED talks.

For those of you who haven’t heard of TED, the acronym stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and you really, really need to check out the site. TED is on the cutting edge of everything from technology, climate change, learning, and more. Speakers have under twenty minutes to make their point – and the talks are entertaining and informational. They get me to thinking, and acting, and reaching out. All good things to do.

In any case, I tend to gravitate towards two subjects in TED talks – education and environment. After all, it is what I write about the most on a daily basis in my two blogs! As I sat down to write a new post for The Deadly Nightshade this morning, I turned on Daphne Koller’s talk on What We Are Learning from Online Education. And listening to it prompted this post as I listened to her talk about a host of online classes, offered free. And while there are other free online courses, none that I have heard of offer a certificate of completion at the end of it. Or the possibility of obtaining college credit or even employment at the end of some of the courses.

College credit?!

A Certificate of Completion?!

For FREE?!

The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting. – Plutarch

I hadn’t even finished listening to the TED talk before I was at Coursera, paging through the class offerings. My eyes lit up when I found the Introduction to Sustainability course, which begins today. And I have signed up for it…

I also found several other classes that look very interesting. I’m tempted to sign up for them all. But common sense interfered before I began madly clicking and signing up for a large number of classes. I’ll start with one and go from there. Well…one to begin with, there’s two more I’ve signed up for, but one doesn’t start until September and the other begins in late November.

Take a look at some that might apply to you, your teen, or even an erstwhile younger one. With videos and online quizzes, and it being free, how can you go wrong?

Planet Earth course -How do earthquakes happen? What causes mountains to form? Check out the video on this course, it looks very interesting.

Modern & Contemporary American Poetry

Greek & Roman Mythology

How to Reason and Argue – I don’t know, this could perhaps blow up in a parent’s face when faced with a teenager who can reason and argue with the best of them!

I hope to post an update on my Introduction to Sustainability class and the others as I progress through them.

College is a place where a professor’s lecture notes go straight to the student’s lecture notes, without passing through the brains of either. – Mark Twain


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